Friday, December 26, 2008

Forward mails?

Every now and then I get a mail saying "if you don't forward it to at least 10 people then ...." or "to get your true love forward this mail to at least 10 people" or "Mr Sandip Tiwari is a final year student and has a serious Open Source disease, he is in serious need of money to support his group. Google has agreed to support him. Please forward this mail. For every forward he will receive some amount, please do not neglect this email as it is a matter of life and death" or some other nonsense. And people forward these mails.

I remember threatening one of my friends to subscribing his mail account to a porn site if he continued to send me such emails. (He stopped after that)

Surely there can't be a power in those emails to bless you or to punish you. And I doubt google or yahoo will help for such a cause.

On the second thought they have powers. They have a power to punish you by stealing your details, to bless you with viruses or make money for others.

Ever heard of email trackers?
Like the name says, they are programs that track emails. Whether the mail was read or not? The IP address of the reader, the number of times it was read, forwarded, etc. all such details can be collected.

There may be several types of email trackers, one simple one works by embedding an image into the email. The image is kept on some server and the server collects information of people trying to access the image.

How to do it?

Make a image (mostly blank with very small size), store it on your web server. Now create a script that will collect all the information required and return that image. Put this script on the web server. Now type your mail and embed the link to that script. The script will simply return an image whenever the mail is opened. Before returning the image, it will collect the information like IP address, operating system, etc.

Here is an example. Haven't tried it yet. If you try it, please let me know the result.

Now you read that beautiful mail and forward it to your dear friends. What happens? You are simply spreading that threat to new victims, helping some guy sitting somewhere to trap new victims.

The other thing that forward mails do is: Viral advertising
How often do you see at the bottom of the email a name you know. HCL, Infosys, Microsoft, WIPRO, etc. I am not saying that these big companies are sending these messages. I am actually puzzled about how these names get there.

But Viral advertising is the truth. That is how Hotmail, Yahoomail, Paypal, Orkut, YouTube became popular.

Special Interest Group - defHack

Want to be a real hacker and not a Script Kiddie?

def Hack is a Special Interest Group under Twincling Technology Foundation that is focused on technical discussions related to Ethical Hacking, Network & Systems Security, Certification Exams and tools development.

It has been dormant for sometime. But it has been refueled now. Go ahead and join the group. Click here

What is def Hack?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

openSUSE 11.1

I recently installed openSUSE 11.1 beta 5. Though it is still in beta stage, it is quite stable. It looks much more cooler than openSUSE 11.0 and any other distro out there. It is one of the best and easiest Linux distro to use. With YAST (something like Windows' Control Panel), it beats any other linux distro in terms of configuration from a GUI.

It is very simple to install, one place where one can mess things up is while partitioning the harddisk. If you have trouble then in your windows, open RUN (in the start menu) and type diskmgmt.msc and click Run. Take a screenshot and mail it to me. blvdeer [AT] gmail [DOT] com. I will find the best configuration for partitioning and write step by step tutorial on how to do it in the installer.

After you have install, just open YAST and add software repositories
Goto to the K-Menu (start menu like thing), select Application, System, Administration Settings.
Enter your password. In that you will see different options in the left pane. In Softwares, you will see Software Repositories. Click it.

Click on Add. And choose Community Repositories. Add Packman, KDE-Backport, VideoLAN, KDE-Community, etc repositories. And select OK.

There you are. Now goto Software Management (in YAST > Software) and install the softwares you love.

Some of the things that I installed are:

1. gcc - GNU Compiler Collection C complier
2. make - Make for the compiler
3. automake - Automatically generate
4. autoconf - Automatically configure source code
5. bison - Parse generator
6. flex - Lexical analyser
7. vlc - VLC player
8. mplayer - Mplayer
9. smplayer - A great frontend for mplayer
10. flash - Adobe Flash Player
11. mplayerplug-in - Browser Plugin for mplayer
12. unrar - Adds rar support to Ark
13. p7zip - 7zip but only commandline, adds 7z support to Ark
14. java-1_6_0-sun - Java
15. java-1_6_0-sun-plugin - Java Plugin for Browser
16. gcc-c++ - C++ compiler
17. krita - Picture editing tool
18. gimp - Picture editing tool like photoshop
19. wine - Allows you to run windows programs on Linux
20. isomaster - Lets you edit iso images
21. isomorphin - Lets you mount iso images
22. peazip - Frontend for p7zip
23. dosbox - Dos emulator

I installed MySQL, Qt 4, squid and a few other things as well. Flex & bison are required only if you are planning to compile and install wine.

Thats all for a normal user. You will love openSuSE, it's a great distribution.