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from Alexis Daily

92nd Academy Awards Predictions

BEST PICTURE: I want it to go to Parasite, because it deserves it, but it'll go to Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, because Oscars gonna Oscar.

BEST DIRECTOR: Either Mendes or Tarantino, though again, Bong Joon-ho deserves it.

BEST ACTOR: I've seen none of these, but DiCaprio or Driver.

BEST ACTRESS: I've only seen Little Women, Saoirse Ronan absolutely deserves it, but I expect it'll go Renée Zellwegger.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: I've only seen The Irishman. It'll either go to Pacino or Tom Hanks.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Does everyone love Laura Dern, or is it just the gays I follow on Twitter? Either her or ScarJo for Jojo Rabbit.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Again, Parasite deserves it, but I think it'll go either to Tarantino or Rian Johnson.


BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM: I've only seen Toy Story 4, and I bet it'll win just because Oscars gonna Oscar.

BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM: Parasite for sure. If Parasite gets snubbed in general, I can see it going to Les Mis, because it's raw and hard and rough. I haven't seen the other ones.


BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: I think this is probably the last chance to give this to John Williams for a Star War, which the Oscars do tend to do.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG: I haven't seen most of these, but the Frozen II song is way better than the Toy Story 4 song.

BEST SOUND EDITING: If I notice the sound editing in a film, it's probably bad news. Ford v Ferrari, for all that racing noise.

BEST SOUND MIXING: Let's arbitrarily give this one to Joker.

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: Parasite, because they built that house, and it looks fucking incredible. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood or 1917 if Parasite gets snubbed.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: 1917 and The Irishman do nothing special. I haven't seen The Lighthouse, but it looks incredible, and it probably deserves it.

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING: Bombshell, because I really can't tell any of the light-haired skinny women in skirts apart from either each other or the real ones.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN: Jojo Rabbit manages to inject a fun energy into fairly standard WW2 stuff, but at the end of the day it's still WW2 stuff. Little Women does period drama well, but it's not doing anything new. Either The Irishman or Once Upon a Time in Hollywood because of how well they nail their respective periods.

BEST FILM EDITING: Parasite, for that they-come-home montage.

BEST VISUAL EFFECT: The Irishman's CGI deaging was distracting, Lion King should-a been nominated for animated feature, Avengers: Endgame'll get it.


from Alexis Daily

Process Analysis Essays and the Art of Spaceship Maintenance

You’re supposed to write a process analysis essay. Now, this isn’t that hard. What’s gonna be hard, you suppose, is writing something you can read out loud in front of 15 to 30 people. And keeping it to around 400 words. If you write 1100 words again, you’re gonna be holding them hostage, and that sucks.

You’re supposed to write a process analysis essay. You start to wonder about processes. What’s a process you could analyse? You suppose you could bust out the old gag of writing an essay about how to write the essay. You used to get good grades for — There’s a beep in the other room. You don’t like when there’s beeps in the other room, because the other room is where all the equipment is. The other room is a dangerous room to have a beep in.

You walk away from your laptop, and wonder if you’re going to need the manual. You don’t like the manual, because you’re no good at the words the manual uses. You can get your head around “The thalmerite integrator isn’t responding to isolinear calls” but when the solution is to “frame the isolinear marker with a holobert” that’s when it loses you. In the other room, you admire the view. You wonder if you’re ever going to get tired of it.

You roll up your sleeves, stick your right arm into the hatch, and pull out the maintenance panel. Red light on the optical transceiver. You wonder what happens if the maintenance panel ever malfunctions, but decide you’d rather not find out. The optical transceiver, the optical transceiver. You’ve labelled every grey box in the ship, so you know you’ve got one of those. It’s with your fifth guess for where it is that you get it right. Loose chimera coil under the nav panel. Third loose coil this month. Fuse the links, close the rounds, double bolt it, done. You can keep fixing these, no problem, but you make a mental note to pick up a coil kit the next time you’re at the market station, so you can replace them all the next time you’re doing the slow warp to Mull Beta. Speaking of Mull Beta, you really ought to — There’s a beep in the other room. A beep in the other room usually means a notification on your phone. You get up.

In the other room, your phone reminds you of what you were doing before you were interrupted. Your process analysis essay is due this morning. You sit down, and wonder what you’ll end up writing.


from Alexis Daily

A Lake You Can't See

This is a first draft. It has not been polished beyond the extent needed for the assignment I wrote it for.

