Silver Lining

May 23, 2015

After taking a trip down memory lane, I decided to share with you an acoustic performance of “Silver Lining” by Stiff Little Fingers:

And so you can sing along, here are the lyrics:

They tell you not to worry
They say they’re terribly sorry
But that’s the way it has to be
For the likes of you and me

Just be good and know your station
Always look on the bright side
Keep you faith and keep your patience
Your reward is after you’ve died

So don’t be told, don’t be consoled
Things are so bad, you can never make do
And there’s always someone better off than you

They tell you that’s your future
It’s all down to human nature
Simply settle for what you got
That’s destiny and that’s your lot

All of us cannot come first
Yes, what you have is second best
But it might be a good deal worse
Third world peasants get even less

So don’t be told, don’t be consoled
Things are so bad, you can never make do
And there’s always someone better off than you

Do you care that it’s not fair?
Is this the way we have to live?
I know I care and I want an equal share
Even if it mean I have to give

The people who are on top
Say that you should keep your chin up
And they are keen to show you
The unhappy ones below you

But I want no more of that stuff
That’s looking at it upside down
And the world has got money
Enough for us to make it go around

So don’t be told, don’t be consoled
Don’t be ruled and don’t be fooled
Because things are so bad you can never make do
And there’s always someone better off than you
(Burns, Jake / Ogilvie, Gordon Archer)

Those lines “I know I care and I want an equal share / Even if it mean I have to give” were pretty unfashionable in 1981, when the album Go For It was released, during the first few years of Margaret Thatcher’s reign; and they’re damn unfashionable now, when thhe entirety of British politics has taken a lurch to the right. Labour’s a centre-right party now, joining in the Punch & Judy show of bashing immigrants and espousing an in/out referendum on the European Union during the election campaign. If a true left-wing politician doesn’t become Labour leader and drag the party back to its proper place in the scheme of things, a new popular socialist party will have to materialise or British politics will remain a “right is right” scenario. And where “right is right” lives can quickly become a white is right domain – something that certain well-known politicians would have no problem with.

Anyway, that’s enough evil for one day. I found the entire SLF album Inflammable Material on Youtube:

Reminiscent of the days of audio cassette, when you had to fast-forward or rewind semi-blind to find a particular track you might want to play. If you want to have this lumbering video file into mp3, there are several websites that’ll do it for you: I did a Google search “convert youtube to mp3″ and got so many results… here are the first 2: http://www.youtube-mp3.org/ and http://www.video2mp3.net/. I haven’t tried either yet, but please tell us your horror stories in Comments if things should go wrong!  As I’m a Linux user (yah boo windoze sucks… I got a new laptop last week and it’s got Windows 8.1 on it and I think it’s giving me a glimpse of what Hell will be like for a computer user like me…) Where was I?  Oh yeah, as a Linux (Ubuntu, no less) user, I’ve converted it myself with a program called avconv which seems to have actually come with the operating system (I can’t remember ever installing it); avconv is cool, it’s a terminal/command-line program which will convert one ausio or video file into a different format – eg an mp4 video into an mp3 audio file – really simply… and it was FREE – didn’t cost me a single bale of hemp (respect to Eris) – just liuke the whole of Ubuntu was FREE.  Whereas my new laptop came with Windows on it and almost nothing else… I have had to spend hours installing apps like LibreOffice (a free word-processor/spreadsheet/goddess-only-knows-what-else, kind of like Microsoft Office, only FREE) and VLC (a – you guessed it – FREE audio and video player that lets me play what the hell I want, when the hell I want, regardless if the video’s ripped from a DVD or whatever… WHOA this is not meant to be a Linux vs Windows post so I’ll stop ranting now.  But I WILL be writing a Ubuntu v Windows 8.1 post sometime soon, so go put your ass-hats on if you got em!


A couple of resources for beginner hackers

May 23, 2015

Hacking and phreaking have had a few set-backs over the past decae or so. But things never really change, only the methods needed to achieve those things. Blue boxes and the POTS have been made difficult to utilize, but now there are voice mail systems to break into, even after all the furore about reporters ‘hacking’ celebs’ voice mail accounts; you can listen to other people’s messages, even make phone calls on poorly configured voice mail systems (do a bit of googling about hacking into VMS) – I’m spreading news, not giving tutorials, and anyway I have not the first idea how to do anything illegal! – and you shouldn’t do anything illegal either, I’d never encourage anyone to break the law :)

I don't think she should be listening to that!  (pic stolen from http://www.theregister.co.uk

I don’t think she should be listening to that! (pic stolen from http://www.theregister.co.uk

So that’s phreaking still alive and kicking, just in a different form to what older phreaks might recognize. And “hacking”/cracking still lives and kicks too!!! It’s still possible to carry out SQL injection – link (though more companies are getting wise to the tricks and closing the loopholes), malicious websites that put nasties into your computer while you’re browsing asian porn or whatever are thriving, and if you want to be a “proper” hacker who knows how this stuff works under the hood and maybe wants to write your own tools, there are books like Violent Python (pdf download link) out there that can explain some of the nuts and bolts (shh, you didn’t get that link from me!). Amazon says of Violent Python

[It] shows you how to move from a theoretical understanding of offensive computing concepts to a practical implementation. Instead of relying on another attacker’s tools, this book will teach you to forge your own weapons using the Python programming language. This book demonstrates how to write Python scripts to automate large-scale network attacks, extract metadata, and investigate forensic artefacts. It also shows how to write code to intercept and analyze network traffic using Python, craft and spoof wireless frames to attack wireless and Bluetooth devices, and how to data-mine popular social media websites and evade modern anti-virus.

High praise indeed. especially when you consider that they’re charging £17 to £18 for the book.

violent-python-cover

For a more gentle and possibly more fun way to learn Python is at Invent Your Own Computer Games With Python (but if you’d rather just have a pdf of their book to read offline it can be gotten here – the book is available under Creative Commons so you don’t need to be antsy about that download at least). A lot of hackers sneer at “script kiddies” who know nothing about programming and who rely on ready-made tools. So fuck em, right? Learn Python – a simple yet powerrul language.

And then there’s the sneaky practice of snatching random strangers’ (or indeed targeted targets’) data off the air when they’re using the net in coffee shops etc. It’s becoming more difficult as people become aware of the danger (for instance if I’m out and about I use https and a VPS) but there are still a lot of possible targets sending bank or card details, or other sensitive info over the air – look here and here for tips and tricks.

So, phreaking and hacking isn’t dead – it’s just grown up a bit. As long as the hacker is also prepared to grow and change, all will be well for the infonauts of the future.

Abby Sciuto is the hacker of the future (and of the present).  I'd love to spend a day/night - KAF-POW! -  in her NCIS lab!!

Abby Sciuto is the hacker of the future (and of the present). I’d love to spend a day/night – KAF-POW! – in her NCIS lab!!


The Tories won the election; but our true political ruler is still in charge – the Queen!

May 13, 2015

I’ve always thought that the UK’s status as a “constitutional monarchy” meant that political decisions were made by our elected government and parliament, and that the Queen’s job was to attract the tourists and to rubber-stamp legislation with her truly ceremonial “Royal Assent”.

But it seems that I, and just about everyone else, have been misled.  The Guardian has reported that the Queen has powers of veto that are stunningly far-reaching.  One small example is the Queen vetoing the Military Actions Against Iraq Bill in 1999, a private member’s bill that sought to transfer the power to authorise military strikes against Iraq from the monarch to parliament.  In effect, it’s the Queen who decides whether to take military action or not, and there is nothing the government can do about it!

Downing Street did what it could to keep all this secret – we only know about it now because of a court order to release details of an internal Whitehall pamphlet was only released following a court order and shows ministers and civil servants are obliged to consult the Queen and Prince Charles in greater detail and over more areas of legislation than was previously understood.

The new laws that were required to receive the seal of approval from the Queen or Prince Charles cover issues from higher education and paternity pay to identity cards and child maintenance.

In one instance the Queen completely vetoed the Military Actions Against Iraq Bill in 1999, a private member’s bill that sought to transfer the power to authorise military strikes against Iraq from the monarch to parliament.

She was even asked to consent to the Civil Partnership Act 2004 because it contained a declaration about the validity of a civil partnership that would bind her.

In the pamphlet, the Parliamentary Counsel warns civil servants that if consent is not forthcoming there is a risk “a major plank of the bill must be removed”.

“This is opening the eyes of those who believe the Queen only has a ceremonial role,” said Andrew George, Liberal Democrat MP for St Ives, which includes land owned by the Duchy of Cornwall, the Prince of Wales’ hereditary estate.

“It shows the royals are playing an active role in the democratic process and we need greater transparency in parliament so we can be fully appraised of whether these powers of influence and veto are really appropriate. At any stage this issue could come up and surprise us and we could find parliament is less powerful than we thought it was.”

This power of veto has been described by constitutional lawyers as a royal “nuclear deterrent” that may help explain why ministers appear to pay close attention to the views of senior royals.

The guidance also warns civil servants that obtaining consent can cause delays to legislation and reveals that even amendments may need to be run past the royals for further consent.

And of course, how is the government supposed to do away with this remnant of absolute monarchy?  If a bill was voted through parliament to do away with the royal power of assent, the Queen would simply veto it – and the veto would probably remain secret, just as it has for so long!

The concept of Royal Assent has always been considered as a quaint anachronism that allows the UK to be both a functioning democracy and a monarchy.  Now we know that’s a lie.  The question is: what the hell are we going to do?

British dictator for life Queen Elizabeth II.  Don't mess with this bitch!"  Picture stolen in the interests for freedom from http://guardianlv.com/

British dictator for life Queen Elizabeth II. Don’t mess with this bitch!” Picture stolen in the interests for freedom from http://guardianlv.com/


GRAND RELAUNCH OF I HATE HATE… THE BEST BLOG ON ALL THE INTERNET (APART FROM THE ONES THAT ARE BETTER)…

May 12, 2015

The last time I posted on I HATE HATE was 3 February. Some time ago I made a promise to my dwindling legions of friends on Facebook that I would relaunch: and here it is.

I’m going to make a more substantive post in a bit (after I’ve finished my finest Sainsburys Kentucky Bourbon – everyone knows blogging ain’t blogging unless you’re drunk). So for now, I will leave you with two of the finest statements never/ever made by people who don’t exist:

SPIDER JERUSALEM: “All people are scum.  No matter what they look like.”

"All people are scum.  No matter what they look like."

“All people are scum. No matter what they look like.”

and

ERIC CARTMAN: “The only way to fight hate is with even more hate!”

"The only way to fight hate is with even more hate!"

“The only way to fight hate is with even more hate!”

Oh, and here’s a picture of Eugenie Bouchard.  For no reason other than she’s going to marry me (“Oh no I’m not!”  Oh yes you are!  “Oh no I’m…” etc.

Eugenie-Bouchard-2

“Je t’adore, Martin X. Mwah mwah mwah!”

;)


Pirate Bay returns… again! You can’t keep a good phoenix down

February 3, 2015

The Pirate Bay’s back. All of us music/video/software moochers can get back to mooching. Luke Skywalker trashed the Death Star and we can all sleep soundly in our beds again (assuming that your bed wasn’t on Alderaan…).

TPB-ship

Some would say that the whole Pirate Bay thing has been blown up out of proportion. After all, the efforts to close down TBP were a legal issue, to try and stop evil pirates from downloading other people’s intellectual property for free, thus depriving the artists and creators their cut of the dosh. Theft is bad, m’kay?

The thing is, the artists and creators (with a few exceptions) weren’t the ones screaming to have TPB closed down and its admins thrown into prison. Back in 2006, the year of the first Pirate Bay raid, it was widely reported that the raid was “politically motivated and under pressure from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).” The MPAA declared that the operation was a resounding success. But in truth TPB was back online in a few days, and the publicity brought to the attention of the Swedish public the debate about what intellectual property rights are for, and the question of whether the Pirate Bay’s admins had actually broken Swedish law. On 31 January 2008, Pirate Bay operators Fredrik Neij, Per Svartholm Warg, Peter Sunde and Carl Lundström were charged with “promoting other people’s infringements of copyright laws.” Pirate Bay’s legal advisor, Mikael Viborg, has stated that because torrent files and trackers merely point to content, the site’s activities are legal under Swedish law.

So, the first Pirate Bay raid resulted in a lot of computer equipment being seized (including equipment that TPB didn’t even own. From Wikipedia:

All servers in the server room were seized, including those running the website of Piratbyrån, an independent organization fighting for file sharing rights, as well as servers unrelated to The Pirate Bay or other file sharing activities, including a Russian opposition news agency.[13] In addition, equipment such as hardware routers, switches, blank CDs, and faxes were also seized.

Another result of the 2006 raid was TPB taking action to mitigate the effects of future police operations. Redundancy has been built into the system, and TPB has servers in many locations around the world. A lot of countries and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) try to block TPB traffic nowadays: a Wikipedia article lists countries involved in blocking attempts – a list numbering 27 countries! But that doesn’t pose a major problem, as using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) account will usually get around the block. John Gilmore, computer science innovator, Libertarian, Internet activist, and one of the founders of Electronic Frontier Foundation, famously said of Internet censorship: “The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.” As governments and their ISP lackeys have moved to block access to TPB, online activists and all-round good guys have set up proxy sites mirroring the Pirate Bay. There’s a list of proxies here.

Okay then, The Pirate Bay was raided again on 9 December 2014, seizing servers and other computers and equipment, which resulted in the website going offline. The raid was in response to a complaint from Rights Alliance, a Swedish anti-piracy group.

Was the raid successful in stopping online piracy? I think not. TorrentFreak reported that most other torrent sites reported a 5-10% increase in traffic from the displaced users, though the shutdown had little effect on overall piracy levels. And it certainly had unexpected effects: In retaliation to the raid, a group of hackers claiming to be part of Anonymous allegedly leaked email log-in details of Swedish government officials. IsoHunt has since copied much of the original TPB database and made it accessible through oldpiratebay.org, a searchable index of old Pirate Bay torrents. And on 31 January 2015 TPB was up and running again.

How long will it be before TPB is raided again? I really wouldn’t like to speculate on that. But one thing I’m pretty sure about: if it’s taken down, it’ll soon be up again. The Pirate Bay is more than the 4 guys busted in 2006. As Obi-Wan Kenobi said to Darth Vader: “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.” Yep, you can’t keep a good phoenix down…

phoenix

Locations of visitors to this page


free web stat


Pop “star” Rhianna wins court case against Topshop… in other news she needs a new hats to fit her swollen head

January 27, 2015

Really annoys me when “celebrities” kick off cos a photo of them has been used without permission.  In the Rhiannha v Topshop case, the mediocre singer complained because the shop was selling t-shirts bearing her photograph.  She claimed that Topshop were making out that she had endorsed the use of the photo. Rihanna won because the High Court decided that despite the copyright licence a substantial number of purchasers would have believed that Rihanna endorsed the sale of the product shirt with her image– because the image was taken from her current album – Talk That Talk – and Topshop had collaborated in the past with trend setting celebrities (from www.fashionlaw.co.uk).

This kind of crap is ridiculous, and demonstrates how $$$ is more important than the facts and the law in courts.  When a photographer shoots a photo of an individual, the copyright belongs to the photographer, whether the subject of the photo likes it or not (this is English law).  As for this nonsense that the public might think Rhianna endorsed the t-shirt in question – that has nothing to do with it.  The t-shirt did not bear any lettering suggesting that the crap pop star liked the t-shirt.

Rhianna, probably realizing that she would be broke in a few years, decided to get a few extra bucks suing Topshop.  Stupid (as you might expect from a pop bimbo with less brain than a stick insect) – instead of taking Topshop to court, she could have got her lawyers to arrange for her to be paid royalties.  But no: the twat tries to occupy the moral highground (and how in hell did she manage that?).

Rhianna after taking a beaten from partner Chris Brown.  Such a pretty look...

Rhianna after taking a beaten from partner Chris Brown. Such a pretty look…

At Shmoosmiths.co.uk,  it was reported that Judge Justice Birss was at pains to point out that no new law was being developed as a result of his findings:

Unlike other jurisdictions (including many US states) there is no such thing in English law as ‘image rights’. In some jurisdictions it is possible for celebrities to rely on extensive statutory protection for their personal brand covering everything from their voice to their signature. In Guernsey it is possible to register such rights. However, in the UK the courts have refused to extend the law to prevent the use of a celebrity’s image if they consider that the use is simply fair competition without misrepresentation.

In the UK celebrities may be able to use existing law to protect their images and reputations in certain circumstances.

