Tuesday, March 31, 2009

April Fools Day Virus - AKA conficker.c

Many of you have probably heard about the virus conficker.c that is set to go online April 1, 2009. But for those of you who haven't heard about it, fear not! Because I'm going to explain it now anyways.

The first point I would like to make is that conficker technically isn't a virus. Most people confuse virus's with just about every other type of malware known to machine and man, so I'm going to call it a virus for the sake of my sanity. In reality, however, conficker is what is called a worm, meaning that it is self replicating. Once you have the conficker worm it can reproduce itself and use your computer to send itself to other computers and systems. A virus, on the other hand, requires a "host", usually a program that you execute allowing the virus to infest your computer. The virus then remains in the host unless some physical medium is used on the computer, infected, and then used in another computer (USB drives, floppy disks, etc).

So what exactly is conficker? Well, the conficker virus/worm comes in 3 different versions (Strains). Strain A basically created 250 random websites per day, allowing for the "zombie" computers (computers that can be controlled and accessed by a "master" computer that the original virus' author has access to). This strain was patched in most cases, and so isn't a huge problem. The end goal was simply to sell bogus software to unwitting users. The second strain released, conficker.b was similar, but infected millions of more computers. The major innovation in conficker.c is that instead of generating 250 URL's per day, it will generate upwards of 50,000.

Strain C could be simply another bogus advertising deal, trying to trick users into giving up important credit card information. Other theories exist as to what it may do, however. When Strain C becomes active, the conficker virus will be able to bypass many security programs and infect the rest of the computers on the same local network as an infected computer. It also has the ability to build a tunnel that will allow it to find and infect computers via the internet, allowing it to spread rapidly. It could then be used by criminals to gain access to the private data contained on the millions of infected computer (an estimated 6-10 million computers are currently infected). It would be the largest zombie network ever created by a single entity. The zombie network could also be used to mount a DoS attack against any number of servers.

Conficker is already prevalent in the computer world. Like I said before, an estimated 10 million computers are infected already, including the British Parliament, the french navy, and other government bodies.

We really have no idea what conficker will do, aside from "dial home" to its maker tomorrow. The end goal of the worm is still unknown. What it will do is anyones guess. My suggestion, however, is that if you are running a windows machine, you may want to check to make sure you have updated your antivirus software, as conficker, among the other things it does that we know about, blocks updates and installations (of antivirus software) that may be harmful to it.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Connect iPod Touch to Cell Network

You can connect laptops to a cell network, so why not your iPod touch?  Obviously it will require some interesting hardware, and I am curious if I could get it to work for free (besides the hardware).  Already you can buy cards which will allow you to connect your laptop to a Cell network.  One thought is to simply do that (you could even tether your laptop to your phone), and then create an Ad-Hoc network and tell your iPod to access that, and through that get the internet.

However, that is a lot of steps, and it requires your phone, a cable to connect the two (unless you have bluetooth) and a laptop.  Why not a simple hardware dongle which would connect straight to your iPod touch and give you cell network access.  While you are at it, put in a microphone and you just turned your iPod touch into an iPhone.

Someone want to help me with this idea?

Appulo.us is Down

Apparently, Appulous was too good to be true. It got enough popularity, quickly enough, that the server crashed... enough for them to take it down completely.

So now what? I'm looking into alternate ways to getting access to the applications. When I find a way, I'll let the world know. Hopefully it doesn't result in my death.

Edit:  It looks like the best way to get an app is to use Google.  Just type in:

ApplicationName VersionNumberYouWant ipa

For example, I could type in:  Blogpress 1.3.4 ipa  This brought me to my Google results, and the second one proved to work (first one was Appulo.us, which is, erm, down).

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

How to Tunnel Through a School Firewall

Don't you hate it when you forget that paper or presentation for school? I know I do. When I'm at school and trying to read the latest articles over at Wired, I don't have time to retype any papers. I don't want to redo my homework, I just want to READ those articles dammit! Thats why I am on the computer in the first place! So if you are like me, and want your news (or facebook) now, then this is one blog post I would not suggest missing. Not that I suggest using this if your administrator's ban the use of connecting to remote terminals... (Although you can also use this trick with a few extra steps configuring Internet Explorer to view any website regardless of your school or offices security filters).

