Thursday, December 16, 2021

Project Zero on the iMessage zero-click exploit

Three months after Apple released the patch for the exploit, the Project Zero team have released a fabulous detailed description of how it worked: A deep dive into an NSO zero-click iMessage exploit: Remote Code Execution.

The Project Zero team, who most certainly have seen it all, dryly observe:

Based on our research and findings, we assess this to be one of the most technically sophisticated exploits we've ever seen

This is an extraordinarily interesting article, well worth a read. (And note that it's only part of the overall explanation; the Project Zero team promise further details in the future.)

They provide a wealth of background links and reference material as well.

Highly recommended.

Friday, December 10, 2021

WCC 2021 is complete

... and Magnus Carlsen is World Chess Champion for two more years.

After a quiet draw in the previous match, Ian Nepomniachtchi had the white pieces, and with his back completely against the wall he had to take some chances. In a wild sequence starting around move 19, Nepo forced the relatively closed position open, after which Carlsen quickly saw that he could sacrifice the exchange for a ferocious attack. 15 moves later, Nepo had defended against the attack, but ended up in a hopeless endgame which Carlsen won with seeming ease.

It was a wonderful match, overall, with many beautiful games.

And it was very exciting to see how the worldwide interest in chess continues to grow!

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Up, up, and away

As I noted just three weeks ago, the first test of the new Millenium Tower stabilization procedures was completed and "a second test will follow".

Not a promising early result from the new test, though: SF Millennium Tower Tilts Quarter Inch in Four Days

Newly released monitoring data shows that San Francisco’s Millennium Tower tilted a quarter inch during the four days it took to install the first test pile to bedrock last month.


The latest data – including the four days that the test pile was installed from Nov. 15 to Nov. 19 – shows a quarter inch of new tilt, as well as a tenth of an inch of settlement at the time the test installation occurred. At the same time, there was marked fluctuation of water pressure below the foundation on the Mission Street side of the structure.


While the data shows plunging pressure level quickly came back up, Pyke said the brief loss would likely generate settlement.


“You can accidentally remove soil that you want to stay in place,” said Rune Storesund, a geotechnical engineer who runs UC Berkeley’s Center for Catastrophic Risk Management. He says the water pressure data suggests engineers could clearly do more to refine their methods. “You’re always going to get settlement, obviously you want that to be as low as possible.”

It's not like they didn't expect there would be some impact; they're just discussing how substantial the measured impact was.

I guess that if the building settles evenly, that's the most important thing; the tilt is far more of a challenge than the settling.

Not that this is easy, but it sure would be nice if the overall result were successful.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

WCC 2021: A third Carlsen victory

Carlsen has now won 3 of the last 4 games, and leads, overall, 6-3.

I'm not sure whether Carlsen needs 7 or 7.5 points in order to retain his title, but either way, he's getting close.

Game 9 was quite interesting until it, suddenly, wasn't very interesting at all.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

WCC 2021: A second Carlsen victory

After eight of the scheduled fourteen games, Carlsen now leads 5-3.

Today's match was sharp and short, compared to the epic game six marathon. In a queen-and-pawn endgame, Carlsen maneuvered crisply and won two pawns, and Nepomniachtchi resigned on move 46.

Friday, December 3, 2021

WCC 2021 Sixth game is not a draw!

The first 5 games were all King Pawn games, but on game six Carlsen opened with the Queen Pawn.

On move 26, Carlsen exchanged his Queen for two Rooks.

Then on move 80, Carlsen exchanged one Rook for a Bishop and two Pawns, leaving Carlsen with Rook, Knight, and three Pawns, while Nepomniachtchi had Queen and Pawn.

The game proceeded, well into its sixth hour by now.

On move 113, a pair of Pawns were exchanged, and it was now Rook, Knight, and two Pawns against Queen.

The game proceeded, move by agonizing move, becoming (by far) the longest game of a World Chess Championship ever, I believe?

By move 130, Carlsen's first Pawn was on the fifth rank. By move 133, it was on the sixth rank, and by move 135 the second Pawn had advanced to the fifth rank to support it.

Nepomniachtchi resigned on the 136 move.

So six of the scheduled fourteen games are complete, and the score is 5 draws, 1 win.