Tuesday, February 24, 2015

What I'm reading, late February edition

Working hard, reading a lot.

  • 13th USENIX Conference on File and Storage Technologies
    The full Proceedings published by USENIX for the conference are available for download below. Individual papers can also be downloaded from the presentation page. Copyright to the individual works is retained by the author[s].
  • http2 explained
    http2 explained describes the protocol HTTP/2 at a technical and protocol level. Background, the protocol, the implementations and the future.
  • You Had One Job, Lenovo
    When Lenovo preinstalled Superfish adware on its laptops, it betrayed its customers and sold out their security. It did it for no good reason, and it may not even have known what it was doing. I’m not sure which is scarier.
  • Lenovo PCs ship with man-in-the-middle adware that breaks HTTPS connections
    It installs a self-signed root HTTPS certificate that can intercept encrypted traffic for every website a user visits. When a user visits an HTTPS site, the site certificate is signed and controlled by Superfish and falsely represents itself as the official website certificate.
  • Superfish, Komodia, PrivDog vulnerability test
    Check the box below. If you see a "YES", you have a problem.
  • Extracting the SuperFish certificate
    I extracted the certificate from the SuperFish adware and cracked the password ("komodia") that encrypted it. I discuss how down below.
  • Exploiting the Superfish certificate
    As discussed in my previous blogpost, it took about 3 hours to reverse engineer the Lenovo/Superfish certificate and crack the password. In this blog post, I described how I used that certificate in order to pwn victims using a rogue WiFi hotspot
  • How to target XP with VC2012 or VC2013 and continue to use the Windows 8.x SDK
    One of the limitations of the Microsoft provided solution for targeting XP while using Visual Studio 2012 (Update 1 and above), or Visual Studio 2013, is that you must use a special “Platform toolset” in project properties that forces usage of the Windows SDK 7.1 (instead of Windows 8.x SDK which is the default). The other function the platform toolset provides is that it sets the Linker’s “Minimum Required Version” setting to 5.01 (instead of 6 which is the default). But that function can just as easily be done manually by setting it in project properties.
  • There are too many shiny objects and it is killing me
    The rest of the day is then used renting a VPS server, installing Linux (for the cool-factor) and going through the mandatory list of essential stuff I need, like version managers, package managers, vim bundles, custom prompts, terminal colors, and so forth. Somewhere along the way I get sidetracked and I dump the Linux installation and install Windows Server.
  • Shipping Culture Is Hurting Us
    Quickly getting something in front of the people that will actually use it is a great idea. It means you waste less time building something they don’t actually want. But I look around the industry today and I get worried. Don’t get me wrong – I see brilliant people shipping brilliant, innovative software. But I also see a lot of us using half-baked technologies to shove half-assed software out the door.
  • Programming Achievements: How to Level Up as a Developer
    We've all had specific experiences that clearly advanced our skills as developers. We've learned a new language that exposed us to a new way of thinking. Or we crafted the perfect design, only to watch it unveil its gross imperfections in the harsh realities of a production environment. And we became better programmers because of it. Some experiences equip you with new techniques. Others expose you to anti-patterns...and allow you to understand why they are anti-patterns. It's these experiences that teach you, that influence your thought process, that influence your approach to problems, that improve your designs.
  • https://gist.github.com/prakhar1989/1b0a2c9849b2e1e912fb
    Musicians get better by practice and tackling harder and harder pieces, not by switching instruments or genres, nor by learning more and varied easy pieces. Ditto almost every other specialty inhabited by experts or masters.
  • An Ideal Conversation
    This is an article about basic conversation mechanics. It’s not about what motivates the person sitting across from you, it’s about some of the quirks you’ll encounter as the conversation occurs.
  • Procedural City Generation
    Three layers of simplex noise were combined to define the population density map. The resulting map has two purposes. One is to guide the forward extension of existing road segments; if a random deviation will reach a higher population than extending the original segment straight ahead, the extension will match that deviation. The second purpose of the population map is to determine when normal road segments should branch off from a highway - when the population along the highway meets a defined threshold.
  • MAS.S66: Indistinguishable From…Magic as Interface, Technology, and Tradition
    With a focus on the creation of functional prototypes and practicing real magical crafts, this class combines theatrical illusion, game design, sleight of hand, machine learning, camouflage, and neuroscience to explore how ideas from ancient magic and modern stage illusion can inform cutting edge technology.

    Guest lecturers and representatives of Member companies will contribute to select project critiques. Requires regular reading, discussion, practicing magic tricks, design exercises, a midterm project and final project.

  • Iseb: The Worm Maiden
    If you are a true tunnel fan, maybe a true fanatic, then when you hear about boring machines (the mothers of all tunnels) then it makes you want to see them. Good. So that’s what happened to us. Like grimey servants we followed every new trace that could lead us to her, the aim of our two year quest was always to see the toughest of all the machines. A dormant juggernaut that lies underground.

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