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Malicious Cryptography June 7, 2006

Posted by dhar in Security, Technology.
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Security Focus is running an interesting article on Malicious Cryptograpy: how crypto is being used to produce sophisticated viruses. From the article:

A virus employing techniques to avoid or delay the analysis becomes what is called an armored virus. The first public armored virus fulfilling this goal was called Whale and first spread sometime in September 1990. It combined several techniques:

  • Polymorphism: both the binary and the process were ciphered (there were 30 hardcoded versions).
  • Stealth: several interruptions, including debugging ones, are hooked by Whale, and it also hides in high memory before decreasing the max limit of memory known by DOS, which was prominent at the time.
  • Armoring: the code changes depended on the architecture (8088 or 8086), had intense use of obfuscation (useless code, identical conditions, redundant code, and so on) and had what is known as anti-debug (if a debugger is detected, the keyboard is blocked and Whale kills itself).

Read the part one of the article here and the part two here.


Google Spreadsheet June 6, 2006

Posted by dhar in Technology.

OK, this is exciting! I feel an online MS-Word like product might not be far off now. That said, here is a list of Google Spreadsheet features:

  1. You can import your .xls or .csv files and according to Google the formulae and formatting will be preserved. Cool!
  2. Define users who have read / write access to your spreadsheets.
  3. Export your work as an .xls or as a .csv.

Sign-up here.

My Problem May 28, 2006

Posted by dhar in Misc, Technology.

All over the blogosphere, people raise their voices for or against some issue. A number of people raised their voice in the IIPM fiasco, while others protested the Reservation issue. Some protested the way Da Vinci Code was being treated.

Quite a few of my friends use their blog to talk about issues close to their heart. And talk passionately and with unwavering belief, they do. My problem is that somehow there is nothing I seem to be bothered about, nothing I care about immensely to blog about.

The only things that bother me, even slightly, are usually tech related. Network Neutrality, for instance. While I support the High Tech Broadband Coalition's view, I am always left with a nagging feeling there might be some small merit in what the telcos have to say.

Wonder if there is something abnormal about this kinda behaviour?

Undercover May 21, 2006

Posted by dhar in Technology.
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Undercover: Bad News for Mac Thieves

Cost Effective Diffusion Filter Substitute May 21, 2006

Posted by dhar in Photography, Technology.
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A diffusion filter, often used by photographers to get soft lighting effects, costs a lot of money. Here is something different that you can try and get similar resumts (YMMV):

Just stretch a pantyhose in front of the lens and secure it with a pair of rubberbands. If the lighing is not as soft as you want, just experiment with the tautness, till you get the right lighting level.

Voila, now you have an easy to use,cost effective diffusion filter replacement.

Free Crypto Book! May 20, 2006

Posted by dhar in Books, Technology.
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If you are looking for a good book on Cryptography, you can try the Handbook of Applied Cryptography. It is available as a free download. 

Those into crypto, can also try out Schneier's Self Study Course in Block Cipher Cryptanalysis.

Improve Your Digital Pics May 18, 2006

Posted by dhar in Technology.

For those into Digital Photography, these two programs may be indispensable:

  1. Noise Ninja
  2. Perfectly Clear

Another application which I plan to try out once I am back in India is Lightzone. Have been hearing lot of good things about it. But before you get started with these applications, it might be a good idea to calibrate your monitor. Spyder2 comes highly recommended.

Are there applications other than Photoshop, Picassa and Gimp that you have used and found useful? If yes, just use the comments section.

PS: Sample images showing the two tools in action will be uploaded soon.

Technology Adoption May 17, 2006

Posted by dhar in Technology.

While doing my MBA, we often did case studies on Technology Adoption. Often these cases would feature companies with superior products that did not win the marketing battle. In many cases it was small things that often decided the format wars.

Sometime back, I had created a WordPress account. In spite of realizing that WordPress is a superior blogging platform compared to Blogger (sorry, Eric), the transition was not happening. While I could not place a finger on what was required to make that happen, I just realized Blogger had its limitations and was ready to live with that.

A couple of days back, I read Vivek's blog and found that WordPress now allows users to import their previous blogs posts as well as comments. Finally, it was not the various advanced features of WordPress that convinced me to make a switch. It was a small, probably afterthought kinda feature that persuaded me to cross the chasm. I suspect the same was the case for my cousin Sunny.

For those of you still on Blogger (yes Jeet, I mean you), give WordPress a shot. You probably have nothing to lose. 🙂