Sunday, April 24, 2011

Some Catholic Priests Can's See Molesting Boys As Wrong

Geoffrey Robinson, a retired Catholic Auxiliary Bishop from Sydney, says that some priests don't see the molestation of small boys as breaching their celibacy vows.  I say that regardless of the vows that they made to a religion based on a mythical sky fairy, anyone fiddling with a child is a filthy low-life scumbag that deserves to rot in jail for their offences.

The Outspoken Wookie

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Happy Judgement Day

Today is Judgement Day.  All the best and I hope you, your family and friends survive.

The Outspoken Wookie

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Do journalists not spell check these days?

FFS, this is early childhood spelling, it's not even difficult!  (Sure, the death is tragic, but the spelling under the photograph is worse!)



The Outspoken Wookie

Passwords v Passphrases v 2FA

Passwords suck.

Passphrases, on the other hand, suck less.

Two Factor Authentication (2FA) sucks the least.

Now, to give a bit more detail on this, passwords - a simple, usually less than 8-10 character word that someone uses to log into somewhere - are way, way too easily crackable and there are many "Top 100" or similar lists that have been published listing people's top password choices.  See this, this, and this to see just a few - possibly containg some of your passwords!  To see how the length and character set choice affect password "hackability", have a look at this page and also look at the calculator they offer - and 100,000 attempts/second isn't anything spectacular using modern computers.

So, if simple passwords suck, how do we address this properly?  Well, the best way is to forget you've ever heard the term "password" and automatically substitute "passphrase" where you read/see/hear this.  A passphrase is much more secure than a password because 1. It is longer, 2. It contains more character types than your average password (UPPER, lower, numbers, special characters (such as punctuation)), and 3. It is easier to remember (and often easier to type) than cryptic passwords that people think are secure.

A passphrase such as "On Thursday at 3:00 I put the cat out," or "After school finishes, I needa holiday!" are really easy to remember, will be typed faster than anything else you type after a short time, are very difficult to work out when shoulder surfing and have decryption times that make them unfeasible to crack before the information they protect becomes irrelevant.  They are even better for people who don't have cats or who aren't at school - yes, use a passphrase that's memorable, but not able to be directly associated with you.

Now, if you want even better security, combine the passphrase with some form of Two Factor Authentication.  This is where you need something to remember (the passphrase - the first factor) and something you have (a token, smartphone that receives a one-time code, or some software that talks back to a server and generates this one-time code - the second factor).  So, when you go to log in, you're prompted for your username and passphrase (as normal) and in addition to this, you're prompted for a one-time code that is generated, used, then discarded - the code is normally delivered on a key fob token or smartphone (app or SMS/text message).  This increases the security of your passphrase rather significantly - if someone manages to get your username and works out your passphrase, they also need to steal your key fob and/or smartphone to be able to log in.  That's what makes this a much more secure authentication method.

(Your "hole in the wall" card from your bank is a form of 2FA - you need your PIN (something you know) as well as the physical card to swipe (something you have) - one without the other isn't all that useful.

In the SMB world, functional 2FA basically means the RWW Guard and AuthAnvil products from - and no this isn't a paid advert.  For that matter, Dana doesn't know I'm writing this blog entry and I don't think he even reads my blog.  I mention it here simply because it works and works well.

Also, as you should use a different passphrase for each different login, you may want to look at something like to store these all in.  I've been using it for years now and find it a lot better than, or others, but whichever you choose, make sure it has a secure passphrase to protect it.

So, basically, forget passwords as they suck.  Use passphrases of decent length and complexity and you'll be orders of magnitude more secure.  If that's still not enough, combine this secure passphrase with some form of 2FA.  And remember - social engineering is still going to work in *way* too many cases.  Password crackers may have gotten a lot more sophisticated, but these massive password leaks prove that people's password choice sure hasn't!  :(


The Outspoken Wookie

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Blue LEDs in Baby Bredli Viv

I found some submersible aquarium LED lighting on eBay and thought that they'd work well not only for my aquariums, but also my snake vivs, so yesterday evening I made some mods to the smaller viv and this is how it turned out (using the blue LEDs for "moonlight" - the white ones are turned off for now):

It's an iPhone 3GS photo so it's not that great, but you can see the result!  I'm pretty happy with this.  I have these blue LEDs turned around so that they are a lot dimmer than they would be is facing into the main part of the viv, but I have the white ones (you can just see the top one up in the left of the viv) facing right into the viv - I'll use these when cleaning it out.

