HOWTO use con-games to improve information security

"Understanding scam victims: seven principles for systems security" by Cambridge University's Frank Stajano and Paul Wilson is an excellent look at the principles involved in "short cons" (confidence games that only take a few minutes to "play") and how they can be applied to information security. The authors examine the mechanics of scams demonstrated in the BBC show "The Real Hustle" and then extract the principles that drive them and show how they are also used in online ripoffs:
This illustrates something important. Many people feel that they are wise to certain scams or take steps to protect their property; but, often, these steps don't go far enough. A con artist can easily answer people's concerns or provide all sorts of proof to put minds at ease. In order to protect oneself, it's essential to remove all possibility of compromise. There's no point parking your own car if you then give the valet your keys. Despite this, the mark felt more secure when, in actual fact, he had made the hustler's job easier....

...Much of systems security boils down to "allowing certain principals to perform certain actions on the system while disallowing anyone else from doing them"; as such, it relies implicitly on some form of authentication--recognizing which principals should be authorized and which ones shouldn't. The lesson for the security engineer is that the security of the whole system often relies on the users also performing some authentication, and that they may be deceived too, in ways that are qualitatively differ- ent from those in which computer systems can be deceived.

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Homemade AT-AT loft bed

This video documents the creation of a fabulous homemade Star Wars AT-AT walker loft bed, built by a father for his son. It's made from everyday, easy-to-source materials and includes a hide-hole loft (in the AT-AT's body) with trap-door access. This fills me with feelings of fatherly inadequacy and makes me start plotting something equally elaborate for Poesy once she's big enough to enjoy a trap door.

Star Wars Imperial Walker Loft Bed (Thanks, Stagueve! Previously:AT-AT anatomy tee - Boing Boing Secret lives of AT-ATs - Boing Boing Boing Boing: Star Wars AT-AT stroller mod Boing Boing: Painting of kid riding an AT-AT AT-AT homebrew Hallowe'en costume - Boing Boing Boing Boing: Insanely detailed papercraft AT-ATs to download Read the rest

AT-AT anatomy tee

Roger sez, "My new tee features an x-ray image of an At-At walker. 'Since the Dark Side started using genetically modified walkers, they found many had to visit the Imperial Veterinary Clinic of Osteology suffering with acute pain in their hip joints. X-rays revealed their skeleton structure was just not strong enough to manoeuvre wearing those heavy boots. No amount of Cod Liver oil would ease their pain.'"

AT-AT Anatomy T-Shirt (Thanks, Roger!) Read the rest

Funny homemade Star Wars costumes

Holy Taco posted a collection of what they've deemed "The Worst Homemade Star Wars Costumes." The costumes may be pretty silly, but I think they look kinda fun too. (Thanks, Kirsten Anderson!) Previously:ComicCon's best Star Wars costumes - Boing Boing AT-AT homebrew Hallowe'en costume - Boing Boing Pet costume: slave girl Princess Leia - Boing Boing Read the rest

Secret lives of AT-ATs

FIickr's NickIsConfused has a great set showing the secret lives of Star Wars AT-ATs, reminding us that these adorable little critters aren't just for Xmas.

AT-ATs: not just for xmas Previously:Star Wars AT-AT stroller mod - Boing Boing Insanely detailed papercraft AT-ATs to download - Boing Boing Carving a giant derelict building into a Star Wars AT-AT - Boing Boing Painting of kid riding an AT-AT - Boing Boing AT-AT homebrew Hallowe'en costume - Boing Boing

Update: Bonnie sez, "I interviewed the photographer over on the Blog last week" Read the rest

Star Wars/Dalí tattoo

Paul at Old School Tattoo in Bellingham, Washington inked this tattoo, adding a bit of Salvador Dalí's "Elephants" to a Star Wars AT-AT Walker. has the wearer's story. Star Wars/Dalí tattoo (Thanks, COOP!) Read the rest

Today at Boing Boing Gadgets

• Guest blogger Mat Honan told us about Ramune and the Mystery of the Codd Stopper Bottle. • Samsung went retro with its latest point-and-shoot camera: analog dials! • We learned that Power Factor correction is a scam. • An office chair's hydraulic column reportedly exploded, killing its occupant in horrible fashion. • There was an At-At Walker that was also a Boombox. • A googly-eyed clock demonstrated awe-inspiring simplicity. • The NYT reported that the plasma TV is dead. • You took a look at our new office. • Rob took a closer look at Arthur C. Clarke's hard drive. • A reader told us of a new Mac Mini with 8,474,255 USB ports. And yet it's never enough! • Review! We found the Xperia X1 to our liking, if not its price. • Joel found a striking "Adult Fantasy Album." • There was video of the purported new Mac Mini. • You fixed the nib of that old fountain pen in the drawer. Read the rest

Creature from the Black Lagoon/Green Army Man toy mashup

High C sez, "The Sucklord is a renaissance man who lives in New York and makes, among other things, incredible limited-edition toys. Check out his latest Creature From The Black Lagoon/Green Army Man mash-up, and then dig into the archives for things like the Gay Stormtrooper and a Micronauts/Fisher-Price Little People mash-up."

