Apr 30, 2012

The Horrors of CISPA and How You Can Stop It

I decided to dedicate this month’s Tech Chop to a little political activism. It just seems lately that the U.S. Government has an insatiable need to want to control the Internet. The Internet may very well be the last absolutel FREE realm on the planet if you think about it. Even in countries where the government is in complete control of the people, the Internet has provided a way for people to speak out and take back their freedom. Just look at Egypt for example.

The U.S. Government knows the power of the internet, and now seems that they want to get a strangle hold on it before it can be used against them. Last year the U.S. Government tried to pass an internet blacklist bill called SOPA that mirrors the same type of government censorship you see in countries like China. But just like a hydra, when one head is cut off, two more bills pop up in their place right? Now the fight is with a bill called CISPA, or the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act. Check out my latest Tech Chop video to learn more about CISPA and how you can fight it!



If you want to do something, use the links below to contact your senators and demand that they oppose this bill! This bill MUST die in the senate!

DemandProgress.org Senate Contact Tool
Eff.org Senate Contact Tool

Please share this video with your friends and family. We must spread the word about this bill and stand up to these attempts at stripping away our freedoms as Americans under the guise of "Cyber Security".

If you do nothing, you WILL lose your rights!

By the way you can get the Anonymous T-Shirt I’m wearing in this video here: (Anonymous T-Shirt)

Apr 27, 2012

How To Install Low Orbit Ion Cannon On Ubuntu

I've been mentioning that I will be building out a 12.04 version of Bauer-Puntu Linux, and I will. For the most part I will install all the sstuff you guys have grown to love. CHNTPW, GrimWEPA and the rest. In this version I decided that I would install one more toy you may have heard of. It's called Low Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC), and it is probably the best known DoS testing tool out there.

The problem with it is that it's written in .Net. Why anyone would write a hacking/attacking tool using Microsoft programming I have no idea, but they did. Anyway, in order to run it you must be running .Net Framework. For most people that means running it in WINE. Well screw that! I am going to put it in Bauer-Puntu and run it natively with Mono, the Linux version of .Net Framework! Do you want to install it and run it nateivly in Ubuntu? Here's how you do it:

  • Edit your apt sources and add deb http://badgerports.org lucid main as a repository
  • Run sudo apt-get update and ignore the gpg key warnings.
  • Run sudo apt-get install mono-complete
  • After that download the latest version of LOIC from here: (Low Orbit Ion Cannon)
  • Create a directory called /opt/loic
  • Unzip the contents of the LOIC version you downloaded above, and place the contents in /opt/loic
  • To launch it run sudo mono /opt/loic/LOIC.exe
  •  
Here's a screen shot of LOIC running in Ubuntu without WINE!

LOIC Ubuntu

True, it's not as easy as running sudo apt-get get install loic, but it will do! Now if you get a few hundred of your buddies you can test out your own DoS attack on your websites to see how they will hold up, and you can do it from your Linux computer!


[Via Tekkidd]
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Apr 26, 2012

Bauer-Puntu Plymouth Splash Theme

I mentioned the other day that there will more than likely be a Bauer-Puntu 12.04 Linux release. I skipped 11.10 because the tool I use for building the custom distro went away for a little while, but now they are back. If they're back, I'm back!

Anyhoo, Ubuntu 12.04 drops today which means that I am most likely working on Bauer-Puntu while you read this. It also means that it should be available in the next few days. That bing said, if you just can't possibly wait for the hacking goodness that is Bauer-Puntu, then you can at least download the new bauer-Puntu Plymouth splash theme I created for Bauer-Puntu 12.04 here: (Bauer-Puntu Plymouth Splash)

Check out a screen shot of it:

Bauer-Puntu Linux 12.04

You like it? How about my little ode to Anonymous? I hope those guys don't get pissed and DDoS Bauer-Power because of it :-) I'm doing it out of complete respect.

You can go ahead and install that splash theme now. Otherwise, you can just wait patiently a little longer for Bauer-Puntu 12.04 to arrive.
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Apr 25, 2012

Why You Shouldn't Buy a Mac [Infographic]

Now here is an infographic I can truly get behind. It shows what I've been telling people for years! Mac's are simply not worth the price you pay for them. Now I will admit that Apple makes a very good product, and they are reliable, but is it really worth the hefty price tag? I don't think so. Plus everything with the Apple logo is so damn proprietary it makes me sick! If you don't like viruses, fine! Buy a PC and put Linux on it!

