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Internet, Unix en security Life and society

Blocking the piratebay

In a previous post, it became clear that censorship in The Netherlands has started. Due to the nature of the Internet and how it has been implemented in most lands, it means there is no central point of control to stop all to an IP-address. This means every network owner needs to take action, but how do they do it?

In the case of thepiratebay.org, it looks like it has been done by manipulating DNS-answers. The first attempt is just using the DNS-resolver from the internet access provider and the second is an attempt using Google public resolvers.

$ dig thepiratebay.org

; < <>> DiG 9.8.1 < <>> thepiratebay.org
;; global options: +cmd
;; Got answer:
;; ->>HEADER< <- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 6811
;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 1, AUTHORITY: 0, ADDITIONAL: 1

;; QUESTION SECTION:
;thepiratebay.org.		IN	A

;; ANSWER SECTION:
thepiratebay.org.	10	IN	A	194.109.6.92

;; ADDITIONAL SECTION:
thepiratebay.org.	10	IN	TXT	"Forged by XS4ALL for Stichting B.R.E.I.N."

;; Query time: 19 msec
;; SERVER: 192.168.178.1#53(192.168.178.1)
;; WHEN: Sat Feb  4 08:15:35 2012
;; MSG SIZE  rcvd: 104

$ dig thepiratebay.org @8.8.8.8

; <<>> DiG 9.8.1 < <>> thepiratebay.org @8.8.8.8
;; global options: +cmd
;; Got answer:
;; ->>HEADER< <- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 4847
;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 1, AUTHORITY: 0, ADDITIONAL: 0

;; QUESTION SECTION:
;thepiratebay.org.		IN	A

;; ANSWER SECTION:
thepiratebay.org.	2596	IN	A	194.71.107.50

;; Query time: 26 msec
;; SERVER: 8.8.8.8#53(8.8.8.8)
;; WHEN: Sat Feb  4 08:16:16 2012
;; MSG SIZE  rcvd: 50

By just changing DNS resolvers on the client or internet router the censorship can be bypassed for now. The question remaining is how long this is going to stand when the first article is published by a big computer magazine on how to bypass it. Or when sites also get a .onion to bypass DNS completely.

Categories
Internet, Unix en security Life and society

Censorship in China^WThe Netherlands

A picture says more than a thousand words, but censorship in The Netherlands has started thanks to Stichting Brein.

As from now all my DVD’s are for sale on Bol.com and yes in March I’ll join the month of not spending a penny on the entertainment industry which was proposed for SOPA and PIPA. It only make me wonder how ACTA is going to influence the Internet when it gets approved.

Categories
Internet, Unix en security Life and society

I passed my CISSP exam

Last December 10th I took the CISSP exam in Brussels and yesterday after only four weeks I received the following in my mailbox:

Dear Hans Spaans:

Congratulations! We are pleased to inform you that you have passed the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP®) examination – the first step in becoming certified as a CISSP.

So I now only need to submit my resume and endorsement. Ow and order some cake for co-workers. And the reason I did it in Brussels instead of Utrecht? I was a little bit late with requesting the exam as I did that on November 23th. Now it is time to plan the next exam, but it won’t be CEH.

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Life and society

Farewell 2011, hello 2012

2011 has been a strange year for me personally, maybe also a reason why I didn’t blog that much and hopefully 2012 will be better. But a lot has happend in 2011 as Debian 6.0 was released, GNOME 3 impacted the world a lot and still does, Linus released Linux 3.0.0 and many other things happend in the FOSS world. Also two titans, Dennis Ritchie and Steve Jobs, past away.

Also other things changed last year and one of the biggest driver behind this was my Android phone. Google looks nice in many ways and promises “not to be evil”, but I don’t trust them. It was a driver for me to set up my own CalDAV and CardDAV server and it looks fine for now, but also looking into TT-RSS as replacement Google Reader. Some things still need some love and sweet, and we will see this progresses in 2012 hopefully.

