The Irony: The US and Germany Spies deliberately weakened crypto-security during the Cold War, and Huawei is accused today without proof shown of the same, and the US wants the same backdoors

Date Published: Wed, 12 Feb 2020 12:35:09 +0200

Don't get me wrong I don't condone secret backdoors by any country (whether China, US, Germany or others) as you either have security or you don't - there is no controlled measure of security. We also must not be naive about spying - all countries spy on all countries (the US was caught out recently spying on their German allies).  Obviously if you were an Ethiopian you'd want to condone this where it used against "foreign powers", but no it's often used against internally too by abusers of power (remember you don't have all the legal processes with secret backdoors and everything becomes terrorism or child pornography). And of course politics also gets into the mix.

So let no country cast stones at others from their glass houses...

I still wonder if the push to get "own technology" into Europe and other countries is not just a way of ensuring your own backdoors (intentional) / vulnerabilities (non-intentional) are in place for you to leverage instead of the other country. So if Ethiopia was about to replace its government routers say, and must decide between Cisco and Huawei, there may be more at stake than the price (substitute Ethiopia with any other country name). Cloud will be even better as the actual data sits in it, and is not just passing through.

So yes maybe properly inspected open source which is self-compiled may have to be the way to go. After-all the US NSA uses a self-spun secure version of Linux for itself (trust no-one).

See Cold War revelation at #^ and the current backdoor tensions (the modern Cold War?) at #^

#technology #security #crypto

#^Crypto AG backdooring rumours were true, say German and Swiss news orgs after explosive docs leaked


One for the Cold War infosec veterans: CIA and BND literally owned the firm


New South African bank branches where you can get your Smart ID and Passport -including more for Cape Town and other Provinces

Date Published: Wed, 12 Feb 2020 09:59:05 +0200

The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) will roll out Smart ID and Passport facilities to several more bank branches in 2020. The DHA launched Smart ID cards in 2013. These cards are a modern alternative to green ID books – which will eventually be phased out – and offer automated identity verification. They boast a contactless chip and advanced security features including public and symmetric-key encryption. The E-Home Affairs system was launched in 2016 and lets South Africans apply and pay for their card or a passport on the Home Affairs website.

ABSA, Nedbank and Standard Bank will be adding branches for Cape Town with FNB to still make their announcement.

See the list at New South African bank branches where you can get your Smart ID and Passport

#southafrica #government


The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) will roll out Smart ID and Passport facilities to several more bank branches in 2020.

A new implant for blind people jacks directly into the brain - Researchers have successfully bypassed the eyes with a brain implant that allows rudimentary vision

Date Published: Tue, 11 Feb 2020 17:31:05 +0200

This was possible thanks to a modified pair of glasses, blacked out and fitted with a tiny camera. The contraption is hooked up to a computer that processes a live video feed, turning it into electronic signals. A cable suspended from the ceiling links the system to a port embedded in the back of Gómez’s skull that is wired to a 100-electrode implant in the visual cortex in the rear of her brain.

If the basic idea behind Gómez’s sight—plug a camera into a video cable into the brain—is simple, the details are not. Fernandez and his team first had to figure out the camera part. What kind of signal does a human retina produce? To try to answer this question, Fernandez takes human retinas from people who have recently died, hooks the retinas up to electrodes, exposes them to light, and measures what hits the electrodes. (His lab has a close relationship with the local hospital, which sometimes calls in the middle of the night when an organ donor dies. A human retina can be kept alive for only about seven hours.) His team also uses machine learning to match the retina’s electrical output to simple visual inputs, which helps them write software to mimic the process automatically.

A very interesting story at A new implant for blind people jacks directly into the brain

#technology #medical #vision


Researchers have successfully bypassed the eyes with a brain implant that allows rudimentary vision.

Delete Firefox and Chrome/Chromium browsing data directly from the browser toolbar - clear cookies, history and cache with a single click

Date Published: Tue, 11 Feb 2020 16:01:22 +0200

Clear Browsing Data is a browser extension which enables you to delete browsing data, such as cookies, history and cache, directly from the browser toolbar (can select individually). The toolbar button can be configured to clear all browsing data with a single click, and the extension also supports closing and reloading tabs.

Supported data types:
* Cookies
* Browsing history
* Cached images and files
* Cache storage data
* Autofill form data
* Download history
* Service Workers
* IndexedDB data
* Local storage data
* Website file systems
* Plugin data
* Web SQL data
* Saved passwords
* Application Cache

See dessant/clear-browsing-data

#technology #opensource #browser


Browser extension for clearing browsing data. Contribute to dessant/clear-browsing-data development by creating an account on GitHub.

Use LED Flame Bulbs to create a DIY smoke free flickering fireplace

Date Published: Tue, 11 Feb 2020 14:50:29 +0200

Many yearn for the warm flickering glow of a traditional hearth. A real fire/gas insert would merely produce an unnecessary amount of additional heat in already heated homes. A no-heat solution also keeps the fireplace pet friendly and safe for small children.

This design uses a battery powered LED insert that requires no programming and is simple to install and remove. These LED bulbs draw very little power so can be battery powered.  This is a simple project that can be completed at a leisurely pace on a cold Sunday afternoon.

An idea is to use Spotify to provide the cracking firewood sounds.


#technology #DIY


How to record audio from a tab in Chrome/Chromium based browsers using Chrome Audio Capture extension

Date Published: Tue, 11 Feb 2020 14:29:53 +0200

If you’re watching something in your browser, specifically in Chrome/Chromium, and a desktop solution isn’t something you can set up, there are ways to record audio from within Chrome itself. It’s not a feature of the browser itself. You will need to install a free extension called Chrome Audio Capture.

