Today’s Stories from the Unarmed United Kingdom

As we all know Oceania has an almost total ban on private ownership of firearms. They did this in the name of dropping violent crime, so they say. For instance there is a complete ban on handguns in the country but I guess nobody told the four men who robbed the Culleybackey post office.

An eight person has been charged in the case of Swinder Singh Batth’s murder. He was shot dead even though there guns are strictly controller in Oceania to prevent shootings.

Finally a couple had their home invaded not once but twice in the same night. In the first robbery three men entered (after the women opened the door for them, remember ensure you know the people before opening the door) and ended up stealing their holiday savings the sum of which wasn’t given. After the couple went to bed that night two other men broke into the home and stole £400 in cash and the couple’s television. Luckily neither person was murdered but it could have likely went the other way. Being able to defend yourself, especially at home, is not only a nice thing but a required thing.

No Firearms for Foreign Felons Act of 2009

Seriously doesn’t senator Feinstein ever quit? From Snowflakes in Hell comes this story.

Senator Feinstien is pushing a new piece of legislation called the “No Firearms for Foreign Felons Act of 2009.” The law if enacted would prohibit anybody who has been convicted of a felony in a foreign country from obtaining a gun in this country. There are some good examples of so called felons in foreign countries such as Francis Gary Powers who was the pilot in the U2 that was shot down over the Soviet Union.

This legislation has bad written all over it since it’s basing an American citizen’s rights on events that occurred in another country with a different set of rules. Can you imagine being a woman from the Middle East who escaped here after being convicted of indecent behavior (in other words not covering every inch of her body) who wants to buy a gun now that he has a new citizenship? Oh too bad and so sad since she’s been convicted of a high crime in another country even though this country doesn’t recognize the crime.

I’m sure the next piece of legislation will say anybody who could be convicted of a felony in another country can no longer purchase guns in America. That would effectively ban guns in this country since many things we do in our daily lives is felony material in some country or other.

So far it doesn’t appear as if the bill has many sponsors:

The legislation, introduced late Tuesday, is co-sponsored by Senators Richard Durbin (D-Ill.); Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.); Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.); Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). This bill was originally introduced in the 110th Congress.

That’s a good sign obviously and after getting a majority vote for inclusion of the national carry reciprocity amendment I think not only is congress skittish with anti-gun laws but they appear to be willing to support pro-gun laws. Either way we need to keep our eyes on this one.

Using 1984 as a Blueprint by “Protecting the Children”

If there was every a story to use my “1984 was a Warning not a Blueprint” tag it’s this one found on John C. Dvorak’s site. Everybody’s favorite fascist state, Oceania the United Kingdom, is at it again and this time in the name of everybody’s favorite excuse, protecting the children.

Oceania has setup a new program where they put “problem” families into a “sin bin.” This excerpt is directly from the article:

The Children’s Secretary set out £400million plans to put 20,000 problem families under 24-hour CCTV super-vision in their own homes.

They will be monitored to ensure that children attend school, go to bed on time and eat proper meals.

Private security guards will also be sent round to carry out home checks, while parents will be given help to combat drug and alcohol addiction.

Yes these “problem” families, all 20,000 of them, will not be under 24 hour surveillance by their government and have their homes invaded checked out by the Party private security guards. This is of course being done to protect the children as all invasive government programs generally are.

Just imagine the scope of this for a second. You will have 20,000 homes under 24 hour government surveillance. If that isn’t a page ripped straight from 1984 I don’t know what is. Now I’m going to extend off of this and bring up the fact that government likes to use power to obtain more power. It certainly wouldn’t take much to put more families into this “sin bin.” Why almost anything can be considered bad for children.

For instance talking badly about the government could be seen as a method of scaring your kids and frightened kids need to be protected. Not properly sorting your recyclables (current an topic of government crackdown) could be seen as destroying the environment and would impact negatively against your children in the future. Not preparing government approved meals could be seen as acting against the health of your child. The list goes on as you can make almost anything work against the welfare of children.

I think it’s well overdue time for the citizens of Oceania to rise up and take back their liberties. Oh wait never mind the government already confiscated their guns making armed resistance very difficult.

I hate subjects like this because it makes me out to be a conspiracy theorist but honestly when a government does something as blatant as place CCTV cameras not just on the streets but also in peoples’ homes you have to be at least a wee bit worried.

Outrage and Lies

I saw a video posted on John C. Dvorak’s site entitled “Log into and Turn Your Computer Over to Obama” yesterday. I didn’t think much of it but I see it’s making the rounds now so I thought I’d comment.