2011 was also a reasonable year for reading. The list includes “Cloud Application Architectures”, “Cloud Security and Privacy”, “Being Geek”, “Myths of Innovation” and “Network Warrior”, but also some books for CISSP. Luckily the list also includes non tech-books with a few books from “The Wheel of Time”, “Discworld”, “Ghost in the Wires” and “Steve Jobs in His Own Words”.

Like I said, 2011 was the year the cloud came into my life. And to be honest, the cloud meaning in this context, the separation of data from an application and from a local installed application. With this came also my love and hate relationship with Tor as it may be an answer to certain flaws in DNS for example where a government can take over a domain name or disable it. With this once digital life basically ends. The name resolution within Tor really looks promising as also for Tor-chat, but it is slow as hell. For chatting it could be usable, but not for browsing at the moment. But I still wonder why projects like GNU, Gutenberg or Wikipedia have no known presence on the Tor-network.

The cloud thingy made me slowly also wonder about my next workstation. I bought this machine begin 2009 and I expect to buy a new one at the end of 2012 or in 2013. Most likely it will be a laptop then, but which one? One thing I hope before then and that is that Tux goes on a diet as my root-volume currently is at 12G and I’m sure it was between the 6 a 7G a year ago. I hope it is some additional fat from running Debian Testing, but I expect not.

Also this year I finished the conversion of my music collection to FLAC to make a copy of it in Ogg Vorbis. Yes, FLAC became my archiving format and Ogg Vorbis my day to day format to make it more useful so I can also put them on my phone without filling up the 32G SD-drive with just a few CD’s. Also good and bad news for the movie-industry. Yes, I’m going to the pictures again, but only from the money I get from selling my DVD-collection. And about downloading things, that has slowed down also and my backlog slowly starts to dry up without adding anything new. The round silver disc’s are going the same way as paper in my house. Slowly almost becoming extinct.

A few things I promised myself to do in 2011 I didn’t do sadly enough. Taking up C-programming again and learn how to create decent Debian packages and related infrastructure. Hopefully I can spent some time on this in 2012, but for now I took up Latex again and I like it. About other things we will see, but looking back it was a good year where I switched from being an Unix-engineer towards a security officer. I can only hope the trend progresses, but we will see in 12 months time.

Categories
Internet, Unix en security Life and society

Another company switching to XMPP

Back in 1996 ICQ saw it first light and instant messaging was born and it took Microsoft until 1999 before MSN Messenger was launched. Two proprietary protocols for instant messaging with closed specifications. Also a third protocol was started in 1998 under the name Jabber which was renamed as XMPP a few years later. Long time it was labeled as “only for geeks” or “something for Linux-users”.

This all changed in 2005 as Google launched Google Talk which was based on XMPP and also allowed server-to-server communication 2006 so Google Talk users could communicate with users outside the Google netwerk. Other services like audio and video where added in the years after. This forced others to rethink there ideas about there instant messaging network where Facebook Chat followed the same strategy as Google Talk. Shortly after AOL started experimenting with ICQ over XMPP in 2008.

The last big bastion was Live Messenger from Microsoft, but recently it was announced that also Microsoft started to offer an XMPP API to there instant messaging network. Meaning people with an XMPP client could use the Microsoft instant messaging network without any additional software. Telepathy developers from Freedesktop.org directly jumped in and trying to get it in with GNOME 3.4 together with better Facebook support like it is now for Google in GNOME Online Accounts. With this the only question remains if Microsoft for example will also allow server-to-server communication like Google.

Now that we slowly moving towards an unified communications standard where companies as Cisco are pushing for, we also see a simplification and reduction of standards in use. Hopefully Debian can drop in the release after Wheezy all packages that depend on the old Messenger protocol. Also hopefully Microsoft will also jump into the bandwagon for standardized calendar en contacts support, but time will tell. For now it is a plus 1 for open and free standards.