20 year old French hacker is arrested after stealing 500k euros and infecting 17k smartphones

A 20-year-old hacker has been recently arrested in Amiens, France after allegedly stealing 500k euros from unwitting victims.

The hack worked by downloading and modifying android applications with a trojan which would call premium rate numbers in exchange for SMS codes  for playing online lotteries.

Central Office for the Fight against Crime Linked to Information Technology and Communication (OCLCTIC) tracked the creator of this network of trojans and uncovered the hacker. He stated that he did not do it for the money but “a love of computers and an ambition to be a software developer.”. According to the official report the users were charged around 130 euros for 30 SMS messages and many users did not notice this cost on their bill.

This outlines the issues with applications that can access any features of the phone and use them silently. Apple iOS devices have more protection to these type of hacks due to the limits that Apple put  on the phones and the necessary scrutiny that they put upon all applications. Furthermore since the only way to get apps without jail-breaking the iPhone is through the apple store it stops the majority of poisonous applications. Since Jail-breaking and downloading non-approved applications allows programs to drastically alter the iPhone its likely that its easier to program dangerous applications that can hide better, due to their ability to do anything to the phone.

We shall see if in the future there are further mobile phone hacks, but it is likely to increase due to the large amount of devices that people are using.

Anonymous remove support for Wikileaks and Julian Assange

On the left you can see the WikiLeaks “paywall” image that you currently see when visiting some of the released leaks. The “paywall” is now simple to get around just by reloading the page however it encourages you to donate, spread the word by sharing the video or posting to twitter. However in the first days it was on the website you have to explicitly disable JavaScript to get access to the site which meant many non-technical users had no way of accessing the website. The message at the bottom of the donation page states

“WikiLeaks is fighting a banking blockade. Donate or spread this campaign to make the popup go away. It appears once per day.”

Shortly after the paywall was placed on the site  there was a pastebin reply (now removed) from anonymous. In this reply they talk about the history of “supporting the organization WikiLeaks and it’s besieged founder Julian Assange”. Commenting that they have “provided some of the biggest leaks since the infamous cables were disclosed, incuding the Syria Files and the GI (Stratfor) Files”. The message goes on to talk about 14 members of their group in prison facing indictment (15 years in prison) and Jeremy Hammond and Bradley Mannings facing 20 years and life respectively. The message stated that they knew that the donation paywall could be circumnavigated by JavaScript nor that they had an issue with WikiLeaks asking for donations but felt that

“WikiLeaks has chosen to dishonor and insult Anonymous and all information activists by prostituting the Stratfor Files and other disclosures that Hammond and Manning stand accused of supplying”

The message ends with concern with the direction that WikiLeaks was going in, regarding that it has moved from leaks to a Julian Assange show asking for money. They state they shall not help WikiLeaks anymore that they will however not attack it as “they are media. We do not attack media.” They state they will release documents on WikiLeaks later, and that they have a variety of websites that they will continue to release leaks on. WikiLeaks responded to this via twitter

WikiLeaks @wikileaks A tweet, share, wait or donate campaign is not a “paywall”. You can read about our blockade and funding systems here: http://shop.wikileaks.org/donate

Which generated a variety of responses from users:

AnonymousIRC @AnonymousIRC – link

@wikileaks You just linked to ANOTHER donation site? At this time we discourage anyone from donating anything to WL until this is sorted.

 

Anonymous @DBCOOPA – link

@wikileaks It’s still a wall. It just seems to aggressive block the information in the interest of funds. We don’t like it. That’s all.

 

Sven Slootweg @joepie91 – link

@wikileaks If it isn’t a paywall, then where is the “No thanks” button, eh?

For now, the paywall it still there however it seems to disappear after reloading once, It seems WikiLeaks is now no longer supported by Anonymous. It will be interesting to see how this continues.

Splitting a mp3 into tracks based on a Cue file

I recently was recommended Breaking Free to listen to as background drum and bass music, but when downloading (available for free at the above link) it I found it was a single mp3 with a “cue” file.

The Cue files tells a media player how to split up the mp3 into different tracks, and has information for each track. I wanted to move these albums onto my iPhone but didn’t want to have one single track for iTunes to deal with. So I searched around and tried a few different splitter programs.

