Misleading about fraud

First Direct, the British online bank owned by HSBC, has written to its most regular cash machine users to tell them that they’re at risk of being defrauded, and that they should consider getting all their weekly cash out in one go.

Now, there are two types of ATM fraud: the type that involves dummy hardware, and the type that involves reading your PIN over your shoulder, hitting you with a cosh and nicking your card.

First Direct’s advice has no impact at all on the latter, more prevalent kind of fraud – it merely removes the “reading your PIN over your shoulder” step for the mugger-to-be.

It might have a limited impact on the first kind… but even here, the chance of being tricked by a stick-on keyboard is lower than the chance of having your wallet nicked.

Has First Direct taken leave of its senses… or is it being cynical? A customer’s bank is liable for most of the money defrauded from their account – and for none of the cash stolen from their wallet. If First Direct can try and ensure its customers shift their likely way-of-losing-money-to-criminals from fraud to mugging, then its own financial position is noticeably improved.

(also, why is the bank contacting the people who use cash machines most? Surely they’re *more* likely than average to notice strange add-on equipment, lurkers behind shoulders, etc…?)

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BBC still online

Philip Graf’s report into the BBC’s online services finds that the situation is pretty much rosy.

Some sites are viewed as a waste of time and money, and will be axed: the fantasy football, gaming, soap, surfing and national ‘what’s on’ portals. Approximately four people will care; three of them will be perma-stoned bleach-blond public schoolboys from Newquay, and one will be David Baddiel.

Overall, good.

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Hacker lunacy

Various British MPs are lobbying for increased jail sentences for computer crime. This is stupid: the day computer crime is anything more than a mild annoyance to anybody will be the day I eat a salad made entirely of hats.

As an individual, if you’re too half-witted to install AV software, download security patches, and avoid clicking on “make your web experience way groovy with our dodgy software” links, you probably shouldn’t be using a computer. As a business, similar rules apply: you ensure your networks are properly firewalled and patched, you ensure customer data is kept on secure servers, or you go back to ledgers and abaci. It’s not rocket science.

There are, admittedly, a few people who might use cybercrime to cause serious damage to non-idiots – fraudsters, extortionists and terrorists. However, they’re already eligible for long prison sentences for fraud, extortion or terrorism. The proposed legal changes would make zero impact on these crimes, while leaving mostly-harmless recreational hackers eligible for serious jail time…

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BBC offline

New BBC DG Mark Thompson plans to close “some of the BBC’s online sites”, according to this speech (via Dr Vee).

Any ideas on which ones? It’d better not include H2G2… My vote would be for some of the dodgy local ones that nobody ever reads (ideally as a precusor to closing the dodgy local radio stations and TV outposts that nobody ever watches or listens to).

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Oh yeah, and…

I know that we (in the context of England football) play like oafs and not stylish groovy Continentals; I know that people who stone Portuguese restaurants are scum; and while they deserve it for a wide variety of other reasons, a hate campaign against the Swiss would be gratuitous.

Nonetheless, if anyone (of any nationality, persuasion or creed) believes the second England goal genuinely should have been disqualified, I’d like to invite them to make their case. And you’d better be convincing.

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Brief Glasto music review: Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band are ace, despite the absence of the good Captain; Snow Patrol suck donkey’s cock; Keane are annoyingly good; and the Aphex Twin is a lazy arse for not bothering to turn up.

Politically, the main thing that was interesting (if, perhaps, unsurprising) about Glastonbury was the amount of knee-jerk anti-globo propaganda going on. Not just in the sense of anti-GWB (this is merely sanity), but a very traditional late-1990s way. So no mention of Kick-AAS (I guess Michael Eavis is a farmer…), lots of mentions of the Great Evils of third-world privatisation, and none of the Far Worse Evils of third-world corruption and fucking incompetence.

Which is fine, and infinitely better than any right-wing slanted festival could possibly be. It’s just a bit of a shame to see something with its heart so clearly in the right place campaigning for the wrong things.

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I’m away from tomorrow morning until next week, enjoying the delights of hypothermia and food poisoning in some godforsaken field in Wiltshire. Have fun without me…

Note to would-be burglars: the frenzied pack of jackals I keep in my front room will kill and eat you in milliseconds.

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Microsoft has decided that the Xbox 2 will not support original Xbox games.

On the one hand, since nobody bought the original Xbox, the lack of support for the libraries of original Xbox games that nobody has won’t be an issue.

However, unless Microsoft ensures that a *really* enormous range of Xbox 2 games are ready at Xbox 2 launch, the lack of anything decent to play on the console will be an issue. And nobody would bother developing a library of games pre-launch for an unproven console (rather than committing the programming to something decent like the PS3) unless they were, well, Microsoft.

Perhaps shareholders in Electronic Arts, Konami, Acclaim, or Infogrames should expect some rewarding takeover action…

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