Sunday, November 2, 2014

Apple Mac NTFS Read/Write Support

Apple Macs have NTFS support, but for some inexplicable reason, it defaults to read only when you plug a NTFS removable disk in.

There must be a way to change this, but the simple workaround is to mount the annoying thing manually:

First open a terminal and become super user:
$ sudo su

Plug the removable disk in, then:
# dmesg

Look to see what device name is used, probably disk2s1.

To ensure that it is free, in case it was 'helpfully' auto mounted already:
# umount /dev/disk2s1

Make a directory as a mount point:
# mkdir mnt

Mount the device read/write:

# mount -t ntfs -o rw,auto,nobrowse /dev/disk2s1 mnt

Now open Finder and copy to/from the new mount point.

When you are done, unmount it with:
# sync
# umount /dev/disk2s1

Hot Mac Problems

Another unrelated issue is with a Mac running very hot due to the mdworker thread.  This stupid thing is the Mac spotlight index utility.  If I want to find something, I use the find utility, I don't need a background process that scans the disk and runs the battery down.

This works for me:
$ sudo su -

# ls /Volumes/
Macintosh HD    Preboot

# mdutil -i off "/Volumes/Macintosh HD"

mdutil disabling Spotlight: / -> kMDConfigSearchLevelFSSearchOnly
    Indexing disabled.

The Mac will immediately return to a 99% idle state.

-. --- / .-- .. -. -.. --- .-- ... --..-- / -. --- / -.-. .-. -.--

La voila!


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Biometric Insecurity

Judge Steven C. Frucci ruled this week that giving police a fingerprint is akin to providing a DNA or handwriting sample or an actual key, which the law permits. A pass code, though, requires the defendant to divulge knowledge, which the law protects against, according to Frucci's written opinion.

This is a very important strike against using Biometrics for security.  Use of biometrics for authentication may be OK, but security not.  A big problem is that most common users confuse the two.

The problem with using fingerprint or voice biometrics is that you leave samples of it everywhere you go. You leave your prints on glasses and door handles.  You leave your voice every time you use a phone and it gets recorded 'for customer satisfaction' reasons.  You leave a picture of your face every time you use a bank machine.  You leave your DNA whenever you use a hair brush. Any semi-savvy crook can lift it and use it against you and worst of all - You Cannot Ever Change It.

Once someone figured out how to impersonate your biometrics, that person can keep doing so forever and you cannot do anything about it, short of dying before he does.

Nowadays, banks and phone companies are starting to use biometrics for identification and authentication.  This is potentially a very bad development.