Area 51 exists !

Since childhood many of us were fascinated by the existence of Aliens , UFOs and Area 51. Well I cant be sure of the first two but I can surely tell you that Area 51 does exists in real world.Recently in a declassified document by CIA they acknowledges that Area 51 does exists.But it makes me sad that they said the area is not for research and study about UFO but it is for testing of the U-2 and other spy planes.

Well don’t be dishearten , who knows they may be lying to hide the real truth ! Aliens and UFO may still exist. Like after the NSA PRISM, who will trust the Government, right? So all the fans of Aliens and UFOs enjoy the photos below.

 

Area 51 Satellite Image
Area 51 Satellite Image

 

Recently declassified map of Area 51
Recently declassified map of Area 51

Go to source link for more info.

News Source: AP

Death To Privacy.

One after another secure email services are going down.

After the PRISM incident where it was told that big corporates like Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail were allowing the NSA and US Government to have access of innocent people’s private data. The secure email services are getting shut down in fear of NSA.

Recently a secure email service Lavabit used by the NSA whistle blower Edward Snowden got shutdown in fear of NSA takedown. Soon after that another secure email service Silent Circle also shuts itself down.

Lavabit shutsdown
Lavabit shutsdown

Yes when an email service gets shut down it does create a lot of problems but I will say the decision was good keep in mid its better that no one have access to your data(as the company is shutdown all the files are deleted from the server) then some official to have access to without proper reasons.

Silent Circle secure email shutsdown
Silent Circle secure email shutsdown

But a new secure email service is on its way. It is to be released in 2014 by the famous Kim Dotcom. Yes the creator of Megaupload and MEGA.

Hope more and more secure email service will come along in years to come then we can finally have a secure communication with our friends and family without the fear of someone spying on us.

Windows 8.1(Windows Blue) Review

Windows 8.1 Pro Preview Evaluation copy. Build 9431

 

Windows Blue or Windows 8.1 is a recent update of Windows 8. Which is currently in a preview edition. I tested the Windows 8.1 Pro 32 bit Evaluation Copy on my laptop. Before I begin let me tell you the specs of my laptop it’s a Dual-Core with 1 GB RAM , why did I selected a low hardware over high end, because I wanted to test how it performs on low resources. At higher resource even the worst built software may perform kind of OK more over I wanted to test how it performs over Windows XP SP3 or Windows 7. While testing a OS I use it for a week and I try out the basic task which all people does like, web surfing, email , music, movie, document editing, etc. And I also try other things which only few people does like installing IDE of certain programming language and installing other developer tools which worked fine in previous versions of the OS. And I do write the review of the OS using the same OS itself. (Except using photo editing or other tools which I don’t have license on the new OS or the software does not work on the new OS)

 Installing the OS

The installation went smoothly after I downloaded the iso file I used tool provided by Microsoft to make it in a bootable flash drive. You could skip this step and burn the iso into a DVD and use it to install.

Installation works same as Windows 8 so I won’t go into the details.

Most noticeable change that you will see at first.

You can directly boot in to Desktop Mode if you want.

Still No Start Menu.

Still feels like the UI is designed for touch screen rather then traditional Keyboard and Mouse.

Problems encountered while using Windows 8.1

My laptop has a Realtek sound card, on installation of Windows 8.1 the sound stopped working, resolved by installing the latest drivers (for Windows 7/8) from the official manufacturer website.

My laptops touchpad scroll stopped working, older drivers were unsupported, no driver for Windows 8 or 8.1 , tried to use 3rd party drivers but still no joy. And screen brightness control keys did not work by default (worked after installing Windows updates), while other function and multimedia keys worked fine.

Windows 8.1 Start Page

 

(While these problems were entirely related to my laptop which is fairly old model, you may not even have these problems on your laptop if its new or other model then mine,  mentioned because you should be ready to download and install drivers if it does not work, keep in mind that if your network card is not supported you should have access to other working PC or dual boot your computer before you install Windows 8.1, having said that we should note this is a preview copy and not final, it’s natural that something won’t perform as desired. It’s to be noted that my touch pad works fine in other Windows versions with driver)

Using the OS.

After I finished installing the OS and driver for my sound card. I started installing my day to day software. I installed Google Chrome and synced my bookmarks and plugging, installed VLC, winrar, and MS Office 2010. All went perfectly smooth. Problem faced was one of the old software that I use (which still works in XP and Windows 7) Google Talk that I frequently use. The installation went fine but it will never sign in to Google account, keeps throwing an error message about problem in connecting, even though the internet works fine. Well its an old software Google did not push any updates to it for quite a long time. But the fact that it still works in Windows XP and Windows 7 but not on the Windows 8.1 was a bit of disappointment for me. And yes Google Talk Plugin for browser works fine.

