This Blog Is Not For Reading

A blog, just like any blog, only more so

  • Subscribe

  • Categories

  • RSS Bob Jonkman’s Microblog

    • Favorite 13 March 2019
      bobjonkman favorited something by lnxw48a1: You go to post, you look it over. It looks okay. Hit "Post" and now there are words missing, words spelled incorrectly, punctuation missing.
    • bobjonkman repeated a notice by lnxw48a1 13 March 2019
      RT @lnxw48a1 You go to post, you look it over. It looks okay. Hit "Post" and now there are words missing, words spelled incorrectly, punctuation missing.
    • New note by bobjonkman 7 March 2019
      If you have an external clock that's transmitted exclusively over an analogue channel, then everyone would hear the beats at the same time (barring speed-of-light transmission times, which is really only a factor if the transmission uses geosynchronous satellites). But if there is any digital transmission then you're back to the same problem. Not everyone […]
    • bobjonkman repeated a notice by lauraritchie 7 March 2019
      RT @lauraritchie @bobjonkman @strangeattractor what if they instead of playing reactively everyone played to a world clock? - people could always record their contributions and video magic can be done with screens in a room and then the one room is streamed.
    • New note by bobjonkman 4 March 2019
      The solution would be to have an analogue connection from end-to-end. But today, even analogue phones are connected to digital switching networks, so you can't even use ordinary landline phones and expect to get no delay. You can get "leased lines" from the phone companies that are analogue end-to-end, but leasing a tuned circuit that […]
    • New note by bobjonkman 4 March 2019
      Performing music together over an Internet connection is next to impossible if there is *any* lag at all. Typically, the lag is caused by short 10-50 millisecond delays for every router hop, at minimum one hop from you to your ISP, another from ISP to Internet Exchange Point (IXP), IXP to my ISP, and a […]
    • bobjonkman repeated a notice by lauraritchie 4 March 2019
      RT @lauraritchie More on the livestreaming dilemma...I need to have the option of multiple participants AT THE SAME TIME - like playing in a band. So maybe the keyboard and drums are in one place (live) and the sax player joins from another country via a link. Does anyone know of a platform that lets […]
    • New note by bobjonkman 3 March 2019
      The duct tape is in very good condition.
    • New note by bobjonkman 3 March 2019
      Test receive, also pls ignore
    • New note by bobjonkman 25 February 2019
      ...and wouldn't you have to include the time to insert 225,000 microSD cards in your laptop, write 256 GBytes to them, and then (after transporting them at about 10 PBytes/second, assuming 6 seconds of flight time), spend more time to insert those 225,000 microSD cards in the other guy's laptop to read those 256 GBytes? […]

Shutting down ServiceOntario kiosks could be Considered Harmful

Posted by Bob Jonkman on 9th November 2012

Service Ontario kiosk with "Temporarily shut down" notice

ServiceOntario kiosk

The Ontario government has announced it is shutting down the ServiceOntario kiosks.

Closing the kiosks won’t do any good if the web site is no better secured. ServiceOntario had control over the hardware and software running on the kiosks, but they have no control over the computers people use to access the ServiceOntario web site. User PCs will have all sorts of malware running on them, and malusers can far more easily spend time breaking into a web site than a kiosk. Unless ServiceOntario has much better security on their web site, it is far more vulnerable than a kiosk.

In his article Government to discontinue ServiceOntario kiosks, Sameer Vasta asks if the ServiceOntario web site is ready to pick up the slack. His conclusion is yes, and although the web site user experience could be improved, he considers closing the kiosks a prudent move. But if the kiosk interface was so much easier to use, then the web site could use that interface too. Security isn’t created by the user interface — security needs to be built into the servers. Malusers are unlikely to use the web interface to launch their attacks; they’ll have more sophisticated tools to try to break into the servers.

Of course, since the ServiceOntario web site was already in place while the kiosks were operational it has been a potential vector for attack all along. Closing the kiosks doesn’t increase that vulnerability. And the vulnerability that prompted the government to shut down the kiosks was card skimming, which is not an issue on a Web site accessed from home. But shutting down a fully managed kiosk to be replaced by home users’ PCs that are full of malware does not look like a prudent move to me.

However, it should be cheaper to manage security on one web site than on 72 kiosks. The government reports that shutting the kiosks will save taxpayers about $6.3 million in one-time upgrading costs and $2.2 million in annual maintenance costs. The Star reports that Minister of Government Services Harinder Takhar says the kiosks cost $4 million to deploy, and it will cost $250,000 to remove them.

And shutting down the kiosks has one other benefit: If a security breach occurs as a result of using our own computers then ServiceOntario has successfully shifted blame, hasn’t it? Surely there will be a disclaimer in the fine print on the website somewhere!

–Bob.


ServiceOntario kiosk "Permanently Closed" notice

“Permanently Closed” notice Service Ontario kiosk.

The picture above shows a ServiceOntario kiosk with a notice indicating the kiosk is temporarily shut down. A new notice has been posted, which reads:

ServiceOntario Kiosks Are Now Permanently Closed.

After a thorough investigation into the safety and security issues surrounding ServiceOntario kiosks, it has been decided to permanently shut down the network.

All former kiosk services are conveniently available online, including:

  • License plate sticker renewal
  • Address change
  • Driver abstract

Fermeture permanente des kiosques ServiceOntario.

À la suite d’une enquête approfondie sur les problèmes de sécurité survenus dans les kiosques ServiceOntario, il a été décidé de fermer le réseau de façon permanente.

Tous les services anciennement founis dal les kiosques son offerts en ligne, notamment les suivants:

  • Renouvellement de la vignette d’immatriculation
  • Changement d’addresse
  • Résumé de dossier de conducteur.

We look forward to serving you.
For these services, and more than 40 other online services, or for a complete list of our locations and available services, please visit ServiceOntario.ca

Au plaisir de vous servir.
Pour ces services, et plus de 40 autres services en ligne, ou la liste complète de nos centres et de leurs services, visitez ServiceOntario.ca

Images courtesy of lothlaurien.ca used under a CC BYCreative Commons Attribution 2.5 Canada License license.

Thanx to my friend RW for the idea for this post, and her contributions.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in considered harmful, Politics, security | 4 Comments »

 
Better Tag Cloud