$10 each or so for these LED lights - and they do a damn fine job!  :)


The Outspoken Wookie

Monday, April 18, 2011

Microsoft 1:0 Telstra

In what can only be an awesome move on Microsoft's part as far as increasing the sales of Office 365, can I just say *THANK FUCK*:

Office 365 Hits Public Beta, Small Businesses Get the Next Generation Cloud Productivity Service - but the *REALLY* awesome part of this is this:

Office 365 in Australia

In Australia, Microsoft Office 365 will be available via Microsoft Volume Licensing or through Telstra’s T-Suite service. (

That means that we, as resellers, should be able to source Office 365 through our normal disty channels and bypass Telstra totally.  WOO-FUCKING-HOO - this is a great day for all Microsoft partners who want to sell Office 365 but don't want to have to deal with the clusterfuck that is Telstra's T-Suite provisioning.  See this blog post for a bit more information on this issue and why I think this is such an excellent move on Microsoft's part.


The Outspoken Wookie

Friday, April 08, 2011

More Baby Bredli Pics

OK, here's a couple of pics of my new baby Bredli just to give you a look at the cute little snakes.

I've not thought of names for them yet, but the first one's mum is Devine and the thing s/he's curled around is a regular cup hook:

And here's the second pic - this one's mum is Lizzie.  Again, s/he's curled around a cup hook.  The fake vine you can see there is 9mm in diameter...

At this point in time, they are about 6 weeks old.  :)


The Outspoken Wookie

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

ShadowProtect Restore Issues

Thanks to Tony for bringing to my attention this blog post from Philip Elder regarding issues around restoring Windows F^HFista and WS2K8 images that were previously made using ShadowProtect.  This is also quite possibly an issue also with Win 7 and WS2K8R2 - I'm not 100% sure here, though the BCDEdit results do look similar to those in F^HVista and WS2K8, so I'd be placing money on this also being an issue

I'd suggest placing this script on the ShadowProtect IT USB key and running it on any F^HVista/WS2K8 (and Win 7/WS2K8R2) machine before taking an image.

StorageCraft is most likely working on a fix to this issue right now, especially considering Acronis' True Image has already addressed this.


The Outspoken Wookie

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Baby Bredli

I bought a paid of Bredli hatchlings today.  Here's a photo of one, to give you an idea of the size...


The Outspoken Wookie

Overseas Data Storage

According to this article by that was published in The Sunday Mail today, the Australian Federal Government is looking to crack down on businesses saving data to the 'cloud' because of privacy concerns.  Now, this is a sensible thing, if you ask me - there are many different governments around the world who have significantly different views on the privacy and security of your data that's stored in their country.  What they are looking at doing here is helping to ensure that your business critical, sensitive data is stored in a way that means you are able to gain access to it - and have it secured - under conditions compatible with Australian Law.

One of the countries that is under the spotlight for their poor quality data protection laws is Singapore.  Singapore recognises no right to privacy of your data.  To me, that's unacceptable and I would not store our business sensitive and/or critical data in such a location.

Microsoft's BPOS/Office 365 servers for APAC are located in Singapore and Hong Kong.  The Australian Federal Government is warning us that any data stored in Singapore is protected by non-existent privacy laws.  Now, I know that the BPOS data centers are *extremely* secure facilities, but what happens if the Singaporean Government chooses to breach any agreement they have with these Data Centers and instead insist in gaining access to any data stored in them?

Unlikely to happen?  Sure.  But then, your data has no privacy protection if it is stored in Singapore.

This, to me, is yet another reason Microsoft should look at hosting a data center in Australia for their Australian BPOS/Office 365 clients.  There are already a number of businesses - especially medical and legal businesses - who cannot legally use BPOS/Office 365 as the data is not stored in Australia and is stored in a location with insufficient legal protection (as the Australian Government is saying is the case with Singapore for all Australian businesses).  I expect this list of industry segments to increase if/when the Federal Government starts to look at this, instead of leaving it up to the individual industries.

Now, my thoughts on Australia being forced to go through Telstra for access to BPOS/Office 365 is well known - I feel that Microsoft will make a lot more sales of its product when it starts treating Australia like the rest of the world and removes the sole wholesaler channel that it has given to Telstra.  Of course, if the Federal Government mandates that all business critical data be stored in a location where the privacy of this data is protected by laws equivalent to those in Australia, Microsoft will need to take a serious look at the locations of their BPOS data centers if they want to sell any product to Australian businesses.

The Outspoken Wookie