Free Software

Open formats are… the best formats?

Over the past few years there has been a big push to replace proprietary formats with open formats. For example Open Document Format and Office Open XML have largely replaced the legacy binary formats, we’re now seeing HTML5 + JavaScript supplant Silverlight and Java applets, and even the once venerable Flash is on its deathbed. This of course all makes sense. We’re now in an era where the computing platforms, be it Microsoft Windows, Apple OS X, Android, iOS, Linux, etc.

How to easily forward Firefox traffic through an SSH tunnel (Android edition)

Similar to my previous post about forwarding browser traffic through an SSH tunnel, this time I’ll show you how to do it on Android even without root access. Please note that while I’m sure there are a few ways to accomplish this, the following is just one way that has worked for me. I’m also assuming that you already have an SSH server to tunnel your traffic through. Step 1: Install SSH Tunnel The first thing you’ll want to do is install an application that will actually create the SSH tunnel for you.

Hash Verifier now on GitHub

I have taken the time to create a GitHub repository for my old Hash Verifier software which you can now find here. I’ve even created different releases to reflect the evolution of the software as found on this website. Hopefully this will make it even easier for you to check out and play around with. GitHub repository link: https://github.com/tylerburton/hashverifier Version 0.1.0.0 (Original post) Version 0.2.0.0 (Original post) Version 0.3.0.0 (Original post)

Linux alternatives: Mp3tag → EasyTAG

A big part of my move from Windows to Linux has been finding replacements for the applications that I had previously used day-to-day that are not available on Linux. For the major applications like my web browser (Firefox), e-mail client (Thunderbird), password manager (KeePass2) this hasn’t been a problem because they are all available on Linux as well. Heck you can even install Microsoft Office with the latest version of wine if you wanted to.

GnuPG crowdfunding easier crypto

I came across a crowdfunding site for GnuPG with the tag line: The world needs GnuPG encryption more than ever – a new website, new design, and new content will make strong crypto friendly. If they can actually do something to make GnuPG, and computer security in general, more user friendly and approachable than it may actually be a cause worth supporting.
KeePass: The Cross-platform Password Safe

KeePass: The Cross-platform Password Safe

These days you really need a strong, unique password for almost everything you do online. To make matters even worse for the average user, security nuts will tell you that you actually need a different password for essentially every account you hold. Why? Consider the following scenario: Little Timmy signs up for Facebook using his super secret password @wesomeS@auce3!. This password is so strong and good that even he can hardly remember it.

Automatically put computer to sleep and wake it up on a schedule

Ever wanted your computer to be on when you need it but automatically put itself to sleep (suspended) when you don’t? Or maybe you just wanted to create a really elaborate alarm clock? I stumbled across this very useful command a while back but only recently created a script that I now run to control when my computer is suspended and when it is awake. #!/bin/sh t=`date –date “17:00” +%s` sudo /bin/true sudo rtcwake -u -t $t -m on & sleep 2 sudo pm-suspend This creates a variable, t above, with an assigned time and then runs the command rtcwake to tell the computer to automatically wake itself up at that time.

Mount entire drive dd image

It is a pretty common practice to use the command dd to make backup images of drives and partitions. It’s as simple as the command: dd if=[input] of=[output] A while back I did just that and made a dd backup of not just a partition but of an entire hard drive. This was very simple (I just used if=/dev/sda instead of something like if=/dev/sda2). The problem came when I tried to mount this image.

How to test hard drive for errors in Linux

I recently re-built an older PC from a laundry list of Frankenstein parts. However before installing anything to the hard drive I found I wanted to check it for physical errors and problems as I couldn’t remember why I wasn’t using this particular drive in any of my other systems. From an Ubuntu 12.04 live CD I used GParted to to delete the old partition on the drive. This let me start from a clean slate.

RSA-768: Nothing to worry about

I have been meaning to write up a short post about this for a while, but thanks to the start of a new school term I have been a bit busy. If you have seen the security news in the last month or so you will know that RSA-768, a 768bit or 232 decimal digit asymmetric key, has been broken (factored). This has important security repercussions for all of us because it is these public key algorithms like RSA, or ElGamal, that guard our online transactions, and e-mail conversations.