Political Statement Via Add-on

This is the first time I’ve ever seen a Firefox Add-on used as a way to make a political statement. An Add-on called China Channel will replicate in Firefox what it’s like to be behind the Great Firewall of China. So if you want to see what it’s like not being able to read about Tibet or other content China doesn’t approve of, this is a good chance. It appears to use proxy servers in China to replicate the experience.

Perhaps the next version will let you toggle between China’s Great Firewall and Australia’s Great Firewall’s (currently in development). I should note Iran and Saudi Arabia are also known for extreme censorship on the internet.

Hacking A Boeing 787?

According to Wired the Boeing 787 Dreamliner connected the networks for passenger services to critical flight systems:

The computer network in the Dreamliner’s passenger compartment, designed to give passengers in-flight internet access, is connected to the plane’s control, navigation and communication systems, an FAA report reveals.

Here’s what a Boeing spokesperson had to say:

…it is employing a combination of solutions that involves some physical separation of the networks, known as “air gaps,” and software firewalls. Gunter also mentioned other technical solutions, which she said are proprietary and didn’t want to discuss in public.

Would it really be that much more costly to create 2 networks. One for the important stuff like navigation and control systems, and another completely independent network for passengers to download porn? Networking gear isn’t that expensive. Internet access at 35,000 feet is high latency anyway.

I’m really not so sure I’d feel comfortable knowing that the same network that’s carrying a Rob Schneider movie to the guy in 11F is also carrying packets intended for the horizontal stabilizer.

Maybe I’m just paranoid. After all, I’m not to comfortable with the Airbus A380 apparently running windows in the cockpit.

Hopefully they get it all figured out quickly.

China Blocks RSS

China’s Great Firewall has now started blocking RSS, a long known loophole to get information blocked all other ways. An entire syndication standard is now blocked. According to the Ars Technica:

PSB appears to have extended this block to all incoming URLs that begin with “feeds,” “rss,” and “blog,” thus rendering the RSS feeds from many sites—including ones that aren’t blocked in China, such as Ars Technica—useless.

I wonder if a good workaround would be to just use yourdomain.com/d0e862d00be15796f/ or some other randomness. It would be a better way around filtering of just the url. Then the government would need to start sniffing content-type. The problem they would encounter there is that it’s far from standardized when it comes to feeds on the web. As a result they would have to either live with a high error rate. Unless of course the would resort to content sniffing, which has a ton of overhead when your talking about an entire countries internet bandwidth. That would be extremely expensive and either: slow down the internet in China, make it much more expensive, or just shut things down. My guess is a slowdown.

You can also just switch to atom until they catch on and block that too. The article mentions several other tricks including RSS aggregators, ssh tunnels, etc.

[Hat Tip: Slashdot]

Kerio Personal Firewall Saved

Sunbelt Software bought Kerio Personal Firewall, saving it from being killed by Kerio (who is discontinuing the product at the end of the year). I’ve been using it for a few months, after using Sygate Personal Firewall for ages (which is also discontinued now that it’s owned by Symantec). I must say Kerio is much better, if not simply for performance, Sygate was much more resource intensive from what I can see.

On their blog (one of the few good corporate blogs I might add), they discuss their plans ever so briefly, of note is:

  • Upon the close of the deal, Sunbelt will also announce new reduced pricing for the full version of the product and a variety of special offers for both Kerio and Sunbelt customers.
  • Additionally, Sunbelt will continue Kerio’s tradition of providing a basic free version for home users.

Also really great to hear. Hopefully they will improve the basic version as well. Lowering the price is a good move considering it’s a rather high $45.

It’s good to see there are some alternative firewalls out there. Having a laptop (and not always the benefit of being behind a real hardware based firewall) the extra protection is welcome.

[Hat tip: dslreports.com]

Viruses

W32.Sobig.F is getting very annoying. So is W32.Blaster.Worm.

Why can’t people just take proper precautions:

  1. Firewall. I have 3, Win XP firewall/OS X Firewall, Sygate Personal Firewall (laptop), and a Netgear Hardware firewall (w/ SPI). All you really need is 1.
  2. Virus Scan
  3. Secure up to date software. At the very least, update Windows. Use a good email client like Mozilla.

Viruses are a real pain in the butt. And avoidable for all but the first few to get infected.