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Showing posts from March, 2014

#3: Kali Linux on the Beaglebone Black

Ethernet and USB Problems I tried Fedora on the BBB, but it is slightly behind the curve (strange for Fedora, which is usually bleeding edge), the ethernet and USB ports do not work yet since it needs a newer kernel.  The Debian distributions are better on the BBB. So, one can blow against the wind, or try Debian... Penetration Tests I am working on a networked project which is an island system - it is not connected to anything else at the moment.  I say at the moment - since I know that sooner or later, the bosses will demand that it be connected to the something else, at which point the lack of attention to security will come to bite everyone. There is a small security and penetration test oriented Debian based distribution called Kali Linux that you can get here Kali installs on a SD card, so your original Angstrom Linux on the BBB will remain unaltered, which makes it worth a try. An interesting

#2: Doing Something with the Beaglebone Black

Something Useful: Retroshare I actually want to run Streamtuner and Retroshare on the BBB.   More about Retroshare here: The BBB will make a nice static DHT reference for my small circle of friends and devices on Retroshare, to ensure that all can always connect no matter how much anyone or anything moves around. Expand the SD Linux File System If you followed my first BBB post, then you have probably seen this already: grep: write error: No space left on device It looks like the first thing to do, is expand the root partition to fill the SD card, otherwise there is no room to do anything :( On you computer, use screen to connect to the serial console over a FTDI USB serial cable: $ screen /dev/ttyUSB0 115200 On a Mac, screen works the same, but the device is something like /dev/tty.usbserial-AH0142BF So, what was that about Macs having sensible device names? Sigh... Then power the BBB up using the

#1: Beaglebone Black (BBB) with Fedora Linux

I bought a Beaglebone Black open embedded processor board about 6 months ago and it has been lying on the dining room table ever since.  Now that the missus went on a holiday to Poland and Slovakia, I finally got around to firing it up to see if it works. Where to get it The BBB project is here: In the mean time, the Fedora project has released an ARM distribution that includes rudimentary support for the BBB: First of all, to see if the hardware is OK, I just connected a USB cable to it and started it up with the default Linux version residing on the device and it worked fine.  After installing a USB network driver on my Mac and restarting it, I could SSH to address and poke around in Angstrom Linux. Unfortunately, Angstrom Linux is not well supported - the project is very small with maybe just one or two not

US Navy Overreach

The US Navy was outed for collecting Pawnshop and Parking Ticket data on all and sundry in their LinX database - sigh... What makes it even more silly, is that this data is already in a FBI database too.  If we ignore the fact that trivial data really should not be stored, the FBI is where it should be. A few years ago, the US Air Force had a program called TALON that was also doing domestic spying, but it was shut down after a public outcry.  It appears that nobody learned anything. There is an ancient proverb, dating back to the age of the dinosaurs that says: Garbage In, Garbage Out (GIGO). The gigantic GCHQ, CSE, NSA, Navy, Airforce, Army(?) server farms are not databases.  They are digital garbage bins. Storing nonsense data at great cost is a total waste of money and resources and will not help catch any criminals - let alone supposed terrorists.  Spying on hundreds of millions of honest citizens is a total waste of time.  Reducing crime requires old fashioned police

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

"Would the delegation recognize that the United States’ position on extraterritorial activities allowed the United States to commit violations everywhere except in their own territory?  The non-applicability of the Covenant to extraterritorial activities led to impunity and rights violations.  If all States were to share that interpretation, there would be no protection of rights at all.  Was the Government ready to review its position concerning the extraterritorial application of the Covenant?" The US NSA and the UK GCHQ are so obtuse that it doesn't warrant further comment.

Electric Feet

I have now caught two of these little guys in the house in one week - released back in the garden. Why don't their sticky feet get dirty? Apparently they stick to surfaces through Coulomb forces with the nanoscale hair on their feet, but while that explains how it works, it doesn't explain why their feet are not permanently covered in leaves and other detritus. Can they control their electric feet at will?  Can they reverse the charge and repel dirt? It is still one of life's little mysteries.

Network Debugging

With embedded systems, it is frequently necessary to look at the packets flowing on the network in order to see whether a problem is isolated, or caused by something else. The problem is that there can be an enormous amount of data on the net and only one or two packets that you want to look at.  Especially when you have video streams flowing on the net, it becomes a search for a needle in a haystack. The standard interactive network test tool is tcpdump .  It is also available on Windows as windump ( ).  Wireshark is also a nice front end for packet capture, but it works in a capture first, analyze later fashion.  With tcpdump , you can see what is going on in real time. Packet Capture Examples Tcpdump has a good man page, but it can be a bit overwhelming.  Once you saw a few real examples, though, deciphering the man page will be much easier.  The windump man page is exactly the same - they didn't even bother to change the name

Embedded Networking

Nowadays everything and anything are connected using Internet Protocols: TCP, UDP, RTP, ARP, IGMP... the list goes on and on.  However, embedded systems are frequently island systems, that are not connected to the usual support services such as DHCP and DNS.  IP addresses are static and there are no gateways to other nets. Island Networks When you plug an office laptop computer into a typical embedded net, nothing happens, your machine remains unconfigured and you cannot access anything. Testing and debugging a modern system therefore requires a little bit of advanced networking knowledge. In order to communicate on a net, your machine needs at least two things to be configured: IP Address and Subnet Mask , but before you can set it, you first have to disable the NetworkManager auto-configuration utility, since in an embedded system, it is more of a hindrance than a help. Each time you unplug a cable or power down the device your laptop computer is connected to, Network Manag