In the video Glenn Beck says when you visit the web site provides a disclaimer stating that once on the site your computer becomes federal property. Once I saw this I headed over to the site to check it out and couldn’t find the said disclaimer. I figured the site owners probably removed it once this aired due to public outcry but I’ve since discovered it only applies to the dealer’s site. Here is the text of the disclaimer:

his application provides access to the DoT CARS system. When logged on to the CARS system, your computer is considered a Federal computer system and is the property of the United States Government. It is for authorized use only. Users (authorized or unauthorized) have no explicit or implicit expectation of privacy.

Any or all uses of this system and all files on this system may be intercepted, monitored, recorded, copied, audited, inspected, and disclosed to authorized CARS, DoT, and law enforcement personnel, as well as authorized officials of other agencies, both domestic and foreign. By using this system, the user consents to such interception, monitoring, recording, copying, auditing, inspection, and disclosure at the discretion CARS or the DoT personnel.

That is a pretty severe disclaimer. In essence it states that certain people have unrestricted access to your system and its files. I agree that this in itself is outrageous but further in the video is where the lies come in.

Mr. Beck goes on a tirade about the government having all sorts of evil software that can infect your system and turn it over to government control. Further he implies that if you go to that website the government will probably upload this software onto your system (at least that’s how I understood what he was saying). This of course if after a series of hysteric disclaimers saying people shouldn’t go to the website on their computer.

This is pure lies and hysteria. Let me sum it up in three words computer aren’t magic. A properly secured computer system will not allow remote entities to place software on the said system. The only way to place software on a system remotely is either through administrator tools which restrict access to system administrators (if properly setup) or through security holes. Many malicious software engineers use the later to upload things like worms, which are self replicating software packages that use vulnerabilities found in operating systems to install itself on un-patched systems. The key world there is un-patched. Once a security hole is discovered the operating system manufacturers are usually very quick to get out a patch which fixes the vulnerability. This is what Windows Update does and why Microsoft is so insistent that people either run it or set it to run and install patches automatically.

Furthermore most worms doesn’t come out until the patch has been released. This is because of two reasons. First most people don’t know about the vulnerabilities as security advisors who find them usually keep quiet until the patch is released. The second reason is most malicious hackers (there are good hackers to hence I’m designating the bad ones as malicious) take the patch and reverse engineer it to understand the exploit and then write their worm based off of that newly learned understanding.

But we’re dealing with the government which plays by different rules. Some people believe the government has backdoors in every operating system on the planet or at least in corporate backed operating systems such as Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac OS. Here again we have two points. the first is if they already have these back doors why the Hell would they tell you that your computer is federal property when visiting their dealer site as that would potentially tip people off that they have access to the machines files? But the second point is why would any corporation be willing to place those back doors in their systems?

First off people will say money. Their understanding is the companies will put in back doors for the government because the government is willing to pay them for it. This argument doesn’t hold water because no operating system is totally autonomous. There are security experts combing through modern operating systems, especially Microsoft Windows, looking for previously unknown means of compromising the system’s security. We are not talking about a couple experts but thousands. These people are paid by finding these vulnerabilities and reporting them to the operating system manufacturers and generally will release the details of the discovered exploit after a patch is released to increase their portfolio.

See a security expert whom hasn’t discovered anything isn’t much of an expert while one who has published exploits has some clout and hence is more likely to get a job. Now here is where money for the operating system producers comes in. With each security hole likely being published and certainly being eventually patched people get a feel for the number of security exploits that have been found in each operating system. People don’t want to trust a system they don’t feel is secure, which is why Microsoft has had such an issue getting more people to adopt or at least not dump Windows for secure systems. To this effect operating system producers have been putting tons of time and money into making their systems more secure and have done quite a good job of it.

Now with how little people trust Windows to be secure just imagine if people found out they placed a back door for the federal government in their system? This applies to all operating system producers but since Microsoft is the largest I’m using them as an example. I can guarantee that within minutes of this being discovered and announced (which it would be either via discovery or through a whistle blower at Microsoft) major companies would be hauling in their entire IT staff for an emergency meeting on how to deal with this security threat. The only conceivable outcome of that meeting would be to dump Windows for something more security and probably not corporately controlled such as Linux of FreeBSD. Microsoft would in essence lose thousands if not millions of Windows licensees within the period of time required to move critical systems over to another operating system. Hence it’s not in Microsoft’s, or any other company who produces an operating system’s, best interest to create a back door for anybody in their system.

I’m sorry for the extent of this post but people need to realize that computers aren’t magic. They are designed systems created for human use by mostly paranoid developers.

