Slightly less Random Ramblings

April 6, 2015

Using SSH as a remotely accessible proxy server

Filed under: computing — Tags: , , — Robert Wicks @ 12:39 pm

I wanted to have a SOCKS proxy on my home network, but I didn’t want to have to install new software. Fortunately, autossh can be used for that purpose without much trouble. Just add to your /etc/rc.local:
autossh -M 0 -N -C -g -l root -D :1080 localhost

after setting up ssh keys to allow root to log in as itself via localhost with no password. This will cause your server to listen on port 1080, and any SOCKS client on your home network can just point to it. After that, you can force all outbound traffic through that proxy if you wish, and limit the direct access to the Internet for internal machines.

January 27, 2015

Autonomous Cars: Don’t Hold Your Breath

Filed under: cars, computing, economics, libertarianism, Police, statism — Tags: , , , , , — Robert Wicks @ 11:51 am

Driverless vehicles are all the rage all over the Internet. In October, Tesla announced an autopilot feature which, in addition to providing some useful driver assistance features, will also allow the car to park itself when on private property. Mercedes has had similar driver assistance features for some time. Of course, Google is famous for experimenting with fully autonomous cars for years and have been improving the technology steadily. I have every confidence in the engineering. The capability to make a reliable autonomous vehicle is nearly upon us and is a very reachable goal. However, that is not the determining factor in them becoming commonplace on the roads.

The proponents for autonomous cars largely come from the technologically sophisticated left. There are some significant potential efficiency and safety gains to be had from self-driving vehicles. The driver is the most unreliable part of a car. Driver behavior has a large impact on energy usage as well. Up to this point, there has not been much in the way of vocal opposition to driverless cars. There are concerns, yes. Perhaps they will make traffic worse. There are potential ethical dilemmas. But these are not serious impediments to adoption. The serious impediment to the adoption of autonomous cars is the state.

Some of the things being touted as benefits of autonomous cars are threats to some parties. Let’s look at safety. Assume an autonomous car obeys all traffic laws. What does that do to various governments who depend on ticketing revenue? Driving irregularities are a leading reason for traffic stops which allow for the detection of drug trafficking, which is another major source of revenue for local police departments. Will police departments and municipalities be onboard for technology which will potentially eliminate the majority of their revenues? I think not.

Assuming the limited testing of computer controlled cars is promising, what are likely reactions from governments? If a driverless car is really safer and more efficient, how long before anything else is banned? Look at technologies such as airbags and backup cameras. These things went from high-end features to mandatory ones within 3 car generations. How long before something which could save considerably more lives would be similarly mandated? And that would spark outrage among both car enthusiasts and the automakers who cater to those enthusiasts. Those are moneyed interests whose influence should not be underestimated.

I do not expect these reasons to be the explicit cases for banning or at least slowing the adoption of autonomous vehicles. They are too cynical to be digested by the public. There will be other reasons given. I’m sure many factions are chomping at the bit for the first fatality which is caused or at least exacerbated by some sort of failure or design flaw in an autonomous car. When that happens, it will be put to maximum use by political interests who have had to largely remain silent due to their somewhat unsavory motivations. I expect us to have autonomous vehicles. But not without a fight, and not when the technology is ready. Perhaps a generation after the technology is readily available, the political climate will have sufficiently changed to allow them to become commonplace, but I don’t expect them to be common on American roads for at least 20 years after we have fully operational, reliable, cost-effective prototypes. The state will probably not allow it to happen any sooner than that.

 

November 22, 2014

The cheapest way to get audio out of your XBox One

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Robert Wicks @ 12:15 pm

Get a Microsoft headset adapter, plug it into the controller you are *not* using and keep plugged in via USB, then turn on that controller as well as the wireless one you normally game on. At that point, you have normal analog audio which can be piped into your stereo, powered speakers, etc.

November 9, 2014

Green Shoots Among the EcoReds

Filed under: cars, economics, free market, the tragedy of the commons — Tags: , — Robert Wicks @ 12:02 pm

I have a new article up on Libertarian Forum on some observations of the evolving community of electric vehicle owners.

July 5, 2014

Using Tor and a VPN service for privacy

Filed under: encryption — Tags: , , , , — Robert Wicks @ 5:36 pm

In light of recent revelations that the government specifically targets for surveillance people who do searches for Tor, here is how I suggest you use Tor:

1) Get one of the VPN services, install it and verify that traffic is sent out by default over the tunnel.
2) Use this link to obtain Tor. Set it up so that it runs as a SOCKS proxy locally (the default way, but you can also install it without a browser as just a proxy
3) Keep the VPN and Tor services running all the time, with the kill switch feature such that if the VPN link goes down, the Internet shuts down.
4) Configure Firefox in private mode (about:config) permanently. Configure it to use the Tor proxy
5) Disable geolocation in all browsers
6) Leave everything else default.

What this means is that all your traffic goes onto the Internet at the remote proxy location. If you don’t torrent, you can even make that exit point in the USA, which may help you do stuff like banking or services which require that you access them from the USA. Or you can just switch VPN endpoints when you need to. Whenever you want to do something with stronger anonymity, run Firefox or the Tor browser. This will put you on the Tor network. By disabling geolocation, you gain some additional protection against Javascript, which is still on in Firefox (turn that off if you don’t need it, but I use Firefox in this was specifically in cases where I need a full-featured browser, but still run it through Tor. Note that Flash will actually bypass proxies, so it will go out through the VPN connection. As as additional safeguard to your anonymity, pay for the VPN service using bitcoin, and use an email anonymizing service such as Guerrilla Mail.

