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Damian Menscher
Works at Google
Attended University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Lives in Mountain View, CA
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Damian Menscher

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Visited Monterey Aquarium today.  Sea otters are surprisingly playful.  Leopard sharks look exactly as you'd expect.  And rays look like the stealth bomber.  But here are some pics of other life-forms on display there, including jellyfish, sea anemones, and a squid.
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Great pictures!!
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Damian Menscher

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Today three of my 20% projects were announced: a DDoS map that shows the history of botnet attacks over time, project Shield which will offer DDoS mitigation services for non-profits, and uProxy, a tool to let you proxy your internet connection through a trusted friend, thereby getting a view of what it looks like from their location (perhaps with less censorship).
As long as people have expressed ideas, others have tried to silence them. Today one out of every three people lives in a society that is severely censored. Online barriers can include everything from filters that block conte...
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UProxy may be something that people in other countries use to get past internet filters to view content prohibited by their government.
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The swans of Zürich, skiing in the Alps at Engelberg, and the burning of the Böögg for Sechseläuten. Photos from my recent trip to the Google office in Switzerland.
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Damian Menscher

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The largest DDoS ever seen (300 Gbps) has impacted shared infrastructure.  Perhaps now people will start taking the threat seriously?
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It's unfortunate that the only thing the two parties can agree on is to stifle any independents. :(
 
I must confess, I am dreading today's elections.
Not because of who might win or lose.
Not because as a Californian, my vote for President will count 1/3 as much as an Alaskan (actually it won't matter at all -- I'm not in a swing state).
Not because my vote for Senate will count 1/50 as much as an Alaskan.

But because no matter what the outcome, our government will still be a giant bonfire of partisanship.  It is ironic since whenever I have met with our elected officials they are invariably thoughtful, well-meaning people.  And yet collectively 90% of their effort seems to be focused on how to stick it to the other party.

So my plea to the victors -- whoever they might be: please withdraw from your respective parties and govern as independents in name and in spirit.  It is probably the biggest contribution you can make to the country.

[If you agree, pass it on to your newly elected officials.]
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It's not that the parties are stifling independents, it's that our voting system has exactly one mathematically stable state: the two party system.  That everything is partisan bickering is really just a symptom of a much deeper problem with bug in our system.
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Damian Menscher

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Some of you may be seeing warnings about the internet ending within the next day.  Many of the news stories are vastly overblown, so in the interest of sanity, here are some facts:
  - This all started several years ago, when malware was released that modifies the computer's DNS settings to use custom servers.  DNS is like the internet's phonebook -- your computer looks up the name of a site like google.com and gets back a number to connect to.  The malicious DNS servers would return bad information, which the malware authors could use to hijack connections and make millions of dollars.
  - On November 8, 2011, the FBI, in cooperation with Estonian law enforcement, arrested 6 people involved in the scheme.  As part of the arrest, the malicious DNS servers were impounded.  But without those DNS servers, all the infected machines might stop working.  To avoid "breaking the internet" for those users, a court order allowed replacement servers to be run on a temporary basis, giving time for ISPs to inform their infected uesrs so they could be cleaned and avoid problems.
  - This was very difficult malware to clean, as it could also infect the home router if it used a default password, thereby affecting even mobile phones that use the wireless network.  Human nature is to procrastinate, so after 8 months of warnings from ISPs, Google, and Facebook, around half the machines are still infected.  Those users may face a slow or broken internet in the coming hours.
  - I estimate half a million devices will break, across hundreds of thousands of homes.  This may sound like a lot, but your chances of being affected are actually quite slim -- less than one in a thousand.  And if you haven't seen a warning at the top of your Google search results, then they're even more slim.  (If you have seen the warning, please take it seriously!  The Google warning will go away once you're clean.)

Please spread the word to anyone who might be concerned.  I'll be happy to answer any questions you might have.
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The shutdown is complete.  If you can read this, you can probably stop worrying (unless you use one of the half-dozen ISPs keeping their infected users online).
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Over the holidays I let my beard grow, and then realized it was too long to shave with one of those girly-man safety razors (which would only clog up).  So I did the manly thing and sharpened my knife...

Ouch.

I recommend all men try this at least once, so they gain a greater appreciation for modern razors, and also for why it used to be fashionable for men to wear a beard.
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Eh, I think even barbers might start with scissors first?
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This year's Google Holiday Party was at the California Academy of Sciences, and featured the rainforest exhibit.

One butterfly didn't seem to understand that not only did its camoflage not work on a white walkway, but that people were likely to step on it. Eventually we moved it off the path.
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Pictures from another Poletential Air Show. As always, the lighting was challenging, but I got some decent shots anyway. I'm tempted to upgrade my camera before the next one, though I suspect the lighting would make it difficult regardless of the equipment used.
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I've been going to the wrong air shows all that time...
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Photos from a recent vacation in The Netherlands. Featuring the Windmills of Kinderdijk, the transition of The Hague from castles to skyscrapers, shopping in Delft, and of course plenty of bicycles in Leiden.
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You take great photos.
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Another year has passed, so I bring to you photos from this year's Google holiday party.  The theme was James Bond, and the venue Club Auto Sport.
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There was a booze louge?
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Going beyond telling users they're infected with generic malware, we're now  also telling users if they have been the target of a state-sponsored attack (a fancy way of saying a government is trying to hack their gmail).

It will be interesting to see whether these attacks become less common now that the governments face the very real risk that their targets may be warned.
Tuesday, June 5, 2012 12:04 PM. Posted by Eric Grosse, VP Security Engineering We are constantly on the lookout for malicious activity on our systems, in particular attempts by third parties to log in...
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For those who run Windows: Microsoft has a temporary "fix-it" solution for a vulnerability being actively exploited in the wild.  This isn't part of their normal patch cycle, so it will take manual action to protect yourself.  For details, see http://googleonlinesecurity.blogspot.com/2012/06/microsoft-xml-vulnerability-under.html
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Computer Security
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  • Google
    Security SRE, 2005 - present
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Mountain View, CA
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Ridgefield, CT - Milford, NJ - Provo, UT - Urbana-Champaign, IL
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Physics; Computer Security; DDoS Mitigation
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  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    Ph.D. Physics, 1997 - 2005
  • Brigham Young University
    B.S. Physics, 1994 - 1997
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Damian Menscher's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
Google+ Gets a “+1″ for Browser Security | The Barracuda Labs Internet S...
www.barracudalabs.com

by Ray Kelly, Manager of Client Side Technologies   Launching a new Web app today comes with a few certainties, and one of them is, “I will