Ok, hard core Windows fan may have already started hating me, please don’t there are many things I liked. Even though I don’t have any state of art GPU in my laptop just the regular Intel on-board graphics card, the screen looked crisper then it use to when I used Windows XP or even Windows 7, its to be noted that I did not install the default drivers provided by the manufacturer, the Windows 8.1 installed the required drivers itself. I linked my Microsoft account with my laptop and visited the Store, very much same as with Windows 8, installed one app to test (Twitter) downloaded & installed fine and worked as it should no complains.

Twitter App getting installed from the Windows App Store

Even though I have set the boot to Desktop in my machine the missing Start Menu kept bothering me. (remember I am my day to day task on this computer ) so I had to install a third party Start Menu, strange as it may sound the first which I installed had compatibility issue with Windows 8.1 ! Tried to check solutions online but it failed to resolve any problem. So I uninstalled it and installed another one that works fine.  If you care to use it on your own Windows 8.1 or even Windows 8 it’s called Start Menu 8 made by IObit (note I am not sponsoring the company by any mean, there are many other companies that makes start menu for Windows 8 which you can use if you like)

Except for the scroll on my touch pad and issue with gesture controlled things in Windows 8.1 and after I installed the third party Start Menu Windows 8.1 is pretty much usable. The boot time is very fast considering the low specs of my laptop, it booted faster than Windows XP or Windows 7. But Windows 8.1 did give me more trouble with BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death) then Windows XP or Windows 7 (while installing Windows updates)

Games

We all know the next best thing a computer is useful for is playing games. While the latest and greatest games are not tested by me. I went ahead and tested the most use applications in office environment next to MS Office. Yes I am talking about Minesweeper and card games like Solitaire. Well to be able to play that game you need to have a internet connection , a Microsoft account and time to download it. Yes the basic games also needed to be downloaded. Well it may be because it’s a preview copy, but seriously you are making a 2GB plus size ISO (for 32 bit) how hard is it to squeeze in a game or two? Well its not COD, games size are not that big.

Xbox service not available.

While people may argue why bother I will just download it from the internet. Yes that what we have to do but, what if the person who just installed the OS and other important software decides to go out of his/her house without internet, and decides to play a game after he/she is bored with work(which he/she does offline like making PPT and Excel sheets for his/her office) Well MS has decided you should not be able to play games at least not without a Microsoft Account and Internet connection and the time to download the games. Minesweeper is a 105 MB download well not that big in size you will say, but if you like me lives in a country where internet is slow and pricy you will think otherwise.

You need to download even the basic games.

(Note: I did not download any games)

Ok lets surf Internet and play online games

Lets come to the default IE. Yes I am a Web Designer come developer and I hate IE, ever since IE6 (before that I was not developing anything for the web) I hate IE. But I will still use IE for a while and let you know how it performs. Just because I like my readers of the blog. Well as most of the cool things of web nowadays is HTML5 I decided to check it first. So how does the new IE 11 performs on the Microsoft’s new operating system ? Poorer then other modern bowser. HTML5 score is very low, even lower then some of the basic Android phones.

HTML5 Test Score for IE 11

 

IE 11 on Windows 8.1

 

While using for email, social networking , surfing you won’t feel any difference, if you are a developer or designer for the web and works with HTML5, CSS3, JS, etc you will definitely feel that Google Chrome is much better.

 

Default Apps

Most of the default apps that comes with Windows 8.1 is metro apps. As metro apps open in full screen when you start , it can make some apps less useful. While some apps do looks good when it starts in full screen , like the photo app, yes we all generally like to see photos in full screen so goes with the default video app. But some apps when opened in full screen makes it less useful. Example the default pdf reader app. And if you download the Adobe reader from the Microsoft Web Store it will also run in full screen. Well I don’t know about you but many a times I have opened a pdf file and used Word, Excel or PowerPoint while viewing the data from pdf . That can not be done with the pdf readers with Metro interface. Yes there is a solution you can get the normal pdf reader from Adobe website directly.

Another thing that I hate about this metro apps is that the ads inside the apps. I mean I am already seeing ads in browser when I visit web pages,and you show me ads in mobile apps but now you have to show ads inside apps which runs on my PC too?

Ads inside PC apps!

 

Useful Shortcut that will make using Windows 8.1 bit easier.

 

Closing Metro Apps: Alt +F4

Starting Windows applications quickly: Windows Key + R (and type the app name in Run dialogue example mspanint for Paint application ,excel for MS Excel)

Open Windows Explorer (My Computer to look for your files): Windows Key+ E

Something like the start menu bot not the same: Windows Key + X

 

 

Developers (skip this if you are not)

Well my developer friends I tried to install , run and do some coding (not at all in anyway better than you) on popular tools to check how well its compatible with Windows 8.1

Windows Visual Studio 2012 compatibility with Windows 8.1 (I know the latest is Windows Visual Studio 2013, buts its supported very well as its used to make Windows 8 Apps)

Visual Studio 2012 install error

Visual Studio 2010 on Windows 8.1

Visual Studio 2012 Ultimate installed fine but did throw error while installing, works file (I did some projects on asp.net stuffs only, did not test other features)

Windows Sky Drive service deeply integrated with Windows 8.1
Windows Sky Drive service deeply integrated with Windows 8.1
News App in Windows 8.1
The default news app of Windows 8.1
Twitter app docked
Twitter app docked.

My final conclusion.

So as of now what I fell is that if you have a touch screen based device and willing to learn new way to interact with your computer go ahead with Windows 8.1 (when it releases) or if you already use Windows 8 then you should update to Windows 8.1 But if you have an old computer or if you don’t want to learn new way to use your computer and want to stick to the way you have used your computer for all these years don’t update to Windows 8.

 

Yahoo is planning to give your old email address away to anyone who wants it.

If you still haven’t heard Yahoo has made a new decision that it is going to reuse old emails. Yes you heard it right if you have not logged in your email address then it will be given to a new user if that new user wants to register that name). Well this is the worst decision move taken by any tech industries in the history. A huge security problem is bound to happen. It would be easy as a pie to impersonate some one. Well some of you have already got the idea what I am talking about, to those who don’t, let me explain it to you.

Yahoo Email

In present time in the cyber world, email has become a person’s identity. If the email address is accessed by some one else then that can cause identity theft. You may argue that how an email address that has not been used over 12 months is important to any person. Well let me tell you it can be very important. Let me give you one example. Suppose Mr. B had an email in Yahoo, but then he moved to say Gmail when it become popular. (A lot of people including me and people I know moved to Gmail from Yahoo)
And them Mr. B continued to use Gmail. And did not pay much attention to old email from Yahoo. All he did was use the email address of Yahoo while registering in Gmail. (When asked to enter a secondary email address) Now if Mr. B dod not know about this news of Yahoo and does not login to his account in Yahoo it will be released. And someone can claim it, and may reset the password of Mr. B’s Gmail account. (provided that person knows Mr. B’s Gmail address) and then lock out Mr. B from other services like Facebook, Twitter etc, where Mr. B used is Gmail address. So think what level of problems can be caused by this move by Yahoo.

Well there are many more possibilities to cause harm and loss to the original user of the email through social engineering, which I wont discuss here, but you did get the general idea.

Yahoo made the decision on June 12, users have 30 days to claim their inactive accounts before they are released. So get login in Yahoo email address to stop Yahoo giving away your email.

Sorry Julian,my country India ignored your asylum plea.

I wish I could say sorry, did not know how to contact you, so I am writing a letter to you on my blog, hope Internet / Search Engines / Social Networks and people who supports WikiLeaks will send it to you.

 

Julian,

I am so sorry that my country ignored your asylum plea. But you should know Sir, that there is too much corruption in India. India is not what you think according to your statement “I was disappointed and saddened that India, known for upholding human rights, never got back despite several requests by me for asylum. Indians are also great supporters of WikiLeaks. I therefore contacted the foreign office through the Indian high commissioner. I wrote to them but they never responded,”

India is NOT known for upholding human rights, its more know for corruption. There are many instants where the citizens of India did not get their rights, due to corruption.

If I had the power to give you asylum, I would definitely done that.But as I am no good, all I can do is pray and wish you luck. Hope you get asylum in a country where they truly uphold human rights.

I have always seen you as a hero and you will always be a hero.

– Ahitagni Mandal

Twitter: @ahitagni

 

To the readers of my blog.

assange1

 

India has ignored Julian Assange”s asylum plea. for news see hereВ http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-06-13/india/39950699_1_julian-assange-political-asylum-wikileaks

My thoughts on WWDC 2013 Keynotes.

iOS 7, is it really Designed by Apple?

Apple showed off their latest iOS version on WWDC 2013. Well while I love the functionality of the new OS, I am not happy with the design process.

I mean the icons looks as if its designed by a kid with a box by crayons. It has too much of colour and it no way looks like its made by Apple. It seems that someone has installed a Cydia Theme in iOS.

I am sharing some pictures of the new iOS7 do comment your thoughts about it. Do you like it or hate it?

 

iOS7

 

iOS7

 

iOS7

 

Mac OS X Mavericks uses Windows file sharing by default. Why?

OS X Mavericks

As you already know that Apple OS X uses AFP (Apple Filing Protocol) and Windows uses SMB (Server Message Block), the new Mac OS X uses SMB2 over AFP !

Ok, I know you will say that how does it matter? or You would say it would be easier to share with Windows based computers. Well yes, but one of the most like feature of the Mac OS X, Time Machine over LAN relies on AFP. Third party Time Machine manufacturers have to reverse-engineer AFP to keep it working with the new version of OS X. What more bothering me is that who selected SMB2 ? OS X prior to OS X 10.7 uses open source implementation of SMB , called Samba. (used in popular Linux distro too) With OS X 10.7 , Apple replaced it with their own implementation SMBX.

 

Really Apple needs Steve Jobs.

 

Source: Apple Core Technologies Overviews. (PDF link)

A charger that can install malware on your iOS device,including non-Jailbroken devices.

iphone5-black

 

Yes, you read it correct. A modified charger that can install malwares onto your iOS devices like iPhones and iPads, even though its not jailbroken, it does not even needs your interaction. And it takes less than a minutes of charging to get it infected.

Recently researchers will show a prototype of this charger in BlackHat Security Conference in late July. The prototype of the charge is named “Mactans” which is build on open-source single-board computer called the BeagleBoard,availavle at $45 from Texas Instruments.

Brief description by the researchers Billy Lau,Yeongjin Jang,Chengyu Song.

Apple iOS devices are considered by many to be more secure than other mobile offerings. In evaluating this belief, we investigated the extent to which security threats were considered when performing everyday activities such as charging a device. The results were alarming: despite the plethora of defense mechanisms in iOS, we successfully injected arbitrary software into current-generation Apple devices running the latest operating system (OS) software. All users are affected, as our approach requires neither a jailbroken device nor user interaction.

In this presentation, we demonstrate how an iOS device can be compromised within one minute of being plugged into a malicious charger. We first examine Apple’s existing security mechanisms to protect against arbitrary software installation, then describe how USB capabilities can be leveraged to bypass these defense mechanisms. To ensure persistence of the resulting infection, we show how an attacker can hide their software in the same way Apple hides its own built-in applications.

To demonstrate practical application of these vulnerabilities, we built a proof of concept malicious charger, called Mactans, using a BeagleBoard. This hardware was selected to demonstrate the ease with which innocent-looking, malicious USB chargers can be constructed. While Mactans was built with limited amount of time and a small budget, we also briefly consider what more motivated, well-funded adversaries could accomplish. Finally, we recommend ways in which users can protect themselves and suggest security features Apple could implement to make the attacks we describe substantially more difficult to pull off.

 

 

Indian Central Monitoring System, Government can spy on you and your loved-ones without your knowledge.

India Central Monitoring System the surveillance project is prepared by the Telecom Enforcement, Resource and Monitoring (TREM) and Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT) for India Government and being manned by the Intelligence Bureau. According to Anonymous the ICMS can monitor everything you do online, even without a suspicion of crime. This means that the government will have full access to your phone calls, chat logs and e-mails, even without telling you why.
They did not even said it t you that something like ICMS was there, but I have posted a link that has a Govt. document to prove it’s there.

internet censorship

What is the ICMS capable of doing?

  • The system can monitor content like e-mails, chats, and transcribed call logs etc, documents, web forms, video files, audio files and internet content.
  • It supports analytics including automated text mining, sentiment analysis, link analysis, geospatial analysis, statistical analysis, social network analysis, transaction analysis, location analysis and fusion based analysis from various sources.
  • The system should be able to monitor targets like Internet Protocol address, login details, keywords, email, telephone location, new email ID details, IP range, links etc.
  • It will be capable of complete email extraction including but not limited to address book, inbox, sent, drafts, personal folders, deleted folders etc.
  • It will allow country wise tracking of IM, Chats & emails.
  • Real time visualization screens showing results from real-time data and capability to transliterate to other languages.