The extension is simple to use and you won’t have to worry about drivers, audio input/output devices, and re-routing audio streams. It can save the audio in MP3 and WAV format.

See How to record audio from a tab in Chrome

#technology #audio


We've covered how you can record audio from an app on Windows 10, and on macOS. The process on both platforms is fairly simple and in both cases, you have %

South Korea's government explores moving approximately 3.3 million Windows computers to Linux desktops

Date Published: Tue, 11 Feb 2020 14:05:55 +0200

With Windows 7 in its support coffin, some institutions are finally giving up on Windows entirely. The biggest of these may be the South Korean government. In May 2019, South Korea's Interior Ministry announced plans to look into switching to the Linux desktop from Windows. It must have liked what it saw. According to the Korean news site Newsis, the South Korean Ministry of Strategy and Planning has announced the government is exploring moving most of its approximately 3.3 million Windows computers to Linux.

The reason for this is simple. It's to reduce software licensing costs and the government's reliance on Windows. As Choi Jang-hyuk, the head of the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, said, "We will resolve our dependency on a single company while reducing the budget by introducing an open-source operating system."

It's early days yet. This move may be meant to win significant discounts from Microsoft for Windows licenses. We may also see both Windows and Linux as running primarily in a DaaS mode by then. Only time, politics, and governmental budgeting will tell.

See South Korea's government explores move from Windows to Linux desktop | ZDNet

#opensource #linux #southkorea


In what may prove to be the biggest migration from Windows to the Linux desktop, the South Korean government is looking into shifting from Windows 7 to a trio of Linux desktops.

AA: Traffic Depts are Failing SA Motorists during Rolling Blackouts - Do Real Traffic Directing at Intersections

Date Published: Tue, 11 Feb 2020 14:00:01 +0200

The Automobile Association (AA) has said that traffic law departments which do not make every effort to mitigate the impact of rolling blackouts on traffic congestion are failing motorists in the towns and cities they serve.

It added that excuses by traffic departments based on a lack of resources cannot be accepted any longer.

“The rolling blackouts by the power utility Eskom are a major blow to South Africa’s already embattled economy,” the AA said.

“We have consistently reminded motorists to remain calm in the traffic, to obey the rules of the road at all times, and to adjust their attitudes to accommodate for unforeseen scenarios. But traffic law enforcers seem to believe it is business as usual for them when it is anything but,” the AA said.

“Erecting roadblocks or traffic stops to check for expired licence discs to fuel revenue is not an appropriate response – traffic law enforcement across the country needs to do better.”

See No more excuses for traffic chaos during load-shedding – AA

#southafrica #loadshedding


The Automobile Association said that traffic law departments which do not make every effort to mitigate the impact of rolling blackouts on traffic congestion are failing motorists.

Windows and Linux interoperability: A look at Samba and Playing Nicely with Active Directory

Date Published: Tue, 11 Feb 2020 13:53:25 +0200

Few of us are lucky enough to work in a pure Linux environment. If you are, you can file this article under "Something for the future" because it doesn't apply to you — for now. Samba is the Windows interoperability suite for Linux and Unix environments. It applies to those of you who work in a heterogeneous environment that might include Linux, Unix, Windows, macOS, and who knows what else.

Samba uses the Server Message Block (SMB) protocol, which is used by Windows systems to communicate with each other. Using Samba, you can have your Linux systems map drives to Windows systems, and you can have Windows systems map drives to Linux systems — though, the latter is far more likely.

You see, Samba lets you mimic file and print services on a Linux system. You might not have a full appreciation of what such a system can do for you, but in short, using Samba lets you create a Linux-based file and print server, potentially saving you money and allowing for easier administration.

More info at Windows and Linux interoperability: A look at Samba

#opensource #linux


Got Windows? It's time to talk about Samba, an easy to implement and free to use interoperability suite.

A rated list of favorite secure messaging apps including the newer BCM messenger (Created by Hackers for Hackers)

Date Published: Mon, 10 Feb 2020 19:09:24 +0200

An interesting rating and comparison done of Signal, Threema, WickrMe, Keybase, TwinMe, Conversations, Briar, and the newcomer BCM Messenger (iOS and Android) but which looks very promising and has a desktop version in the works. BCM Messenger transmits everything encrypted, even for the groups (up to 100,000 members) and requires no e-mail address or phone number to register. Offline Chat supports multi-hop ad-hoc network, with Bluetooth/Wi-Fi interconnections, so that in a specific area, the more people are using the app, the bigger coverage.

Criteria used for the section and comparison:
* This list is focused on instant messaging and chatting as the primary usage of the app
* Apps without trackers given preference
* Clients on multiple platforms preferred
* Does not expose personal information (for example phone number or email) to other users
* Does not leak data (pictures or other data saved unencrypted in browseable folders)
* Has ephemeral messages (encryption keys destroyed after a set time)
* Has contact verification through key fingerprint or other method

Below each summary is a link to a bit more detail about the review of each one.

See My list of favorite secure messaging apps

#technology #privacy #bcmmessenger

Step-by-step guides and detailed information on secure messaging apps for Android, iOS, Windows, Mac and Linux. Here is a list of the criteria I use to pick the best options. Each app may not have all of these characteristics, but the more that the app has of these in the list the better it will score. Testing is done on both Android and iOS when...


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