Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Krebs on Security: Ransomware Group Turns to Facebook Ads

No comments:
Ransomware Group Turns to Facebook Ads
Brian Krebs. November 10, 2020

It’s bad enough that many ransomware gangs now have blogs where they publish data stolen from companies that refuse to make an extortion payment. Now, one crime group has started using hacked Facebook accounts to run ads publicly pressuring their ransomware victims into paying up.

Just when you thought Facebook had hit rock bottom. Now their adware network is being used for criminal extortion. And they're not even refunding the money to the victims who had their accounts hijacked in the process.

So glad I drop-kicked them to the curb many years ago.

Monday, November 02, 2020

Upgrading A Mac System, part 2: Migration

No comments:

In part 1 of this article series, I explained why I needed to upgrade my old Mac, what I bought, and the shipping process.

Now that the computer had arrived, the next step was to move all of my data from the old computer to the new one. In the past, I did this the hard way - I manually created user accounts (an administrator, my personal account, and accounts for my wife and daughter). I then copied all of our documents over the LAN, manually installed all the software I require, ending up with a working system. The whole process usually takes a week or two, plus all the time needed to configure my preferences in everything.

This time, I decided to use Apple's Migration Assistant utility to speed up the process. This, as it turns out, was a mixed bag. Some parts of the migration worked flawlessly, and other parts made a mess I had to clean up after.

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Upgrading A Mac System, part 1: Hardware Purchase

No comments:

For the past 9 years, I have been using the same computer for my main home system, a Mid-2011 Mac mini server. Equipped with two 750 GB hard drives and 16 GB of RAM (upgraded from its original 4GB), it has served me very well. Originally shipped with macOS version 10.7 ("Lion"), it has been upgraded several times through macOS 10.12 ("Sierra"). Although still working great today, it has become increasingly obvious that it needs to be replaced.

The main reason is that its system software is no longer supported by Apple. Although I could theoretically get a bit more support by upgrading to macOS 10.3 ("High Sierra"), that's still an old version and it has many known problems that I don't want to have to deal with. More recent versions of macOS are not compatible with this hardware and therefore can't be installed.

Another bigger problem is that some of my applications can't be upgraded. In particular, Microsoft Office dropped support for macOS 10.12. In order to get any new updates, including security updates, I need to move on to a newer version of macOS.

Finally, it's a bit slow. Modern versions of macOS make heavy use of the file system and a SATA hard drive, no matter how well it performs, just can't keep up these days. An SSD is really required for good performance. I could replace the hard drives with SSDs, of course, but that wouldn't solve the other two problems, so it became time to shop for a new Mac.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Using a Raspberry Pi for basic network services, Part 4: DNS server

No comments:

Photo credit: Michael Henzler
Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

In previous articles, I described how to set up a Raspberry Pi computer to act as a DHCP server and how to configure it to serve static IP addresses. But this is only half of the solution.

If all your computers are only used to access Internet sites, then you may not need anything more, but if you run any services on your LAN, you will want to access them as well as Internet services. Some examples of services I run on my LAN include:

  • Printer. My printer has a built-in Ethernet interface and acts as a print server for the entire LAN.
  • Web server. Two of my computers are running web server software. I use these for documents that I want to make available to all the computers in my home. In the past, when I ran an Internet-accessible web site, I used my local web servers as a staging area for changes before uploading them to the main server.
  • File servers. Several of my computers have file sharing enabled so I can copy files between my computers.
  • Remote access. Several computers run different remote access tools including SSH, VNC, X2Go and others. This lets me access everything from anywhere in the house.

When accessing a remote service, you need to provide the machine's name or IP address. If you've got a small LAN, you can just type in the address. Or you can set up hosts files on your computers to assign names to the addresses. But once you get more than a trivial number of devices on your network, those two solutions quickly become unmanageable. As I wrote in part 1, I've got 26 active devices on my LAN and many more that are rarely used. Using hosts files really doesn't work because every computer needs to be updated whenever the content changes and some devices (especially embedded devices like set-top boxes and mobile phones) don't even have a hosts file that can be managed.