NEW BOOTLEG: THE CREATURE (Thanks, High-C!) Previously:An AT-AT gets tagged, becomes the $1500 Suckadelic Graff-AT ... Paul di Filippo visits the Creature From the Black Lagoon - Boing ... Read the rest

Big Bentaur tee

Loving this Big Ben/centaur woodcut tee. Big Bentaur T-Shirt (Thanks, Scott!)

Previously: Star Wars: Evolution of the AT-AT t-shirt - Boing Boing CCTV tees - Boing Boing Read the rest

(BBtv) Looking for the Perfect Bean: Kyle Glanville's World Coffee Tour, part 1 - Brazil.

Boing Boing tv's global coffee correspondent Kyle Glanville is looking for the perfect bean, and you're invited along for the ride. You may recall his earlier appearances on the show when the 2008 US World Barista Champion introduced us to coffee roasting and espresso brewing at Intelligentsia.

Today, we debut a series of episode featuring Kyle on a world coffee tour, and we join him as he visits plantations to learn about the growing, harvesting, and processing techniques of Intelligentsia suppliers around the globe.

In this first episode, Kyle visits the Fazenda Conquista plantation in Minas Gerais, Brazil where Ipanema Coffees grows, dries, and roasts their goods, with lots of weird agro-gadgets and machines you probably haven't seen before -- some low-tech, some high-tech, but all really cool to watch. This plantation is one of the largest in Brazil, with 12 million coffee plants spread out over about 25 square miles of varying terrain.

One of the most fun things about producing BBtv is working with people like Kyle, who share their expertise and life experiences with us in video through their own eyes. I learned so much watching this first installment with the BBtv team -- I especially loved the giant machines that look like AT-AT walkers, lumbering through the neatly trimmed rows of coffee plants. Also, for someone who drinks as much espresso as I do -- how did I never know that coffee beans are surrounded by an edible, sweet fruit, that when dried intact with the bean, make the flavor richer? Read the rest

Star Wars: Evolution of the AT-AT t-shirt

James Lillis made a series of fun Star Wars t-shirts designs like the one above, titled the "Evolution of the AT-AT." It's available from RedBubble. AT-AT t-shirt (RedBubble) Read the rest

Star Wars photoshopping contest

Today on the Worth1000 photoshopping contest: Star Wars meets fine art. There are so many fantastic entries here -- I was very hard pressed to pick a favorite (pet, shown here). Other noteworthies: Thomas Kinkade with AT-AT, King Jabba VIII, Vitruvian Wookiee, Da Vinci's R2 plans, Napoleon Vaderpart and Vaderhol. Link Read the rest

Yesterday at Boing Boing Gadgets

Yesterday on Boing Boing Gadgets, we looked at a stabby knife that lets you inflate your victim with rapidly expanding gaseous pain, considered an easily understood diagram for building a marijuana grow room and lusted after a solar-powered theremin in an Altoids tin. There was also a mind-reading chair bristling with solenoids, some justification for Apple turning .mac into MobileMe and Shannonia, LEGO city in microscale, as well as the world's most luxurious cubicle. Beschizza pointed out a leather keyboard with a surprising dual-use function. Brownlee liked a binaural mic with human ears attached and also a tagged AT-AT. Joel wondered if Spore's creature creator (and specifically, the way it hid creature information in PNG images) could be used to email cute monsters that turned into when clicked. And we all bummed when Hollywood monster maker Stan Winston died. Read the rest

Steampunk "gothic pirate spaceship" watch

Watchismo's got some exclusive photos of the DeWitt Concept No. 1, a €400,000 watch that's like a cross between an AT-AT walker and a steampunk war-zeppelin control-center.
Selling for 400,000 Euros at the OnlyWatch auction before it had been shown to anyone, the DeWitt Concept No.1 was a beast to behold last week at Baselworld. Devoloped with French architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte, this gothic pirate spaceship of a watch is taking the steampunk oeuvre to new heights with its expanding riveted case, flying tourbillon, five barrels and a 21 day power reserve.
Link Read the rest

Star Wars AT-AT stroller mod

This stroller modded into an AT-AT Imperial Walker was spotted at the Star Wars Celebration IV last month in Los Angeles. Thingamababy is reverse engineering the build based on photos, but the father and baby's identities remain a mystery. If you think you know these two, post your comments on Thingamababy. Link (via Daddy Types) Read the rest

Insanely detailed papercraft AT-ATs to download

These downloadable PDFs for a papercraft AT-AT model are insanely detailed and amazing. One thing I never understood about the AT-ATs: if they've got AT-ATs, why do they need the Death Star? After all, the AT-ATs make it clear that when the Empire finds the Rebels, they can handily kick their asses. A Death Star is like a giant, inaccurate, indiscriminate AT-AT. The Empire doesn't have a firepower problem: the Empire has an intelligence problem. It can't locate the Rebels. The Death Star won't improve their intelligence-gathering. Using the Death Star to kill Rebels is like nuking Iraq. Link (Thanks, Rene!)

Update: Dave sez, "The same site has a bunch more papercraft patterns to download including a sweet looking Delorean." Read the rest

Painting of kid riding an AT-AT

This Casey Weldon painting, entitled "AT-AT the Playground," made me laugh aloud. I love the idea of a kid coaxing his pet AT-AT into walking with a dangling Luke Skywalker action-figure. Link (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

Update: Stephen sez, "Reminds me of a t-shirt design I worked up a few months ago before I thought about it and realized I didn't have the cash to produce them properly." Read the rest

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