Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.

10/26/2012

Last Minute Costume

Filed under: Art,Fun,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:22 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

So, here it is, almost time for Halloween Party weekend and you don’t have a costume?

What to do, what to do, eh?  Well, if  you have a t-shirt that you’re willing to sacrifice and a modicum of creative ability, and an iPhone or iPad or Android device, then you may be in luck.  Gizmodo covered a buy last year who used a pair of iPads to make a costume which seemed like he had a hole in his chest.  That was pretty awesome.  Well, after spending some time working on some Mars Rover project you may have heard about, that guy, Mark Rober, is back with a slightly less expensive alternative.  Rober and his team at DigitalDudz have come up with a pretty amazing app that lets you make a creative costume pretty cheap.  In fact, the app itself is free and, basically, consists of some pretty cool and creepy animations that you can combine with an old t-shirt, or one of the custom ones that they sell relatively cheap, to make a pretty cool costume.
The basic app is pretty amazing, but it does have “upgrades” which will cost a couple bucks more and, I have to admit, the t-shirts that they sell at DigitalDudz are better than anything I can whip up, even if I wasn’t in a hurry, but, hey, beggars can’t be choosers at this late date.

Anyway, it is a cool app and a cool idea.  Maybe for next year for me, though.
But, hey, it’s Friday, so why not check it out!  (And, no, I don’t get any money for those links.  I just liked it, so I linked it.)

5/26/2011

Mac Malware News Update

Filed under: Apple,Geek Work,MicroSoft,News and Current Events,Rotten Apples,The Dark Side — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:26 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Good news!

First, there are things you can do to protect yourself from this new Mac malware:
Start by disabling the automatic opening of downloaded files.  The world has changed for you Mac users and you simply can’t trust just any download any more.  Welcome to the world that Windows users have lived in for years and years.
Also, don’t let things install on your machine unless you’ve gone out looking for them!  Again, don’t trust anything that looks like an automatic update or a “free” program that wants to install automatically, especially if you haven’t been searching for any thing!
Seriously, you can’t trust people on the Internet.  I know this may come as a shock to the Hippie, “free-love” sort of people Mac users think themselves to generally be, but, yeah, not everyone on the Internet has your best interests at heart.  Well, except me.  You can trust me.  Honest.

Secondly, in a “few days” Apple will allegedly put out an update to make you safe again.
At least, that’s what they’re saying.  No definite deadline on that, though, so be careful and make sure to check your updates regularly!  Staying up to date on patches is one of the better ways to help prevent an infection.  Also, if you haven’t already, please, consider getting an anti-virus program for your Mac.  OS X is a growing target for hackers as the installed user-base grows, so, sooner or later, you’ll see more of these little nasties coming your way.  Your platform’s growing popularity will make it a growing target!  So, before it’s too late and you’re asking your friendly, neighborhood network geek for help in cleaning up the mess, install an anti-virus to prevent the mess in the first place.  The computer you save may be your own!

5/19/2011

Mac Malware

Filed under: Apple,Geek Work,Rotten Apples,The Dark Side — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 7:03 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

I told you Macs weren’t safe!

Does anyone listen to me?  No.  Well, hardly ever.
I’m sure you’ve seen the news by now that there are growing numbers of Mac malware attacks.  In fact, Apple Care, the official Apple customer service division, has reported a staggering jump in the number of malware related calls they received in just the past several weeks.  Apparently, according to the interview, it’s gotten to be quite a large problem in just that short amount of time.  They estimate that, now, up to 50% of all calls they get are related in some way to a malware attack on an Apple product.  The indication from the article is that everything is focused on Mac OS X machines, but, with larger market share comes a bigger prize for hackers, so don’t be surprised if iPhones and iPads and even iPods are attacked next!
Of course, what makes matters worse is that, allegedly, Apple Care representatives are being told not to help with malware attacks!  So, all that safety you thought you were buying with Mac?  Apparently, not the best investment.  Of course, security through obscurity never is.

So far, the threat seems to be confined to a single, aggressive bit of malware called MacDefender.  Go to the link and you’ll see a screenshot of what it looks like when it tries to install.  It looks just like a standard Mac program, right from Apple.  This is the same tactic that Windows users have been facing for years.  There’s nothing new here, outside of a new installed base of users who have never had to deal with malware before.  Mac users must look like sheep ready for fleecing to these crooks.  So, if you know Mac users, warn them and spread the word.