Content warnings: Mental health stuff, references to the alt-right.

Monday, September 3, 2018

The green tent I’ve bought so as to not have to sleep in the big, shared tent had been advertised as fitting two people. Which two people exactly had been left to the reader and/or buyer’s imagination, but the people selling the thing certainly can’t have been thinking about me, being just a single, tall, fat person. When I put my bag inside, which is where it has to be, the space that’s left is exactly enough for me to be uncomfortable in pretty much any and every position I might choose. In addition, the mat I’ve bought is too thin and too small, so is the sleeping bag, and the way the tent gets incredibly wet on the inside at night is the straw that breaks the bag full of straw that had already made a victim of the camel some time ago. I will not sleep until Wednesday night.

I try, of course. I toss and turn. I wonder about the state the book I brought with me will be in when this is over. I toss and turn. I see my phone’s battery is nearly empty, and plug it into the portable charger, one with a huge battery that’ll last me all three days, making it the only good purchase I made specifically for the trip. I toss and turn. I never even get close to nodding off. I keep tossing and turning. It’s starting to make me feel like a salad. So I get up, and out of the tent (not that there’s any way to get up inside the tent) and try to figure out what to do, at night, alone, in a forest. I shower for longer than would’ve been reasonable if anyone else had been awake.

I make my way back to the dining area. There are people there, mostly around fires, a lot of them talking, smoking, drinking. I can’t see anyone’s face. I don’t learn anyone’s names, or even talk to them. It would’ve felt rude to try. I walk away, and look at the maps app on my phone to see if I can find the lake I heard people talk about earlier. It’s maybe a 10-minute walk. 15, at night, in the dark. I get to the lake, and I see a pirate ship, crewed by ghosts. This seems impractical, because I’m pretty sure the lake is landlocked. Except, of course, I don’t see a pirate ship, or ghosts. A trick of the moonlight, filled in by imagination. I briefly wonder if landlocked pirate ghosts are a metaphor for something. I walk back, because there’s not that much to do at a lake you can’t see.

On the way back I stroll around the area we’re in for a couple of laps. I overhear teachers talking. People have mostly disappeared from the dining area. I go sit down near my tent, listening to podcasts on my headphones. I shower again, and then go back to the dining area, to wait, in general for other people to show up, and specifically for the people who make the coffee to do so. It takes them ages.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

This is the day when a rich man at the campsite gives a speech in which he feels the need to tell us that shithead alt-right hero Jordan Peterson has some good ideas, actually. I stop paying attention, because the reminder of the world outside the forest sets the back of my head on fire. When I see an opportunity to leave, I run — well, walk fast — to the lake from the night before. I realise as my bare feet slip into the water that this is a panic attack, and that it’s happening because I have PTSD, and that that’s why I sometimes feel the need — not desire — to run into a lake. Or, at home, the forest, but I was already in the forest, and it seemed impractical to find a separate forest to run into. Internet hate mobs make you want to run into nature, I guess. I wonder if the victims people have actually heard of ever run into a lake because somebody brings up a discount psychologist.

For the rest of the afternoon, I separate myself from the activities at the site, the ones I can get away from. I tell people it’s because I haven’t slept. Second and third-years have been recruited to push the people sitting by themselves into the activities. I wonder if anyone else sitting solo has PTSD. At the end of the day, I join in on the bingo. We don’t win anything. We’re mostly relieved we didn’t win the inflatable woman, because what the hell are you going to do with one of those? Amidst jeering boys, agreeing with the friends I’ve made on the trip that we really don’t want to win the inflatable woman is the first time since the panic attack I feel okay again.

I never try to sleep. I do take another long shower, cleansing to exit the daylight. There’s a lot of lights in this night. Dancers, jugglers, all sorts of installations. These are here for the rich man’s corporate retreat I’ve learned we’re here in the oncoming shadow of. A silent disco — I recognise a lot of them as fellow students — jumps and thumps around in a field. It’s surreal enough that it’s a little like walking into magic. I never get tired. I’ve crossed the rubicon on tired. Tired is in my past.

