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Showing posts from 2013

Samsung Galaxy S4 Upgrade

OK, I won't moan about the NSA and GCHQ snooping overreach anymore - just secure everything you do to keep them and any other computer criminals out of your systems... One way to improve security, is to install a proper GNU/Linux Android system on your stock smart phone.  To do that, you need to have super user (The Linux administrator account is known as the root user) access.  The process is generally described as rooting your phone. By default, most phone manufacturers disable root access, since they do not want to be faced with a support nightmare due to millions of clueless users messing up their phones. Once you have root access, you can install different software applications and delete the crud applications that the phone comes with. There are various ways to get root access - you can do a minimal thing and only create a root account and install one or two basic utilities for root access, or you can completely replace the half baked Linux kernel that you get with y

Écrasez l'infâme!

Now even the French is admitting to be going at it with no judicial oversight, just the same as the NSA and GCHQ and the Canadian CSE was found to misuse court orders granted for spying on citizens to allow other 5 eyes members to spy on Canadians on their behalf. Voltaire The mass snooping is not working, it is not catching any terrorists, it is a gigantic invasion of privacy and a colossal waste of money and resources that could be put to work more effectively. Furthermore, the whole thing is beginning to backfire.  Cisco is losing orders for switch gear, Boeing is losing plane orders to SAAB, while Blackberry was abandoned by everyone after they subverted their own security and RSA is losing disgruntled customers since they sold their soul for 10 million shekels of silver. There is no war and no state of emergency, but the intelligence agencies are acting as if WW5 is under way.  This overreach has to stop. What the Western Allies have now created, puts the old Catholi

NSA Snoop and Error Proof Your Archives

An Englishman's Home is His Castle: In 1760, William Pitt (the Elder) made a famous declaration of this right. "The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the force of the Crown.  It may be frail, its roof may shake, the wind may blow through it. The rain may enter. The storms may enter.  But the king of England may not enter.  All his forces dare not cross the threshold of the ruined tenement." There is many a ruined castle in Europe.  You need to defend your castle if you want it to keep its value! You should also consider the problem of data corruption, since any single bit error in an encrypted archive, will render the whole thing unreadable. Also remember this: Always tar a directory, never tar a bunch of files.  It is extremely annoying when you get an archive from someone, untar it and end up with a million files scattered throughout your home directory... Encrypting an Archive with GPG An easy way to secure your data against unwarra

Netcat Relays

Netcat is a fantastic tool for tying networked devices together in the spirit of DucTape,  baling wire and twine... How it Works Netcat connects a network socket to stdin and stdout.  To initiate a connection, it can act either as a listener or a client.  Once connected, it will simply shovel data back and forth.  That is all.   What you do with it is totally up to your imagination. Here is a netcat based Double Listener Relay: mkfifo /tmp/buf nc –l 5566 <buf | nc -l 6655 >buf It uses two instances of netcat, tied together through stdin and stdout, with the help of a fifo.  One could make such a relay on a public addressable server where anyone can connect to it. The first netcat listens on port 5566 and gets its std input from the fifo buf and sends its std output to the std input of another netcat instance through a pipe operator.  The second netcat listens on port 6655, gets its std input from the previous netcat and sends its std output to the fifo b

GPG Keys and Password Management

Preface GPG has a good encryption algorithm, but terrible key management and no forward security.   If your private key is compromised, then all your old data can be read.  For most people, it is simply unworkable due to the key exchange problems. I recommend that everyone switch to Signal and WhatsApp for secure messaging and phone calls and when you suspect that something is wrong - your system/keys were compromised, simply create a new account.  For your passwords, I recommend that you use KeepassX to generate and save unique passwords for all your internet, financial and computer accounts - do not re-use passwords on different services. Scope For the real card carrying geek masochists out there, this document briefly explains how to set up GPG with public and private keys, publish your public key to a key server and then configure ‘pass’ the standard Unix password manager. With 'pass', you can easily generate long passwords, save them using G

The Wizard of Id

Thanks to Johnny Hart - this just sums it all up so nicely...

Computer Counter Counter Measures

Even Ol' Bill of the Wobbly Speare apparently had issues with his abacus, as he wrote in MacBeth: We still have judgement here, that we but teach bloody instructions, which, being taught, returns to plague the inventor! The main problem with the pervasive spying is that the spy agencies themselves are leaky sieves that share their data far and wide , so goodness knows where your data ends up.  Next time you see a series of fraudulent transactions on your card statement, you now know who is to blame... So, as Ol' Bill might wonder, how can thou protect thyself against the NSA and GCHQ overreach? If you have a Dropbox (or insert your favourite cloud service) account and like to use it to share data between all your devices, then you can easily secure things using the cross platform Truecrypt available from here: It works on Linux, Mac and Windoze and even has convenient apps for most mobiles. Simply use Truecrypt to create an encrypt

The NSA Theme Song

This famous song by The Police really says it all: Every breath you take Every move you make Every bond you break Every step you take I'll be watching you Every single day Every word you say Every game you play Every night you stay I'll be watching you "I woke up in the middle of the night with that line in my head, sat down at the piano and had written it in half an hour. The tune itself is generic, an aggregate of hundreds of others, but the words are interesting. It sounds like a comforting love song. I didn't realize at the time how sinister it is. I think I was thinking of Big Brother, surveillance and control." —Sting [ http://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Every_Breath_You_Take ] The main problem that I have with tapping the undersea cables, is that it is done with no judicial oversight whatsoever.  Of course, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo were stupid to use plain text communications over their trunks, so they are not blameless either.

Serial Port Tricks

Bidirectional The Netcat program can shovel data bidirectionally to/from a serial port and over a network, which is very handy indeed. Set the serial port in raw mode and configure it: # stty -F /dev/ttyUSB0 raw # stty -F /dev/ttyUSB1 raw # stty -F /dev/ttyUSB0 19200 # stty -F /dev/ttyUSB1 19200 Set up a netcat listener that will send data to/from the one serial device: # nc -l 1234 < /dev/ttyUSB1 >/dev/ttyUSB1 Set up a netcat client that will send data to/from the other serial device: # nc listeneripaddress 1234 < /dev/ttyUSB0 >/dev/ttyUSB0 Unidirectional For debugging and scripting, you can also use ordinary cat, echo, head or even data definition to access the serial ports:   Send data one way only using the common kitty: # cat /dev/ttyUSB0 > /dev/ttyUSB1 Send a message out a port using echo: # echo Hello > /dev/ttyUSB0 Send data denoted as hexadecimal values and suppress the LF at the end of the line: # echo -en "\x12\x23\x45"

dBm to Watt

I tend to forget some of the values and is too lazy to calculate it. dBm to Watt Conversion Table dBm Watts dBm Watts dBm Watts 0 1.0 mW 16 40 mW 32 1.6 W 1 1.3 mW 17 50 mW 33 2.0 W 2 1.6 mW 18 63 mW 34 2.5 W 3 2.0 mW