Ramblings & ephemera

How an email account without passwords can be good for security

From Robert X. Cringely’s “Stream On“: Mailinator is ad hoc e-mail for those times when just maybe you don’t want to use your regular e-mail address. Say you are snitching on the boss, buying inflatable people, or want 32 different PayPal accounts. Just tell someone—anyone—that your e-mail address is fatman@mailinator.com or skinnykid@mailinator.com, or clueless@mailinator.com or […]

The email dead drop

From the L.A. Times‘ “Cyberspace Gives Al Qaeda Refuge“: Simplicity seems to work best. One common method of communicating over the Internet is essentially an e-mail version of the classic dead drop. Members of a cell are all given the same prearranged username and password for an e-mail account on an Internet service provider, or […]

SMS gateways you can use to get around high texting charges

Tired of high SMS charges? Use these SMS gateways, which translate emails & IMs into SMS text messages … for free (well, to the sender, anyway – the recipient still has to pay). And when recipients reply, those replies come back to the sender in the same format; in other words, you email someone, they […]

A fix for Apple Mail’s inability to search Entire Message

photo credit: Ti.mo When using Apple Mail, you should be able to search for a term in From, To, Subject, & Entire Message. However, today I could no longer search Entire Message. It was grayed out & completely unavailable. I found interesting info on the following pages, with the last being the most helpful: http://discussions.apple.com/message.jspa?messageID=6653445#6653445 […]

Microsoft Exchange is expensive

From Joel Snyder’s “Exchange: Should I stay or should I go?” (Network World: 9 March 2009): There are many ways to buy Exchange, depending on how many users you need, but the short answer is that none of them cost less than about $75 per user and can run up to $140 per user for […]

Reasons Windows has a poor security architecture

From Daniel Eran Dilger’s “The Unavoidable Malware Myth: Why Apple Won’t Inherit Microsoft’s Malware Crown” (AppleInsider: 1 April 2008): Thanks to its extensive use of battle-hardened Unix and open source software, Mac OS X also has always had security precautions in place that Windows lacked. It has also not shared the architectural weaknesses of Windows […]

The importance of network effects to social software

From danah boyd’s “Social Media is Here to Stay… Now What?” at the Microsoft Research Tech Fest, Redmond, Washington (danah: 26 February 2009): Many who build technology think that a technology’s feature set is the key to its adoption and popularity. With social media, this is often not the case. There are triggers that drive […]

Defining social media, social software, & Web 2.0

From danah boyd’s “Social Media is Here to Stay… Now What?” at the Microsoft Research Tech Fest, Redmond, Washington (danah: 26 February 2009): Social media is the latest buzzword in a long line of buzzwords. It is often used to describe the collection of software that enables individuals and communities to gather, communicate, share, and […]

Why cons work on us

From Damien Carrick’s interview with Nicholas Johnson, “The psychology of conmen” (The Law Report: 30 September 2008): Nicholas Johnson: I think what I love most about con artists and the world of scammers is that they’re criminals who manage to get their victims to hand over their possessions freely. Most thieves and robbers and the […]

The future of security

From Bruce Schneier’s “Security in Ten Years” (Crypto-Gram: 15 December 2007): Bruce Schneier: … The nature of the attacks will be different: the targets, tactics and results. Security is both a trade-off and an arms race, a balance between attacker and defender, and changes in technology upset that balance. Technology might make one particular tactic […]

My new book – Google Apps Deciphered – is out!

I’m really proud to announce that my 5th book is now out & available for purchase: Google Apps Deciphered: Compute in the Cloud to Streamline Your Desktop. My other books include: Don’t Click on the Blue E!: Switching to Firefox Hacking Knoppix Linux Phrasebook Podcasting with Audacity: Creating a Podcast With Free Audio Software (I’ve […]

The various participants in phishing schemes

From Chapter 2: Botnets Overview of Craig A. Schiller’s Botnets: The Killer Web App (Syngress: 2007): Christopher Abad provides insight into the phishing economy in an article published online by FirstMonday.org (http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/ issue10_9/abad/). The article, “The economy of phishing: A survey of the operations of the phishing market,” reveals the final phase of the phishing […]

My reply to those “You sent a virus to me!” emails

On Saturday 17 April 2004, I received the following email from someone I didn’t know: > Hello, > > I am not sure who you are but our security detected a Netsky virus in an > email that you sent. Whether a personal message or a spam, please make > attention to the fact that […]

Great email sig about operating systems

Saw this in an email sig: Microsoft: Where do you want to go today? Mac OS X: Where do you want to go tomorrow? Linux: Are you coming or what?

Examples of tweaking old technologies to add social aspects

From Clay Shirky’s “Group as User: Flaming and the Design of Social Software” (Clay Shirky’s Writings About the Internet: 5 November 2004): This possibility of adding novel social components to old tools presents an enormous opportunity. To take the most famous example, the Slashdot moderation system puts the ability to rate comments into the hands […]

Clay Shirky on flaming & how to combat it

From Clay Shirky’s “Group as User: Flaming and the Design of Social Software” (Clay Shirky’s Writings About the Internet: 5 November 2004): Learning From Flame Wars Mailing lists were the first widely available piece of social software. … Mailing lists were also the first widely analyzed virtual communities. … Flame wars are not surprising; they […]

What kinds of spam are effective?

From Alex Mindlin’s “Seems Somebody Is Clicking on That Spam” (The New York Times: 3 July 2006): Spam messages promoting pornography are 280 times as effective in getting recipients to click on them as messages advertising pharmacy drugs, which are the next most effective type of spam. The third most successful variety is spam advertising […]

Spammers causing problems to DNS

From Dennis Fisher’s Spammers’ New Tactic Upends DNS (eWeek: 10 January 2005): One troublesome technique finding favor with spammers involves sending mass mailings in the middle of the night from a domain that has not yet been registered. After the mailings go out, the spammer registers the domain early the next morning. By doing this, […]

Even worse spam is coming

From Spam Daily News’s “Spam zombies from outer space“: Spammers could soon use zombie computers in a totally new way. Infected computers could run programs that spy into a person’s email, mine it for information, and generate realistic-looking replies. John Aycock, an assistant professor of computer science at the University of Calgary, and his student […]

How terrorists use the Web

From Technology Review‘s “Terror’s Server“: According to [Gabriel] Weimann [professor of communications at University of Haifa], the number of [terror-related] websites has leapt from only 12 in 1997 to around 4,300 today. … These sites serve as a means to recruit members, solicit funds, and promote and spread ideology. … The September 11 hijackers used […]