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Austin Williamson


Austin Williamson

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Privacy, Android Edition

Even if the only thing you have to hide is your cookie recipe, you should probably use encryption.

Here are a few things to get started.

Text messages: SMSSecure

This only protects the contents of your message, not the metadata. So if you don't want your family/boss/government to know you're contacting a person, do not consider this private.

The encryption is top-notch, so it's secure for swapping messages with your besties. Installing it is easy, it gives spies a headache, and it allows you to password-protect all messages, so your messages are safe even if the phone is stolen.

IM: TextSecure

Cross-platform, compatible with Signal for iOS.

TextSecure combines the security of SMSSecure with the anonymity of the internet. Pretty much nobody apart from you and your recipient know that you are talking to each other. And because it's encrypted, only you and your recipient can read the conversation.

Calling: RedPhone

Cross-platform, compatible with Signal for iOS.

Skype is compromised. Whatsapp is owned by Facebook. And rolling your own Voice over IP app is hard, which is why Moxie did it for you. RedPhone allows you and your contact to talk over data rather than the easily-tapped GSM network. It's free, secure, and works with iPhone users too.

Diary: Lifeograph

The classic desktop application has finally come to Android. Encrypted diaries right on your phone. What's not to like?
SMSSecure is an SMS/MMS application that allows you to protect your privacy...

Austin Williamson

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*Program of The Day: Lifeograph*

Lifeograph is a free program for Linux and Windows. Remember diaries? Remember the horror of your siblings/parents/friend finding it? Well... now you don't have to worry about that.

Lifeograph is pretty well-done. And searchable. It also password-protects the file with military grade encryption.* Because most of us forget to lock the screen, it automatically signs out of your diary after five minutes of not using it.

The bad news: it only runs on computers. Sorry, mobile users.

* Military grade is notoriously low. Lifeograph is way better.

Austin Williamson

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No, UPS does not have a package for you

A story as old as email itself. Ever since humanity figured out how to pass notes from computer to computer, viruses and badware have been delivering themselves to unsuspecting users.

In 2001, the biggest example was Lovebug. In 2013, it was CryptoLocker. Today, it seems as if every badware writer is mailing their wares. 

Whether it's in the name of UPS, Fedex, a fax delivery, the delivery mechanism has barely changed. In the days of old, the badware came in ZIPs, DOCs, and PDFs. Now they mostly come in links, telling you to "click here to view your payment" or "click here to view details".

So, what happens if you clicked on the link?

Fortunately, we don't need to dust off any tools and test. I asked a technician who had to deal with it.

1. First, it installs a dialer.
When you get to the page and realize you've been tricked, it's already started the process. While you're processing the fact that this isn't UPS, it starts to download a file silently in the background. Then, it starts it.

The file is typically stored in /Users/YOURUSER/AppData/Roaming/randomx/random.exe  - where random means a random string of seven letters.  

2. The dialer calls up a server.
The dialer calls up a friend on a server. It asks what files are available. It picks a few packages and starts downloading.

3. Then it plans the attack
It adds entries to Task Scheduler for a random time. At that random time, the fun will start - usually one file at a time. It may launch a swarm. It might launch only one. You've closed the website, but the badware train is starting down the tracks.

4. The fun begins
At the random time, it starts executing the files. The computer  grinds to a halt under the weight of the badware and friends. If you open Task Manager, you'll notice a bunch of randomly-named exectuables. By now, it's too late. Your files are probably already toast.

5. The last hurrah
It sets up one last trap, a ticking timebomb of sorts. If you reboot the machine, it executes.  At bootup, it launches (in my experience) another badware, one which encrypts all your data. If anything's connected to it as a drive, it encrypts that too.
 The version I dealt with was CryptoWall. After it's started encrypting, it pops up a page informing you that you lose. They have all your data. Do you want your data back? You'll have to pay them. 

To add insult to injury, it deletes System Restore points and Previous Folder Versions.

6. The worst part: virus scanners can't stop it.
Virus scanners can't protect you from the millions of new variants that are spawned every day.  The virus scanner can't stop you from clicking on that link. It can't stop that download. It certainly can't undo the damage the final exectuable did to you. 
The world of viruses moves way too quickly for  tools to protect you from this particular set of badwares.

