| Tuesday May 24th 2016

To go through the doors of an airport is to enter a strange world where the laws of economics do not apply…


The airline ticket is a curious beast. It’s yours and yours alone, and unlike a ticket for a music or sports event, it can’t be sold or even given away. You hand it to someone else and it turns to dust. You can rebook or get credit for a future flight through the airline, but unless you’ve paid the top fare the exchange costs are hefty — typically about $100 per person.

“But to walk through the doors of a modern airport is to enter into a world of wonders, where normal rules and laws don’t hold sway. And it’s not just the laws of gravity that have been repealed here. Many economic laws don’t apply, either: A four-day car rental is more than a seven-day rental. A one-way trip is more than a round trip. A 45-minute flight to a small airport in the next state costs more than flying clear across the country. Amazing and weird! Just those old roadside attractions touting freakish quirks of magnetism.

Then there’s the boarding pass I hold in my hand at the T.S.A. portcullis. This is where our power of make-believe needs to be strongest. We present our IDs and boarding passes to the pre-screener, who studies them for minor discrepancies with a gravity suggesting that our documents are the sole barrier keeping Islamo-Fascists out of the cockpit.

We all go along with it. Never mind that my “boarding pass” is something that I printed out from my computer the night before — in fact, the sort of thing easily ginned up by a moderately adept 12-year-old with Photoshop. (Last year a graduate student created an online boarding pass generator so that anyone could print out a fake boarding pass with a few clicks of a mouse. The site vanished after the creator was visited by unamused F.B.I. agents.)”


Ron Paul and Neil Cavuto on Fox News

This is a brief video with Presidential hopeful, Ron Paul and Fox News Interviewer, Neil Cavuto. Mr. Cavuto thought he had Dr. Paul with a random question about racist campaign donations, but Dr. Paul saved all the momentum and delivered a swift kick in the ass. This made my day.

It’s funny how logic always makes people not using it look stupid: “Why should I give him the money back to spread evil when I can use it for good?” Seriously, how can you argue with that kind of logic?

Firefox = Detention


Tom O’Keefe Vs. American Express

Tom O’Keefe, an art director based in Boston, is suing American Express and Ogilvy & Mather for allegedly using his trademarked concept for the “My Life My Card” campaign. According to the press release issued by O’Keefe’s attorneys, the art director was pitching O&M for work on the campaign. For years, O’Keefe had used a portfolio, website and other collateral that involves a concept that is similar to the AmEx campaign. He didn’t get the gig, but a year later “My Life, MY Card” had become the ubiquitous tag line for the advertising campaign.

thdr_mlmclogo.gifYou be the judge. Similar concepts, but does this constitute trademark violation? A court will ultimately decide if the case has merit. But anyone who has done work in advertising knows that this happens all the time. High-powered agencies cast a wide net for talent, entertain numerous pitches, and all too often creative concepts that originate from outside the agency become part of the mix. And in some cases, end up as part of the campaign.

The problem for American Express is that CGM is an echo chamber and what would otherwise be less than a blip in the media landscape all of a sudden gets legs – blogs pick it up, readers “digg” it, discussions take off in forums. This layer of CGM now intercepts customers searching for “My Life, My Card” in search engines. American Express continues to invest heavily in the campaign and they drive a significant amount of search traffic. For example, a consumer who sees the hilarious Wes Anderson ad on TV may type “my life my card” in Google to find the YouTube clip and share it with friends. In the top ten search results, there are a number of articles about lawsuits filed against American Express for similar claims in the past. Now the brand experience becomes more than the Wes Anderson ad – now the dialog about the brand, the campaign, and the card involves the lawsuit.

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Bush Sr. vs JFK: You Do The Math

Conspiracy Theory Warning! A fun video to help pass the time during the snowfall. I had no idea how far back the Bush family stretches. Come to your own conclusions.


Why REALLY needs your SSN?


The issue is that our SSN was neither designed to be a private number nor something for other organizations to use to identify someone. It’s unfortunate how it’s now used for that and that basically with it, you can take over almost anyone’s accounts. Bruce Schneier talks about using a SSN as ID in his book “Beyond Fear”. I don’t have it on me right now, but the real point was that it was never designed to be used as a form of authentication. Currently, it is used as a form of authentication (proving you are who you say you are), but knowing a single 9-digit number that never changes is hardly proof of your identity. As has been made obvious, somebody merely needs your name and SSN and they can claim to be you. Also, since the SSN isn’t designed to be changed (and is often used as a unique identifier in places where it would be difficult or impossible to change), it is extremely difficult to recover from it being misappropriated. It’s being used to serve the same purpose as a password, and yet it’s neither secret nor changeable.

A truly good authenticator needs to give no more information than it is given. For example, a challenge-response mechanism never divulges any secret, but it does confirm that you know the secret (though it requires the other party know it too). There also needs to be some way to verify the validity of an authenticator. It’s easy to create a counterfeit driver’s license (ask anybody under legal drinking age) and it’s trivial to create a counterfeit SSN card. There needs to be a way that anybody can verify that your authenticator is real and has been properly assigned to you.

The worst part though is using a SSN as an identifier, instead of a student number, health plan number, or other such identifier. Identification is one job, authentication is another. By combining the two, the authentication is lost and only the identification remains. As others have said, when everybody uses a SSN as identification (and authentication), the only thing you need to get a hold of is a person’s SSN to take over their life.

Below is a great article from Time Magazine about a Verizon customer that wants to open an account without giving the Telco their personal information.


“Look”: The First Major US Film Made Entirely With Surveillance Footage

Look, which has already won major kudos on the film festival circuit and will be in theaters this Friday, is sure to be a thought provoking and controversial film. It purports to be made entirely out of surveillance footage shot without the knowledge the people involved.

According to the film’s director Adam Rifkin, 37 states say it’s legal to out video cameras in public dressing rooms. Rifkin seeks to provoke audiences to ask themselves, “Who is watching this footage and who is keeping it safe from public distribution? Who has access to it and for how long? What safeguards exist to make sure highlights of your ass are not making it onto the most viewed list on YouTube?” Check out the trailer to your right for more.

“Who is watching this footage and who is keeping it safe from public distribution? Who has access to it and for how long? What safeguards exist to make sure highlights of YOUR ass are not making it onto the most viewed list on YouTube?”

Universal Barring Artists from Posting Full Songs on MySpace

According to an email apparently sent by Universal artist Colbie Caillat to her fans, artists signed to Universal Music Group or one of its subsidiaries may not post full versions of their songs on their MySpace pages.

ccc.jpgHey everyone…bad news. Due to circumstances beyond my control I have to swap the songs out on my page for 90 second versions instead of full length versions. In fact some of the songs have already been swapped as I write this.

Every artist signed to a Universal label has to comply immediately.

You can listen to full versions of some of my songs on my personal webpage www.colbiecaillatmusic.com. I will make sure that the songs that were available here are available there as soon as possible.

I apologize to everyone for the inconvenience especially those that use my songs for personal profiles. Hopefully the politics involved here gets worked out soon and we can return to full length songs as soon as possible. Thank you everyone for your continued support!!

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Myspace for Small Business

myspaceimages.jpgOne of the reasons people go to Myspace.com is for business reasons. It may be odd for most people since myspace is something really personal. You go to myspace to express yourself and get a hold of your friends and sometimes you drop them a line or two just to make sure they are still there are you remember them. You can personalize your page as fancy as it gets with nothing to hold you back and your blog can be as ranting or as romantic as possible whatever the feeling that you will get for that day. The name “my space” even tells us that it’s a very personal site for some people.

However, for most of the entrepreneur who sees everything as an opportunity, Myspace.com is just another platform for getting more contacts and creates a buzz through the networking capability of the website. It’s not that they are scamming people towards their business, these are legitimate entrepreneurs who know someone, somewhere needs a specific product or services and they are the ones who can provide the very thing that they need. If you’re a businessman you will easily understand the idea.

But how do you create a page for business reasons?
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Make Random and Pronouncable Passwords with PWGen

pwgen_cropped.jpgWindows and Linux command-line utility PWGen generates random, meaningless passwords but uses letter and number combinations that can be pronounced and memorized. Simply typing “pwgen” and hitting Enter will shoot back a screen full of passwords to choose from, helping to prevent shoulder-surfing sneaks, but you can easily hone down and customize the results with a few command-line switches. Those seeking to store and generate more random passwords should check out suites like KeePass, but for low-security applications like websites, PWGen can quickly serve up some helpful nonsense. PWGen is a free download available in many Linux repositories and as a Windows installation at the link below.