For those of you lucky enough to have escaped harm so far, buy and install an antivirus product and keep it up to date.
For those of you who haven’t been lucky, here’s a link to a MacDefender Malware Removal Guide. (Thanks, @joefarace!)

Incidentally, I’ve been talking about this for years.  I knew it would happen eventually, but, hey, who am I?  I mean, besides a front-line grunt that cleans up everyone’s machine when they get infected with digital herpes.  Not being a “pundit” or “respected industry figure” just means that no one takes you seriously, not that we don’t know what we’re talking about.  Because, believe me, I’m not the only network geek in the trenches who saw this coming.  We ALL did, but no one listens.

Like I wrote earlier, get the word out and show Mac users what they might expect before they get hit.
The day you save may be your own!

4/22/2011

Buy Stock Instead of Gear for Real Wealth

Filed under: Apple,Fun,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:44 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

How much money have you spent on gadgets?

No, seriously, have you ever totaled it up?  If you’re like me, you’ve spent a bundle.  And, I’m not even an “early adopter” or an Apple fanboy who has to replace his iPhone with the latest version every time a new feature is added, either.  Does all that feel like a waste of money to you sometimes?  Well, what if you’d invested it, instead?
What if, instead of buying the latest Apple, or whatever brand, gear, you had invested in stock in the company?  Imagine, if you’d taken the price of a first generation iPod and bought Apple stock, instead.  Or a G4 or a MacBook or whatever.  How much money would that be now?

Well, wonder no more, because Kyle Conroy has done the work for  you.
He asks the question; What if I had bought Apple Stock instead?  He charts how much money he’d have now if he’d invested the purchase price of the latest Apple gear in Apple stock instead, from the release date until now.
The results may make your buyer’s remorse just a little worse.

9/3/2010

Lifehacker iPhone App Pack

Filed under: Apple,Fun Work,Geek Work,Ooo, shiny... — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:09 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Lifehacker loves iPhone apps almost as much as I do!

No, seriously, I use this thing for everything.  Not too long ago, I showed you a ToDo app that makes life easier for you when trying to keep track of all the things you need to do.  I’ve talked about other apps before, and, of course, earlier this week, I mentioned that people are using their iPhone as a security testing tool.  Really, there’s no end to what you can do with today’s smart phones, though I happen to prefer the iPhone, obviously.

In any case, Lifehacker has put together a list of apps that they recommend, most of which are free.  And, the few that aren’t are only a couple of dollars a piece.  If  you’re a heavy iPhone user, it’s worth it to go take a look at their selection of “must have” iPhone apps: Lifehacker Pack for iPhone.

8/31/2010

iPhone as a Penetration Tool

Filed under: Apple,Linux,News and Current Events,Ooo, shiny...,PERL,Rotten Apples,The Dark Side — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:11 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

No, this is not a post about sexual performance.
Pervs.

I use my iPhone for a surprising variety of things, even at the office.  For around $14, I threw together a suite of network scanning and testing tools that let me get a pretty good look at any network I manage.  But, that’s another post.
Today, I thought I’d bring to your attention a great blog post by Nicholas M. Petty tittled “iPen: Hacking with the iDevice“.  What he’s got is a set of instructions and tools for turning your iPhone, or, presumably, your iPad, into hand-held computer security penetration testing tool.  Yeah, I know, it still sounds dirty when you say “penetration”.  Grow up.

If you’re into security, whether you own an iPhone or not, it’s worth going to take a look at just to see the thought process and methodology.
Now, as much as I love this idea, I probably won’t actually do it myself because the first step is to “jailbreak” your phone and, frankly, as tight as money is and as important as my phone is to me, I can’t afford to have problems with it.  Still, it is an interesting idea, especially considering how many of these little devices are wandering loose out there and how many wifi access point exist out in the world.  I often wonder how secure any of them really are, especially in corporate environments.

Anyway, this should be something for network managers to think about the next time they see someone in the lobby of their building “playing a game” on their iPhone!


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