Archive for the_time('F Y')

Identity Theft
29 October 2004 in .Net | Comments (1)

Been a while since I last posted so I thought I’d dump something I’ve done recently.

I’m on holiday at the moment so this afternoon I decided that I would order a pizza. Decided to go with X pizza company (lets keep them anon. for now). They have an interesting site where you can signup and get the “Managers Special” which allows you to print out an online-only vocher and claim your discount.

What was interesting was that while looking at this page my flatmate and I had a poke around and found that with some very simple URL manipulation you can get the name and email address of everyone that has ever signed up with X Pizza Company of New Zealand.

This lead me to think, how hard would it be to harvest these details? Within about 10 minutes I had a C# application that was dumping the details to a csv file (I only got a few – don’t want any calls from my ISP to complain about DOS attacks coming from our IP :-) ). It was somewhat scary at how easy this was to do.

My flatmate then made an interesting observation – most of the email addresses were hotmail accounts. Sure enough, if you plug these into the MSN site we had about an 80% strike rate for getting the persons profile.

So now, from this we could effectively build up:

  • Name
  • Email address
  • Likes / Dislikes*
  • Photo*
  • Age*
  • Marital Status*
  • Location in NZ*
  • Gender* (if you couldn’t guess from the name)
  • Favourite Quote*
  • Occupation*
  • Link to personal website*

*Information from the MSN profiles. Some of these fields may not be completed.

What makes this a little worrying is that it would probably only take about another 30 minutes of coding to build up a lot of information about all the people on the list we gathered from X pizza company.

When you really start to think about it further and imagine that you could automate a google search on the email address or name (and possibly limit it to New Zealand sites only) you could build a huge database of information about people who have never met you in their entire life.

The amount of information on the net that could be used to exploit people through Identity threft is enormous – and, as you can see, can be automated rather easily.

Obviously, while I mentioned that the details can be gathered from an exploit in a website, you could do it just fine without an exploit through things such as dating sites, message boards etc.

Makes you think about what you put online

- JD

Messenger Woes
12 October 2004 in Intergen | Comments (2)

Microsoft Messenger has been pretty shot for the last 24 hours (some say up to 48 hours, but I haven’t experienced that).

Basically you can’t login anymore. Before that you could login but there was a good chance you couldn’t even message people. Now the Service Status page even returns an error.

This never ceases to amaze me, how badly do you have to operate a server environment to have it go down and die and not have it fixed within 24 hours? Surely they have a policy around this.

Doesn’t really sit well with Microsofts release of Live Communications Server which is supposed to come out this month to push MSN into the enterprise. I mean after hearing how nobody could use it for two days would you really see it as something you want your business to use? (I realise LCS allows all sorts of funky stuff to do with MSN, does it also provide a type of MSN server so you don’t have to rely on Microsoft? If anyone knows and reads this please leave a comment :-) )

- JD

200GB of pleasure
5 October 2004 in General | Comments (1)

Today I ordered a new 200GB harddrive – it was an impressive 191 dollars – finally <$1 per GB!

It’s 7200RPM, 8MB Cache, SATA. Will be a good file drive (I’m running out at the moment, hence the purchase).

Brings the drive space on my current PC to a theoretical 380GB of space but I’ll probably delegate the 60GB IDE (and the spare 30GB one I have floating around) to the server that I will build soon.

Getting back to that server, I have delayed my purchase, it came out at roughly 600 dollars to build a 2.4Ghz, 512MB system (mobo, ram, cpu, power-supply only). That’s just a tad too much since I have another 600+ dollars to give the dentist this month as well.

I will still build it, just a little slower. Possibly I’ll delegate my current system to being the server and build a new core up for my existing system – who knows.

- JD

Odd fact #1
5 October 2004 in General | Comments (1)

In 1995 when Windows 95 was released there was a full page, bright orange, advert for it’s release in the local paper. I cut it out and it stayed on the wall of my room for about 4 years.

– JD

toolStrip and my weekend
3 October 2004 in .Net | Comments (0)

I’ve only been back in Wellington for a few hours since going to Palmerston North for the weekend, got to catch up with Rowena and the family which is always good. I think it’s time that I start planning a few things to do when I go back to Palmerston North as it’s surely getting boring for Rowena and the family since I get back and just want to blob out effectively. I’m not sure if Rowena realises that I love just being with her rather than what we’re doing.

Ro and I went and saw AVP which was laughable but watchable. I was so damn sure the chick and the Predator were going to go in for a slow kiss. Imagine how ugly the children would be.

We also watched a few DVDs and wandered around the Palmy shops for a short while – they really do need some more shops in that city. It will be good when Rowena is in Wellington – there are so many more places you can go and look at and while I don’t think I will ever have the stamina for clothes shopping that she has I want to try hard to not just annoy her when we go shopping together.

I also met Ben’s (my brother) new Girlfriend, Alice. She seems quite nice and seems to balance Ben out a bit which can only be a good thing ;-) Also, it must be recorded that I beat him in this stupid game we play with each other (I would take the time to explain but it’s pretty lame).

The train ride up to Palmerston North went smoothly, met some characters. One was a guy who lives in Foxton but commutes to Wellington to build houses, he seemed pretty friendly. The other people at my table were also friendly but the guy from Foxton was a crack-up. Reminded me a little of Cletus from The Simpson’s but was very friendly :-)

Mum and Dad also drove me back to Wellington today which was nice – I so hate the train for getting back to Palmerston (“The train is running 4 hours behind, we will not be providing a bus” – ass clowns). Stopped and had a really nice lunch on the way (If you go to Kapiti you need to go to the water front to a dine in fish and chip shop, they have the best fish and chips meal – not fatty at all).

Anyway, back to being in Wellington. I have discovered what can only be one of the coolest control additions to Visual Studio 2005 for WinForms development – the toolStrip. Rowena got worried and how much I was raving about how cool it was. I’ve only used it a little but basically it replaces the toolbar (although the old shitty toolbar is still there) and merges it with the coolbar control (Visual Studio 6 people will remember this) so you can re-jig the layout of your toolbars easily and even dock them to other areas of your application without writing a single line of code. Also, on the UI side it looks exactly like an Office2k3 toolbar! You chose a button type of Button, separator, label, progress bar (how cool), combo box etc. It really is an impressive control.

One thing that has me wondering is that VS2005 seems to have made it so some controls no longer use the much (severely broken) ImageList control. You seem to reference the images from the .resx file directly. The UI of this selector is somewhat bad and looks rushed so I’m not sure if it’s just that it’s beta and will use the ImageList in future or if it’s a new tact to not use the ImageList for every single control that needs an image. That would be a good thing.

- JD

P.S. Got the shake-up torch which requires no batteries – very cool, I love it :D