Now this doesn’t mean don’t be paranoid when using a computer and visiting a web site. There are plenty of exploits out there that can take control of systems, although fully patched systems are generally pretty safe. But don’t let people like Mr. Beck make you believe that your systems is going to be fully exploited and taken over by the federal government because you visiting a website. Honestly the government wouldn’t gain enough to justify the risk of it being revealed that they are breaking into citizens’ computers without any warrant or due process.

Further Research

A good write up about the disclaimer only applying to dealers and the ramifications of that.

Trust No One Especially Baggage Checkers at Airports

I just say this post on Says Uncle. As we all know if you fly with guns you have to put them in checked luggage. This in essence is meant to prevent somebody from coming aboard with a gun and either hijacking the plan or shooting it up. The checked baggage is checked by humans whom are supposed to be airport employees whom you can trust.

Well once again live shows a wrench in the best laid plans as three baggage handlers have been arrested for theft. They were busted as a result of a string operation which was set in place when a retired police officer’s gun was stolen after being checked in at the airport.

This should present a couple major ideas. First and foremost never use those TSA approved locks. These locks for those who do not know are ones which can be opened by any TSA officer should they need to look at an item contained in the locked case. These locks are flimsy and not secure to begin with but knowing anybody with a specific key can open your luggage should worry you. If you don’t have a TSA approved key you will be called to the desk to open the locked container should they need to look at it. This is ideal since you’ll be there to open the case and stand there while they look at it. This means you see everything from the case being opened to the case being closed again so nothing should go missing.

The second thing to note is you should have a plan should your container be stolen. If you have a good case with a good lock it will take the thief some time to open it, in fact they probably won’t get to it before the end of the day when they can get the case home. This means you should be able to put a tracking device inside of the case and it probably won’t be taken out until the thief gets the case back home. The linked tracking device has an option to send SMS texts to you based on outlined criteria. This means you could setup criteria that once the case leaves the airport you get an SMS with it’s location and get periodic updates from then on. This would allow you to track the case and you will know if it’s heading in the right direction. Further should the case be stolen you can tell the police where it went and where is potentially is. Of course the device I linked to is pricey but if you have one or two custom guns in there isn’t not really that expensive considering the cost of losing the guns.

Format Change

Until now I’ve always made my posts by proving all links with the raw link. The idea here was simple, allow the user to know where they were going before they went there and no make them have to look at the status bar. Well it seems other people weren’t in agreement and I’ve told several times that not only is it unsightly but also makes posts harder to read. But it was this little tidbit which I should have thought of before that has made me decide to change things.

Although I posting the actual URL as the text for the link there is no way a person can be guaranteed that what I’m posting as the text is in fact the same as the URL without looking at their status bar. Of course I assumed people would trust me but being an unknown entity behind a computer I shouldn’t expect people to trust what I post. I strongly believe in trust no one (TNO) security, which means you simply trust nobody with your security, period.

Hence links will now be posted as they appear on most sites and a component of the story text. Furthermore I’m going to added references for further information to stories that I feel warrant further research by the reader.

If You’re Going to Scam Try Doing it Somewhere Not Overrun by Security Experts

This is a rather funny but also scary story. An unknown criminal entity setup a fake ATM at a hotel. The fake ATM was meant to steal credit card numbers and provide them to the controlling entity. Well the people who set it up probably didn’t realize that Defcon, an event focusing on security, was going to be in town.

Needless to say a place flooded with security experts meant somebody took note that the ATM didn’t look quite right. After a short investigation they discovered the machine was in fact fraudulent and contacted the police whom took it away.

The scary part here is realizing how sophisticated criminals are becoming. Who would suspect a fake ATM machine? But all that is needed is to create a casing that looks like an ATM and slap a computer with a card scanner in it and you have an instant way of harvesting credit card numbers. For bonus points you can put in a cellular data card tied to a stolen account and have the computer inside the machine transfer the credit card numbers to a compromised computer which in turn will transmit them to the controlling entity.

Of course creating a fully functional fake ATM isn’t necessary. A simple card reading device can be overlaid on an authentic ATM. When you insert your card the overlay will read the card number and then feed it into the ATM. At that point you have no idea your credit card number was recorded by an entity besides the ATM. After a period of time the thief can retrieve the overlay and obtain the recorded credit card numbers. Furthermore to prevent having to physically retrieve the overlay the thief could setup some kind of wireless transmitter inside the overlay which would allow the numbers to be retrieved from a distance.