Inside the Chinese malware economy

German and Chinese researchers have just released a study that explores the world of Chinese commercial cybercrime. The researchers set up virtual PCs running Internet Explorer, then visited nearly 15,000 Chinese websites, deliberately infecting their virtual systems with whatever crapware happened to be running on the system. Then they carefully analyzed the infections as they unfurled and encrappified the virtual instances of Windows, and used the results to reverse-engineer the way that the malware economy runs.

cybercrime_flow_chart.pngThe Virus Writers take care of implementing Web-based and conventional Trojans, and use evasion methods to create covert Trojans, and then they sell the malware and evasion service,” the paper says. “Website Masters/Crackers betray their customers or crack unsafe websites, and sell the visitor traffic of their own or harvested web sites. Envelope Stealers construct a Web-based Trojan network by hosting the bought Web-based and conventional Trojans on compromised computers, and redirect the web site visitors to their Web-based Trojans. When the Web-based Trojan network is ready, the victims who visit the malicious web sites will be redirected to and exploited by the Web-based Trojans, and infected with further conventional Trojans. These Trojans then steal envelopes and virtual assets from the victim’s machine.”

PDF Link

Homebrew camera phone se-cam looks like a bomb

Here’s a brilliant rube goldberg security camera made out of a camera phone, some homebrew circuits and solenoid relays. When the phone is called, it activates the relays, which tap out the “take picture/send picture” sequence on the phone-keypad, which then takes the pic and sends it off. Added bonus: this thing actually looks sinister. If I were god-emperor of the world, all CCTVs would look this alarming, so every time you were in their scrutiny, you’d get that atavistic taste of being surveilled.

camphonerube.jpgThe idea is to replace your fingers with the relays and your brain with a microcontroller. Depending on how complex your phone is, i.e. number of different keys to press in order to send a picture, choose your microcontroller accordingly.

My setup uses four outputs (four different keys on the phone) and one input on the microcontroller. It allows me to send a SMS text message (or call) to my hacked phone and it then cycles through the code, clicking its way through the menus, taking photos and returning them to me.


Attackers target unpatched QuickTime flaw that affects Windows & Macs


The vulnerability, called the Apple QuickTime RTSP Response Header Stack-Based Buffer Overflow Vulnerability, was first disclosed on Nov. 23rd and still remains unpatched. The vulnerability can be exploited through Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, and Safari and effects both Windows and Mac users.

First observed on Saturday, the attacks appear to be aimed at Windows users, but Mac OS users could also be at risk since the QuickTime vulnerability in question affects both operating systems, the alert said. That vulnerability, called the Apple QuickTime RTSP Response Header Stack-Based Buffer Overflow Vulnerability, was first disclosed on Nov. 23 and remains unpatched by Apple.

Researchers have shown that the QuickTime vulnerability affects a range of operating systems, including Windows XP, Windows Vista, MacOS X 10.4, and the recently released MacOS X 10.5, also called Leopard. The vulnerability can be exploited through Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, and Safari.

There are two types of attacks underway, Symantec said. In the first, victims’ computers are being redirected from an adult Web site, Ourvoyeur.net, to another Web site that infects the computer with an application called loader.exe, which can be saved to the computer as metasploit.exe, asasa.exe, or syst.exe. Once installed on a computer this application downloads another binary file, which Symantec identified as Hacktool.Rootkit, a set of tools that can be used to break into a system.

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YOUR NEXT PRESIDENT: On the issue of Iraq


Hope this helps anyone out who is confused on where their politician stands.

Hillary: Bring the troops home starting within 60 days of being elected.
Obama: Begin withdrawing our troops engaged in combat operations at a pace of one or two brigades every month, to be completed by the end of next year.
Edwards: Supports the immediate withdrawal of 40,000-50,000 troops from Iraq and the complete withdrawal of all combat troops from Iraq within nine to ten months.

Giuliani: No time-table on troop withdrawal
Romney: Send MORE troops to Iraq, increase redeployment.
Huckabee: Stay in Iraq.
Paul: Pull out of Iraq immediately

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Explosive Impact – Cyber Bullies & Hackers

Upset teen, JedineKazama, explains to the world what hackers are all about:

Encyclopedia Dramatica

Google removes thousands of malware sites

On Monday, Sunbelt Software’s security blog revealed that thousands of malware redirects were showing up in search engine results. Network bots designed to post relevant keywords and spam links in various online forms (think forum posts or blog comments) helped attackers claim high-ranking search engine positions for various obscure and seemingly innocuous search terms. According to Sunbelt, two of the thousands of terms were “infinity” and “hospice.” Yeah, that’s cool. Search for hospice information for a sick friend or family member, potentially get your system infected with nasty malware.

googlogo.gifOn Tuesday, Sunbelt revealed more information about the ill-effects clicking on these fake links could have on a vulnerable system (as a reminder – ALWAYS keep your browser and Internet security tools up to date). Best case scenario – you might end up with one of those annoying toolbars and pop-up ads for fake security software. Worst case? Your computer could be used to generate false-clicks for the attacker’s pay-per click programs (so they infect your system so that you can make them money), or worse still, that bot could load other malware/worms/trojans onto the unprotected system. Further investigation also revealed that these SEO-poisoning attacks were targeted at Google, although other search engines may have also been victim to the attacks.

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10 Useful Websites to Stop Others From Snooping on You

People probably don’t realize, just how often and in how many ways that total strangers are snooping in their lives. Whether the snooping means are video cameras, cell phones or through the Internet there are thousands of businesses, people and governments all up our personal business and lives.


Every time a person fills out a contest entry, sweepstakes form, survey application or joins an online community, then chances are the personal information that is used to complete these things are sold, rented or shared with second and third parties without our knowledge.

Most reputable companies or websites will have a privacy statement that explains clearly how they will use the personal information that they collect from their members or customers. Not all websites or companies are reputable, so it is extremely wise to read their privacy statements before handing over any revealing or personal information about you to strangers.

Q: Who is king of internet marketing?
A: Google

Yes, yes, I know, do no evil. In the meantime, Google is slowly building one heck of a user profile database. They’ve got your email, they’ve got your documents, they most likely know your physical address and your phone number. Now they can even triangulate your approximate location in real time via your cell phone. They have the potential to eventually know more about you than you know about yourself but not to worry, they’ll never mis-use any of this information they’re collecting. :)

The following websites are extremely useful to help stop big brother from snooping into your personal business and private lives.

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Tell a Female’s Personality Based on Her OS?

linux_tux_girl.jpgThink that’s a silly question? Think again. A woman’s choice of operating system (OS) can reveal a lot to the inquisitive man. And with women as famously cryptic as they are, let’s face it: it’d be dumb to turn a blind eye to anything that offers a peek into their innermost thoughts. So let’s analyze what a woman’s choice of Windows, Mac OSX, or Linux really means!

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MySpace “Hacker” Tells His Story


“If Samy Kamkar plays his cards right, he may be allowed to visit MySpace again in just a few months. For the time being, however, he’s not even allowed to touch a computer, following a January 2007 guilty plea for creating what many consider to be the first Web 2.0 worm: the Samy worm.

Samy’s worm wasn’t malicious, but it did force News Corp.’s MySpace social-networking site to shut down in late 2005 after forcing more than 1 million users to declare Samy a “hero” on their profile pages.

Last week, Samy, who is now 21, made his first public appearance since his conviction, attending the OWASP App Sec 2007 conference, hosted by eBay, in San Jose, California. He was treated like a celebrity at the show, but there were some complications. Under the terms of his plea agreement, he can only use computers for work, so he was forced to show slides that he’d dictated to a friend on a computer that was operated by a conference staffer.

It’s not easy being a computer geek cut off from computers, but if Samy remains a model parolee, he could be allowed to use computers again in a couple of months. He talked to IDG News Service about what life has been like since his arrest and what he plans to do as soon as he’s online again.”

Excuse the “Myspace Victim” photo above. I’ve said this on every single “virus/wom writer busted” article, and I’ll continue to do so — a worm or virus that doesn’t actually do any real damage should translate into an instant job offer, NOT a conviction… well in a perfect world. In case you were interested in viewing the XSS code, you can find it, and it’s explanation here.


Samy is my hero.

What the Google Intranet Looks Like


“What do around 16,000 Google employees stare at in the morning when they’ve arrived at the office? They might be looking at Moma, the name for the Google intranet. The meaning of the name of “Moma” is a mystery even to some of the employees working on it, we heard, but Moma’s mission is prominently displayed on its footer: “Organize Google’s information and make it accessible and useful to Googlers.” A “Googler,” as you may know, is what Google employees call themselves (they have other nicknames for specific roles; a noogler is a new Google employee, a gaygler is a gay one, a xoogler is an ex-one, and so on).”


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