inspecting direct tv hd dvr network traffic

May 21st, 2008

I recently upgraded my satellite service to the Direct TV HD+ and a HD DVR receiver. Upon receiving my new receiver, I discovered in order to access the On Demand content, the receiver had to be connected to a network, and have internet access. The network setup was simple, connect it to the switch and it grabbed it’s network info from DHCP. This is where the security geek in me got curious: what exactly is this fancy new receiver sending/receiving on the wire?

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testing network throughput with iperf

May 17th, 2008

iPerf is an excellent open source tool, for testing the throughput between to points on a network. This is not really related to IT Security, but I periodically like to test my network to make sure everything is operating as it should be. Recently, I have made some upgrades to my home network; pulling a new network drop and installing a new switch for the entertainment center devices. It’s been a few years since I have had to wire up anything and I wanted to make sure the new segment is performing correctly, enter iPerf.

iPerf operates in a client/server model, in order to test a network segment correctly; you will need two machines, one on each side of the segment to be tested. Keep in mind, to do this correctly there should be no other network traffic on the segment being tested.

I will continue to use my home network in this example, beginning with a brief explanation of the physical layout of my test. I created a new vlan for the new segment, while I am testing it. I assigned 2 ports on the main switch to the new vlan, one for the line to the new switch and one for my iPerf server (old Apple G4 running Debian PPC). The client on the far side of the segment is the mac mini that I use as a media center.

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happy anniversary!

April 1st, 2008

Three years ago today, I married the most beautiful woman I have ever met. I was the luckiest guy then, and I am still the luckiest guy now. It’s been the best three years of my life, and it’s only getting better with each passing day. It is an honor to be able to spend my life with my best friend, my equal, my wife.

Karen, I love you more then I can put into words .. here’s to growing old together.


making my site iphone compatible

March 10th, 2008

This morning I got the motivation to attempt to make my blog format correctly on the iPhone. I expected it to be a lot more challenging then it really was. I began this project by reading the Apple provided Safari Web Content Guide for iPhone, specifically looking at Chapter 2: Configuring the Viewport. The viewport is how you tell your content, what the viewable area of the iPhone actually is.

Apple recommends that you set the viewport width to device-width so that the scale is 1.0 in portrait orientation and the viewport is not resized when the user changes to landscape orientation.

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jailbreaking the iPhone for UNIX geeks – part 2

February 23rd, 2008

In part 1 of ‘jailbreaking the iPhone for UNIX geeks’: I touched on the jailbreak process and then covered installing the BSD Subsystem, SUID Lib Fix for the 1.1.3 firmware and fixing a small problem with the google maps ‘locate me’ application. I hope you enjoyed reading it, and now let’s jump right into part 2, and show off what the the jailbroken iPhone can really do.

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jailbreaking the iPhone for UNIX geeks – part 1

February 23rd, 2008

For all of us UNIX geeks who purchased and love their iPhones, undoubtedly you have read about or heard about ‘jailbreaking’. At first it was a very complicated and possibly dangerous procedure to undertake, making it’s value questionable at best. But over time the jailbreak process for a 1.1.3 firmware iPhone, has finally matured to a ‘1-click-solution’. It’s reached a point where it’s easily done and also easily undone, so I decided to take the plunge and jailbreak my iPhone.

Sadly, I must preface the content of this post with the following statement:


I am not going to go in depth into the actual jailbreak process, as I said earlier it’s a ‘1-click-solution’. I used the application called ZiPhone, available in both Windows and OSX versions, are available for download here. The method that I used, as I am a legitamite AT&T subscriber, was ‘Jailbreak’ only; if you are like me, there is no need to Active, or Unlock your iPhone. READ the included documentation, it’s straight forward and simple, however if anything goes wrong, see my disclaimer and their troubleshooting section.

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nissan suspicious z

February 18th, 2008

Last night, as I was leaving the worst walmart super center in all of the world, I noticed a police patrol car behind me. The officer followed me out of the walmart parking lot, west on university drive and into a gas station parking lot. I was unaware that I had done anything wrong, so I wasn’t really paying any attention to the officer at this point. I went  about my business about to get some over priced gasoline and head home. The officer gets out of his patrol car and approaches me .. odd. I started to feel a little nervous, wondering what I could have done to warrant attention from the police at 10:30 PM on a Sunday night. I say “good evening officer, may I be of some assistance to you?” to which he responds that he needs to see my drivers license and insurance.

Wait a minute, you need to see what? .. why do you need to see those items? …. I was floored by his next statement. The officer informed me that I am driving a “suspicious vehicle”. Without even thinking about what I should do or say, I responded, “No I don’t, I drive a Nissan 350z .. it doesn’t say suspicious  anywhere on it.”  … thankfully his radio went off and he had to respond to a call of more importance, probably fresh donuts at krispy-kreme.

I still have no idea why I was considered suspicious .. but it sure felt good to pwn that cop.