Sunday, September 1, 2013

Computer Security: What basics should I know?

All of you reading this right now are using a computer. Weather it be an iPhone, Android, PC, Mac, basically any way you could be reading this, you are using a computer with an internet connection. You have left the safety of your own computer, and connected into the wild, where you can connect to anyone, and anyone can connect to you. You have credit card information on your computer, or at least type it occasionally, enter social security numbers, and just generally enjoy using your device.

But there are things out there to protect you, right? Routers, and Operating manufactures such as Microsoft and Apple, other companies all try to do their best. Hackers target these systems knowing their limitations though, so it's not safe to just trust them. It's not their fault that they are up against an entire world of hackers that want to break into their products that you own. If you want what someone has, they eventually will get it.

What you can do however is minimize the damage that they can do. There are other products that you can buy, or get for free. More money doesn't always mean better though, but sometimes a paid product can be worth it. Antivirus is good mostly for stopping minor hackers, also known as "Script Kiddies". These are low level hackers that generally don't know how the hacks work, but leach off others works and use them until the attached programs are patched, and render the known attacks useless. There are however better hackers that break through new patches and programs. These types of hackers are much fewer, so if you protect yourself from script kiddies, you are safe from a lot of attacks.

The first thing you should grab is a manual virus scanner. There are plenty of automatic ones, though if you follow the next step, They shouldn't be forgotten all together as viruses can do more than just send your information to other servers, and even if they do, they can't always be stopped from making it back, so a virus scanner is still helpful. Take your pick, or find the best from virus scan sites like virustotal.

The other place that you can gain security is a firewall. Most viruses goals is to steal your information (keypresses, other recorded information, ect). They need to make a connection, in (or out from the virus to them),and a firewall can stop most things. Firewalls can be set up to block known bad things, or even better, block everything except known trusted programs. This is a good way to make sure that no program can make a connection in, or call home unless you allow it. It can however be a pain to set up all of the programs on your system, though this is the most secure method when mixed with an anti virus.

I'll post more details on setting things up later, but this is a general overview of protecting yourself when connected to the internet.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

UbuntuOS and Porting

So, UbuntuOS is out. What's that? Well, basically it's an operating system for your phone or tablet (or computer, but that's a different version that I'm not getting into right now). In the same way that you may have an iPhone, Android or Windows phone, Ubuntu is the same type of thing. If that doesn't make sense, or you want more information about that specifically, refer to this link:

Today Thursday Feb 21, 2012 UbuntuOS went live online to developers to a range of devices. The lest of officially supported devices currently is:

* Nexus 7
* Nexus 10
* Nexus 4
* Galaxy Nexus (GSM)

You may or may not notice that the Verizen and Sprint versions are not on that list. They are CDMA, and therefor incompatable. So, since I had the verizon version, I had to tear into it. After opening finding a guide to install the phone unofficially on the GSM version, I noticed that it was a lot like android. Stort version is "Factory reset, and flash in recovery mode" just like if you want to revert your phone to stock or if you break it and need to repair it. Can't be that much different right?

Well luckly, I was very right. The install process was exactly the same as android, all the way down to some android files. In fact, I only ended up having to change one word in one file in order to make it work (mostly, details later). It mas designed for the "maurgo" which is the GSM version, and my recovery failed to install as it thought that I was trying to use the wrong version on my phone. Well, I was, but I don't care, so I changed that. Low and behold, after changing it to "toro" (codename for Verizon Galaxy Nexus), it installed just fine, and booted right up. Everything but calls and text messaging worked the same as the GSM version (no dana for either model at the moment). I ended up posting that to the net, and someone asked me for a Sprint (toroplus) version. So modifgied the same line to "toroplus" and it worked the same too.

In the case that you have one of these phones, and want to try it out, I have the links below. Let me note, these do NOT do much, and do not make calls or send text messages. There is a limited experience even though wifi works fine. These are intended to preview only, and let developers work on apps for the final release. That's it.

Verizon version
[ROM] Ubuntu Developer Preview (Toro port)

Sprint Version
[ROM] Ubuntu Developer Preview (Toroplus port)

GSM version

Have fun, don't complain when things go wrong (at lesat not here, that's why there are forum threads) and most importantly I'm a nerd, and proud.

Back From the Grave

Well, it seems that I've gotten to the point where I'm doing so much in the technology world that I have annoyed my friends. Naturally, that means that I should go back to blogging, where people expect me ta rant. I'm sure it'll be along the same guidelines. I am always getting into some technology, and when my less tech inclined friends ask me what I'm up to, I can point them here and only explain once. On that note, re-introduction over. UbuntuOS just got released today, and I have to maintain my porting threads on XDA. More soon.