So, were those “certain circumstances” met in this case?  I think not.  Basically, Rhianna’s singing skills are leaving fast.  All the silly cow has going for her are her looks.  It won’t be long before those fail her and she ends up looking like the back end of a bus.  So she’s making the most of them while they last.  Hence the court action.

As a photographer, I have the right to take pictures of just about anyone I want to, so long as I am standing on public roads/areas or have permission of the landowner that I’m standing on, and so long as the subject of my photography does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy (as far as I can tell, Rhianna did not have a reasonable expectation.  And, also very important, Topshop had obtained a licence of the copyright in the photograph. Topshop owned the copyright, the photo was taken legally… yet Rhianna still won.  English courts are ridiculous.  Rhianna (and her legal team): a bunch of pillocks.  Fuck Rhianna and all who sail in her.

Another pic of the beautiful Rhianna.  I like in particular that sneer/growl.  What a looker eh!!

Another pic of the beautiful Rhianna. I like in particular that sneer/growl. What a looker eh!!

Here’s another blog post about Rhiana from Mind of Malaka “What do Rhianna and my daughter have in common?” It’s not about this story on the photos… but if you don’t want your kids to grow up seeing Rhianna as some kind of role model, click of the link and read it. Stupid dopey Rhianna fool, she is one big mass of idiocy-with-money…

Locations of visitors to this page


free web stat


Tracking jihadis on Twitter

January 19, 2015

Interesting article in the Guardian, on how social media experts are tracking and identifying foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq. These analysts work for the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR), at King’s College London. The ICSR is “the first global initiative of its type” and is frequently contacted by counter-terrorism officers “hungry for information on the continuing flow of Britons to the ranks of Isis.”

The ICSR claims to have greater success in tracking fighters than any government-run organisation, even though its resources and its access to information is much more limited than those available to the likes of MI6 and the CIA. According to the article, Professor Peter Neumann, the leader of the team, says hat blanket surveillance is not effective unless you have the skills to decode the information acquired.

Neumann said that the centre had built an enviable repository of online data from open sources – tricks that the security services are keen to learn and replicate, although the ICSR refuses to hand over data to the intelligence agencies. He added that the databases were compiled using legal means, with no hacking of accounts or even the use of fake online profiles.

“We are using information that is openly accessible to anyone who wants to look. Over the years we’ve become quite clever, but none of what we’re doing involves hacking and obviously we do not have special powers granted to us by the authorities,” said Neumann, who advocates a more targeted approach to intelligence-gathering rather than reliance on mass surveillance techniques.

So the strategy employed by the NSA and GCHQ is less effective. They collect huge amounts of information but do’t know what to do with it. Whereas the ICSR’s more targeted approach yields much better quality intelligence. For example, Shiraz Maher, senior fellow at the centre, has a good grasp on what jihadis are like because he actually orchestrates conversations with fighters over Facebook and Twitter. He says “From an intelligence perspective, social media allows us to gauge their mood and gives opportunities to perhaps create or exploit dissent. Before social media you would have needed to have recruited spies.”

An example of this ability to gauge the mood of ISIS fighters and their supporters is provided by Melanie Smith, another ICSR research fellow. She told the Guardian There’s been some grumblings recently. Some of the British women have been complaining because it’s the depths of winter and there’s no electricity. The water’s been so cold they can’t do their washing and their kids are getting sick.” Obviously, knowledge of the enemy’s state of morale can be extremely useful when planning operations.

"Jihadi John", British ISIS fighter involved in the killings of Western hostages.  Photo from Wikipedia

“Jihadi John”, British ISIS fighter involved in the killings of Western hostages. Photo from Wikipedia

Professor Neumann says that if he had had a larger team 2 years ago, the ICSR would have been able to identify “Jihadi John”, the British ISIS fighter involved in the killings of several US and British hostages. As it is, the ICSR can only assert that the extremist is not Londoner Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, as claimed by the media.

So the experts believe that the approach espoused by Western leaders such as David Cameron and his beloved snooper’s charter is wrong. What is needed is targeted intelligence gathering and surveillance of named individuals. And where will these names come from? Well, if the ICSR has been able to identify fighters using only information that is already in the public domain, imagine how much more they could do with warrants and access to restricted files. This could all be done within the current legal framework, with no need for snoopers’ charters and large-scale trawling of everyone’s communications.

Locations of visitors to this page


free web stat


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 198 other followers

%d bloggers like this: