Posts by Pablo Endres

Followup on mind control

Mae Geri. Source: http://www.foto-harz.de/details.php?image_id=968

This post was originally going to be dedicated to Karate, but I stumbled upon a reflective article: “Mind Control” by Pete Herzog and decided to try to build on top of it.

Pete, makes reference that given the speed of our sensors and our brain we basically live in the past: 80 ms in the past to be precise. So since we live in the past, our mind has been made up before we actually know or realize it; this enables us to perform complex tasks in “mental autodrive” or mental cruise control and how much energy is necessary to change mental patterns. Keep Reading →

Tools

I’ve added a new section that contains some tools / scripts / quick hacks I’ve done over the last couple of years.

They are probably not my best coding, but they get the job done.

If they are helpful or useful for you let me know. If you have any suggestions or patches add a comment or contact me.

Implementing effective controls: Venezuela to block stolen mobile phones

Even though a don’t agree with many of the decisions and laws created in Venezuela, I think this is great example of implementing a control for a big risk. Keep Reading →

Empathy and MSN

I’ve had some problems recently (the last couple of weeks) with Empathy on Ubuntu 10.04. All my MSN accounts just started giving my an “Authentication Failed”.

After checking with pidgin, which I use for other accounts, that my credentials were still working I found a post in the Ubuntu Forums that gave me a good solution:

$ sudo aptitude remove telepathy-butterfly
— Make sure you have telepathy-haze installed, if not
$ sudo aptitude install telepathy-haze
— Delete the accounts and recreate them with the new plugin

I’m not sure why this happened, but at least it’s working again.
Hope this helps someone else out there.

ooimpress and .pps files

I’ve been working with Ubuntu lately at the day job and the Open Office setup is different than on Fedora.  One special case is the opening of .pps files, which per default go into “presentation mode” which I normally hate to see (it just takes to long to see what you really what to see in the presentation.

This is a workaround I found around in the Web:
Create ~/bin/ooimpress-edit or if you want to use it system wide /usr/local/bin/ooimpress-edit; and add the following code into it

#!/bin/bash
ooimpress -n “$*”
exit

Use it when ever you think you need it.  I set it up as default behaviour in the browser.

Enjoy

Lucid Lynx and Constantine multiboot

As most of you know I’m a Fedora user, well started out some time ago as a Redhat user until they decided to have to spins: Redhat (stable for the enterprise) and Fedora (bleeding edge for the community). Back to the point, my main distro is Fedora but I like to give other distributions a spin to find the pros and cons.

I decided to install the new and shiny Ubuntu 10.04 “Lucid Lynx”, but there is no way I want to affect my main partitions!! Why should I this is Linux after all, it can boot from a secondary partition I can even put the bootloader at the beginning of the partition to make it totally independent!! Having done that already with Backtrack 4, Ubuntu 9.10 (karmic) and CentOS 5.x it should be as easy as 1 – 2 – 3 (Or simple as… got Jackson 5 ringing in my ear right now).

So the solution I had in mind was just to add a new partition with parted, install there and add the following lines to the /etc/grub.conf in my Fedora partition:

title Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic)
rootnoverify (hd0,6)
chainloader +1

The problem is that Ubuntu 10.04 ships with grub-2 (technically speaking 1.98) and it just doesn’t work the same way. After a couple of re-installs and hours later I came out with this blog with a really detailed review of the distribution and with the solution I needed:

title Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx)
root (hd0,4)
kernel /boot/grub/core.img
savedefault
boot

Just to make sure your a attacking the right error, this is was I was getting: Error 13 invalid or unsupported executable format

Enjoy

Ubuntu Firefox: This address is restricted

I got the weirdest of errors today trying to open a web page on port 6000: ThisAddress-is-restricted

After reading for a while I found out that de Mozilla Foundation built in this protection for “Cross-Protocol” scripting attack with a form of Port Banning.

To overide this protection use one of the following steps:

  • In the user’s profile directory the all.js, add the following line at the end of the file user_pref("network.security.ports.banned.override", "1-65535");
  • In the defaults/pref/ sub-directory of the installation directory (multi-user systems) add the following line at the end of the file user_pref("network.security.ports.banned.override","1-65535");
  • Open a new window, in the address type: about:config and add a new entry of the type string with this name network.security.ports.banned.override and value 1-65535.

If you want to set free only one port change the range for that port o list of ports.

US Access to SWIFT data

Im not a Terrorist

This is a topic that caught my eye a while ago and just found out it’s still an open issue.

According to their website:

SWIFT is the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, a member-owned cooperative through which the financial world conducts its business operations with speed, certainty and confidence. Over 8,300 banking organisations, securities institutions and corporate customers in more than 208 countries trust us every day to exchange millions of standardised financial messages.

So basically it’s the organization that manages the API’s and systems that make international banking work smoothly.

This Belgium based organization had it’s major databases in the US until an article in the NY Times aired that the CIA under the Bush administration had been data mining the database to find links to terrorism, after Europe protested the database was move to Holland.  So the issue now is that the US intelligence agencies want to keep having unlimited access to spy on EU Citizens using the usual terrorism joker card.

I think this is a big issue and should be handled a such.  There are some open questions I have to this deal:
What does a US or in fact any intelligence agency have to do with our financial records without a warrant?
Is every person in the world considered a potential terrorist?
Were are rights, are privacy?
While we’re at it:  How long is this data retained?  How is it guarded? Who makes sure it’s correctly discarded?

Benjamin Franklin summed this up better than I can ever try to:

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety

IT-SA

So the last couple of days I was at the IT-SA a new security fair in Nürnberg (Germany).  This is / was the first edition but it is a attempt to make a security oriented fair out of the security section of the Systems in München which should take place 21-24th October 2009.

On Tuesday I was really disapointed with the fair, because I was expecting a conference RSA style.  But after taking the right perspective I think it was good,  most of the big players in the security field were there:  AV companies, the big firewall companies and of course your share of UTM and service providers.  They organized a speaking trend in each of the 2 exibition halls: a technical and a managment.  Most of the talks were short and white paper like and they had the usual “hacking live” talks that serve as “eye openers”.  They are fun to see but people should know that the pentesting or crackers job is normally not that easy, they don’t know exactlly what you are going to do in order to install a Trojan or what drivers you have install in oder to escalate privileges.

Today the BSI had it’s own embebed conference (3. BSI Grundschutztag) in the event.  The talks where OK, they presented the new changes that can be expected it in the next version of the IT-Grundschutz Katalog and their standards.

OWAP hat their share yesturday, I didn’t get the chance to attend but if someone got to go I would appreciate a link to the slides and/or the content of the sessions.

VMware not working smoothly on Fedora 11

failed

I just tested the latest version of VMware Workstation for Linux on my Fedora 11 box and there are a couple of things that just bothered me.  The big picture is that it’s not working smoothly:

The problems started on install time, in order to be able to install the rpm I had to uninstall gcc! (Thanks to Tusheto for the idea ).  Then I could work as usual with your virtual machines until I tried to turn them off:  it hung forever, I gave it 5 min. before having to kill window.  The files stayed locked thanks to the vmtray that is not shown in GNOME, so if happen to have you VM’s in a external drive there is no way to cleanly unplugg it without killing the residual process.

Afer so many years working with VMware on Linux I really expected more.  Rating F

Ran my tests on Fedora 11, kernel: 2.6.30.5-43.fc11.i686.PAE, and VMware-Workstation-6.5.3-185404.i386

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