A flaw named “Poodle”

One of the things that tickles me about written French is the accents.  I love writing them.  So, when I got an email this morning about a computer security flaw, the beginning actually made me smile:

Screenshot 2014-10-15 06.49.19
Screenshot of web page giving information about the Poodle security flaw

Hier a été révélée une faille de sécurité…

(Yesterday a security flaw was revealed…)  That’s a high density of accents aigus!  Let’s see what Zipf’s Law brings us in this email.  First, there’s the subject line:

Une faille nommée poodle

  • la faille: a flaw or loophole; in geology, a fault or rift.
  • nommé: named, called.

Hier a été révélée une faille de sécurité de SSL v3 qui affecte principalement les postes clients (bref, votre ordi) et pourrait permettre à un attaquant (au hasard entre votre ordi et votre banque) de vous forcer à utiliser ce protocole SSLv3 pour récupérer quelques informations intéressantes sensées être cryptées (mot de passe, code de carte bleue).

  • révéler: to reveal
  • se révéler: to turn out, prove to be, reveal itself; to come to fame
  • le poste client: this one has engendered a lot of chat on translation fora (forums?).  The consensus is that depending on context, it can be either a workstation or a client (in the computing sense of that term).
  • un attaquant: attacker, assailant
  • au hasard: random, aimlessly
  • récupérer: get back, retrieve, salvage, recover
  • une information: in this case: detail, data
  • sensé: this one turns out not to be straightforward.  I wrote to a native speaker about it, who had this to say: “Well, “sensé” (sensible, meaningful) is a word which is often confused with “censé” (supposed, assumed), the first one being quite common,
    and the second mostly used in specific constructs. Also, “sensé” is
    easily traced back to “sens”, whereas “censé” needs to go back to
    Latin [as in English “census”] or linked to words whose meanings are
    more distant, such as “recenser”, or of a higher register (“censément”).
    Here [the author] should have written “censées”, meaning “supposed to be”.”

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