Anyway, I found this during my internet surfing, and thought I would share it with you (Click for the full size):




What do you think? Is this image spot on? Is it flawed? Are you an Apple fanboy? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments!
[Via MUO]

Apr 24, 2012

Why My Company is Switching to Lenovo

Last year I started at my current IT gig. I took over the IT department for a small technology company in La Jolla CA. When I started there were no real hardware standards. There were at least 6 models of laptops floating around, and the same amount of desktops. All of the laptops and desktops were from Dell. Now, some people like Dell, and some don't. I personally don't have issues with Dell. I do find that their computers start to crap out after a few years though. Brand new they tend to work.

Anyway, I decided to do some window shopping for laptops and dekstops that I could purchase to replace olding computers, and I ended up picking Lenovo Thinkpads for the laptops, and Lenovo ThinkCentres for the desktop. I found really good deals for them. Anyway, we have replaced a few of the older Dell laptops with the Thinkpads and they are working out pretty great.

Well I found this ad for Lenovo the other day, and it made me like them even more! Check it out!




Pretty funny right? Who makes the computers that your company uses? HP? Dell? Do you like them? What do you like about them? Let us know in the comments!

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Apr 23, 2012

Visualizing The Petabyte Age [Infographic]

I found a really interesting infographic I thought I would post here to share with you. If helps one visualize exactly how much friggin' data is in a petabyte! I mean 1 petabyte can hold 13.3 years of HD video! That's a lot of damn 1's and 0's! Remember when we all walked around with our files on 1.4MB floppy disks? Remember the 5.25" floppys from the 80's? Now we are storing petabytes of data!

For those of you that don't know your storage terms, a megabyte is 1024 bytes, a gigabyte is 1024 megabytes, a terabyte is 1024 gigabytes, and a petabyte is 1024 terabytes! Do you see how that progresses son? I found a really good website that breaks it down called Whatsabyte.com. They say:

Megabytes, Gigabytes, Terabytes... What Are They?
These terms are usually used in the world of computing to describe disk space, or data storage space, and system memory. For instance, just a few years ago we were describing hard drive space using the term Megabytes. Today, Gigabytes is the most common term being used to describe the size of a hard drive. In the not so distant future, Terabyte will be a common term. But what are they? This is where it gets quite confusing because there are at least three accepted definitions of each term.

I agree, it can get confusing after a while, and I'm a computer geek! That's why I think this infographic does a good job of helping one visualize it. Check it out!



[Via Mozy]
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Apr 19, 2012

Help The EFF Stop Cyber Spying in America

Just a few months ago I was railing on the internet about a bill that was trying to get pushed through congress called SOPA, or the Stop Online Piracy Act. Well the Internet spoke out on that and bombarded our representatives with emails and phone calls asking for them to oppose that horrific bill that would have stifled our first amendment rights on the Internet. Well just like a Hydra, when you cut off one nasty head two more take it's place, a new bill that is even worse than SOPA is trying to get passed into law. It's known as CISPA, or the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act. What it will effectively do is force businessses like Facebook and Google to spy on your online activity and hand it over to the government without a warrant. It's seriously starting to look like George Orwell's 1984 in this once great land! It's starting to look like North Korea!

You have to know what is happening, and you have to help stop it! The non-profit group, The Electronic Frontier Foundation, or the EFF has setup a website where you can easily fill out an online form to contact your representatives and ask them to oppose these bills. If you do nothing, you are allowing yourself to be subjected to tyranny! If you don't know what CISPA is, check out this infographic:

 

Stop CISPA Infographic

 

To find out more on how you can have a voice in this issue, and help stop this threat from our very own Government, click here: (Stop Cyber Spying)

Please, help spread the word!

Also check out this quick video I threw together to help out another group fighting for our liberties online called DemandProgress.org:


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Apr 18, 2012

Remastersys is Back Bitches!

A lot of you have been wondering when a new version of Bauer-Puntu was going to come out. I had to stop making it for one main reason. It is because Remastersys packed up shop and went away. That was back in October of last year when I found that out. You know, right in time for Ubuntu 11.10 to come out. Bad timing, and bad luck! I tried messing with Re-Linux but I could never get the ISO I made to boot, so I just gave up.

Well today I decided to Google Remastersys to see if anyone had picked up the pieces left behid and I found this at Remastersys.com!

remastersys is back

Do you smell that? It's starting to smell a lot like Bauer-Puntu 12.04!
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Apr 17, 2012

S.M.A.R.T. Check Malware

By now we’ve all seen one of those rogue antivirus programs that look like a real antivirus program telling you that you are infected and unless you buy their software you can’t get rid of it. I even wrote about one once a few years ago, and how to use Malwarebytes to clean it up.

