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Using uBlock Origin to Whitelist

As some mega websites deploy APIs that are used nearly ubiquitously on most of the Internet's websites (I'm looking at you Facebook & Google), I've begun to compartmentalize my browsers to "jail" specific website usage to a single, sandboxed browser (profile). This is sometimes referred to as a Site-Specific Browser (SSB).

Besides making sure that your SSB is isolated in that it cannot access your regular browser's data (a configuration I plan to document in the future), it's essential to block all network traffic from/to your SSB and all websites, except a whitelist. Unfortunately, getting block-all-then-whitelist functionality in uBlock Origin was annoyingly not documented, so I decided to publish it.

If you want uBlock Origin to block all traffic, add the following line to the textbox in your "My filters" tab of uBlock's Dashboard.

*.* Michael Altfield

Hi, I’m Michael Altfield. I write articles about opsec, privacy, and devops ➡

About Michael

. . . → Read More: Using uBlock Origin to Whitelist

Let's Encrypt!

Finally, this website is (only) accessible over https!

Michael Altfield

Hi, I’m Michael Altfield. I write articles about opsec, privacy, and devops ➡

About Michael


Tor->VPN in TAILS to bypass tor-blocking

This post will describe how to route outgoing traffic in a python script running on TAILS first through Tor, then through a SOCKS proxy created with an ssh tunnel. This is helpful when you want to use the anonymizing capabilities of tor, but you need to access a website that explicitly blocks tor exit nodes (common with sites running CloudFlare on default settings).

Michael Altfield

Hi, I’m Michael Altfield. I write articles about opsec, privacy, and devops ➡

About Michael

. . . → Read More: Tor->VPN in TAILS to bypass tor-blocking

pycurl through Tor without leaking DNS lookups

This article describes the correct way to use pycurl over Tor, such that both DNS lookup data and HTTP(S) traffic is sent through Tor's SOCKS5 proxy.

If you google "pycurl tor", one of the first results is a stackoverflow post that describes how to configure pycurl using the pycurl.PROXYTYPE_SOCKS5 setting. Indeed, even the tutorial To Russia With Love on the Tor Project's Official Website describes how to pass pycurl through Tor using the pycurl.PROXYTYPE_SOCKS5 setting.

However, using pycurl.PROXYTYPE_SOCKS5 will leak DNS queries associated with your HTTP requests outside of the Tor network! Instead you should use pycurl.PROXYTYPE_SOCKS5_HOSTNAME.

The --socks5-hostname argument was added to libcurl v7.26.0. The pycurl.PROXYTYPE_SOCKS5_HOSTNAME argument wasn't added to pycurl until pycurl v7.19.5.1, which (at the time of writing) was less than 2 months ago!

This article will describe how to install pycurl v7.19.5.1 onto the latest version of TAILS at the time of writing, which is TAILS v1.2.3.

Michael Altfield

Hi, I’m Michael Altfield. I write articles about opsec, privacy, and devops ➡

About Michael

. . . → Read More: pycurl through Tor without leaking DNS lookups

Eavesdropping Analysis of PGP Metadata

This post attempts to answer the following question: If an evesdropper intercepts a message encrypted with gpg, how much information will they be able to extract from the message without a decryption key?

I will show the unencrypted metadata added to a GPG-encypted message, and I will present commands that can be used to extract this unencrypted metadata.

Michael Altfield

Hi, I’m Michael Altfield. I write articles about opsec, privacy, and devops ➡

About Michael

. . . → Read More: Eavesdropping Analysis of PGP Metadata

Browsing without being tracked via Fingerprinting

Your browser aggrigates a *lot* of data about your computer, and it won't hesitate to provide all of this data to a nosy web site. In fact, if a website requests a large dataset of your computer's configuration, concatinates it together, and passes it through a hash function, the resulting hash can be farily unique.

This procedure can be done (and is done) on seperate websites to track users and their activity across multiple websites. If the same procedure [get data, concatenate, hash()] produces the same hash value when done on 2 seperate websites, the website can be fairly certain that you're the same user. This technique for tracking users is known as Browser Fingerprinting.

Just to get an idea of how effective this is, here's an excerpt from the above-linked article:

[The EFF] found that, over their study of around 1 million visits to their study website, 83.6% of the browsers seen had a unique fingerprint; among those with Flash or Java enabled, 94.2%. This does not include cookies!

You can test the uniqueness of your browser's "fingerprint" using this handy EFF tool.

