Revenge KGB Style

Statesman: “Mr. Putin what happened?”

Putin: “What do you mean Comrade?”

Statesman: “Your black eye.”

Putin: “It is nothing. Some peasant in Stalingrad punched me in the face. The problem has been taken care of.”

Statesman: “Um… I don’t see Stalingrad anywhere on the map.”

Putin: “Exactly.”

Posers Gonna’ Pose

You know what’s almost adorable? Wanna be “l33t hax0rz.” These are the kids who have either just downloaded Cain and Able and think they’re hot shit or somebody who just found out what Wireshark is. Usually you can identify these punks by talking to them for five seconds… they’re the ones that will tell you how they can “hax0rz ur netwurkz.” Spotting them on IRC is made even easier because they’ll usually ask for your IP address so they can “hax ur azz.” Two things become apparent when talking to these people; they don’t know what the Hell they’re talking about and they can’t spell. I actually find the former more annoying than the latter to be honest.

Sometimes I find these people amusing enough to post about them. I’m sure you’ve deducted that this is one of those times. Via a good joke thread going around I found this little gem of an article about one of these “hax0rz.”. Although the information in this article is technically correct it’s shrouded in such a thick fog of bullshit I couldn’t help but laugh. The premise here is the author has decided to show how “l33t” he is by sneaking into an apartment building and listening to traffic on an open Wi-Fi network. I’m mostly going to be making fun of his delivery of information here. Shall we begin (yes I’ve been drinking beer and feel like being a total prick, why do you ask?):

Wearing pyjama pants and an ironic t-shirt, I headed towards a large apartment building near where I live. I choose it because a lot of students live there and I could easily blend in. That and I knew there would be lots of targets.

Yes camouflage is required to sneak into an apartment. When doing tactical entries into apartment complexes sometimes it’s just not convenient to wear your tactical entry vest. Usually when I’m on one of these black ops I disguise myself in a button-down shirt, pants, and a good pair of boots. You know what? I blend right the fuck in with everybody else who wears regular looking clothes. I’m such a bad ass.

I used to be a door to door salesman, so I know a few unique ways to get into a building, but I didn’t need them. As I walked up to the door, someone else was leaving. They held the door open for me and I was in. As soon as I entered, I noticed a video camera. What I planned to do would look weird on camera and I didn’t want security on my butt, so I was more careful from there onwards.

Wait… this guy used to be a door to door salesman and thus knows tricks to get into buildings? Personally I know a thing or two about getting into buildings as well. Of course I’m not a complete dumb ass and know the best way to gain entry into a building is to just wait for somebody to let you in. You’ll not Al Capone here used that “trick.” It’s pretty damned difficult to stand outside and act like you forgot your key.

How about that camera? I know being on a laptop sure looks suspicious this day and age. Every time I’m on my laptop in a public area I get hassled by all sorts of security personnel. Wait… scratch that, I never get hassled by security because nobody sees somebody on a laptop as weird this day an age. Well I take that back, they do if you act suspicious by trying to avoid cameras. That’s why the best trick when entering a building is to walk in like you own the place. Don’t give anybody watching any cameras a reason to be suspicious such as keeping your head low when you see a camera:

When I finally made it to my floor a camera greeted me. I ducked my head low and walked over to the staircase. If security was watching me, I didn’t want them knowing where I was.

Dumb ass.

After dropping down a few floors and switching to the other staircase I decided to do my dirty work on the 18th floor. The building was huge and it would take hours for them to search the entire thing. I opened up my laptop and lo and behold, there were eight insecure networks. I picked one at random and hit the mother-load.

Remember kids if you’re going to be an elite “hax0rz” you need to avoid cameras but then post exactly where you were in the building online. That way nobody can find out that the weird guy who entered or left floor 18 is the guy who wasn’t supposed to be there. Of course being an apartment I don’t think anybody gives two shits.

The program you see those IP’s in is called Ettercap. It’s no longer in development and I don’t want to go over everything it does, lets just say it makes it so I can steal usernames and passwords among other things. All I had to do was install the program and run it.

Ettercap is so elite and secret that “hax0rz” can’t talk about it.

