A couple of resources for beginner hackers

23/05/2015

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.

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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!!


I don’t just take photos you know…

02/01/2015

I don't just take photos you know….


A British Post Box

23/04/2013

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They don’t make them like this anymore. Usually now you just get a boring red metal canister on a pole on the corner of the road. I like taking photos of the prettier post boxes. In my filing cabinet I’ve got a pic of a real old fancy one outside Worcester Cathedral I did in 1998. In fact, I’ve got a whole bunch of nice pix I made in the late 1990s, all on slides. I’ll actually get round to having them digitized one day, then I’ll post them online so everyone can see them (yeah right, how many times have I said that in the past 13 years)!

I’m afraid I messed with this pic a little before I posted it here. Nothing major: it needed levelling n stuff. But I also used the Brightness-Contrast control to make it a bit more colourful. Please don’t his me in the face.

Possibly interesting fact that you might not know: that E II R script on the front means “Elizabeth II Regina”, or in English: Queen Elizabeth II. So we know it was made after 1952 (which was when Queen Liz was crowned).

More damn useful info: the Royal Mail (the company that gets the mail out of the boxes, sorts out where it’s gotta go then sticks it through your day the next day) separated from Parcelforce (the parcel delivery division) in 1990.

So there ya go: a pretty photo of a post box and some useful education on UK postal services. So now you won’t punish me for gimping up them bricks n stuff??

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Spider on the wall…

12/03/2013

I thought you might like to have a peek (eeek!) of a spider I met while tidying up my patio after the ravages of winter.  It was a bloody monster, and I was somewhat relieved when I discovered it was camera-shy and crept off soon after.

The camera I used was a Fujifilm S5700 bridge camera which boasts 7 megapixels!  I bought it in 2007, and it’s still giving me much enjoyment.  It’s my close-up camera, as its “super macro” mode lets it focus on objects that are very nearly touching the lens!  I don’t think I got quite that close to Itsy-Bitsy (I’m not arachnophobic but they do make me a little queasy… plus I didn’t recognise this particular species, for all I knew it might have been a poisonous one-bite-and-yer-brown-bread kind of beast).  Luckily I survived the encounter, and here is a (reduced in size) copy of its mugshot.

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Not being an arachnophile, I have no idea at all what this species is called.  If anyone reading this knows, please share your knowledge via Comments.  Inquiring Minds Need To Know!  🙂

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Shiny shiny shopping trolleys, all Gimped up in a row.

10/02/2013

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Shopping trolleys, Feb 2013

Had to do some Gimping to get rid of the locks and chains that keep our beautiful trolleys in captivity. Any comments on my work? Haven’t done much Gimping before, except for cropping, resizing and such.


Winterberry in the snow

06/02/2013

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Red berry, white snow

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Pic #1: A bunch of swans

01/01/2013

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Photography != Terrorism… no matter *what* they say!!

11/01/2010


I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned this before: but I’m a keen amateur photographer. In the olden days, when photographers still used film, I had a succession of Pentax cameras: an ME Super, a Program A, and I still have a SF7. But film is old hat nowadays, we all use digital; and I couldn’t afford a digital SLR, so for now I’m using a Fujifilm S5700 “bridge” camera. Still, it’s okay for my favourite types of photography: landscape, architectural, and its small size maks it grrreat for street photography.

Unfortunately, photography in general and street photography in particular are in real trouble here in the UK. Why? Because the police have got it into their heads that photographers are all potential terrorists!

I’m not sure, but I think this paranoid delusion first took hold when the police found photos of “potential targets” in the belongings of terror suspects. Individual officers were told to keep an eye out for photographers both overt and covert as they might be performing reconnaissance for an attack. This has resulted in street and architectural photographers being harrassed, searched and detained by police and community support officers, chiefly in London but also in other towns and cities.

The UK magazine Amateur Photographer has been running a campaign to defend our rights since 2005, when police persecution of photographers first became apparent. There’s a nice article on the AP website that runs through the campaign, starting with Roy Jhuboo who was stopped and searched by overzealous officers when he was out and about taking photos in Limehouse, East London. The police told Jhuboo that he’d been searched because “he could have been on a reconnaissance mission to launch a ‘rocket’ on nearby Canary Wharf.” Two police vans full of officers were sent to intercept him because he had been seen taking a photo of a house!

Since AP began their campaign in 2005, government figures have sought to reassure us that photographers in general are not being targetted. And both the government and ACPO (the Association of Chief Police Officers) have publicly issued advice saying that photographers should not be bothered unless there are good grounds for suspicion. Yet every week there are more stories in the magazine telling how photographers have been stopped, searched, even arrested by police for no more reason than taking photos in public places. The City of London Police even told AP that anyone taking photos in central London should expect searches and demands for identification, even though this directly goes against the guidance all forces have received from the government and ACPO on this subject.

Opposition to the police stance on photographers is wide-spread and growing. MPs who are also enthusiastic photographers have raised the subject in Parliament. Professional photographers working for the media have got the issue in the news. But the harrassment continues. I would ask all photographers to support Amateur Photographer in its campaign to defend our rights. It is gradually becoming acceptable in the eyes of the police and some members of the public. We need to stop this! We need to reinforce the fact that we have the right to take photos in public places. We must not allow the police and their political masters to create a climate in which innocent photography can be banned.

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But the cops don’t lie…!

27/05/2009

This comic strip is hilarious, yet a little too real… I used to think that only a complete idiot would fall for a trick like this, but there are lots of otherwise intelligent folk who honestly believe that the police aren’t allowed to lie! Frightening, isn’t it?

The strip (below) is from http://lawcollective.live.radicaldesigns.org/. And there is a lot more good stuff there, including advice on such topics as “Arrest and Questioning”, “Jail and Bail” and “Using a lawyer”. The site is rather USA-centric, but a lot of it is relevant to most Western countries. Police are police no matter where they’re from. Check it out – maybe you’re not a criminal right now, but you never know when the cops might decide to turn you into one!

(Here’s a link to the strip at the site, in case you have difficulty viewing it here… it’s reproduced pretty bloody small!)

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Learnin’ stuff

25/01/2008

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