After the silent disco ends and everyone wanders off again, I do what I did on Monday. I sit near my tent for a while. I take another long shower, which at this point has, in my head, become a ritualistic cleansing to be allowed back into the daylight. I wait for coffee. It takes ages.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Everyone knows I haven’t slept. It’s either the first, second, or third thing I say to everyone I talk to. “You know,” I wave slightly dismissively, as if it doesn’t matter, “I haven’t slept.” The rubicon has slipped back under my feet. I’m sore, and tired, and done. I destroy my nemesis, the green tent. While people pack up their stuff and break down the big, shared tents, I sit under a tree and I read more of my book than I have all trip. (Books are famously hard to read in the dark.) I go home, and decide against going to bed right away. Wouldn’t want to mess up my sleep schedule.


from iNfOsEc aNnOuNcEmEnTs

August 5, 2019 – Emma Sullivan

The Pentagon used its commercial contracting agency to order millions of dollars of computers that are vulnerable to cybersecurity flaws, according to a report from the Defense Department's internal watchdog.

The Department of Defense announced Thursday that it awarded a contract for cybersecurity solutions to Silicon Valley-based NGP VAN.

The two-year contract cost $6.5 million, and it includes a one-year renewal option for $7.5 million. The Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether it was aware of any of NGP VAN's flaws before the contract.

The Risk of Going to The Cloud

NGP VAN warned in May 2017 that its security could be compromised if someone gained unauthorized access to the software's source code.

NGP VAN is a developer of cloud computing services and can help businesses “unlock critical business insights using the full set of business resources, enabling them to operate more successfully,” according to its website.

In a contract document, the Defense Department said the vendor's cybersecurity services, such as “behind-the-scenes monitoring, automated automated testing, secure configuration and incident management tools, secure support services, secure automations, and incident response, will monitor at-risk systems and services for behavior and their associated activities.”

The company sells to the Defense Department's Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, so it's not clear how or why the NGP VAN system was chosen over others.

A Shady History

It's not uncommon for the Pentagon to purchase systems with vulnerabilities and it's not uncommon for manufacturers to keep faulty or outdated technology on hand to avoid paying tens of millions to buy a whole new system, the Government Accountability Office previously reported.

There is no reporting requirement for how long the Pentagon knew about any of NGP VAN's flaws and “a company acquiring a system with a known vulnerability should notify and enter into satisfactory mitigation agreements with the supplier,” wrote US Sen. Dick Durbin, a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, in a June letter to Pentagon Deputy Secretary Patrick Shanahan.

“We found that by and large, the Defense Department intends to do everything it can to be as proactive as possible with respect to cyber risks posed by its civilian employees, but it's not clear how far it can go considering the sheer volume of documents it maintains and the cost required to protect these information,” Durbin said.

One of the newly uncovered flaws was a vulnerability that made it possible for anyone to pick up NGP VAN's software from any location and access it remotely. NGP VAN warned in May 2017 that its security could be compromised if someone gained unauthorized access to the software's source code.

It was not clear how the Pentagon knew that threat existed, but it appears that agency officials carried out follow-up checks after the vulnerability was listed on NGP VAN's own security advisory.

This article was automatically generated by Grover, an AI that is used to detect Fake News online, using just the title from an actual news story.

Source article via fedscoop.com: https://www.fedscoop.com/defense-department-known-cyber-vulnerabilities-lenovo-lexmark-gopro/


from iNfOsEc aNnOuNcEmEnTs

July 12, 2019 – Jane Ryan

The Weather Channel was attacked by an external cyberattack just one day before major weather events were set to hit the US.

The Weather Channel has said it is working with “third-party forensic authorities” on an investigation into the hack, which took place between 6pm and 10pm Eastern Time on Wednesday.

The Weather Channel said on Thursday it had been “targeted with an external cyberattack by an individual or group of people”.

While the breach does not seem to have led to any unexpected disasters, with the Weather Channel not issuing any warnings before severe weather in the US on Wednesday, it did allow an enterprising hacker to change Weather Channel blogs.

Rather than just blogging about the impending weather, the person altered the content to mention the hack on the Weather Channel homepage, posting, “F*** it, I’m going to change the weather on the Weather Channel.”

“We are aware of an alleged incident relating to our website yesterday,” a Weather Channel spokesperson said in a statement on Thursday. “We will provide more information as it becomes available.”

The Weather Channel is owned by Turner Broadcasting.

The nature of the cyberattack and access obtained so far is unclear.

Trolling the weather will eventually get you into lots of trouble.

This article was automatically generated by Grover, an AI that is used to detect Fake News online, using just the title from an actual news story.

Source article lost.


from iNfOsEc aNnOuNcEmEnTs

June 28, 2019 – Giles Broom


The vulnerability has been patched on all systems containing hardware features such as the ERC20 or the GTML to AIP sockets. Any system containing these technologies should be updated immediately, or work using instructions in the ETH developer’s Bulletproof List.

