Stuart Breckenridge

An Unexpected Win

Via the BBC:

A security researcher has told the BBC how he “accidentally” halted the spread of ransomware affecting hundreds of organisations, including the UK’s NHS.

The man, known online as MalwareTech, was analysing the code behind the malware on Friday night when he made his discovery.

He first noticed that the malware was trying to contact an unusual web address - iuqerfsodp9ifjaposdfjhgosurijfaewrwergwea.com - but this address was not connected to a website, because nobody had registered it.

So, every time the malware tried to contact the mysterious website, it failed - and then set about doing its damage.

MalwareTech decided to spend £8.50 and claim the web address. By owning the web address, he could also access analytical data and get an idea of how widespread the ransomware was.

But he later realised that registering the web address had also stopped the malware trying to spread itself.

Stopping the spread of the ransomware was an incredibly lucky side effect of purchasing the domain name. However, any win in this scenario — it’s the largest ransomware spread I can recall, and certainly the most shameless (attacking a health service) — is a win worth taking.


Selling My Late 2013 iMac

Update 2017-05-07: Sold.

I am selling my late 2013 iMac. It’s a custom build (specs below) and you can declare an interest on Carousell. It’s in perfect working order.

Specification:

  • 3.5Ghz Quad-Core i7 processer
  • nVidia GTX 780m graphics card (4GB)
  • 16GB RAM
  • 3TB Fusion Drive
  • Keyboard & Trackpad
  • Original packaging (see pic below)
Original Packaging

stuart.micro.blog

Owning your own short-form writing sounded like such a good idea that I supported Manton Reece’s Micro.blog project on Kickstarter months ago and it’s all now coming together: I started my own micro.blog yesterday at stuart.micro.blog.

My initial plan is to use Micro.blog for those times when Twitter isn’t enough and a full blog post is unnecessary.

Initial impressions:

  • the iOS app, still in testing, is a winner
  • the password_less_ login is strange and takes a bit of getting used to (I’m not quite sure that I am a fan of it)
  • I like the available designs for hosted micro blogs1
  • I need more time before I form a full opinion of the service
  1. One of the designs, Hyde, is related to Lanyon, which is the base design for this site. ↩︎


Scorpio

Richard Leadbetter at Eurogamer:

In 2005, Microsoft launched Xbox 360: a piece of hardware at least a year ahead of its time from a technological standpoint, introducing multi-core CPU processing and state-of-the-art advanced graphics technology. PlayStation 3 arrived a year later - an absolute age in technological terms - but the Xbox 360 still shone through. It was the product of a company determined to do everything it could to create the most powerful games console ever made. After the media missteps of Xbox One and the loss of performance leadership, Project Scorpio is a return to that fierce determination to produce the best possible box. This is the result of an Xbox team with something to prove - exactly the reaction we hoped for.

I cannot begin to describe the degree of magnitude with which I agree with this opening paragraph. The Xbox 360 remains, to this day, my favourite games console. The PS4 Pro follows, and the Xbox One is a distant fourth, behind the original Xbox.

Excluding Halo 5: Guardians, Forza Horizon 3, and, Gears of War 4, my opinion of the Xbox One is almost entirely negative. It’s a big, underpowered, black box, with a dashboard that is, in comparison to PS4 and PS4 Pro, an unresponsive mess. Thus, as long as UI is, well, fixed, I am delighted to see Microsoft get back in front in terms of raw power. Competition is good and I’m looking forward to increasing my gamerscore.

Here is a comparison of Scorpio against Xbox One and PS4 Pro:

  Project Scorpio Xbox One PS4 Pro
CPU Eight custom x86 cores clocked at 2.3GHz Eight custom Jaguar cores clocked at 1.75GHz Eight Jaguar cores clocked at 2.1GHz
GPU 40 customised compute units at 1172MHz 12 GCN compute units at 853MHz (Xbox One S: 914MHz) 36 improved GCN compute units at 911MHz
Memory 12GB GDDR5 8GB DDR3/32MB ESRAM 8GB GDDR5
Memory Bandwidth 326GB/s DDR3: 68GB/s, ESRAM at max 204GB/s (Xbox One S: 219GB/s) 218GB/s
Hard Drive 1TB 2.5-inch 500GB/1TB/2TB 2.5-inch 1TB 2.5-inch
Optical Drive 4K UHD Blu-ray Blu-ray (Xbox One S: 4K UHD) Blu-ray