Well I found one last week that I think is just as, if not more nasty. Instead of posing as an antivirus program, it looks like some kind of hard drive failure detection software. Right before it pops up, it launches about 50 other pop-up windows saying that there was a write error due to disk failure, then this fake program calling itself S.M.A.R.T. Check pops up and starts doing a bogus scan. I took a picture of it here because the victims computer wouldn’t let me take a screen shot:

IMAG0005

One of the things this bad boy did that I thought was fairly slick was it went through all of your program and users folders and hid all the folders! Here is a screen shot I took after I went into my folder options and checked the box to show hidden folders:

hidden

The user that got hit by this thing was running Microsoft Forefront EP 2010, and the malware was detected by it however even though it said it was deleted it wasn’t. Removal was pretty easy though. I logged in as a different user. This sucker only infected one user account, although the folders were hidden from them all. I browsed to c:\ProgramData and deleted the files in the image below:

delete

After that I also installed Spybot and scheduled a scan at boot up. It found and fixed a few other minor issues, but for the most part this thing was gone.

Have you seen this particular malware? What did you use to remove it? Malwarebytes? Combofix? Let us know in the comments!

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Apr 16, 2012

My Desktop Tech Frank Building His First PC

We had a Dell Vostro 230 crap out the other day, and it was no longer under warranty. Since we work for a relatively new startup, we try to be thrifty. We decided it was cheaper to buy a new motherboard and case instead of buying a brand new PC. Well it turns out that my Desktop technician Frank had never built his own computer before. He's swapped out parts, but has never taken an empty case, and assempled his own machine. I felt it was high time he remedied that!
So we got ourselves an ASUS P5G41T-M LX board and a generic case, and I had Frank scavenge the rest of the components from the old Vostro and put together his first PC while I took a some crude video footage from my camera phone. Check it out!




If you want to check out some of the other stuff Frank is learning while on the job with me, check out his blog LopeyTech.com!
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Apr 13, 2012

Microsoft Attacking Linux At The Retail Level

I was browsing the Internet today while waiting for some installs to finish on a QA server I was setting up at work and ran into something pretty interesting. Interesting, yet completely not surprising. It was a forum post from a Best Buy worker who took some screen shots of one of his self-paced company training courses for their Microsoft ExpertZone program.

The screen shots are from Microsoft showing sales people how to better sell Microsoft, and give them some shady information to tell consumers about Linux. A lot of it is just plain false as you will see. Here are some of the screen shots:

Linux1

Linux2

Linux3

Linux5

Linux6

Linux7

Linux8

Linux10

Linux11

Linux12

As you can see, lots of these are just plain stupid. I mean Linux being safer than Windows is a myth? Bull shit! How many virus outbreaks do you find on Linux? Just about none! Linux is hard to update and upgrade? Ever use Ubuntu? sudo apt-get upgrade is all you need their pal!

Obviously this nonsense will work for those consumers who are computer illiterate, but then again many of them have never heard of Linux in the first place, so I guess it doesn’t matter. Just the fact that Microsoft felt they have to give this kind of training should probably be considered flattering for Linux. Obviously they are posing a great enough threat to the Microsoft status quo that Microsoft felt they had to disseminate this propaganda.

What do you think of these screen shots? Let us know your feeling on this in the comments!

[Via Overclock]

Apr 12, 2012

Can't Sign-in To Lync 2010 After Migrating to Office365

This is yet another fine Microsoft Office365 related article. I guess by now you've realized we just went through an upgrade from Microsoft's BPOS implementation of hosted Exchange to Office365. For the upgrade Microsoft gives us administrators a checklist of things one needs to do before the transition to make things work. Let me be the first to say that the section on moving from Office Communicator to Lync 2010 is bull shit!
Anyway, after the forced upgrade to Office365 we noticed that over 75% of our users could not sign-in to Lync 2010. If they tried they would get an error saying:
The user name, password, or domain appears to be incorrect. Ensure that you entered them correctly. If the problem continues, please contact your support team.

Lync 2010 sign-in error

Now I know what you are thinking, it sounds like a simple bad password issue right? Not so easy their hot shot. The same users can login to Outlook and the Office 365 portal with their credentials just fine. We contact Microsoft support, and they had us try some stuff like applying a hotfix, or checking for old certificates, but nothing worked. That is, nothing except removing Lync for each user, waiting for an hour, then re-adding Lync to each user's account.
To do that in the admin portal for Office 365, go to users. Click on the affected user, then uncheck Lync and save the config. Wait about an hour for it to sync with the Lync servers, then re-check that box and save it again. Same thing, wait an hour and have the user try to login.


Simple right? Why this isn't in Microsoft's knowlege base I have no idea, but it works.

Apr 11, 2012

How To Recreate a User Profile in Windows 7

Remember back in the good ol' days in Windows XP and Windows 2000 when someone had a corrupt user profile in Windows all you ever had to do was go to c:\documents and settings\ and delete or rename the folder that was in there matching a particular user? Simple, clean and easy right?

