May 26 2010

Recorded Strokes And Missing Blocks

Category: Aware Or Conspiracy Nut...,In The MediaChrisM @ 11:51 pm

Sounding more like a plot device in Mission Impossible XIV than a well researched BBC article, spying on people’s keyboard strokes via the mains cable that powers the computer is more fuel for the tin foil hat brigade. The article doesn’t mention whether PS/2 keyboards are the types of device that can leak information back through to AC wiring (not at all sure why, but I can imagine there being less potential digital interference when USB was used), nor does the piece refer to whether PSUs with certain features would be likely to curtail this activity. For that matter, would surge suppressors (with their sine wave cleaning abilities) further protect paranoid users?

Another article with potentially information missing, is a piece on credit card info thieves using cloned cards at unattended checkouts in supermarkets to empty American customers’ accounts. I can’t understand why a simply block on non Chip’n’PIN cards using these sort of self service checkouts wouldn’t be put in place. This way staff would get a chance to physically check the card at normal check outs, meaning more hassle for the data thieves at the very least.

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Nov 02 2006

New Experience

Category: Friends,PersonalChrisM @ 10:45 am

A friend dropped their PC off today, to sort two issues…

First was easy enough, their portable (USB) hard drive required more juice than his motherboard/PSU could supply. Unfortunately, the drive didn’t come with a separate AC/DC power supply, although it sports a socket for such a transformer. Given the state of finding normal power/audio/video accessories over here, I’ve suggested an easier solution, but less expensive than grabbing a new PSU for the PC. I double checked, and as long as it is of the powered, rather than passive, variety, a new USB hub should solve the problem. Unusual for a USB hub to be the solution to a problem, rather than the cause, but there we go. This way, the USB is only used for data to/from the PC, the power is supplied completely separately by the hub itself.

Next we have a fun issue, where, seemingly at random, the windows GUI flips out and reverts to Windows 98 flat style. No particular software or activity seems to trigger it, so I finally got round to obtaining a Russian Windows XP disc, and will have a go at restoring explorer.exe and ntoskrnl.exe to their original states. If all else goes wrong, he hasn’t reinstalled XP since he got the PC, and some of his friends pride themselves on their l33t hacking & ‘virus’ writing skills, so I’m backing up his entire personal data collection over night (damn D-Link router runs @ 100MBit, not 1GBit, I’m now too lazy to disconnect and patch up direct one to one…) Also running anti virus scans on full depth once xfer is complete.

Had a nice meal and drink with him and his parents (friends with the in-laws), and introduced them to Angel Delight (Andy & KZBlog, you know your days are numbered :P). Already got Igor hooked up to Marmite…

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