But there is a well-established solution to the problem. The solution is to use the DNS protocol.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Time for a new Mac

No comments:

After many many years of using a Mac I purchased in 2011, it's finally time to upgrade to a new one. I just placed an order with Apple and I expect to have it in a week or two. The new computer will be much faster than the old one, but it will be missing a few I/O ports and the new version of macOS it runs will be pretty different.

Tuesday, September 01, 2020

How to deal with a patent troll

No comments:
Lawsuit accusing entire computer industry of patent infringement fails on missed deadline
By Mike Peterson, Apple Insider. September 1, 2020

A lawsuit that accused essentially the entire computer industry of patent infringement has been dismissed because an opening brief wasn't filed by the deadline.

In September 2019, plaintiff Mers Kutt filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. It alleged $350 billion in damages against more than 40 technology companies, telecom providers, and financial firms, among others. Apple was included at the top of the list.

After a majority of those companies filed opposing orders, a judge in March 2020 dismissed the case with prejudice. Kutt appealed that decision, but apparently failed to file an opening brief by a July 2 deadline. The lawsuit was tossed on Sept. 1.

In other words:

  • Patent troll sues everybody in the universe for a quarter of a trillion dollars
  • Everybody in the universe tells him to get bent and a judge agrees
  • Patent troll claims he will appeal, but instead slinks off to his cave, not even bothering to file the paperwork to continue his suit
This is the only way to handle a bully. Don't settle out of court. Don't pay a penny. Force him to defend his idiocy and watch him back down. The last thing a troll wants is an actual fight.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Just The News: KFC to temporarily suspend use of slogan 'It's Finger Lickin' Good' amid pandemic

No comments:
KFC to temporarily suspend use of slogan 'It's Finger Lickin' Good' amid pandemic
By Alex Nitzberg. Updated: August 24, 2020 - 8:09pm

The Kentucky Fried Chicken fast food chain on Monday announced that it will temporarily stop using its decades-old slogan, "It's Finger Lickin' Good," in advertising because the slogan does not seem appropriate amid the ongoing public health crisis.

Ummmm.... Are people aware of the fact that you're only supposed to be licking your own fingers?

Friday, August 21, 2020

Just The News: Russian cosmonaut wonders if he saw UFO's while aboard International Space Station

No comments:
Russian cosmonaut wonders if he saw UFO's while aboard International Space Station
By Alex Nitzberg. Updated: August 20, 2020 - 6:37pm

Russian cosmonaut Ivan Vagner on Thursday posted a video from the International Space Showing showing a time-lapse of the aurora borealis, but he also highlighted the presence of other points of interest in the footage.

In the video, a row of what appears to be several small dots of light briefly appear and then vanish again.

Vagner asked people on Twitter what they thought it could be: "At 9-12 seconds, 5 objects appear flying alongside with the same distance. What do you think those are? Meteors, satellites or…?"

He definitely saw a UFO - whatever it was was flying and is (so far) unidentified. Probably not an alien spacecraft, but some kind of natural phenomenon, but definitely unidentified and flying.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Horowitz: Coronavirus hospitalizations down to lowest levels of pandemic. So where is our exit strategy?

No comments:
Coronavirus hospitalizations down to lowest levels of pandemic. So where is our exit strategy?
Daniel Horowitz, Conservative Review. August 18, 2020

It’s now becoming clear, from every state and country that has reached saturation levels of the virus, that the virus burns out roughly around the 20% seroprevalence benchmark, not at the 80% threshold the fearmongers predicted. Whether it’s Sweden, New York, or Arizona, the virus is going to do what it does – meaning it spreads for about six weeks in a given region and then moves on. The only question is whether we will continue to destroy our society, mental health, and economy or achieve herd immunity without adding the man-made death toll. Herd immunity is going to happen, whether we aim for it or not.

Please read the entire article. It's full of hard facts and statistics that the media has been actively suppressing in order to keep you panicked and afraid.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Using a Raspberry Pi for basic network services, Part 3: Static IP addresses

No comments:

Photo credit: Michael Henzler
Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

In part 2 of this series, I described how to set up a DHCP server on a Raspberry Pi so it can allocate and serve dynamic IP addresses. But sometimes you need a static address, where a given device always gets the same well-known address.

One obvious solution is to just disable the DHCP client on the device and manually configure its IP address and other networking credentials. This works well for many devices, especially desktop and laptop computers, but it is not without problems.