Data Dummy

An Idea for technical Ideas

Digispark Real Time Clock and Arduino R3


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Hacked

If you have never been hacked - READ THIS!

There are hundreds (if not thousands) of ways to exploit someone's computer / server / website code / information.  I don't have time this morning to talk about them all, but I will tell you what happened to me.  

It was early Saturday morning around 5 am.  I had started my normal routine [just imagine boring stuff written here...] , and was at the point where I check the websites that I maintain for [more boring stuff...] and found an anomaly. The home page content was missing.  I thought - this is odd.  I clicked around the site to find that other pages had similar anomalies.  I checked the source code (right click - view source), and found about fifty lines of JavaScript that was not mine.  [Huge bells going off in head], OMG, I've been hacked!!!

 

I immediately opened my FTP client (software for uploading files to an FTP server, FileZilla), and browsed to the home directory where the files are stored and began investigating.  I found that the files were updated; That morning at 0400 AM.

 

I looked through the folder structure and found about 80 files that were updated around that time.  This was a huge win for me.  A good hacker would have used another method for changing these files (I wont mention what that is), and would have been a lot harder to check.  Instead they went with the quick hack of simply download/edit/save/upload probably with a CMS FTP type program.  Hacking an FTP is pretty strait forward - Simply run millions of passwords through known usernames, and hope for a match.  Most FTP servers do not allow for special characters making it easier to run password scripts against usernames...

 

I was lucky enough to fix all the files, and run a scan of the site to make sure there were no more infected files.  I researched the JavaScript attack and found hundreds of other sites that were infected with the same script.  I used a Virtual Machine (Oracle Virtual Box) to click around the site and get infected with the virus.  Good news - My outdated free Antivirus (Microsoft Security Essentials) found and removed the virus quickly and without trouble. 

If you manage a website, or a blog.  Make sure you employ the free hosting security options.  If your host does not offer a security malware screener, then signup for a Google and Bing webmaster account, and use their malware scanner.  Change your password and username often, Never use real English words in the password, and don't use the number 01, 10, 0, 1 at the beginning or end of the password.

Good Luck, hope this helps someone. 


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Keyboards

BlackWidow

All keyboards claim to have ergonomic bliss and lifetime button use, but the reality is far from what is advertized...

Button use to most is irrelevant - as most people purchasing a keyboard click a few keys on the display models and weigh features to price.  You will rarely see a high end keyboard on display at Best Buy or Wal Mart.  If you do not use a keyboard for a living, and you do not work from home, then what I am about to say will not really relate to you.

Ergonomic keyboards are a marketing ploy, and do not really affect  the majority of the users.  Proper chair height, palm placement, and angle of the keyboard is what will help you last all day typing.  In some cases, the size of your hands come into play.

The unfortunate mess that is the keyboards displayed at Best Buy etc. are truly horrific when it comes to feel and typing.  Most of the keys are small, low profile, and have a short throw and light touch.  While this may seem like a win, remember what makes it easy to type.   Good seperation in the keys with a longer through will typically lead to better typing, and fewer errors. 

If you want to find the nice keyboards you will typically find them in the gaming section.  I know.  I'm not a gamer either.  It was a shock to me too when I first learned of the mechanical switch keyboards.  These keyboards have mechanical switches in the keys that allow for a long throw with a definite end to the keystroke.  Accidentally pressing two keys at the same time is more difficult, while finding the placement of commonly missed keys becomes more precise.  

If you think that you have a keyboard with a nice touch, check out the Razor Black Widow, and get back to me :)


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Start A Blog

Starting a blog is as simple as pointing your favorite web browser to Blogger Or WordPress.  Both of these options will have a not so tech savvy individual up and blogging within an hour.  If you're more like me and want the control of behind the scene frustration and pulling your hair out- then you probably have your own hosting account, and a few URL's to your name.  I think URL's are too a geek as tattoos are to a biker.  Now, I am not very good at putting words together to make pretty sentences, but I will do my best at keeping it short, and too the point (misspellings will occur). 

If you want a blog that is more custom with your own URL and are not sure where to start - Then start with one of the options that I have listed above.  It's always a good idea to start with free and easy, before you make a wrong choice.  Some of the easy mistakes are:

1.purchasing a hosting account with a provider that does not support your needs.

2.Buying a URL without having a host for it

3.Trying to use an online CMS, when your provider does not support it.

4.Not knowing how to use an FTP, while the only way to interact with the website is through the FTP.

These are just a couple of the entanglements that I have untangled in the past.  If you are sure you want to start with a custom URL/Hosting account, and did not find what you are looking for above, then let me recommend GoDaddy for a good place to start.  They have a lot of inexpensive packages that include the URL with the hosting account.  Their phone support is limited but quick if you need help setting things up.  Their Linux base WordPress packages are very simple to set up, and manage.  Another good host for WordPress is BlueHost.  They are a little less expensive (I believe), but they do not support SQL Server, or ASP.Net.

 

So, I talk a lot about WordPress, but this blog is not WordPress - I know.  I like BlogEngine because it is ASP based.  Since I am familiar with C# and ASP, its easy to customize and fix.  While I am familiar with PHP (The language used to write WordPress), I am not comfortable changing the config files to match my needs.  I do have a WordPress Blog, and have been very satisfied. 

 

Till next time,

CE


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Apple Without Jobs

Is Apple doomed without Steve Jobs.  The resent shakeup at the company would suggest that they might be running into what so many experts had predicted.  Apple had struggled for over a decade without Jobs.  His return to the company as innovator, designer, tester, and chief pooba gave the company the direction it needed to succeed.  Many say the company would have gone away without his innovation.  Now with the launch of the new iPhone 5, and its soon to be released smaller tablet, critics are already slamming the companies choice of mapping software, and Siri assistant.  The company has begun a reorganization that many would say is the first straw in a dooming effort to replace the un-replaceable...


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First Post

Hey There, My name is Charles (Chuck) Emge, and I am the author of the Data Dummy.  This blog is dedicated to the nuances of day to day geekdom, and technical advice.  I hope you enjoy.


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