Illustration of Integer Overflow
I can remember asking what a search engine was in my early days using computers. A friend explained the concept and said, “There are several out there. Google is a good one.” So, I went with Google. Who could have guessed how big Google would become or how successful?
Since then I’ve experimented with others, but I always go back to Google. I’ve asked myself why and I think it’s related to the ease of searching. Search terms can be in the wrong order, or contain the wrong terms and unless most things are wrong the search algorithm will come up with possibilities that include the one you are looking for.
The logic on other engines is not so forgiving.
Of course, search engines are about connecting buyers with vendors and, while that seemed like a minor irritation in the early days of the internet, the process is a lot more obvious today. Google has done a good job of making it look less obvious.
Some search engines are impossible. If you, for example, enter William Faulkner the first listings will start with, “Get all of William Faulkner’s works at getyourbuck.com.” Only several entries later will you find a reference to his biography or a critical examination of his writing style.
For some you have to enter Faulkner William or get nothing. Maybe that is an overstatement, but it is illustrative of the problem of search logic.
This morning I went to Google News and found that Chrome, Google’s browser, put out a call to bounty hunters to find security issues within their system.
Nine issues rated as “severe” and a host of lesser issues were found by white hat hackers around the world. In addition to names that were Chinese, or German, or Indian, Anonymous accounted for a number of the discoveries. The big winner got thousands of dollars, and the total payout was, I believe, on the order of $38,000. The fact that this was reported by Kim Komando tells us just how underground the world of hackers is.
One of the bugs was termed an “integer overflow” problem. I envisioned a chemistry beaker with whole numbers spilling over the side causing the flame under the beaker to flare up. It’s not quite like that. I think it’s more like the Y2K issue. An addition of one to a total of 9999 does not go to 10,000, it goes back to 0000.
I have no idea how that causes a security problem, and the rest of the problems were described in pure computer jargon. I’m glad that there are people who understand all of that, and I’m glad some of them are on our side.
I’ve only recently learned about the Internet of Things; a web of smart machines. I suppose that is the web Kellyanne Conway was thinking of when she surmised that President Trump’s microwave was spying on him.
This image was labeled, “How drones can find and hack the Internet of Things.” Yikes! I need to get rid of my thermometer.
Trump blamed President Obama of wiretapping him, and then his spokesperson said that he didn’t really mean Obama or "wiretapping". If the microwave was guilty, which only conspiracy theorists believe at this point, I think it could have been Vlad Putin trying to find out whether his boy Donald was toeing the line in payment for getting the Russians to rig the election. But, then I’m not a conspiracy theorist.
Anyway, if you use Google Chrome you need to update to version 57. I had version 56. Thanks, Kim Komando.