Archive for March, 2017


Sent from my iPad

The home secretary of the UK is quoted by the BBC as saying :

There must be “no place for terrorists to hide” and intelligence services must have access to encrypted messaging services, the home secretary has said.

And the same story goes on to say :

“But on this situation we need to make sure that our intelligence services have the ability to get into situations like encrypted WhatsApp.”

Unfortunately there is one snag with saying something like this – as we have seen time after time. What is really being asked is for the companies building encrypted communications channels to add “back doors” to their encryption algorithms, and this is where the “snag” comes in. How do you ensure that only the “good guys” can use this backdoor? So far we have seen other actors using such backdoors (or exploits as they er sometimes called) for purposes that have *not* been legal, and by criminals.

So what software like Signal and WhatsApp does in design protocols that can only be used at the endpoints –  Also known as end-to-end encryption, that can not be listened in to by anyone but the originator and the intended recipient. This can be used for a multitude of lawful purposes, where we do not want anyone to “listen in” to the communications.

In my case I do not want anyone to be able to listen in to the data to control my house’s heating, and my security cameras. For companies running power stations – why should anyone else be able to tap into their communications? And so on and so forth.

The unfortunate fact is that if you design a “back door” there is no way to guarantee that criminals and others get access to the same backdoors. And in todays digital world all communications are digital regardless of whether they are voice, video or text.

A real-life example can be found described here : https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2015/12/back_door_in_ju.html, this is from a serious provider of security solutions, including VPN’s – and it turns out that anyone with enough cpu could decode the VPN traffic passing through their servers :

They then piggybacked on top of it to build a backdoor of their own, something they were able to do because all of the hard work had already been done for them. The end result was a period in which someone — maybe a foreign government — was able to decrypt Juniper traffic in the U.S. and around the world. And all because Juniper had already paved the road.

What this does for all of us ordinary citizens that need secure communications in our daily lives (think electronic payment, meter readings controlling your car etc) is making the technologies we really rely on less secure.

And if our politicans demands this – it’s a good bet that it will happen in most other countries as well, even the ones where you do not trust.



After a long hike we are ready to feed the scouts.

We now have a few powerline adapters in the house – and her is how they are doing

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The first and the last on the list are new – they are a TP-LINK 12AV Kit – and they are doing a lot better than the others, as it’s easy to see.

When you set up a new Powerline modem, it’s hard to figure out how fast it’s really transmitting. This is where our Fritzbox comes in very handy :

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A plot of the heating automation in the house

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the read graphs is the temperature of each zone.

The green graph is how “open” each zones radiator actuators are (all actuators in one zone opens to the same value).

It’s a sunday so 2 of the zones open heating quite late.

Did brew #13 using the Grandfather today, and this included a lot of firsts for us :

– This was a Brewdog pre-packed recipe.

– Our first Lager (even if it is described as a American Red IPA).

– The first Dry-Hop. Ie. hop pellets added after the boil, straight into the fermentation bin.

– And it came out clear, but very dark.

This was in other words a unusual brew, with very few directions in how to perform the brewing process, and at least one of the calculations for the boil went wrong, as we only got around 20litres of brew into primary fermentation. The Gravity (1050) was spot on though.

It also used a lot of different hops – so the taste should be interesting.

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I just bought one of these for fun :

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it’s a Mood Light - Pi Zero W Project Kit

soldered it all together (easy) – and assembled it all (difficult until I found the online examples)- and then tried installing the software as described here https://learn.pimoroni.com/tutorial/unicorn-hat/getting-started-with-unicorn-hat.

Unfortunately I only got error messages when I tried to run the python code

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Tried a few of the usual formums, but found nothing that worked until I went to Github – https://github.com/Gadgetoid/unicorn-hat/

and followed this :

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Now all the examples work..

 

Next : getting it working using Ruby.