A Few Weeks with ProtonMail

Back on Memorial Day, I finally took the plunge and moved my email hosting to ProtonMail. I signed up for the professional tier for 75€ per year. I also moved DNS hosting for MGZI.NET over to AWS Route 53.

I have been slowly weaning myself off of various Google service. Ever since Google killed off Google Reader, the writing has been on the wall for most of the fun Google projects. Of all the services that Google provides, Maps and GMail have been the hardest to get rid of.

GMail is a genuinely useful service. Prior to this, I …

A Brief History of Email

As a digital native, I have spent most of my life connected to the internet in one way or another. One of the consequences of this is the fact that I have been using email for several decades.

I got my first Internet-accessible address from an Excalibur BBS called Cursors. It long since offline, but the basic procedure was to connect via one Excalibur BBS, then open a WinSock connection to another BBS (with a second instance of the Excalibur client software). Then you could read your email. This wasn't very convenient, and I didn't end up using it very …

New MP3 Player

I got a new MP3 player yesterday, a Creative Zen V+. it was less than $100, so all is well. ";-)" I had to hike up to the Alewife Staples to get it, as the store I went to in Harvard Square was completely out. It can supposedly play videos, but so far the results have been less than inspiring. It played none of my videos, and its "pack-in" videos do not play on my computer. (What kind of codecs does it use?) Oh well… at least now I don't have any excuses not to continue listening to my language learning …

Golubo Back Online

My computer, golubo, is now back online. Special thanks to my friends XXX & XXX for lending me a motherboard for testing, and to SuperGoodDeal for providing me with a new power supply.

Apparently, I'm now a GNOME user… this seems to have snuck while the computer was offline. Presumably, the default window manager changed during an update; right before the power supply blew. I was planning on switching from WindowMaker to GNOME anyway… this is just an incentive.

Golubo Will (Hopefully) Soon Be Back

My main PC (golubo) suffered a major hardware failure about a month ago… give or take a few weeks. (It's been so long!) I thought that it was a motherboard failure, but thanks to some borrowed hardware, I was able to determine that it was not the motherboard that had failed, but rather the power supply — just in a somewhat subtle way. The new power supply should arrive sometime this week.

First Voting Machines, Now ATMs

Well, a "new" exploit has been found for a common model of ATM, and the biggest suprise is that it's not Diebold. An anonymous thief in Virginia Beach reprogrammed the machines to deliver four times the requested amount. eWeek reports that the master passwords to these machines can be discovered via a simple Google search.

Matasano Chargen asks, Why is no one talking about this? Well, everybody is, now. I'm still waiting for the day I drive up to an ATM and it displays a simple message:

1 pWnZ j000!!!!11

Then I'll know we're secure.

Analyzing Malicious SSH Login Attempts

A recent article on SecurityFocus analyses the patterns in recent SSH login attacks.

Most of the results of this analysis were fairly unsuprising to anyone who runs a public-facing SSH server. root and various other system-level accounts are prime targets for attack, despite the fact that any competent sysadmin will have disabled remote logins for these accounts. I personally have seen repeated attacks looking for account names like lpd and harrypotter.

The analaysis of passwords used is also not suprising, with simple strings of numbers ("123456" or "11111") or letters ("password" or "admin") being common. I remember one NT system …

Single Key For Working, Drinking and Voting

As Slashdot reported earlier today, Diebold's voting machines are much less secure than was previously thought. (Is it possible to have negative security?) Apparently, common desk and minibar keys can open the Diebold voting machines!

Now this is just plain ridiculous. The original exploit for these machines required that you either have a key or a screwdriver, with the key being preferrable. (Dismantling a voting machine is likely to get noticed, whereas simply opening a little door won't.) As it turns out, the key that was used is just a simple office furniture key, widely available on the Internet and …


Setting up a simple firewall/gateway using Linux couldn't be easier. This article on Linux Journal describes how to set up a Linux-based NAT system using only one NIC. Recently, Verizon decided to enforce their "one IP per connection" policy. While this is certainly understandable from a business perspective, it is extremely annoying from this customer's perspective. Since there are currently TWO computers connected to "my" DSL connection, I needed a way to NAT them back onto the Internet again.

Well, this is a major pain in the ass, as anyone who has done it can attest. I tried this …

Computer Update

Hello to all! I would like you to know that I am back, and it's about time. In the last few months, I have gotten a new computer.

Well, when I got back from basic training, one of the first things I noticed was that my beloved computer, Braxiatel, was totally non-functional. I believe that there was a crack in the motherboard, which meant that if you wiggled the keyboard connector and the processor (a Slot 1 card) a little bit, it would work for a while. After getting it to work, sort of, it finally failed completely. I went …

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