People trust ATMs because they don’t realize people can make fake imitations which look real. This seems like a job that would be too expensive and sophisticated for a generic criminal and hence nobody worries about it. This story should remind everybody that being paranoid isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Further Research

A Diebold white paper on ATM fraud and security. (PDF)

Ruger LCP Range Report

Well I finally had two things at the same time, time to hit the range, and .380 auto ammunition for my new Ruger LCP. Although I’ve had the gun for a few weeks I’ve not been able to actually shoot it.

I loaded up some rounds using 4.1 grains of Universal Clays powder and 95 grain Montana Gold jacked hollow points (before anybody comments I know a .380 won’t reliably expand JHP rounds, but being their center of gravity is back more JHPs are slightly more accurate than full metal jacketed rounds).

First off I want to say the gun is a perfect little piece. It fits in almost any pocket (although I won’t be carrying it until my pocket holster arrives). It’s very light even when loaded with 6 + 1 rounds of ammunition and conceals better than any other gun I’ve seen.

The Ruger LCP, like most small and light guns, kicks hard. Firing the gun can be painful after a while. The webbing on my right hand hurt quite a bit after roughly 30 rounds so I switched to left handed shooting for the remaining 20 rounds I loaded up. For a mouse gun the LCP is pretty accurate. I was able to peg steel plates from approximately 20 feet without too much trouble. If I’m dealing with ranges beyond that I’ll hopefully be able to use my primary carry gun.

The only thing about the LCP I really didn’t like when firing it was how far and erratically is flung the brass. I was shooting under a covered pistol range section. The roof was approximately 15 to 20 feet and several of the brass casing landed up on there. Other cases went flying 10 feet to the right and angles ranging from 45 degrees to right behind me. Since I load my own ammunition I like to keep the cases and that’s hard with this gun.

Working the slide is pretty simple. Several small semi-automatic pistols I’ve uses had very stiff slides. The LCP’s isn’t very stiff and can be easily manipulated with two hands. Due to the fact the LCP has little in the way of sights there isn’t much to catch it on in order to rack the slide with one hand though. Speaking of sights I wish Ruger would have made them just a hair larger. As they sit right now the sights are all but useless and I didn’t get a crimson trace laser for it (being I had enough trouble just finding the bloody gun). At short ranges this isn’t that big of an issue though since the sights are more than adequate for hitting human sized targets.

The gun came with a small extension for the, one and only included, magazine. I ended up using it simple because I couldn’t get a good grip on the gun without it. With the extension I was able to comfortably hold the gun with all but my pinky finger. I do wish Ruger would have included a second magazine so I could practice reloading it (I order a couple others but they certainly do charge an arm and leg for such a small magazine). I will say the magazine does indeed drop free when you press the release button. And while I’m on the subject of reloading do note that the LCP does not automatically hold the slide open when your magazine is empty so you do need to count rounds with this gun.

Overall I was impressed with the gun. It’s exactly what I was looking for in that it’s a small pistol that is easily placed into a pocket. I don’t see any features that make me want to recommend the LCP over any other .380 auto mouse gun on the market but for the price you really can’t complain much. If you want a mouse gun certainly take a look at one.

Reloading Tip for Shiny Brass

Today I’m cleaning a whole pile of brass that I haven’t been able to get to as of late. Often people ask about how to properly clean their brass casings. There are many different ways of doing things.

First you have a choice in media. The media is what is used to physically clean up the brass. Most reloading equipment providers sell media made from ground corn cob and walnut. I’ve only used corn cob media so far and it’s been working well for me but I hear more people swear by walnut media. But if you want to save some money take a trip to the pet store and pick up some fine walnut based bedding. It’s pretty much the same stuff as tumbler walnut media and does the exact same job for less.

Now the media alone won’t leave you with polished brass. To give your brass a shiny look you need some way of polishing it. Once again most reloading companies sell stuff called polishing compound. The idea is you throw some of this stuff in with the media and it will polish the brass. There is one down side though, if you don’t clean the polishing media off of your brass it will wreak havoc on your reloading dies. Polishing media is abrasive and hence it will destroy your dies after a while.

What I do is throw to used dryer sheets into the tumbler each time I tumble some brass. The cases come out looking just as good as they would with polishing compound, the dryer sheets absorb a lot of the dust, and I don’t have to pay anything extra since I’m just recycling dryer sheets I’ve used for launder (see that’s how green of a person I am, I recycle dryer sheets). After a couple of hours in the tumbler the brass will look great although the sheets will be colored a lead grey.

Anyways it’s something to try if you reload ammunition and don’t like messing with polishing compounds.