I then opened a program called WireShark (you can see it in the second screenshot). Using this program I can easily see the websites these four people were browsing. As you can see this person is browsing IMDb. And in the next screenshot the person is… err…

OH MY GOD! WIRESHARK! IT’S SO FUCKING L33T! In fact it’s so fucking “l33t” that I use it almost every day at work. Wireshark is a packet analyzer. What the fuck is a packet analyzer you ask? Nothing fancy. It captures traffic going across a network and saves it for analysis. Wireshark has a million and one uses (for instance I use it to debug network applications I’m developing). Basically you can view all unencrypted data that goes across a network meaning if somebody on your network is using HTTPS you’re shit out of luck.

So I’m sure you’re asking why I wasted my time ridiculing this kid. The answer is simple… I’ve been drinking which means I’m a bigger asshole at the moment than usual (hard to believe isn’t it?). Additionally “hax0r” kiddies irritate me. They prey on peoples’ ignorance of computers to make themselves look more intelligent.

What the kid said in this article is technically correct. If can turn on my laptop, sniff an open wireless access point, and obtain any unencrypted traffic going across said network. I just don’t try to make myself look like a bad ass doing it. I also don’t do it on networks that I don’t own or have permission from the owner. The proper way to demonstrate this fact would have been to setup a private open network, generate traffic on it, and demonstrate the fact you can obtain the traffic from it via another computer by simply listening.

I always find it funny how the script kiddies (a person who doesn’t actually know about security flaws but instead utilizes automated tools and pretends they’re a bad ass) are the most boastful punks. Most people with actual knowledge of security issue will explain it to you in such a way that it doesn’t make it seem like they’re trying to be an elite bad ass operator. I’m sure this kid thought he was hot shit once he realized that you can actually see peoples’ network traffic via a packet analyzer.

Honestly I’d be embarrassed if I posted some drivel such as that article on my web site. Hell I’m almost embarrassed just linking to it. Let me redeem myself by recommending the awesome beer that inspired this post.

I guess that’s all I have to say about this “l33t hax0rz.” Just remember kids, always herp before you derp.


I guess I didn’t mention this day of release but Barnes and Nobel have released the newest version of their Nook (Nook, nook, NOOK, I’m not sure what the fuck the proper capitalization is for this product) e-reader, the NOOKcolor (capitalized as it appears on their site).

It should be obvious why I didn’t get all excited and post this thing day of release, it’s a yawner. Basically it’s an Android tablet. Yup, that’s really it. It has absolutely no e-ink display instead opting for a single touchscreen LCD. So it’s an lighter, smaller, and cheaper iPad running Android (you can’t actually access any of the sweet Android goodness at this point from my understanding).

Frankly this thing is a huge let down. Although I assumed the NoOkCoLoR (now I’m just going to fuck with the name) would simply be an e-reader with an LCD screen I was secretly hoping it would jump ahead of the Kindle by using a color e-ink display. Apparently Barnes and Nobel decided to take the low road instead and just simply make a tablet which there are only about a million of coming out at the moment.

I Have a Simpler Explanation

Apparently Syfylus channel has canceled the new Battlestar Galactica prequel, Caprica, and somebody wrote up a long discussion on why it was done. Mostly the post is about the eminent extinction of cable television companies due to competition.

I have a simpler explanation of why Caprica was canceled. It’s the same reason Stargate Universe will probably (hopefully) be canceled in a short while, it’s not very good.

I admit that I’ve watched every episode of Stargate Universe so far and I honestly can’t tell you why. Out of the episodes released so far I think there were two that I enjoyed. I can’t say the same for Caprica because unlike Stargate Universe, I have no prior love for the Battlestar Galactica series. I really liked Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis which is probably why I keep watching Universe (hoping the entire series so far was a big joke and it will revert to a classic Stargate series… a man can dream right?). I tried watching two episodes of Caprica and frankly they were damned boring. Both were great examples of nothing happening.

The ultimate problem these series have is the lack of exploration. Science fiction has always been about exploring new ideas and concepts. If you read any science fiction novel there is generally a huge “what if” scenario going on. What if humans coexisted with aliens? What if time travel was possible? What if humans created sentient robots? The list goes on. The problem with prequel and sequel series is you are already familiar with the universe the series falls in. Once you’re familiar with the universe there is a lot less exploration that will be done as the major rules have already been described.

Stargate Atlantis was able to great a new sense of exploration by moving everything to another galaxy and introducing a new enemy species, the Wraith. The Wraith were completely different and separate from the previous alien bad guys, the Goa’uld. This gave whole new avenues for exploration and discovery. Stargate Universe on other hand just threw a ton of people onto a ship they can’t control and slowly (gruelingly slow) unveil little pieces here and there. Hell in the two and a half seasons they’ve introduced two alien species which we’ve not heard much of since.