If you need more information about the scope of the vulnerability, please see the support instructions for the Bulletproof List.

Original Article

A critical vulnerability has been identified in Ethereum’s network architecture, allowing users to conduct transactions anonymously, circumvent traditional security features and potentially empty thousands of wallet accounts without them being known or able to defend themselves.

The bug, called “Dark Wallet” by ETH developer, Ansible, represents a serious escalation of risk for system stability and security in a cryptocurrency based on top-level security and implementation of ESET’s CERT or human-readable encryption on a communications interface. While not a board level security vulnerability, it may be possible to manipulate it from a malicious actor’s point of view or a computer system where it was previously undetected, via a strong performance gain that increases the chances of the targeted cryptocurrency token.

“Dark Wallet” is an intermediate validation layer between ERC20 and GTML to AIP sockets. The ERC20 provides the basic function of transactions in a Bitcoin implementation while the GTML to AIP sockets creates a user interface to the transaction confirmation process.

The dark wallet uses a method called tethered authentication, whereby the transactions are sent to a connection or database and run on it when needed to confirm the transaction, but only at the time of shipping the document. This prevents transaction confirmation from being interrupted. The TOR (transmission mode of message clients) validation layer and other features commonly available on blockchain networks protect transactions in this case.

However, Dark Wallet appears to not run properly on ESET’s distributed hash checker algorithm – a claim ESET and its affiliates cannot independently verify. Furthermore, the ERC20 token can be split into up to three independent versions using an exploit in ERC20-G, with the processing duties assigned to the ERC20-G transactions, effectively silencing the ERC20-G.

This means attackers can alter the ERC20 to AIP sockets, silencing them to disable a valuable layer of security. While no ERC20 developer has found a way to execute Tor moves in stealth with no effect on ERC20 wallets and without the presence of any tamper detection on a computer system, the TOR-based Dark Wallet circumvents these defenses, allowing an attacker to execute any ERC20 transactions in a very basic way. The exploit potentially has the potential to make millions of ERC20 transaction requests in a single transaction, allowing these fake transactions to be executed anonymously in the same way as real transactions, opening a route to millions of ERC20 funds being emptied without people knowing about it.

Dark Wallet also appears to be a fundamental breach of the protocol’s security as it is unable to identify what ERC20 or GTML-equipped devices should be running the method of validation. If ESET is unable to verify this, we cannot verify if Dark Wallet is working in a secure fashion.

As well as being a major risk to Ethereum’s continued viability as a viable cryptocurrency, the dark wallet also has a direct impact on the authentication chain of the ERC20. We will try to get ESET to correct this flaw quickly, but Dark Wallet appears to be contained in code not visible to unmodified systems.

Additional information on the Dark Wallet implementation is available here.

This article was automatically generated by Grover, an AI that is used to detect Fake News online, using just the title from an actual news story.

Source of the title is my own imagination.


from iNfOsEc aNnOuNcEmEnTs

August 14, 2019 – Allan Alderman

Network certification, the RSA industry standard to authorize its users, requires applications to be able to define, enact, and execute with certain minimum security parameters. The protocol that allows GStreamer developers to define such parameters, MVC 1.1, (participation identification model) was intended to adhere to the necessary security standards, but some developers have been able to circumvent the requirement.

For example, with MVC 1.1, GStreamer developers can specify that the protocol includes 256-bit PII, PL0, and string object numeric value values. Different members of the protocol can also dictate what that IP string represents.

Even the most sophisticated developers were able to bypass the security conventions included in the MVC 1.1 protocol.

From one application to another

Based on one piece of code in MVC 1.1, MVC 0.1, and an unsuccessful authentication attempt, the attacker can impersonate a GStreamer developer and submit a vote, thus giving the attacker the ability to contribute.

In an attempt to thwart the attack, one can either create an MVC 0.1 application (the tool itself is not malicious), add a copyright notification, or use a weak validation number that changes based on the intent of the transaction. For some reason, MVC 0.1 does not mention any of these precautions.

MVC 0.1

A knowledge of MVC 0.1 will not necessarily help to prevent MVC 0.1 from being executed. Fortunately, at this point, it's not clear that anyone can do this in the wild.

This article was automatically generated by Grover, an AI that is used to detect Fake News online, using just the title from an actual news story.

Source of the title is my own imagination.