How to protect yourself:
1. Don't open files you weren't expecting.
If you weren't expecting John from  Accounting to send you a package, don't open it. Better yet, contact the sender by phone. If you don't know the sender- don't open.

2. Don't click on links (without checking them)
Hover your mouse over links before clicking them. See where they lead - if it doesn't lead to the official site (google it!), don't click it. If you don't know if it's legitimate, don't click.

3. Don't open package notifications, faxes, "secure file links", etc
Don't open that link. Don't open that email. Just, please: don't, period. 
If you get an email like that, ask your IT team to look at it. IT teams are always busy, but we're more than happy to check something out for you. Better to check now, than to spend days or weeks cleaning up after a badware infection. Some businesses never recovered from infection.

4. If you got infected, react as if your identity were stolen
Pretend that somebody broke into your house and stole all your ID, your cards, everything. Start making calls. Change passwords - using a machine you know is safe. Go through everything you can think of.

5. Keep a list of everything you use (and only in paper form)
It's not a matter of if you will be infected, it is a matter of when. Make a list of all your accounts, the sites, the banks, etc. Don't write down the passwords, but keep track of what you would need to change if your ID was stolen today.

It might sound like work, a lot of work. Don't put it off, start now. Grab a bit of paper. A notebook, even. Write what comes to mind. Put it to the side for a few days. Look at it again, fill it out more. Repeat. 

You'll never stop needing to keep track. 

But when the infection does come, you'll be in a much better place to recover from it.

Austin Williamson

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The Conservatives are back at it again, even with creepy Toews out of the picture. What's their game? Oh, just forcing your ISP to spy on you - and then charge you!


No, Mister Warkentin, this bill does not help against bullying.  We have existing laws in place to deal with bullying, regardless the form or medium it takes.

Anyways, just sharing this with you all.

Remember: "protecting the children" never protects them, and only serves as a way to strip you of your rights.

Stand up against this nonsense.

Austin Williamson

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My Daxian XY100S arrived today. Here's my war story:
"Hey, bro! I got a package slip. Grab your ID, and get over here!"

I groaned. My sister had the habit of being cheerful, and yet so... pushy. On the other hand, I'd been waiting a week. Was my phone in- or did hers get here first?

"The name?" I asked.

She paused. "It just says Williamson."

"Okay, I'll be there."

"See you in two!"
Five minutes later, I'd changed out of my comfy flannel pajama pants, dug out the bike, dragged it out of the yard and started pedaling pell-mell for the post office.

It was a heck of a ride. Puddles from the previous night's spectacular thundershow splattered across my pants, making turning difficult. I skidded around a corner, down the path, around a baseball diamond. A little winded, I finally ran into her at the skate park. Literally.
The package was bigger than I'd expected. It was the size of a CFL football- no, the size of a Poodle, and just as awkward to carry.  Ever try to bike with a football under an arm? Don't.

I didn't either.

Sis had the bike, I had the package. In a laughing lurch, we raced for home. My imitation of a running back was passable- I at least kept up to her for a half-block.

Opening the package was awkward. We had to use a knife- and even then, we had to rely on brute strength. A slit made we. Then we played tug-of-war.

The cocoon unraveled, revealing a white-and-green box. Not your typical box. More of a shoebox, with a gap between the top and bottom. It was green.

I opened it.

There's a phone in a plastic sleeve. There's two batteries. There's a charger. There's a cable. There's a silicon case. There's even a screen protector.

I handed it off to my sister to assemble.

We watched together as it booted. It's magic.
I spent the next hour futzing with the computer, reading a spanish tutorial on rooting it. My spanish is not all that great, and neither is Google's. I installed the driver, and spent a half hour trying to get the root to work. Finally, frustrated, I reboot the computer.

I tried it again.

This time, it worked.

#daxian #daxianxy100s #rooting #rootingtutorial  
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Oh right that makes sense.... Lol
Sent on the TELUS Mobility network with BlackBerry

-----Original Message---
From: "Austin Williamson (Google+)" <****@**>
Date: Mon, 19 Aug 2013 12:10:35
To: <****@**>

Austin Williamson

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Hey ya'll!

