Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


On Computers and Irony

I’ve been saying for a while that destroying information has an ironic tendency: While it’s quite hard to really destroy data on a computer when you want to, (for example, “Hard-Disk Risk“) it’s quite easy to lose the data by accident.

Similarly, while it’s quite hard to make code that runs and does what you want, it seems to be quite hard to make code that does all that, and also doesn’t run when you don’t want it to. As is illustrated by “OSx86 10.4.4 Security Broken. (Guess Who Done It?).” In this case, the security they’re referring to is the ability of the OS to only run on Apple hardware.

Ironic. It feels like it ought to be easier.

2 comments on "On Computers and Irony"

  • Nudecybot says:

    On a tangential note: from what I understand of the physics of computing, destroying information requires energy, therefore it is more efficient to compute without. Of course that might just apply to bits and universal Turing machines…but it does indicate to me that you have to pay the electrical bill for these “accidental” losses of data, so perhaps if you want to avoid data loss keep you system powered off when it is not under controlled operation. This will also avoid running unwanted code – I too have noted the proliferation of software on Windows that runs by default and is often installed as a service even though I would rather invoke it on demand and then have it go away.

  • Ian Rae says:

    That should read: more efficient to compute without erasing information.

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