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Instapaper (and Your Data) Are Changing Hands Again

Instapaper has announced that it's going independent (again!):

We want to emphasize that not much is changing for the Instapaper product outside the new ownership. The product will continue to be built and maintained by the same people who’ve been working on Instapaper for the past five years. We plan to continue offering a robust service that focuses on readers and the reading experience for the foreseeable future.

It's great that they're going indie again, and it's especially good to ...

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Addressing the Spectre and Meltdown Exploits

You may have noticed a few short stretches of downtime recently. These are planned events, as we are working to apply patches and mitigations in response to those nasty Spectre and Meltdown exploits you may have heard about in the news over the past couple of weeks. There is of course no sign of any intrusion related to these attack vectors, be we are taking proactive steps to ensure that we are as prepared for attacks of these sorts as we possibly can be. Rest ...

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Identity Verification over the Phone Is a Mess

Yesterday afternoon I found myself in the position of needing to call a national bank on the telephone in response to what turned out be a false fraud warning placed on my credit card account. Everything about the incident—from the fraud warning itself right up through the way the bank sought to resolve the problem—points to a systemic failure on the part of a huge and well-known financial institution to understand some of the most basic tenets of information security. These misapprehensions seem ...

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Pinboard Buys Delicious: Selling User Data Is Kinda Gross

Pinboard developer Maciej Cegłowski has announced that he has purchased bookmarking stalwart Del.icio.us for what amounts to a song. In a post on the Pinboard blog, Maciej explains that he plans on shuttering the service forever about two weeks from today, on June 15. The idea is to move the site into a read-only state at that time; current users will from then on be unable to create new bookmarks. Maciej helpfully suggests that these users give Pinboard a try, which is a fair enough suggestion for an acquirer to make.

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Maybe It's Time to Ditch Let's Encrypt?

As I've discussed before, this site uses an SSL certificate from Let's Encrypt. Overall I believe they are doing the world a great service by offering certificates for free, but some recent events may be demonstrating a grave problem with their approach—and maybe even with the broader approach taken by implementations of SSL in general. To wit, the recent talk of 14,000 fake-PayPal phishing sites using valid SSL certificates from Let's Encrypt has brought to the forefront what is to my mind one of the potentially fatal flaws in the way we handle encrypted traffic over the Web: the fact that encryption and trust have somehow gotten lumped together as a single monolithic thing in the eyes of most consumers. If a site has a green lock, it's "safe," and that's all there is to it. Unfortunately, that's just not a great way to look at the Web.

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