Category: privacy and anonymity

porn over postie

I was browsing the RevK’s blog (originally brought to my attention by David) this morning and came across this gem. It would seem that some UK households have been receiving unsolicited pornographic DVDs through the post. As the RevK says: Well, obviously the Royal Mail need a default opt-in adult content filtering in place for …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/08/12/porn-over-postie/

tor users under attack

The Tor network does not just provide anonymous internet access, it also provides for so-called hidden services. These services are not visible outside the Tor network and are only reachable over Tor. The servers are given Tor specific addresses of the form “xyz123.onion” (actually, the addresses are a little more complicated than that because the …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/08/10/tor-users-under-attack/

lavabit dead

I run my own mail server for a number of reasons. And I rarely regret that decision. However, there have been occasions in the past when relying on a single mail provider (even when that provider is myself) has proven problematic. The first problem arose several years ago when the ISP which I use for …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/08/09/lavabit-dead/

repeat after me – snowden is not the story

John Naughton has an interesting column in his “networker” series in today’s Observer. In it he laments the fact that the majority of the world’s mainstream media seem more intent on reporting on Snowden the man than on what Snowden has revealed. He starts: “Repeat after me: Edward Snowden is not the story. The story …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/07/28/repeat-after-me-snowden-is-not-the-story/

save your money – just use tails

I suppose it was inevitable that the Snowden revelations would lead to greater interest in privacy and anonymity. I applaud that. I suppose it was also inevitable that there would be a rash of commercial products emerging from both “entrepreneurs” and the more established “security” companies to take advantage of that increased interest. That, I …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/07/17/save-your-money-just-use-tails/

tor and https at eff

For those of you unsure of what might leak where and when using tor and/or https to protect your browsing, there is a useful interactive graphic on the EFF site. As EFF point out, the potentially visible data includes: the site you are visiting, your username and password, the data you are transmitting, your IP …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/07/15/tor-and-https-at-eff/

base64 gets past omani deep packet inspection

Back in December 2011 Roger Dingledine and Jacob Applebaum of the torproject gave a talk at the 28th Chaos Communication Congress titled “How governments have tried to block Tor“. That talk focused on the arms race between privacy campaigners and technologists working on tor and the actions of oppressive governments. The presentation gave many examples …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/07/14/base64-gets-past-omani-deep-packet-inspection/

more irony

This is lovely. On a whim I have just checked the DNS for the Guardian. I got the following results: MX records: guardian.co.uk mail exchanger = 30 guardian.co.uk.s200b1.psmtp.com. guardian.co.uk mail exchanger = 40 guardian.co.uk.s200b2.psmtp.com. guardian.co.uk mail exchanger = 10 guardian.co.uk.s200a1.psmtp.com. guardian.co.uk mail exchanger = 20 guardian.co.uk.s200a2.psmtp.com. So – all four MX records point to SMTP …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/06/24/more-irony/

prism opt-out

In all the noise on the ‘net about the alleged NSA PRISM program, this new site offers an amusing, but nonetheless useful, list of free alternatives to proprietary software. In part the site sort of misses the point about PRISM, but it is still good to see someone taking the time to point out that …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/06/16/prism-opt-out/

Edward Snowden

The revelations of the past week or so have been interesting to me more for what they haven’t said, than what they have. There are a few points arising from Snowden’s story which puzzle me and which don’t seem to have been addressed by the mainstream media – at least not the ones I read. …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/06/15/edward-snowden/

