CyberTech Rambler

December 12, 2011

Did Electronic Warfare brought down RQ-170?

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 6:22 pm

The biggest aviation news last week was Iran captured an American Drone. That’s interesting in itself. More when the news came that the drone was captured more-or-less intact. However, most interesting is the claim that the drone was brought down through electronic warfare.

A casual observer like me can believe Iran don’t have the capability to bring down a drone. It needs foreign help. There are speculation that Iran’s recent purchase of a Russian Electronic Warfare system is responsible. However, I kinda doubt this is the case. If the unit is capable of disrupting and control a hostile drone, this is something the Iranian and Russian will want to keep for a rainy day, not a PR stunt. Even if Iran is willing, it will need Russian approval to pull such a trick.

That brings us to the timing issue. Russians will OK it to divert attention from Russia itself. The news days were quiet when the drone was brought down. When the big news about Russian Elections hit the airwave, news about the drone had becomes today’s fish-and-chip wrapper.

What do I think happened? The drone security protocol, particularly remote commands, are not up to scratch. America probably underestimated the capability of hostile nations to intercept, interpret and then fake signals to their drones. Drones of the same type has been operating in Afghanistan (if not inside Iran) for quite a few years now, giving Iran plenty of time to listen to and understand the signals.

Did the new Russian electronic warfare system played a part in the drone’s downfall? Probably. But its involvement might be limited to simply providing Iran a means to transmit the fabricated control signals. A big role, but not as important as the ability to interpret the signal. We won’t know this for sure. Right now, Russians are just happy to bask in the limelight that people speculated that it is  their system that brings down the drone. That is something to be proud of and can translate into $$$.




Ask and thou shall get discount (from Microsoft)

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 6:05 pm

If you are big enough, like NHS, and willing to drive a hard bargain, again like NHS, then thou shall get negative inflation from Microsoft, theRegister reports.

I know we have a economic downturn in full swing, however, 16 percent discount from previous contract prices is too steep to blame on the economy, especially for the last few years, inflation (the measure that really matters when it comes to prices) were actually very high.

In fairness, Microsoft did make NHS negotiate hard for every penny. Six months negotiation is not an easy negotiation by any measure. I am sure Microsoft brought a lot of pressure to bear on the NHS but time is not on Microsoft’s side. The longer it drags its heel, the more chance an alternative software will take hold in the NHS. This means in the long run, it risks losing more. That, I am sure, is the reason the negotiation comes to a happy conclusion for NHS and Microsoft.

Personally, if you asked me, I won’t pay a penny on license. But I am not running the NHS.

December 1, 2011

How do you know a law is bad

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 4:43 pm

SOPA is bad. How bad you might ask? Simply because the number of people lining up to say it is bad does not mean it is that bad.

Google, Facebook, Twitter voiced their opposition? No. It just means that SOPA makes life difficult for them. It does not at all means the bill is bad.

Bad enough for the The Economist to comment on it? Now you take notice as a neutral third party did not like it.

That one of its main supporter, the Business Software Alliance, admitted it need modification? Not really. While it is a big admission that something is amiss, this is just a PR Stunt.

You know it is really bad when one gigantic member (Microsoft) of one of its supporter, i.e.. BSA again, let slip to the press that it is opposed to it.

Now, while Microsoft approval is not needed for BSA to support any bill, including SOPA, any objections are normally voiced behind closed door. That’s the way of business. Only when it is really bad  for Microsoft, feeling the heat of being painted as the driving force behind BSA’s support(not unjustly given Microsoft’s extremely close relationship with BSA) will it let slip that it is not supporting the bill, will Microsoft breaks the wall of silence and speak out. We are at that stage now.


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