Jan. 23, 2018, 4:04 p.m.

Updates: The Death Of Us All

In modern times, electronic devices are ubiquitous. Since it is so cheap to create CPUs, RAM and other logic used to build computers, electronics are no longer limited to basic, dumb systems such as old school calculators.

With the age of IoT and other stupid acronyms amongst us, potentially any device you plug in to an AC outlet or using batteries of some kind could potentially be based on a basic von Neumann architecture. This in turn, though very loosely related, means it probably has at least two levels of control logic, typically three:

  1. Firmware (known sometimes as BIOS, which is software running inside of dedicated microprocessors)
  2. Software (This includes Operating Systems, Applications etc. usually installed on hard drives or SSDs)
  3. (Optional) management interface, such as IPMI. This is a separate computer running alongside a server that allows remote, offline access to the server for management purposes.

All these layers are vulnerable to exploitation. Since we are not all good people, some people like to break and steal things. So they try to exploit our modern devices by finding software defects or other holes and cracks they can slip through to access unauthorized data and do other nefarious things.

Software and hardware manufacturers respond to this threat by (usually) fixing these software defects, and closing holes and cracks as and when they are discovered. In principle this works well - indeed the primary defence against being compromised is to regularly apply patches.

What drives me mad is that we are in 2018, and with EVERYTHING being "smart", I am forced to install 5 - 10 patches a DAY, every day on my computers, my cellular phone, my WiFi access point, my switches, security cameras, keyboard, mouse, toenail clipper, toothbrush, vibrators... Windows thinks it is automating this process - it does not always work that way. Setting a device to auto patch is not always desirable, as most patches require a system reboot which can be highly disruptive.

So to protect ourselves we are forced to spend about 5% of our lives patching all our stupid "smart" devices, just to keep them out of harm's way. Some patches even break your perfectly working, albeit insecure, system.

I want to write code, take photos, make babies, grow old, take a stroll down a cherry blossom lane. I do not want to patch my life away.

As I typed this blog entry, the following popped up on my screen:

Microsoft Office Autoupdate
Microsoft Office Autoupdate

We need a fix for this and we need it soon.