In Windows 7 if you delete the folder in C:\users and try to have the affected user login, they get greeted with a temporary profile don't they? What gives? Well it turns out in Windows 7 there is one more thing you need to do to create a new profile, and it involves the registry.

What you need to do is:

  • Click Win+R then type in regedit and click OK.
  • Browse to HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList
  • Locate the sub-keys pointing to the affected profile and delete them
  • Reboot and login as the affected user

windows 7 delete user profile

    That's about it, once that key is gone, Windows can go ahead with creating a new folder based on the default profile.

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    Apr 10, 2012

    How To Simply Demote a Windows 2008 R2 Core DC

    Last night I had to do some maintenance on my corporate network. I had to basically swap out a domain controller with a new one. The reason being is one of our domain controllers (DC) was running on Windows Server 2008 R2 Core. Windows Core is awesome because it is fairly light, and certainly less resource intensive than the full version of Windows. The problem with it is that there are some limitations.

    The limitations we ran into was being able to run the MessageOps Password Sync client on it. I decided to build a new DC running on the full version of Windows. I wanted it to keep the same name as the one I was replacing so that meant the old one had to go. To cleanly get rid of the DC, one must first demote it, then remove it from the domain. Before removing it I transferred all of it's FSMO roles to one of the other DC's then ran the following:

    dcpromo /AdministratorPassword:<New Local Admin Password>

    The above command is the simplest command to remove a DC from an Active Directory domain. It simply assumes the default settings, and assigns a new local admin password. Boom, done. There are other options one can do as well which you can find by running:

    dcpromo /?:demotion

    If you don't need to do anything except remove a DC, then the first command should suit you just fine.

    [Via Technet

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    Apr 9, 2012

    Alternative To SSO For Microsoft Office365

    Greetings fellow geeks. I have a fairly decent article for you today I think. Especially if your company is getting ready to transition to Microsoft Office365 from BPOS or from an on-premise Exchange setup. The reason this may be good for you is I am offering an alternative to their single-sign on (SSO) implementation which uses the extremely complicated Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS).

    This solution comes from the same group I used when I first started managing BPOS for my current company to sync passwords with Microsoft Online called MessageOps. It consists of a client and server setup that captures password changes on your domain controllers and passes them to a server to sync with Microsoft Online. I wrote about that setup for BPOS here: (Sync AD Passwords With BPOS)

    Well, Microsoft is forcing all BPOS users to upgrade to Office365 so that means that the old sync server won't work anymore. That's fine, because MessageOps has come up with a tool for Office365 that works the same! Plus it is way easier to setup than ADFS! The only major difference is:

    • It has to run on Windows Server 2008 R2
    • You must have user's email address specified under the Email section in Active Directory

    To make everything work, install the password sync server on a separate server that is not a domain controller. I installed mine on the same server I used to setup Active Directory User Sync. On your domain controllers, install the client and point it to the password sync server. It really can't get any easier than that! Full instructions for setup and configuration can be found here: (How to install and configure Message Ops Password Sync Office365)

    For details on how to download this tool visit the MessageOps page here: (Office365 Password Sync)

    Pricing for the tool is $5 per user unless you make MessageOps your prefered Microsoft partner, in which case the password sync tool is free!

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    Apr 4, 2012

    Alternative Email Client For Android

    A few weeks ago I was talking about a really great custom ICS themed ROM based on CM7 custom firmware. Although it really was pretty cool after a while I started to notice weird quirky little issues on my Evo 4G. For instance I have a bluetooth speaker phone in my car that I like to connect my phone to for hands free calls and to stream Pandora through my car's radio. That worked fine, but when I disconnected from the bluetooth device, the speaker would stop working on my phone until I rebooted. There were a number of little gotchas like that so i decided to go back to the stock ROM and re-root it.

    The thing I really really liked about the custom ROM though was the email application that came with it. It allowed me to check multiple emails in my inbox and mark them all as read. The default HTC email client doesn't do that. Plus the one from the CM7 ROM also supports Microsoft Exchange. The trouble is you can't find it in the Android Market anywhere. Well I found a copy that was extracted from the CM7 Zip file. it's just the Email.apk file, but that's all you need. You can download that bad boy from here: (Android Email With Exchange Email.apk)

    To install it, copy the apk file to your SD card, and install it with the AppInstaller app fromt he Android market. Simple! I hope you enjoy it!

    If you want to remove the HTC Email app you can using another tool from the Android Market called SystemAPK Manager.

    Incidentally, you can just install the ICS Launcher from the Android Market to give your Evo that ICS look and feel.

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