There is a really great document descirbing techniques that could be used to prevent
. . . → Read More: Browsing without being tracked via Fingerprinting

Extend GPG Key Expiration

I came back from my "cross-country bicycle trip":http://1guy2biketrips.michaelaltfield.net to discover I could no longer send signed email because my key expired! I've also changed colleges from "SPSU":http://www.spsu.edu/ to "UCF":http://www.ucf.edu, and my old college is expiring my email address, so here's what I need to do:

# Extend my key's expiration another year # Add new email address to subkey # Save updates to key # Export a new public key

Background Information GPG

"GPG (GNU Privacy Guard)":http://www.gnupg.org/ (used here) is a popular, cross-platform implementation of "OpenPGP (Pretty Good Privacy)":http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pretty_Good_Privacy defined in "RFC 4880":http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc4880. OpenPGP outlines a standard, open message format for maintaining the "confidentiality":http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_security#Confidentiality and "integrity":http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_security#Integrity of electronic messages.

Why Subkeys?

"Public Key Cryptography":http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public-key_cryptography is long, complicated, and well outside the scope of this post. However, one thing I never fully understood was the functional purpose of subkeys. Thankfully, "the GPG documentation":http://www.gnupg.org/gph/en/manual.html is excellent.

So, there's 2 major things I want to accomplish by using GPG with my email

# Confidentiality through encryption # Integrity through signatures

The designers of PGP viewed the signature role as indefinitely important while the encryption role as dynamic overtime. Therefore, when we first generate a keypair, 2 keys are created: 1 primary key for
. . . → Read More: Extend GPG Key Expiration

Plausibly Deniable File Encryption

Plausibly deniable encryption is a fascinating concept. For example, "TrueCrypt":http://www.truecrypt.org/ (a FOSS for hard disk encryption) has a wonderful "Hidden Volume":http://www.truecrypt.org/docs/?s=hidden-volume feature that provides "Plausible Deniability":http://www.truecrypt.org/docs/?s=plausible-deniability. The concept is: you install 2 OS instances on your computer--1 in a hidden volume. If, for whatever reason, you were forced to reveal your encrypted data, you could give access to decrypt your fake, but seemingly legitimate, OS instance. If done correctly, this could prevent you from forfeiting your sensitive data.

What if you want to encrypt some data to a file, bury it on a thumbdrive somewhere, and make it appear to be just an obscure filetype (possibly corrupted)? I ran across "the answer":http://old.nabble.com/Is-it-possible-to-decide-what-is-a-gpg-file--td26392408.html when studying for my Secure Computing final.

I haven't had a chance to research this potential solution, but there seems to exist a project that builds onto the Blowfish cypher to achieve this plausibly deniable encryption: "Blowfish Updated Re-entrant Project (BURP)":http://www.geodyssey.com/.

Exerpt from "burp.txt":http://www.geodyssey.com/cryptography/burp.txt

Unlike many similar programs, BURP writes to the output file only the ciphertext (i.e., it writes no "file headers", password verification data, system, program or content identification strings, etc.). Consequently, such file can not be "provably" identified as ciphertext, as long as the key
. . . → Read More: Plausibly Deniable File Encryption

Iterative MITM Packet Sniffer

So, I got into a discussion with a friend of mine in my Computer Security class at UCF about this script. I'm posting this for historical and educational purposes only. As always, I never condone the implementation of any of my content for malicious intent. Moreover, this script has flaws that * would make it useless in such a scenario. Don't do it!

Here's a script I hacked up last semester when I was playing with MITM attacks and packet eavesdropping with ettercap:. This scripts will automatically:

fake its MAC Address get a new IP Address collect a list of hosts on the same subnet as itself iterate through and ARP poison: each of these hosts one at a time for 5 minutes each save all data collected in host-specific files in a timestamped directory repeat until the hard drive is full Michael Altfield

Hi, I’m Michael Altfield. I write articles about opsec, privacy, and devops ➡

About Michael

. . . → Read More: Iterative MITM Packet Sniffer

Sabayon, KDE, and Evolution

I recently reformatted my hard drive--switching from pure Gentoo to the Sabayon fork. Sabayon did for Gentoo what Ubuntu did for Debian. It's generally a lot easier to use, but--unlike Ubuntu--it doesn't sacrifice functionality for ease-of-use.

Michael Altfield

Hi, I’m Michael Altfield. I write articles about opsec, privacy, and devops ➡

About Michael

. . . → Read More: Sabayon, KDE, and Evolution