The one I found most useful was xrecode II which allowed me to split up the mp3 easily with the given cue file. I was impressed by the relatively clean user interface, with lots of options if I needed. It allowed me to select the tracks and start converting them. It also pulled the information of track names out of the cue file. Since the mp3 codec can’t be bundled with it, it also provided a simple “one click” method to download it, which was  simply explained.

Even more usefully, it included a portable version (as I dislike installing software for small tasks).

Iv only just started listening to the music, so far I like it as soft background or as a heavy beat to keep me focused.

Iv only just started listening to the music, so far i like it as soft background or as a heavy beat to keep me focused.

Grace Hopper – Computer Science Legend

I’m relatively surprised that I hadn’t heard of her before a couple of weeks ago. While discussing small loop optimizations with some friends someone referenced her nanoseconds video (see below). This short video explains quite simply, the concept of a nanosecond.

After seeing her talk about nanoseconds, I went to research her a bit further on trusty Wikipedia.

Spending a bit of time looking at her life, her career from getting a Ph.D. in mathematics from Yale to working on the UNIVAC and serving as the director of the Navy Programming Language Group.

Sadly no longer with us, this great woman was a pioneer of her time who i personally feel we all have a lot to thank her for.

Have a look at the video, it’s quite interesting for technical or non technical people.

Grace Hopper – Nanoseconds

Fixing register_http_request_failed error on wordpress Jetpack

I finally got around to fixing WordPress Jetpack plugin!

This tool is a useful plugin that allows you to add a large amount of functionality that is turned on by default on wordpress.com accounts. This was something i was really interested in getting working because i wanted some more stats and other things.

Sadly when i installed the plugin on my host it gave errors when connecting my wordpress.com account saying “register_http_request_failed”

Not to be deterred, after much i found my was to install the Core-Control plugin. Once this was installed i went to Tools, Core-Control and activated “HTTP Access Module”. Once this was active it gave me an “External HTTP Access” tab. After turning off cURL by pressing “Disable Transport Method” the Jetpack plugin connected to WordPress successfully.

Hopefully this will resolve some people’s problems with this, if they were getting any issues, if anyone else has other issues, feel free to leave a comment!

Age of Mythology Initialization Failed Fix

UPDATE: Thanks to DeclaredInsane who says that also adding “xres=800” to the shortcut fixes more problems for him also, I have added this to the article 🙂

Recently i installed Age of Mythology on my Windows 7 laptop and sadly when i started it up it failed to load the first cinematic and then crashed giving an error “Initialization Failed”. I spent a while googling various solutions i found a fix.

If you append “xres=800 +noIntroCinematics” without the quotes to the end of the shortcut to run the game, it didn’t load the introduction cinematic, and it worked.

This worked for my Age of Mythology with the Titans Expansion pack installed on Windows 7.

The full shortcut path was:

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Games\Age of Mythology\aomx.exe" xres=800 +noIntroCinematics

But this will differ depending on where you have installed it, if you have used the default settings it should point to the above location.

It’s not entirely surprising that this game has some issues since it was released in 2002. If you haven’t played it, i would definitely recommend picking up a copy online, it can’t be very expensive now it’s relatively old, but I cant guarantee it will work on any systems. If you have issues installing or using it, leave a comment and I will see what I can do!

Edit: If the above doesnt work, try using either of the below:

“C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Age of Mythology\aom.exe” +noIntroCinematics +window
“C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Age of Mythology\aom.exe” xres=640 +noSound +noIntroCinematics bpp=16 +window +lowend +terrainHalfDensity +lowPoly -waterbump skipMipMapLevels=1 graphicDetail=2

 

 

A WordPress Site?

I eventually decided that i would start a blog that would document various things I do, if not for everyone, but myself. Numerous times over the past year I have felt I wanted to write long posts about certain topics that I meet, but haven’t had a medium to do so. The search for a blogging platform began!

I looked at a various amount of platforms, such as blogger or blog.com but in the end decided to go with wordpress. I decided that it included so many wonderful features that I should defiantly go with it.

I really like the configurable options, and the ability to install it on any site I want, specifically my chewett.co.uk domain was really nice. For the first time in the last ~4 years it doesn’t have  “In work” as the main page!