When I heard that Serval, my favourite project, was holding a fundraiser, I decided to drop some cash* on it. You should too. Here's why:

Serval allows cellular communication when networks are down. It's not just a peer-to-peer telephone and text message app- it's also a decentralized cellular network in the form of Mesh Helpers/Extenders. Designed for quick deployment in disasters, it's resilient- - and it needs your help to become stable, ready for deployment everywhere. You see, it's hard to build a portable network when you're starving college kids... or university profs. Hardware (phones/routers) for testing is expensive.**

Besides, I believe this is the first step toward killing cell phone bills entirely, for everybody. Make this happen.

* I paid $25 dollars, and all I got was this lousy sticker (five of them). If I had more (like 750), I would have sprung for a pair of Mesh Extenders/Helpers

** Sure, you can get $50 Androids from, but not everybody else will have it. If you design it to work on one of those, performance on others is far from sure.

Austin Williamson

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Lifeograph for Android

So it turns out, it is on mobile, just not on iOS. Grab it today!
Safe, fast open source digital diary.It supports multiple diary files. Prov...

Austin Williamson

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+Jude-Anna Pedrazzini


I apologize.

I was mean, hateful, and thoroughly a jerk to you, for no good reason at all.

I want to apologize to you. I've lost my ability to contact you directly, so I'm placing this apology on Google+.

I apologize for the way I treated you. I know I can't take my words or actions back. But I hope, that if we should ever run into each other, write together (gosh! Can you imagine?), that you can forgive me.

I never thought I'd have regrets.

I was wrong. I have many.

I want to right the wrongs I've done, starting with the very first person I truly hurt. You.

I'm sorry.

- Austin 

Austin Williamson

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I just took the political party quiz and found that I side with Liberal. Who do you side with?

Austin Williamson

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ALL of C.S Lewis is available at, public domain at last.

Ladies and Gentlemen, please give a warm round of welcome to Mister Lewis...

While I'm sad to say that this awesome fanfic crossover is technically illegal, I highly recommend you read it anyways.

Tolkein won't profit, and CS Lewis can't object now.
A Project Gutenberg Canada Ebook * This ebook is made available at no cost and with very few restrictions. These restrictions apply only if (1) you make a change in the ebook (other than alteration for different display devices), or (2) you are making commercial use of the ebook.

Austin Williamson

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After reading Sycamore, I came to realize that somethings need to be kept private. I'm working on getting an Elgg installation up and running, with HTTPS and Perfect-Forward-Security.

Speaking of Sycamore, it's a great book. Imagine if Google went evil- or Amazon, or Facebook, or Samsung, whoever - this future is already present. In the book, the author doesn't explore the ubiquitous hacker culture that would surely figure out how to circumvent the worst aspects, but then again, who really "owns" their devices?

Austin Williamson

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Speaking of a fifty dollar smartphone, this is it:

Single core, 1500mah EDGE network Dual SIM

Not bad. Almost as sucky as my $130 Galaxy Gio.

If you shell out another fifty, you get a way better phone:

Quad core 1800mah C-3G/EDGE Dual SIM

Did I mention Quad Core? Thing's pretty much a Galaxy S3 at 1/4th the price! It's also on sale, at a lower price than I paid for mine (hasn't been shipped yet, though).
I like this from DX. Find the cool gadgets at a incredibly low price with worldwide free shipping here.
Freedom is my middle name
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Austin Williamson's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
The Serval Mesh

Help us to make mobile phones go the extra mile during disasters by joining our indiegogo campaign; phon

KitKat Clock

This is the official clock app from Android 4.4 Kit Kat. I have been able to port this app for backward compatibility upto Android 4.2 Jelly

LED Lampe Super-Brillante

Lampe de poche transforme instantanément votre dispositif de en une VERITABLE Lampe Torche. L'outil lumineux essentiel qui tire le meilleur

I Write Like Cory Doctorow

Code for your blog: &lt;div style=&quot;padding:20px; &lt;b&gt;...&lt;/b&gt;

CAPCOM:逆転裁判5 公式サイト

逆転裁判5 弁護士 成歩堂龍一 ここに復活!!

DanielBR - development: CTorrent-DNH-PSP-DA-v1.5 - append version R2

Changes: * patchs: - ctorrent-3.3.2-negative-ints.patch - ctorrent-CVE-2009-1759.patch links: CTorrent-DNH-PSP-DA-v1_5_r2.rar · CTorrent-DNH