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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.

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

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Let's Encrypt!

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

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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).

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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

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Custom Synapse Shortcuts

I've been using Synapse for a few months now. This software is invaluable to my experience on my PC because: # I can *quickly* do what I want to do without fighting with a big, hierarchaial menu # It doesn't require any huge dependencies (I use XFCE, so I don't want something that requires Gnome or KDE libraries)

Unfortunately, the documentation is non-existant. So when I wanted to be able to configure Synapse to execute a custom command when I typed a custom keyword, it took me a while to figure it out.

This post explains how to define custom commands in Synapse to execute custom commands in your terminal. For example, I'll show how to make "Google Drive" open a firefox window to https://drive.google.com

. . . → Read More: Custom Synapse Shortcuts

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With each passing day, it's becoming more and more obvious that Internet users are transitioning to cloud-based storage. Between (1) My home workstation running Arch Linux, (2) my laptop dual-booting in Ubuntu Linux and Windows 7, (3) my netbook running eeebuntu, and (4), public-access PCs at my University, I need a way to open the latest version of our files from any geographic location on any OS.

A few years ago I built a multi-TB storage solution which hosted my personal, online Subversion repository. But power is expensive, so this box ended up getting turned off. In response, I fell into the bad habit of storing my source code merely as files on the cloud without version control.

Several years ago (assuming your file was small enough) this meant emailing an attachment. Or, more recently, uploading it to Google Docs. Then people started using DropBox. Finally, if you cared about the privacy of your data, you moved to Wuala.

But Wuala tends to corrupt my files as I'm editing them in gvim, so I started storing my files locally again--which rocked the boat and convinced me to finally get around to learning git. Git has always been on my to-try
. . . → Read More: Github

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UCF Wifi in Ubuntu

This month (September 2011), UCF officially killed the "UCF" SSID to be replaced by "UCF_WPA" and "UCF_WPA2." Configuring Ubuntu Linux to connect to the UCF WPA2 network is neither trivial nor documented by UCF.

To aid other UCF Ubuntu users, I created a Wireless article on the unofficial UCF wiki. This includes links to the official UCF certificates and instructions on how to connect to the UCF_WPA2 network in Ubuntu.

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UCF Wifi Rant

While I frustratingly waited to connect to the UCF Wifi after a recent change to their system, I typed up the following email complaint to the UCF DoIT Manager. If *you* have also had issues with unstable/dropped connections, slow bandwidth, latency, or the inability to connect to the UCF Wifi, I urge you to also contact the UCF Department of Information Technology via:

cst@ucf.edu = General bob.yanckello@ucf.edu = Bob Yanckello (UCF Chief Technology Officer) lou.garcia@ucf.edu = Lou Garcia (UCF Network Manager [responsible for wireless services]) chrisv@mail.ucf.edu = Chris Vakhordjian (Information Security Office) tim.larson@ucf.edu = Tim Larson (ERP Consultant) jim.ennis@ucf.edu = Jim Ennis (Enterprise Systems & Operations) andy.hulsey@ucf.edu = Andy Hulsey (Telecommunications [includes Network Services]) aaron.streimish@ucf.edu = Aaron Streimish (Project Performance & Management Office)

Email below

While I understand the benefit of encrypted wireless communications, UCF's decision to require all student wireless clients to use WPA without preparing to sufficiently upgrade the wireless infrastructure has rendered the UCF Wifi *unusable*.

Allow me to provide a brief log of my Internet Experience this afternoon (2011-09-15).

12:02 - attempt to connect to WiFi - fail for 9 minutes 12:11 - connected 12:11 - google 'email ucf department of information technology' 12:12 - disconnected
. . . → Read More: UCF Wifi Rant