PRISM – we had it first

I can exclusively reveal that the UK government had a PRISM database long before those upstarts in the USA. In the late 1970s I worked in the Statistics Division of what was then the UK Civil Service Department. We used a database of Civil Service personnel called PRISM (Personnel Record Information System for Management). I …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/06/10/prism-we-had-it-first/

another good reason not to buy one

Back in November 2011 I wrote about the TP-Link TL-SC3130G IP camera. I had some trouble getting that device to work properly over wifi so I returned it and got my money back. Today, Core Security released an advisory about this device (and several others from TP-Link) about a remotely exploitable vulnerability arising from “hard-coded …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/05/29/another-good-reason-not-to-buy-one/

cool

I have just been notified that I am eligible for a Tor T shirt. How cool is that? This is a Tor Weather Report. Congratulations! The node 0xbaddad (id: C332 113D F99E 367E 4190 424C E825 057D 9133 7ADD) you’ve been observing has been running for 61 days with an average bandwidth of 2278 KB/s,which …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/04/27/cool/

gchq recruitment site stores plaintext passwords

I can’t resist this. El Reg today points to a blog post by a guy called Dan Farrall who has commented on his experience of receiving a plain text reminder of his GCHQ recruitment site password by email after filling out its forgotten password form. Farrall’s blog post is worth reading. Whilst he acknowledges that …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/03/27/gchq-recruitment-site-stores-plaintext-passwords/

impolite spam

Most blogs get hit by spammers aiming to get their URLs posted in the comments section. Like most wordpress based blogs, I use the default Akismet antispam plugin. I don’t like it, I don’t like the fact that it is shipped by default, I don’t like the fact that it is increasingly becoming non-free (as …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2013/03/13/impolite-spam/

moonlighting in parliament

Yesterday I followed a link from Duncan Campbell’s Reg article on the joint parliamentary committee’s scrutiny of the Communications Data Bill referred to in my post below. That link took me to the UK Parliamentary website which I confess I haven’t visited in a while. I was initially irritated that the video format used on …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2012/12/11/moonlighting-in-parliament/

tor and the UK data communications bill

As a Tor node operator, I have an interest in how the draft UK Data Communications Bill would affect me should it be passed into law. In particular, I would be worried if Tor ended up being treated as a “telecommunications operator” within the terms of the Act (should it become an Act). Fortunately, Steven …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2012/12/10/tor-and-the-uk-data-communications-bill/

what gives with dban?

Recently I have been faced with the need to wipe a bunch of hard disks removed from some old (indeed, in one or two cases, very old) PCs before disposal. Normally I would have used DBAN to do this because it gives me a nice warm feeling that I have taken all reasonable steps and …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2012/11/27/what-gives-with-dban/

ubuntu is free and it always will be

But we may ask you for a contribution. Canonical have made another move in what is beginning to look ever more like a monetary commercialisation of ubuntu. On 9 October 2012, they added a new page to the “download” section titled “Tell us what we should do more……and put your money where your mouth is …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2012/10/14/ubuntu-is-free-and-it-always-will-be/

tails has not been hacked

I run a tails mirror on one of my VMs. Earlier this week there was a flurry of anxious comment on the tails forum suggesting that the service had been “hacked”. Evidence pleaded in support of that theory included the facts that file timestamps on some of the tails files varied across mirrors, one of …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2012/08/23/tails-has-not-been-hacked/

oops

An attempted quick search this morning using ixquick over tor drew a blank. In fact I hit a brick wall as the screenshot below will show. The commentary provided by ixquick is self-explanatory (click the image if you have difficulty reading the snapshot), but I can’t help feeling that this problem should have been foreseen …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2012/08/08/oops/

avoiding accidental google

Even though I set my default search engine to anything but google (usually ixquick, but sometimes its sister engine at startpage) I have occasionally been caught out by firefox’s helpful attempts to intervene if I mistakenly enter a search option in the URL navigation field (or just hit return too early). Firefox’s default action in …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2012/07/31/avoiding-accidental-google/

coercion

David commented on my gpg upgrade post saying: “How does one ensure that they are not coerced into signing a transition statement with a new (but compromised) key?”. Well, you can never be sure I can’t be coerced, and this is why I can’t be sure I cannot be coerced: My thanks as always to …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2012/07/24/coercion/

the accidental stupidity of good intentions

For some years now I have used what used to be the freecycle system to dispose of unwanted, but otherwise useful items from my home. In return I have sometimes used the same mechanism to get hold of things like books which someone else wishes to get rid of. A couple of years or so …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2012/07/22/the-accidental-stupidity-of-good-intentions/