Friday, December 29, 2006

Internet's so slow here

Submarine cables damaged by a strong earthquake in taiwan slowing down if not cutting off communications and Internet links.

I can't access blogger (na d google, yahoo et al) these last few days so I can't blog but I managed to browse some sites using proxy servers)

will update this next week :)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Signspotting!

Something's wrong here!

Been conducting security awareness seminars here for all staff in the office and look at what our procurement staff brought in near our printing area:

(pic taken using my crappy phone camera)

the name sent shivers down my spine! :(

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Resurrect a Dead MP3 Player

Sometime ago I bought an MP3 player at the (in)famous 168 Mall in Divisoria months before I acquired my iPod video. Only a few months and the MP3 player acted up dead with sign of a dead battery so I decided to perform a procedure I did similarly with my once-dead Palm Tungsten E

Using precision screwdrivers, I pried open the cover to expose the Lithium Ion battery inside that I brought to Greenhills to find a suitable replacement



unsoldering the battery from the protection circuitry





replace the battery and solder in place of the dead one




plugging the gizmo showed the graphic sign that my MP3 player is coming back to life

now this is going to be another "raket" if I really wanted to cash in on this :)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Of Viruses and Corrupted Memory Cards

Went to Cubao to check on something and to print a few pictures required for a business permit application

with my super point-and-shoot cam, i rushed to the photo printer and handed my memory card to the attendant. I only needed to print 4 pictures so i had to select another 7 ones to print to as not shell out P50 to defray the media handling fee.

during that time a group of three persons were arguing with the owner over a corrupted memory card and feeling sorry for the lost pictures (and memories that came with it). The attendant kept on reminding the group, already irate, to backup their pictures and that memory cards can be corrupted and that there's nothing she can do to bring back their pictures.

Not that I regularly snoop around but I find it so hard not to due to their loud voices filled with frustration with the thought that I can help them by trying to recover their files. I successfully recovered files I saved from a USB drive corrupted by Windows 2000 and memory cards are no different if I have a card reader. The only problem is that I don't have a card reader for their card type since I can only accommodate CF, SD and MS. I hesitated to speak and offer my service to them since I don't want to be occupied with another distraction even if at the back of my mind I seriously consider making it another money making "raket" to support my uber-expensive hobby.

When I got home, I downloaded the pictures to my notebook when my AV warned me of a worm that copied itself to all folders of my memory card-- the PC of the photo printer infected my card with W32.Rontokbro.X@mm worm. I simply deleted the file as I know it's not a big deal but wary of the danger to others not so informed about computer security.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Torpark: anonymity on the go

If you're looking for the best in anonymity without the hassle of installation perhaps even in publicly accesible computers, give Torpark a try. Just download the compressed files here, unzipped in your PC or thumbdrive then fire up the executable with an onion icon.

It will first try to establish a network in the TOR network for anonymization much like proxy-chaining then start it's own Firefox. All private data is deleted after exiting the program.



Torpark is a portable combination of Firefox browser and TOR using onion routing i.e. your identity is cloaked by passing traffic through various nodes. Trying to trace your true IP address is like peeling away skins of an onion-- thus the name.

Caveat though are no scripting allowed for security and anonymity again (javascript from certain websites can capture your true IP address if you're not careful) and you somehow can't use the services of file uploaders like yousendit.

This is for you my anonymous blogging friends like R.O. and for those who want to post anonymously in public forums :)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Creating Spam Filters in Gmail

I got irritated with the increasing number of spam messages sent to my gmail address incidentally where I use to moderate various Yahoo! Groups

Spammers found a way to send email to group owners by sending tons of spam to addresses in this format: groupname-owner@yahoogroups.com

Yahoo's SpamGuard tags those spam messages correctly but alway get past Gmail's Junk Mail filters so I decided to create a filter to automagically delete those annoying junk mails

Note those messages tagged by SpamGuard has the following heading with them:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Yahoo! Groups SpamGuard has detected that the attached message to the
owner of the Yahoo! Group is likely to be spam.
For more information about SpamGuard, please visit our help pages:
http://groups.yahoo.com/local/spamguard.html
------------------------------------------------------------------------

All we have to do is create a Gmail filter that looks for the first few words of the SpamGuard message then delete any message that matches the criteria.

Here's how:

Login to your gmail account
Click the Create a filter link shown below


Copy part of the message that always comes with spam then paste into the Has the words form field (here I pasted these words "Yahoo! Groups SpamGuard has detected that the attached message to the owner of the Yahoo! Group")
Click Next Step button
Click Delete it checkbox
Click Create Filter button


Note with SpamGuard is that it's not perfect so sometimes you may catch and delete a legitimate message :(

Friday, September 29, 2006

Send text messages to Globe/Smart/Sun using Googletalk

i know this is quite old but you can send SMS to your friends (and enemies) in the Philippines using Googletalk (or the gmail web interface that i'm using) simply by adding a contact using the format 6391xxxxxxxx@chikkatalk.com

it works!

replies from mobile phones are charged P2.50/message

Saturday, September 23, 2006

KeyScrambler with Firefox support released

QFX Software recently released a new version of their antikeylogger extension with Firefox/Mozilla support and i was testing it earlier on a test PC to check. Still don't know if it works though since I don't have a keylogger on hand.

what I noticed however is that since I have IE7 and Firefox1.5 fired up simultaneously, whenever I enter a URL in IE, the page will show as another tab in my Firefox. IE is also very slow. Weird huh?

Is this a bug? Let's see...

Donload latest version here

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Firefox Download Manager Problem

I was trying to install Videora iPod Converter on a friends notebook but it keeps on nagging me to connect to the internet and download a 23MB, dotnetfx.exe, file over an archaic dial-up connection. The program will always prompt me for an error in connection even if the link is ok and so I have to start downloading all over again.

I searched the Net for the file to download it completely and found out it's the MS .Net framework. Attempting to get it using Firefox got me disconnected again in the middle and had to start again from the beginning.

poor dial-up user :(

At this stage, I decided to get Opera from here since I don't have my USB flashdisk with me that contains the usual tools I carry so I have no choice but to fetch it from the Net. File download took quite some time for Opera but when I installed it, I proceeded to get dotnetfx.exe from Microsoft.

Note I got disconnected twice but I only have to right click then resume downloading the file and worked ok.

Kudos to Opera for making such a fast browser and now free as in LIBRE!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Anti-keylogger plugin for Microsoft Internet Explorer released

QFX Software, Florida startup, recently released a browser plugin named KeyScrambler for Internet Explorer to thwart keyloggers (malicious software that logs every keystroke made on the computer keyboard). The Personal edition is free for download at the company’s website and it protects all logins against keyloggers. The Professional edition protects all data typed for total protection. The new anti-keylogging tool is an invaluable addition to the IE users’ security as it protects all login pages and it does so by encrypting the user’s keystrokes at the kernel driver level, before keyloggers can record them. Download the trial here

Now this is something I wish is also available to Firefox and Opera since I only use Internet Explorer for updating my Windows and browse stupid IE-only sites like one of my online banking sites.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Airport Security Check Fiasco

Pinoys did it again!

The moment I read the news about a terrorism expert alledgedly was able to evade security checks at the airport and assemble a bomb, even if a dud. I was not amazed at the results or the brag since I also noticed how ineffective the "magic sticks" and "magic mirrors" and frisking at the airport. I anticipated what will happen next. And what I expected did happen-- the "expert" got the ire of authorities, his handler dropped him like a hot potato and now the "expert", identified later as Samson Macariola, recanted his tale to save his sorry ass.

The "expert" should know from the start that before he goes into a test like that he should possess the proper authorization to conduct such test and that the results of the test should be held sensitive or confidential and not to be announced to the media-- that's clear and present danger! The resulting panic, scare and backlash was expected of any thinking "expert".

It's the same situation in my line of work, called security testing. Such tests are performed to find loopholes that needed to be patched or mitigated but never announced to the public. Results are to be presented to proper authorities on a need-to-know basis.

To Samson, you've been betrayed again by Delilah because you really can't keep your mouth shut!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Sophos Released Free Anti-Rootkit Tool

As part of my day job, I monitor various security-related email distribution lists and got this news that Sophos, a maker of a leading antivirus for corporates released a free tool to remove rootkits.

Now what is a rootkit? I'm actually too lazy to explain but you can read more about it from Sophos website.

download the tool, decompressed to target folder and execute



Click Start Scan and wait for results.



I'm using a test PC to quarantine and luckily no rootkit was found. It's so simple, isn't it?

Note that the tool doesn't have autoupdate feature so you regualrly have to check the latest snapshot of the tool here.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Cheap Battery Replacement for Palm Tungsten E

I'm a self-confessed techie that's allergic to gadgets and computers when not in the office. I don't like PDA's and fancy celphones like most people but when I was given a Tungsten E by a supplier for ordering a handful of LAN switches that came with one part of their marketing promo, I accepted it gladly but didn't actually use it.

Tried to sell that gizmo in various online stores but I only get disappointing offers so i decided to just wait. What I didn't realize was that the battery was already dead when i found someone who needed to use it. I brought the thing to Microwarehouse, the local distributor, and also to a service center in Makati but their staff informed me that indeed the battery just died on me but they can't repair it due to lack of spare battery. He however gave me an alternative to surrender my defective unit, pay $100 dollars and wait for PalmOne to replace it with a new one.

Now that is something, a hundred dollars is a lot of money in this part of the world that I refused his offer and thought of another way, the intrepid engineer that I am, that led me to open it up myself.

Luckily I have a T5 screwdriver that can open the thing that came with my T6 I use to tinker with my Nokia mobile phone. Guess what I really needed after a few trips to Greenhills to find a Lithium Ion battery that can fit inside the palm's case. Just unsoldered the old battery and the protection circuits and connected the new battery similar to the picture shown here.


Guess what! My palm's still working well after almost a year now and it cost me just P150 for the replacement battery instead of a hundred bucks!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

How-to: Post Pictures in phpBB Forums

A quick guide on how to post pictures in any phpBB or similar forums using Photobucket.

It's as easy as uploading your pictures to your photobucket account and copy/pasting the location of the target picture in your phpBB post. The following screenshots will show you how

First, fire up your browser and go to http://www.photobucket.com



Click Join Now button on the upper right hand corner of your browser. The following screen will ask you for your desired username and password




Enter required information. Friendly reminder: just don't reveal too much about yourself if you value your privacy :)



Don't want to be disturbed? Select NO! :)



The initial login screen:

Be Patient!



The main screen of your Photobucket account where the image upload wizard is shown.
To upload your picture, click Browse button where you'll be asked to select the picture to be uploaded from your computer.



Click Submit after selecting



Wait for the uploading process to finish. This might take time depending on the speed of your Internet connection and the file size of the image. You'll see a thumbnail display of your image displayed. Select the text inside the box beside the Img button. This group of text is what you'll paste in your phpBB message.





Next,Point your browser now to your forum (Paete) and perform the usual message posting you normally do.

For illustation purpose only, we'll start a new topic by clicking the New Topic button on the upper left hand corner of the forum


Paste the earlier copied block of text from Photobucket i.e. something like this:
[IMG]http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j221/botits/pinkantadia.jpg[/IMG]

Make sure the "Disable BBCode in this post" checkbox is unchecked!

CLick the Preview button to check your message or directly Publish


If however you find the uploaded picture too large for your screen, you can resize your uploaded picture in Photobucket by clicking the Edit button above your thumbnail picture


Here you can choose to resize your picture 75/50/25 percent smaller than the original. It's recomended to have a size of 640x480 in order for your picture to fit most computer screens



After resizing, Refresh/reload your phpBB (USAP) browser to see the changes!