Category Archives: Cinema

Incredibles Authentication

After watching The Incredibles today for what seems like the five hundreth time with my son Max, I realized a funny thing about the way they present polar opposites of good vs. bad authentication.

The good authentication scheme is presented in the scene where Edna Mode escorts Elastigirl into her lab. She proceeds with a numeric passcode, a biometric handprint, a biometric retina scan, and a voice analysis. On success of the credentials, a robotic weapon appeared out of the roof and was trained on the supposed intruder until Edna cleared it. The only thing missing from it was a cryptographic key token. The chance of unauthorized access is almost nil.

The bad authentication was in Syndrome’s computer room. Wall of lava yes, but nothing else really seemed to monitor who was coming in and out of the room. The computer system was protected by a dictionary password (“KRONOS”, which is a wonderful reference to a 1957 film about a robot sent to destroy earth), and that’s it. And it seemed from the dialogue that this password controlled systems outside the secure area, which would make it about as effective as guarding a bank vault with a squirt gun.

I loved the polarity. One was so perfect in it’s implementation, the other deeply flawed and exploitable. Would make a nice intro clip for an info security class.

Kid-Proof DVDs?

Try scratching this DVD | CNET

Researchers at electronics giant TDK have developed a tough new coating that promises to make scratched DVDs a thing of the past and that will help usher in an emerging data storage format with 10 times the capacity of the current DVD standard.

In a test conducted by CNET, a DVD treated with TDK’s coating survived a determined attack with a screwdriver and a Sharpie permanent marker with no effect on playability–a remarkable feat considering how easily standard DVDs can be damaged, for example, by children.

“Wow, every family with a young boy could really use that,” quipped Elizabeth Berry, a Berkeley, Calif., resident and one-time Netflix DVD-by-mail subscriber, when told of the scratch-resistant coating. “My 3-year-old must have destroyed half my DVD collection.”

Oh bring it on. Max is the king of abusing DVDs. He discovered that they make nice skates for our laminate flooring in the living room, and sometimes I find several of them jammed in the VCR, or worse…