System Overlord

A blog about security engineering, research, and general hacking.

Back in action

For those who know me personally, this is probably non-news, but I thought I’d post it anyway. I’ve been remiss in my updating duties for quite a while now because of three major real-life factors.

First, on the 1st of October, I got married to Ann, the love of my life. We were married at the Tennessee Aquarium, and we’re told our guests had a great time, which is what we were going for. We know we had a great time and loved having friends and family there at the wedding. The food was excellent (catering by Bluewater Grille) and we have some great pictures to remember the day thanks to our awesome photographer, Matt Nicholson, at Dim Horizon Studio.

Secondly, at the beginning of November, Ann and I finally moved from Downtown/Buckhead out to Kennesaw, turning my 45-minute (each way) commute into a 5-minute commute. Much happier, but still lots of getting settled going on. I’m also discovering all the spare parts I have laying around which I hope to put to good use at some point. Maybe I’ll even hook up the old Sun Ultra 5 Workstation and throw Gentoo on it.

Finally, in August I began my Master’s degree in Information Security at Georgia Tech. Doing this via distance learning has been quite the exercise, and it’s interesting to note the difference in distance learning versus classroom courses.

I have a couple of more experiences to post shortly, so hopefully the blog will be back to seeing some action.

COICA: The Great Firewall of America

S. 3804 is the latest opportunity for the government to use "Copyright" to control the Internet.  The DoJ, without a trial, could blacklist websites for "supporting" infringing practices.  Could Linux, Ubuntu, etc. be targeted by proprietary software for infringing on their IP?  Could Dropbox, Ubuntu One, etc. be targeted for allowing users to share files?  Could attackers use it to use the government to knock legitimate sites offline by filing false complaints against sites?  Should the US government really control the Internet?  I think this will just lead to a 2nd DNS infrastructure and fragment the Internet.  The underground will just go deeper and evade the government, but legitimate organizations and people will be hurt the most.

Big Picture Problems

In no particular order, and certainly not a conclusive list, but there are some things that really bother me that I'll call Big Picture Problems:

  • Federal Defecit Spending and the growth of the national debt
  • The continued plundering of limited resources and other environmental issues
  • Politicians
  • Overpopulation
  • Nuclear proliferation
  • The continued abatement of freedoms in the name of "security"
  • The ever-increasing power of corporations over people
  • Lack of universal healthcare

Accordingly, I'd like to say thanks to the hard-working individuals and organizations who work to improve things, including:

  • The ACLU
  • The EFF
  • Greenpeace
  • Citizens Against Government Waste

Why I will never be a Verizon Customer

Verizon has proven that they have no interest in serving consumers: Essentially, they're shipping Bing as the default search engine on Android phones (which I'm fine with) but making it impossible to change it back (which is enough to prevent me from doing business with them).  Additionally, they're forcing you into their inferior paid mapping service rather than allowing you to use Google Maps/Navigate.

Thanks, Verizon -- you've simplified my choice next time I'm shopping for a cell phone provider.  You're out.

Broadcom does the Right Thing

Looks like Broadcom is doing the right thing:

They've released fully-open drivers for 3 of their 802.11n chipsets.  I hope this'll spread to more of their hardware, but regardless, it's a great move.  No longer will Broadcom be an absolute contraindication to my buying hardware.  Thanks Broadcom!