Basically what we are going to do is create whats called a Secure Shell (SSH) tunnel. An SSH tunnel is sort of like telnet, in that it will allow you to remotely connect to a server. In my case, the 'host server' is my home PC running Ubuntu-linux. And the computer I want to access from is, of course, my school computer running XP.

Setting up an SSH server on your host computer*
In linux, it is quite easy to set up an SSH server. Open up a terminal and type this command to install the OpenSSH package:

sudo apt-get install ssh

You will then be prompted for you password. Type in your password and hit enter (remember you will not see any characters displayed as you type your password). Thats all there is to it! Once going through the SSH Installation instructions, you need to set up your client computer (the one you want to connect from). To do this, we will use a program called Putty.

Installing Putty

This part is simple as well. All you need to do (for a windows client machine) is to download Putty. The download process is simple enough, all you need to do is follow the installation instructions. Once installed, open Putty.

In order to connect to your remote computer, you must know your IP address of the server computer. If your server is running linux, type "ifconfig" into your terminal window and find the ethernet IP address. If the server is running windows, type ipconfig and find the ethernet IP address. Once you have the servers address, you can use it to connect to that computer from the client.

In the screen that opens when you run Putty, type your host (server) computer's IP into the text field labeled (Host Name). Leave the port alone for now, as OpenSSH uses port 22 as the default port. Click open and Putty will try to open a connection with your server via SSH. If you are successful in connecting, you will be asked to provide a login name, followed by a password. If you input both correctly, you will see a linux command prompt (if the server is linux) that you can use as if you were at the actual computer. Enjoy!**

*The host computer in this case is running linux, but windows would work just as well. The installation process is all that would change.

**Please note that every command used from the remote terminal will be logged. It is also important to note that the way I have this configured, it will be fairly easy for an administrator to see you accessing an off-network computer. I will go into more detail later on how to try and get around this by using more obscure ports.

How to install Mirage OS onto your Ti-83+ or Ti-84 Graphing Calculator

So, with the messing around with my calculator comes the inevitable idea to put Mirage OS onto it.  Mirage OS is a flash shell which allows for different apps to be run.  It is a pseudo Operating system, or a mirage of one.  It does not replace the OS on your calculator, nor does it modify it in anyway.  It does however, work nicely alongside it make your calculator do more.  Installing it is really quite easy.

  1. Download the software necessary to talk with your calculator.  You can get that here.
  2. Install the software.
  3. Plug in your Ti-connect link.  It looks like this, and yes, you need one to do this.
  4. Download Mirage OS (Current version when I wrote this was 1.2) (Direct link here).
  5. Extract the contents of the file.
  6. Right Click "MIRAGEOS.8xk" and click "Send to TI Device..."
  7. A window will pop up.  Don't worry about any options, just hit "Send to device"
  8. Let the TI software do all the magic from there!
Congrats, now you have Mirage OS installed on your calculator. It can run its own programs and everything.  For installing programs, the process is exactly the same.  Read the ReadMe for each program you want to install to make sure you are sending the correct file.
Edit:  In the same way you can install Puzzpack and almost any other flash applications you want!

Ti-83+ Caclulator

I have a Ti-83+ calculator.  Maybe you have one, maybe you don't.  This nice thing about this calculator is what you can do with it.  You can do basic arithmetic, but that is so below what it can do it hurts me.  Some of the fascinating things the calculator can do are:

  • Program in BASIC
  • Program in Assembly
  • Connect with your computer for updates
Those may not seem like much, but for many people, Basic is their first real touch with programming.  I know it was for me, and I fell in love with it then.  The language itself is one of the easiest to learn, but it can still be very powerful.  I bring this up because I am tempted to make a few posts on the ideas behind basic and perhaps some more interesting concepts.  Also, for my Calculus class we were studying integrals, and the idea behind some of the rules made me sick, so I made a program to do them all.  This greatly simplifies the work on my part, and allows me to easily check my tests!

