[AxisOfEasy] White House Looking To Reinstate NSA Snooping Program, Permanently

Weekly Axis Of Easy #109

Last Week’s Quote was  “The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.” …by Thomas Jefferson. Winner Phillip I Freeman.

This Week’s Quote:  “If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about the answers ” …by ????

THE RULES: No searching up the answer, must be posted below. 
The Prize: First person to post the correct answer gets their next domain or hosting renewal is on us.

In this issue:

  • MacBook Pro air travel ban could be a problem
  • Google will drop ftp support from Chrome browser
  • Telus customers experiencing prolonged outage 
  • Trump requests permanent reauthorization of NSA spying 
  • Major bluetooth security flaw discovered.
  • Hong Kong protestors appropriate Pepe Le Frog as mascot
  • easyPress now bundles with Blogvault: Backup, Staging, Firewall

MacBook Pro air travel ban could be a problem

I had no idea that 2015 MacBook Pro’s, 15” screens that were sold between 2015 and 2017 are subject to a lithium battery recall. According to this Forbes article if you own one you may even be barred from bringing it on flights, both as carry on and checked baggage. I have no idea how widespread this is, but the article says “get ready for airport chaos”. Especially since I’m still down here in Barbados and if I run into this problem when I’m due home, we may have to stay here. Forever.

But seriously, what I did was head over to Apple’s support page on this issue and enter my MacBook’s serial number, and checked to see if my unit is affected. It wasn’t, so then I took a screen grab of that output and have it on my phone, so if I run into any issues at the airport I can at least prove my laptop isn’t at risk.

Read: Apple support page: https://support.apple.com/15-inch-macbook-pro-battery-recall

Google will drop ftp support from Chrome browser

Google has announced that they will be dropping support for ftp:// URLs from Chrome as of version 82. They are citing low usage, and security issues around ftp, not to mention, Chrome never supported secure ftp (ftps://).

Version 82 is scheduled to come out in Q2 2020.


Telus customers experiencing prolonged outage

Another situation I was oblivious to until a client emailed me about it (h/t to Alex Denton) is an outage, now in its fourth day affecting email services for Telus customers in Western Canada (BC & Alberta). My experience: people can tolerate their websites being down. Even a DNS outage, while extremely painful, tend to at least be understood by customers. But email outages? Nothing drives people insaner faster more intenser than having email down. I couldn’t even imagine it.

Many of you know, I hope, that a lot of your domain packages come with email hosting included, and if you think it’s prohibitively difficult migrating your email from an existing provider (say… maybe one that’s been down for the last four days) to hosted email under their own domain, remember we have an easy email migration tool that will move everything over for you.

Read: https://axisofeasy.com/features/imap-migration-tool/

Trump administration requests permanent reauthorization of NSA spying

In an unclassified letter to Congress last week, the Trump administration asked for authorization to extend the NSA program that tracks US citizens’ phone calls and texts on a permanent basis.

The program originally authorized under “The USA Freedom Act” (never read Orwell? Fortunately you don’t have to) was revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden and purportedly suspended indefinitely after it expired. (I say “purportedly” because as we reported in #AxisOfEasy 89, the NYTimes also reported then, that despite the NSA authorization expiring, they were probably still doing it anyway).

Remember when we asked “Which candidate is the pro-privacy, anti-surveilance candidate”, in the run up to the 2016 election? We said neither Hillary nor The Donald were friends of privacy and we were right.

Major bluetooth security flaw discovered

Researchers at the Center for IT-Security, Privacy and Accountability  (CISPA) have discovered a major new vulnerability in the 20+ year-old Bluetooth protocol.  The “Key Negotiation of Bluetooth”, aka “KNOB” attack lets attackers, without any prior knowledge of details of either side of the conversation, trick two endpoints in a Bluetooth handshake into using an encryption key that can then be brute-forced (I think they do this by tricking each side into using a 1-byte encryption key).

Of course, once the key is cracked the attacker has access to all communications on the Bluetooth channel.

The Bluetooth spec is being upgraded to specify longer encryption keys, and uses are urged to remain current with all manufacturer updates.


Hong Kong protestors appropriate Pepe Le Frog as mascot

Pepe Le Frog was famously created by Matt Fury who was chagrined to find his character co-opted by the alt-right as a type of prankster mascot (very interesting book on the esoteric undercurrents of this phenomenon was Gary Lachman’s “Dark Star Rising: Magick and Power in the Age of Trump” (Lachman also happens to be the original bassist in Blondie).

Fury tried to put a lid on it by killing off the Pepe character in his comic not once, but twice.  Didn’t help.

Now Pepe is rising again in Hong Kong as mass protestors have adapted the frog as their symbol for emancipation and liberty from the mainland Chinese State. Some have tried to tell them about Pepe’s meaning in the West. They don’t care. What I find interesting about this story is it shows how futile it is to try to control the meaning other people ascribe to things, especially en masse.

easyPress now bundles with Blogvault: backup, firewall and staging

I wasn’t going to announce this until we had the integration and processes finalized, but this is the Big News for easyPress I alluded to back in #AxisOfEasy 95. The notices to end users have already started going out so the cat is out of the bag.

We have commenced bundling Blogvault with easyPress. All existing sites will be grandfathered in with it, going forward it will be included with all Pro, Business and Dedicated sites. Blogvault provides incremental Wordpress backups, staging, a Web Application Firewall, the works. We’re currently working with the company get the highest level of integration but for starters a lot of this (such as restoring from backup, or spinning up a staging site) will be facilitated via support requests.

I’ve been using this on the site for my wife’s novel and Guerrilla Capitalism and it’s proven to be a lifesaver more than once.

4 thoughts on “[AxisOfEasy] White House Looking To Reinstate NSA Snooping Program, Permanently

  1. OK, are you sick, @Stuntpope? You actually found and WANT to give proof that your Macbook is not a risk so as not to be quaranteened in Barbados for the rest of your life? Really????

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