May 2016

Dear Client,

Things have been running fairly smoothly the last month.  Hopefully we will continue to see boring conditions.  I like boring.

We have also had few glitches with the new provider so far.  The only thing we’ve noticed is it isn’t as fast as we would like to see.  Given that, we’ve been looking at another provider who promised far faster connectivity 6 times faster than we currently have.  Since they had a 30 day money back guarantee, I told them to drop a line in and we would test it.  So far, it hasn’t been pretty.  It is 6 times….slower, not faster.  Connectivity in outlying areas is not easy.  We are textbook examples of that.  They’ve been chewing on it for nearly 10 days now, and next week we will pull the plug on the test if they can’t deliver.

By now you may have heard about a recent 60 Minutes segment on how easy it is to hack cell phone routing.  Turns out cell phone management (how do we get this call to connect to there?) is handled by an antique protocol that never met a request it didn’t trust.  As in no authentication at all.  While the management function isn’t on the same network as the calls themselves, it is still way too easy for any interested party to gain access to it and play havoc.  It is trivial to listen to and record someone’s calls from anywhere on the planet.  And the parties would never know.  In that same segment, it is also apparently easy enough to hack a cell phone by just knowing the cell phone # itself(!).  Leslie Stahl had her phone compromised as a test along with all the contents she had in it, including credit card #s, etc.  As jaded as I am regarding how poor security is, even I was sick watching the speed with which the hack was executed: in seconds.

All this doesn’t bode well for the “Internet of Things” manufacturers continue to rush toward.  Hacking a phone can cause embarrassment and identity theft.  Hacking your car or medical devices you are depending on can cost you your life.

On a slightly positive note, the House unanimously passed a bill (no, seriously…) to require a warrant to get email from an online service provider.  This applies to the Yahoo, Hotmail and Yahoo account holders in the world.  After 180 days, almost any government entity can request and receive your email and other juicy bits in an account, due to the way the 1986 Telecommunications Act was written.  It has only taken 20 years to close this loophole.  And no, that didn’t apply to accounts you might have with Web World.  Hosted here, they have always needed a search warrant.  Now it goes to the Senate and then the President.  Hopefully both with sign off on it.

Harlie and Rose continue to grow and are doing well.  I added a run to their coop so they can have slot car races.  And our Akita continues to volunteer to watch them for me.  I would believe her more if she quit licking her lips when she offers.


Ben Conner