If you want to use the program, download it here and send it to your calculator!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Daemon Tools Alternative

I don't know about you, but after spending a long time on the internet, I've found that I pretty much need a virtual ISO handler.

Oh what?  You don't download anything that would need that?  Well, then maybe you don't care.

But I do.  And The problem is, Daemon Tools just didn't cut it for me.  You see, I didn't like how it hid itself in my operating system as almost every single anti-virus software out there tried to kill it.  That just didn't fly with me.  So maybe it has just been the bad feeling I get about it, but there must be a better way.  I tried Alcohol 120%, but I couldn't find a crack that worked for it.

And then, I learned of Starburn.  This incredibly useful program allows for so much to be done.  Not only does it install a virtual ISO manager (you have to request that when you install), but it also allows for the burning of almost any type of DVD (I don't think Blu-ray is among them yet, sadly).  However, I found that it's utility for burning audio CD's is better than iTunes because it got all the CD text on there as well, making it very easy for another computer to tell what the song's info is.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Tux, In a Completely New Way

Maybe not from some of you, but this caught me by surprise.  I found it while surfing the web and it just blew me away.  Check it out.  What is better, is that I don't really know how it was made.  Looking at the source code of Tux, it appears as though the author brute forced the entire html out.  Definitly worth it to see.

It's ROOMBA Time

Today, while I was looking around for something to do, I came across my mom's old Roomba and I decided I was going to try and hack it.

For those of you who don't know, the Roomba is actually a fairly simple robot to hack, because it has a built in port Roomba Open Interface (ROI) Port that takes an 7-pin connector. This allows anyone with a bit of mechanical skills to build their own connector and begin to mess around with the Roomba's coding. And if you aren't the technically minded, you can always purchase a pre-made ROI interfacer from RoboDynamics or another online provider of Roomba interfacing technology. I, however, prefer to go hardcore and make my own.

Because I just decided today to finally getting around to hacking our family Roomba, I still need to build an adapter and all that. I will be posting my progress on this blog, along with explanations and tutorials of everything I do so that you can all have the opportunity to hack a Roomba as well, if you choose.

The first step, before even building the interfacer, is to get the old Roomba working again. Wish me luck with that one ;).

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Fun iPod Touch / iPhone Apps

I recently jailbroke my iPod, as a lot of people who want to get their money's worth out of the iPod touch. So once you have your iPod booting up with the new custom boot logo, what do you do with it? Wayfarer has already given us one good use of the iPod touch with a combination of skype, Fring, and a few other apps. I have a few other suggestions.

Winterboard - Winterboard is a simple application to install. It can be installed straight from Cydia and once installed it is immediately ready to use to change the themes of your iPod. For anyone who wants to get rid of the boring black background that comes as the only default background. Winterboard is for you. It has all sorts of options for you to play with, although my personal favorite themes are CIA Lockdown, the Angel of Death theme, and the USMC. Winterboard allows for a large variety of custom "cut and hack" type themes you can peace together (for instance, the Marine slide bar and a sexy Ford Mustang background).

NES Emulator - For all of us old-skool video game ficianados, this is the perfect app. It takes a little while to set up, so I will give a short tutorial on it later. The NES Emulator allows you to play tons of old video games like battle chess, bomberman, Donkey Kong (the old one), Final Fnatasy, Super Mario Bros, and Zelda. If you are looking for a perfect imitation of the old games, you'll be disappointed. The emulator while good, is not perfect. I personally found the on-screen controls difficult to use, but the nostalgia value for the games was worth it. Now to install it...

Installing the NES emulator is simple. Just search Cydia for NES and it should pop up. Install it. Woohoo! You're done!


In order to play the games on your NES emulator, you need to have the proper ROMs on your iPod Touch or iPhone. There are a few ways to do this. The more difficult way (I don't personally suggest this method) is to manually move ROMs from your computer onto your iPod. If you wish to do this way, I suggest Googleing it.

The second way is to use a source that will allow you access to ROM's. This method is the one I used, but it was a damn pain in the arse to find a source that worked. In the end, I used this source and I suggest you do as well.


To use this source, open Cydia. Click the Manage button and choose 'Sources'. Click 'edit' in the top right corner. Now click on 'Add' in the top left corner. In the pop-up, type "apt.123locker.com" (notice the http:// is already on the screen for you). Click add source.

Once you have the apt source added, you need to install the package NES ROMs Package 1. This will give you a list of ROM's to choose from when you launch your NES Emulator. Pick your poison and enjoy!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Skype on the iPod Touch

Well, it's been an interesting few days as I try and make my iPod touch as much like an iPhone.  Some interesting and sad developments have happened, such as the death of Infinite SMS, and my attempts to get Skype on the iTouch.

Well, I have.  By buying an "online number" I have made it so I can call people from my iTouch, and they can call me back.  The only problem is, it isn't working as well as I would like it too.

At the moment, I am using Fring, Backgrounder, and KeepAwake to power my jailbroken iTouch.  Fring is a client which can hook up to Skype.  Backgrounder allows  the app to run in the background, so I can do other stuff while still waiting for incoming calls.  And lastly, KeepAwake keeps my WiFi on all the time, and in theory, it keeps the iPod from going into sleep mode.  This last option allows me to black my screen, but I don't need to worry about the iPod fall asleep and disconnecting fring.

Well, it isn't working as well as I would like it too.  I woke up after sleeping and tried calling my iTouch - it didn't ring.  Upon checking, fring had disconnected.  So the entire integration idea needs work.  Basically, I need an Application that always runs in the background, always stays connected to skype, always keeps my WiFi on, and will always ring.  I feel that the best way to do this is to make it myself - so hopefully soon, I will start in on this adventure.  Wish me luck!

Edit:  This post here might mean a Skype Application is coming to the iPhone.  Now the Jailbreaking communicty needs to get a hand on it and make it a perfect replacement!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

QuickFreedom Gives me Freedom... Quickly

What did you expect?

Dan, the author of QuickFreedom, had done a great job making QuickTether, and now a great job making QuickFreedom.  While the other programs are being updated to include the iPod touch second generation in their repetoir, QuickFreedom allows you to do a fully untethered jailbreak.

The instructions are straightforwards and simple.  I used the firmware I had previously downloaded for the Tethered jailbreak, and that worked fine (no reason it shouldn't, same firmware).  I managed to jailbreak it in probably under 10 minutes.  Didn't even break a sweat.  Best of all, the iPod boots, lol.

Full Jailbreak for Second Generation iPod touch.

There's even a story to this one.  But yes, the full jailbreak is now available to the public, I am going to be testing QuickFreedom (before known as QuickTether) to jailbreak my iPod touch.  Wish me luck, I will leave a tutorial up when I have finished.

But how did this come to be?  It's actually rather interesting how it all came about, from what I have been able to read so far.  I'm sure more information will become available in the future, but for now, this is my understanding.

A group of people from the Dev-Team and Chronic worked together to find this exploit.  They decided that the best approach would be to hold onto the exploit (not make it public) until Apple released the next generation of the iPhone and iPod touch; this way if the code contained the same error all of the products would be jailbroken.  However, a company, NitroKey, was also actively working on the jailbreak, and they too found this exploit - however, instead of releasing it, they tried to capitalise on it and released a product for a price that would jailbreak the device.  When Chronic and the Dev-Team saw this, they decided to release their hack so NitroKey wouldn't make money off of the crack - it should be, and always will be, free.

So.... now I'm going to try it.  First step:  Back everything up.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

How To - Get iPhone/iTouch Apps from Appulo.us

This Guide has been moved to a new home!  Please visit it to learn how to get apps for free!

Guide for 2.x
Guide for 3.x
New!  Use this guide to install "Install0us," the better tool for install apps.  You won't regret it.  Guide for all iPhone OS.

First off, we don't support pirating at all.  We think that all developers should be given credit and payment for their work - if you pirate you are not giving them that credit.  Appulo.us suggests usings its database as a trial period, We suggest the same.  This is simply a guide on how to do it - for educational purposes if you want to set up your own database to test from.  We do not have any affiliations with any other body.

Alright, first off, you're iPhone (Everything here works for the iPod touch as well, iPhone is simply more universal to say) needs to be running at least OS 2, and it needs to be jailbroken with Cydia installed.  If you haven't gotten that far, get that far.  Then come back here and read the rest.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

QuickTether - Does It Really Work?

Hellz Ya it works.

Dancool's website appears to be down, he sent the new Download Link out over Twitter - here it is.  His website is back up.  (Looking at Twitter and his Blog, I think the Software is still being Beta Tested - use only at your own risk, and don't ask him for support - only mention bugs.)

I'm using it now.  One issue I have already run into - you need to have libusb installed on your computer (at least for Windows x86 Ultimate) before the program will run correctly, it does not run before you do.  Please follow this guide to install it correctly.  After that (I even restarted O.o ) The program ran fine.

The hardest part I have found was putting the iPod into DFU mode, that took me about 4 tries - I remember doing it with QuickPWN to a first generation iPod touch and got it on the first try, so perhaps the instructions could use a little work...

(It's working...)

(Verifying Software?  LMFAO)

Also, once you have done everything and you use the Boot in Quicktether, (disconnected it immediatly after it says it has finished) and then wait.  If it boots up to what looks life DFU mode, don't panic.

If you can take pictures, or see the battery symbol in the top of the screen, all you need to do is plug it back into your computer, open iTunes (really, it's safe) and then set up your iPod.  It's awesome.  I Jailbroke my iTouch.

Mind you this is Tethered, but plugging it into my computer to boot is not my biggest worry.  Now, the world is much more open with me, and I get to discover all new fun things.  As well as.... well, getting my old App's back, lol.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Skype + iTouch = iPhone

Well, almost.  You still need WiFi to actually make calls, but if you are like me, and have WiFi everywhere you go... it's pretty damn close.

You don't even need to jailbreak your iTouch.  If you use a free application like Fring or Nimbuzz, you can sign into your Skype Account.  As long as you have credit (I got Unlimited to US and Canada - Come on, it's $3 a month), you can call people from your iTouch.  Mind you, you will need some way to input sound (the 2 generation iTouch supports the iPhone Headphones, the ones with the mic on it), but once you get that.... it works.

So, I mean, thinking about it, it is an investment.  You need the iTouch, the headphones, and the Skype.  But when you compare that to how much an iPhone plan costs... you save after the first year (depending on how big your iTouch is).  I'm really excited to start calling people.  I'll let everyone know what the quality is like.

Next step though... Jailbreak it.

UPDATE:  I haven't jailbroken the iPod yet, but I have made calls from it.  I called my Dad (From the east coast to the west coast) and there was some lag in the conversation - on my part I think.  I'm going to see if that was a distance problem, but I suspect it may be like that for most conversations, which is really disappointing.  I'll work on more details.  But to make it clear - I can call people from my iTouch now.

Jailbreak iTouch Second Generation

So, perhaps you got a new spiffy iTouch and want to know what else you can do with it.  Well, I did, and I want to jail break it.  However, due to a lack of a untethered jailbreak, we are stuck with a tethered one.  If you don't know what that means, read this post.

But, now, in theory, a tethered jailbreak is getting easier and easier with QuickTether.  This program will allow you to get a tethered jailbrake done quickly and efficently.  If it worked.  At the moment, the author of the program is busy fixing many bugs which users have submitted.  Mind you, the program was released for download yesterday, so bugs are understandable.  Hopefully in the next few days we will have the program back and working well.