Capria is in the same boat. We already know the Cylons are bad guys and there was a war brewing between the humans and the robots. What can you possibly do in a prequel to that? Everybody already knows the outcome is going to be war and thus you really leave little in the form of exploration. There aren’t going to be any real “what ifs.”

Good television shows can survive on network television. Although I never liked it and can’t consider it good we can look a Lost as an example. How long did that series go? How many people tuned in to watch it? It was damned popular. Why? I really have no idea honestly, I found it a confusing mess. But there was a sense of discovery and exploration. Nobody knew what the Hell the island was nor why a fucking polar bear was hanging out on it, but you tuned in hoping to find the answer.

If television producers want to create good science fiction shows they need original ideas and things to explore. Once those two things are accomplished the foundation is ready and a show can be built upon it.

High Speed, Low Drag

You know what’s cute? Fanboys of expensive equipment. These are the people who will spend an exorbitant amount of money on something and explain to you what it’s so much better than the cheap version you purchased. I’m sure we’re all a little guilty of that. Myself for instance run Mac computers which are more expensive than standard PC rigs. Personally I like OS X and the fact that it runs out of the box without any hassle to me so it’s worth it. Of course I can explain why I prefer it and find the additional cost worth it to me.

Today I’m going to talk to you about the other group of people who spend lots of money, the ones who buy marketing terms without knowing what they are. There have been a couple of threads over a MNGunTalk recently dealing with the AR-15. As with any thread dealing with AR-15 rifles you will have one or two fanboys/trolls pop in and explain how the only real AR-15 fit for battler is a Noveske, Spike Tactical, etc.

What I find hilarious is the reasons spouted by these super operators. This is where we get into marketing terms. Every company will give you a list of terms and exclaim them to be reasons why their product is superior to their competitor’s. Here is where the problem comes in, what the fuck do those terms mean? My favorite example is the debate between the Melonite finish on Springfield XDs and the Tenifer treating on Glocks.

A Glock fanboy will exclaim to you that the Tenifer treating is far superior to “cheap Czech rip off.” Of course anybody who’s researched to subject knows that Melonite is just another marketing name for Tenifer. They’re the same process by the same company.

AR-15 fanboys like to bring up all sorts of high-speed and low-drag terms. For instance they’ll talk about the tests that are done by the high end AR-15 manufacturers. Tests are great… so long as you know the tolerance for error. Making a perfect and flawless product is practically impossible, you will always have some form of defect. Due to this fact you must know the tolerance for error before you can consider any test legitimate. You also need to know the exact test performed and how it was performed. An example of this is manufacturers who do high pressure testing on their barrels. What exactly does this test entail? How high is the pressure? What does this test prove? All these must be answered before you can proclaim it as a reason to purchase one product over another.

Another classic example in the gun community are metal injection molded (MIM) parts in 1911s. Many operators will proclaim any gun containing MIM parts is automatically junk. Of course MIM parts are used in a great number of 1911s (almost any 1911 under $1,000) without issue. If you’re going to proclaim MIM parts junk you must know the rate of failure for MIM parts versus, say, forged parts. Most operators know that MIM parts are cheaper and therefore believe they are inferior without any other reasoning.

In the computer development field we have a game called buzzword bingo. Buzzwords are the marketing term for software. Companies will boast about how their software package uses an “open XML format for data storage in the cloud.” What this generally means is your data is stuck on one of their servers (“the cloud”) and what format it’s in is irrelevant. If you don’t continue to pay your monthly subscription fee you can’t get at your data and thus you’re locked into that vendor. The other thing is XML can be human readable… once in a great while. Open up a Microsoft Word XML file in a standard XML editor sometime and tell me if you can read anything contained within. You won’t. There will be an excessive number of tags and references to external document type definition (DTD) files (among external XML files, style sheets, etc.). It’s all a buzzword that ultimately means absolutely nothing for you, the customer.

Basically what I’m saying is don’t buy into marketing terms. If a company is trying to sell you a product and have a bunch of marketing speak thrown in as reasoning find out what that marketing speak means. Sure the bolt on that rifle may be made out of totallyawesomanium but if you don’t know what that alloy actually is you may be paying extra for the marketing term used by that company to describe 4150 steel.

Hey President Calderon I Have a Solution

It seems the President of Mexico is once again trying to tell us what to do:

Mexican President Felipe Calderon has told the BBC the US should do more to reduce the demand for drugs that is fuelling violence in Mexico.

You want us to do something to reduce the demand for drugs? Sure thing we’ll legalize it all and end the war on drugs. Much like Portugal we should see a drop in drug related violence once they’re legitimized. Of course that’s not acceptable:

Mr Calderon and his counterparts from Colombia and Costa Rica, Juan Manuel Santos and Laura Chinchilla, said legalisation of cannabis in California would send a contradictory message.

God damn it! We offer a solution and you spit on it. What the fuck are we supposed to do?

“It is confusing for our people to see that while we have lost lives and we invest vast resources in the drug war, in the consumer countries they promote proposals like the Californian referendum to legalise the production, the sale and the consumption of marijuana,” said Mr Santos.

I understand that potential freedom and liberty may be confusing to you as presidential equivalent of Columbia but trust me it works. You’d be surprised how popular the idea of liberty really is.

He reiterated his long-standing view that the problem of organised crime would remain as long as the US remained the biggest consumer of drugs in the world.

If it’s no longer criminals to grow, possess, and use the stuff then organized crime will no longer profit from it. Once organized crime no longer profits from it their power base will be knocked out and thus become much less of a problem. A similar thing happened when we ended prohibition in this country many decades ago. But no story about the troubles of Mexico would be complete without the mention of the Mexican gun canard:

Obama administration officials have acknowledged that the US shares responsibility for the drug violence, on account of the demand for illegal drugs and its inability to stop weapons flowing south.

I will give the BBC one thing though, they usually do a good job of covering both sides of a story:

However, US gun rights groups question whether the US is the source for the vast majority of the illegal guns turning up in Mexico.

The majority of guns confiscated by Mexico and submitted to the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) for tracing do originate in the US.

However, a large number of seized weapons are not sent for tracing.

There is your reason so many guns submitted for tracing are found to originate in the US, not many guns are being submitted. For instance there really is no point is submitting a fully automatic AK-47 to the US for tracing being finding such weapons for a reasonable price (as any such weapon made after 1968 1986 is illegal) is practically impossible.

EDIT 2010-10-27 21:05: Had the wrong date posted. It’s corrected now thanks to Jeff.

Need Support

What is the Brady Campaign to do? They’re fighting a losing battle but the heads of their organization was to continue receiving pay checks to they keep trying to make themselves appear relevant. They need supporters but nobody seems to be willing to acknowledge them. So what can they do? Create sock puppet Internet accounts of course!

Yes the Brady Bunch are back to drumming up grassroots efforts… but making up multiple Internet accounts and using their copy and paste capabilities (obviously they’re not running Windows Phone 7, ZING!).


Do you log into services such as Facebook from public Wi-Fi hot spots? Are you logging into these services without forcing them to use HTTPS? Well I’ve got bad news for you, there is a Firefox plugin called Firesheep.

What is Firesheep? Well it’s a Firefox plugin that listens to Wi-Fi traffic and looks for authentication cookies for known services. When you log into Facebook an object called a cookie is sent from Facebook’s server to your computer. The Facebook server knows this cookie was sent to you and hence it is used by your computer to authenticate yourself to Facebook when you’re interacting with the website. Here’s the problem, that cookie isn’t sent through a secure tunnel (HTTPS) unless you using something like HTTPS Everywhere or NoScript to force it.

Without the cookie being sent through a secure tunnel anybody listening to your network traffic can grab that cookie. With that cookie they can log onto your account as Facebook only asks for the cookie as proof that you are you. Open Wi-Fi hot spots (such as those at Starbucks) use no encryption meaning everything you sent and receive that isn’t in a secure tunnel can be seen by anybody with a Wi-Fi card.

Scenario time! Let’s say you go to Starbucks and log onto your Facebook account on their free and open Wi-Fi hot spot. The guy sitting across from you has his laptop open and is running Firesheep. When you log in he obtains your cookie and then logs onto your Facebook account, changes your e-mail and password, and starts doing all sorts of malicious shit to your friends. This is what happens ladies and gentlemen when you use unsecured Wi-Fi access points. Don’t do it! If you’re going to be in a situation where you know you’ll be required to use an unsecured Wi-Fi hot spot (such as a hotel) use a VPN service (quite a while ago I reviewed HotSpotVPN which is one of those services).

Firesheep was created to raise awareness of this problem. If you head over to this link you can download a slide show used by the creator of Firesheep for a presentation at Toorcon.