 

See here for more detail report. http://www.slideshare.net/nextbigwhat/detailed-nit-ims-220413

 

Check this pdf its a Government Tender. http://mha.nic.in/writereaddata/13040930061_Tr-ITJ-290411.pdf

So basically in short it means that whatever you say , write on the internet or on your phone will be known to Government irrespective of the fact if you are a criminal or a good citizen. Freedom and Privacy has been thrown out of the window by the Government.  In India there is no privacy law yet, which can protect you from infringement of privacy and other human rights.

Sign the petition started here http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Stop_CMS_Monitoring_and_respect_our_privacy/?wezpFeb  may be we can stop it.

 

Do share it with your friends and family, the more people knows about it more are the chances to stop it.

Government should understand, that The Internet is not a part of the country they should not take over it.

 Update 1

Few major websites wrote about ICMS.

Engadget: http://www.engadget.com/2013/05/08/indian-government-launches-central-monitoring-system-watches-ci/

The Register: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/05/08/india_privacy_woes_central_monitoring_system/

The Economic Times: http://www.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/central-monitoring-system-to-make-government-privy-to-phone-calls-text-messages-and-social-media-conversations/articleshow/19922528.cms?

 TechnoBuffalo: http://www.technobuffalo.com/2013/05/09/india-launches-surveillance-system-to-monitor-citizens-web-activity/

The Times Of India: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/tech-news/internet/Government-can-now-snoop-on-your-SMSs-online-chats/articleshow/19932484.cms

 

The Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm, charged with hacking companies and bank.

The co-founder of The Pirate Bay Gottfrid Svartholm has been charged with hacking.Together with three others he is suspected of hacking several companies including a bank, from where he allegedly attempted to transfer money. This are the new changes that will most likely mean that Svartholm will remain in prison when his Pirate Bay sentence concludes next month. The charges has been made by a Swedish prosecutor.

220px-Gottfrid_portrait

“The data breaches involve very large amounts of data from companies and governments, including extensive personal data such as social security numbers and private details,”- Henry Olin.(prosecutor)

Source: Computer Sweden

Targeted Attacks, now using Android Malware.

In the past we have seen many targeted attacks on platforms line windows and Mac OS X. Now the cyber criminals who are making a targeted attack are using Android Malware. Generally in an email attachment we have seen that there is an infected doc, docx, xls, pdf file. But not there is an apk file (apk file is the extension of all Android apps)

March 24th, 2013, the e-mail account of a high-profile Tibetan activist was hacked and used to send spear phishing e-mails to their contact list. This is what the spear phishing e-mail looked like:

 

 

spear phishing email

 

The malicious APK is 334326 bytes file, MD5: 0b8806b38b52bebfe39ff585639e2ea2 and is detected by Kaspersky Lab products as “Backdoor.AndroidOS.Chuli.a”.

mal android

 

After you launch the Android app you will see.

 

launched mal app

 

The full text reads follows. Notice notice the use of the mistaken “Word” instead of “World”:

“On behalf of all at the Word Uyghur Congress (WUC), the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) and the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP), Human Rights in China: Implications for East Turkestan, Tibet and Southern Mongolia

In what was an unprecedented coming-together of leading Uyghur, Mongolian, Tibetan and Chinese activists, as well as other leading international experts, we were greatly humbled by the great enthusiasm, contribution and desire from all in attendance to make this occasion something meaningful, the outcome of which produced some concrete, action-orientated solutions to our shared grievances. We are especially delighted about the platform and programme of work established in the declaration of the conference, upon which we sincerely hope will be built a strong and resolute working relationship on our shared goals for the future. With this in mind,we thoroughly look forward to working with you on these matters.

Dolkun lsa

Chairman of the Executive Committee

Word Uyghur Congress”

 

While the victim reads the message the malware collects the following informations:

  • Contacts (stored both on the phone and the SIM card).
  • Call logs.
  • SMS messages.
  • Geo-location.
  • Phone data (phone number, OS version, phone model, SDK version).

The data does not gets automatically uploaded to C&C server. The Trojan waits for incoming SMS messages (the “alarmReceiver.class”) and checks whether these messages contain one of the following commands: “sms”, “contact”, “location”, “other”. If one these commands is found, then the malware will encode the stolen data with Base64 and upload it to the command and control server. The C2 URL is:

hxxp://64.78.161.133/*victims”s_cell_phone_number*/process.php

 The remote C&C server is running a Windows Server 2003

remote C&C

 

It looks like the attacker speaks Chinese as the Windows Server is running in Chinese language.