May 29, 2014

Stick with Truecrypt 7.1a and Wait for more Information

Filed under: encryption, security, software, Truecrypt — Tags: , , , , — Robert Wicks @ 8:57 am

Yesterday, The homepage for the popular full disk encryption solution, Truecrypt, changed to reflect the following:

WARNING: Using TrueCrypt is not secure as it may contain unfixed security issues

This page exists only to help migrate existing data encrypted by TrueCrypt.

The development of TrueCrypt was ended in 5/2014 after Microsoft terminated support of Windows XP. Windows 8/7/Vista and later offer integrated support for encrypted disks and virtual disk images. Such integrated support is also available on other platforms (click here for more information). You should migrate any data encrypted by TrueCrypt to encrypted disks or virtual disk images supported on your platform.

The page goes on to describe how to configure Bitlocker encryption and remove Truecrypt.

The message is very odd, as there were no indications of the project ending. Truecrypt does very specific things. It is not the sort of software which requires expansive numbers of new features. It works well with Windows 7, which is a huge part of the market. I have not attempted to use it on Windows 8, but Microsoft’s own page on it indicates that it works fine. My reasons for distrusting the new message, despite the fact that the issuer of that message has access to the correct keys to sign the TC release are:

  • There are no details of the security issues with Truecrypt.
    Assuming this message is actually from the same people who have been developing Truecrypt, they should have no problem at all clearly describing the nature of the vulnerabilities. They have more ability to do this, once those vulnerabilities are known, than anyone else. The lack of detail makes me suspicious.
  • The endorsement of Bitlocker flies in the face of the history of the project.
    The developers of Truecrypt have shown a consistent (and justified) pattern of paranoia. The sudden endorsement of a closed source security solution is a completely different (and worse) attitude towards security. Among the most suspicious aspects of this is the fact that TC has explicitly avoided dependence on the TPM module due to a lack of trust, yet the “solution” suggested by the homepage currently explicitly endorses using that functionality in moving to Bitlocker.
  • The new release appears to not actually correct bugs or improve functionality.
    7.2 appears to do nothing more than issue warnings and disable encryption. The users of Truecrypt tend to be a savvy lot. They have the skills to decrypt data should that become necessary. Issuing a version with the encryption function disabled is nonsensical.

May 17, 2014

A Chat on Cybersecurity

Filed under: encryption, Firewall, OpenVPN, OpenWRT, security, Truecrypt, Windows — Robert Wicks @ 5:47 pm

I was recently interviewed by Manuel Lora for Liberty.me on the topic of cybersecurity. You can listen to it here.

August 21, 2013

OpenVPN Not Passing Traffic on Windows 8 Professional using UDP

Filed under: computing, encryption, OpenVPN, security, Windows — Tags: , , , , , , — Robert Wicks @ 7:25 am

Windows 8 Pro (which is the version I have. I cannot comment on other versions) appears to have an issue with a normal OpenVPN tunnel. When using UDP, my VPN does not pass traffic. It does pass that traffic when I use TCP. Additionally, a Cisco SSL VPN (also UDP based) I use does not work. After browsing about a bit, I found that the UDP encapsulation settings have an effect on this. The registry setting which needs to be changed is:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\PolicyAgent]
“AssumeUDPEncapsulationContextOnSendRule”=dword:00000002

After rebooting, both of my VPNs worked, fixing an issue which nearly made me abandon Windows 8.

January 24, 2013

Windows 7 VPN Routing to StrongSwan

Filed under: encryption, linux, security — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — Robert Wicks @ 12:41 am

One thing which always bugged me about my VPN setup is that whenever I used IPSec on Windows 7, I had to specify the route into my home network using a command prompt in Windows (with elevated permissions) where I had to use the “route add” command (you can view the link to see my example.) I finally have a way around this, by using the tip here. Just follow these directions, but instead of a script, specify the route command, with the flags “add 192.168.0.0 mask 255.255.255.0 10.8.8.1″ from the example in my VPN setup post. Check the box “run with highest permissions” and save it. Now, every time you connect to your VPN, the task will automatically set your route. Obviously, you could make this a script with any number of commands or multiple routes, so adjust things accordingly.

September 9, 2012

Dissonant Voices in the Chorus of Agreement

Filed under: blacks, liberarianism, political correctness, race, war on drugs, welfare — Robert Wicks @ 4:10 pm

Recently, I have been listening to new voices and perspectives from blacks regarding many of the endemic problems which affect black Americans. There are conservative groups on Facebook and around the Internet which cater to blacks.There are various pan African groups and individuals. One of the most interesting of these rarely heard voices is the Internet talk show, Your World, My Views, hosted by psychologist and former comedian Tommy Sotomayor. I have found this show to be absolutely fascinating. It is rare that we hear disagreement among blacks without the immediate shouting down of those who differ as “sellouts” or some other inflammatory name. But this is one such rare show.

Hearing the observations of others on the disintegration of black families and culture is wonderful. It is important for many voices to be heard. When an engineering team looks at solving a problem, having a variety of perspectives is crucial in developing truly innovative, effective solutions, and the repair of black America is a truly massive engineering prospect. As I have mentioned before, the great enemies of blacks in America, especially men, are the government policies of welfare and the war on drugs. This has essentially killed much of what black manhood has meant.

We need more of this honest dialog, and even vehement disagreement, in order to actually solve the problems which plague us.

Note that the site may contain some NSFW content.

Older Posts »

The Silver is the New Black Theme. Blog at WordPress.com.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,646 other followers

%d bloggers like this: