01/30/06 09:47 - 39ºF - ID#21543
I think that for the vast majority of internet users, privacy is just an illusion. Even if you use a firewall, http (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol) sends all sorts of data about you, your computer, your browser and even your monitor's screen resolution to the websites that you surf.
When you surf the internet, your connection is uniquely identified by an IP (internel Protocol) number. If you are on a LAN (Local Area Network) you may share that IP with others on the same network.
In general terms for people who surf the 'net at home, knowing a user's IP is enough to find him or her. But . . .
The above is a screenshot with firefox on the left running tor (more about that later in this journal) and konqueror on the right. Both browsers show the ipchicken website which shows my old Linux box's IP. Notice that two different IPs are being returned at the same time.
Privacy at an Internet Cafe?
That's why some people go to internet cafes to surf the 'net. But even that can be problematic since the IP can be traced back to the cafe and computers can be forensically examined - most computers retain much data related to surfing the net - cookies, cached data, etc.
And that is why some people get online at internet cafes using "live cd" operating systems that boot and run entirely from the cd without writing any data to the hard drive. Some good Linux live cds that I have used are SimplyMepis Knoppix Kanotix PCLinuxOS Ubuntu and Slax
But that still does not solve the IP problem. There are also several live cds that are designed for getting online anonymously and privately including Anonym.OS (an OpenBSD distrobution) and Phantomix
Tor - privacy at home?
The Electronic Frontier Foundation recommends the use of Tor
Your traffic is safer when you use Tor, because communications are bounced around a distributed network of servers, called onion routers. Tor's technology aims to provide Internet users with protection against "traffic analysis," a form of network surveillance that threatens personal anonymity and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security.
I installed and set up tor and firefox on my old Linux box this evening, and it seems to work as promised. Given the nature of how tor works browsing even on a broadband connection is slower.
01/19/06 08:18 - 38ºF - ID#21542
tunneling VNC through putty
Here you can see my mac desktop on my windows desktop
You can download a VNC server and client here or at the original hoem of realVNC
Unfortunately, it is not the most secure thing out there. Yes, ytou can buy expensive versions that are highly encrypted but the easiest thing to do, is to tunnel your VNC connection through an SSH client such as putty.
This for example lets me visually control my linux server from afar. In a home network this would allow you to use one computer from a window on another to say change msuci on the computer downstairs.
So anyways if you are using VNC client on windows to view you other desktop, it is easy and freee to pipe it over putty.
Here is how you would do it I copied the info here to so that in case that link goes down you can still find it here.
If the VNC Server is running on a Linux machine or it is running on a Windows machine that is also running sshd, then setup a tunnel from client machine to server machine with: (The following instructions are for PuTTY , adjust accordingly.)
* After entering the address of the client machine, go to the "Tunnels" section under SSH.
* Enter 5901 in the "Source port" box under the "Add new forwarded port" section.
* Enter "localhost:5901" in the "Destination" box
* Make sure that the "Local" radio button is selected
* Click the "Add" button and the information should appear in the "Forwarded ports:" box.
* One can now initiate the connection by pressing the "Open" button
* Once the connection is established, the VNC client can be started from the Windows menu (use display 1)
12/30/05 12:39 - 28ºF - ID#21541
Windows Security Flaw is "Severe"
Unlike with previously revealed vulnerabilities, computers can be infected simply by visiting one of the Web sites or viewing an infected image in an e-mail through the preview pane in older versions of Microsoft Outlook, even if users did not click on anything or open any files. Operating system versions ranging from the current Windows XP to Windows 98 are affected.
This flaw exploits the Windows Graphics Rendering Engine and is reported to affect Internet Explorer, Outlook, and Outlook Express, as well as Firefox and Opera.
editorial aside: Since it is has suggested by an e-peep or two that the "Lib" media can not be trusted, I'm certain that all you Windows users have nothing to worry about since the Washington Post is reporting this. ;-)
Another source of information about this flaw is that purveyor of "Trustworthy Computing" -- Microsoft.
Based on our investigation, this exploit code could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code on the user's system by hosting a specially crafted Windows Metafile (WMF) image on a malicious Web site. Microsoft is aware that this vulnerability is being actively exploited.
Microsoft has determined that an attacker using this exploit would have no way to force users to visit a malicious Web site. Instead, an attacker would have to persuade them to visit the Web site, typically by getting them to click a link that takes them to the attacker's Web site. In an e-mail based attack, customers would have to be persuaded to click on a link within a malicious e-mail or open an attachment that exploited the vulnerability. In both the web and email based attacks, the code would execute in the security context of the logged-on user.
A possible workaround has been reported a word of warning: improperly changing the .dll settings of a computer can cause serious problems.
* Click on Start > Run.
regsvr32 /u shimgvw.dll
* Click OK
* Click OK again when the dialog appears.
Note that this can have an effect on the display of some thumbnails in Windows.
Addendum: to reregister (undo the workaround) the .dll use this command: regsvr32 shimgvw.dll
12/22/05 11:59 - 26ºF - ID#21540
Santa IM worm hits AOL, MSN and Yahoo
A Santa Claus worm is attempting to trick America Online, Microsoft MSN and Yahoo instant-messaging users into clicking on a file that delivers unwanted software to a victim's computer.
The IM.GiftCom.All worm attempts to dupe IM users into thinking an acquaintance has sent them a link to a harmless Santa Claus file, according to a security advisory issued Tuesday by IMlogic.
People who click on the file will see an image of Santa, but what they are less likely to notice is a so-called rootkit being installed onto their system. A rootkit is a tool designed to go undetected by the security software used to lock down control of a computer after an initial hack. The malicious attacker can then distribute messages to the user's IM contacts, using a similar technique to lure the unsuspecting acquaintance to click on the link.
12/10/05 10:12 - 25ºF - ID#21539
Weird USB drives (Sushi anyone?)
On the other hand for the (e:peeps) in touch with their feminine side (no not you (e:jason)), there is always . . .
If you find this interesting, check out the rest of the top 10 weirdest USB drives at
12/02/05 12:18 - 31ºF - ID#21538
Firefox 1.5 Extensions
And of course, you need some extensions to go with your FireFox. There are so many great ones: ForcastFox, Google Toolbar, TabFX, Web Developer. To install some of these old standards, go to Tools>Extensions and click to link at the bottom of the extensions window to "Find new extensions."
A new version of Firefox often leads to some issues with extension compatability. (E:Paul)'s fave, Live Headers is no longer available, but I'm sure it will be soon.
And with a major upgrade like 1.5, new plugins are available.
First up: Foxpose
Fans of the Mac OSX Expose feature will know what to expect here. Foxpoxe puts a button in your status bar that wil display all of your open tabs in a visual grid.
And Also Hotness: Tab Preview
This extension makes it so that thumbnail previews of each page pop up when you hover the mouse over the tabs. It's a super fast way to scan through a set of open tabs. Tab browsing addicts will love it.
Happy browsing, Buffalo!
12/01/05 11:29 - 32ºF - ID#21537
Microsoft adds public anti-virus beta
What it is:
An automatically self-updating PC health service that runs quietly in the background. It helps give you persistent protection against viruses, hackers, and other threats, and helps keep your PC tuned up and your important documents backed up.
For more information on the anti-virus beta check out
for more information on the Windows Live concept check out
12/01/05 06:35 - 34ºF - ID#21536
Gmail adds automatic anti-virus scans
Each time you send and receive attachments, Gmail automatically scans them for viruses.
If a virus is found in an attachment you've received, our system will attempt to remove it, or clean the file, so you can still access the information it contains. If the virus can't be removed from the file, you won't be able to download it.
If a virus is found in an attachment you're trying to send, you won't be able to send the message until you remove the attachment.
Gmail anti-virus faq's can be found here:
11/30/05 08:42 - 33ºF - ID#21535
Firefox 1.5 is released
* Automated updates
* Faster back and forward button navigation
* Drag and drop reordering of tabs
* Improvements to popup blocking
* Clear Private Data feature (easily clear cache, cookies, saved forms, passwords & download history)
* Various improvements to the user interface
* Report a broken web site wizard (report web sites that don't work correctly in Firefox)
* Better support for Mac OS X (10.2 and greater) including profile migration from Safari and Mac Internet Explorer.
* Many security enhancements
You can get more info information at
11/09/05 04:03 - 55ºF - ID#21534
Open Source Flash
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