Wednesday, December 30, 2009

GSM code cracked?

An interesting bit of news as we end the year:

From the article above:

After 21 years, the code that has kept the world's GSM networks safe from interception has been broken.
According to a 28 year old German cryptographer Karsten Nohl, speaking at a hacker conference in Berlin the Chaos Communication Congress, the encryption code has been deciphered.
Nohl and a group of cryptographers claim that they have broken and published the primary encryption code for GSM, using legal methods to break the A5/1 standard, and have made available a 'code book' of binary data that could be used to decipher the content of a call within hours or even minutes.
"This shows that existing GSM security is inadequate. We are trying to push operators to adopt better security measures for mobile phone calls," he said.

Let's see how this plays out in 2010, if the code book is released publically, or perhaps finds its way into not-so-nice hands.....

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

SIP client for Mac

I have been having a bit of an adventure finding a suitable (freeware)
SIP client (softphone) for my Mac.

Its not as easy as on Linux, or Windows for that matter.

X-Lite is there, but it only supports one SIP account - I have several -
so its useless for me.

I found 2 others that may do the job - SIP Communicator
and Blink

SIP Communicator has some nice features, like being able to also handle
your IM needs (Jabber, Yahoo, MSN, etc.). The version on offer is
1.0-alpha, and it is a bit rough around the edges. The interface is not
quite crisp, and it lacks some group management features. The IM cannot
really compare to what Adium offers. The SIP side of it does work, I had
no major issues as such, but again a bit rough around the edges.

Blink is nice (at least for now!). It has a nice crisp interface, and it
allows me to tweak SIP settings I like to tweak. The version on offer is
0.11.1 and I now it running as my default SIP softphone. It also offers
a large range of codecs (no G.729 as that costs $$$).

One other one that I found promising was Telephone
Blink worked fine for me, so I stuck with that, and did not actually try
out Telephone.

Now time to mull over my Email application, do I stick with the Mac or use Zimbra Desktop

I got Mac'ed!

I recently bought myself a Mac.....I had one 20 years ago, and the world is certainly a different place in technicolour!
The Mac I had in those days had a monochrome display :)

One thing I must say is that the Mac really is built for usability. (Nearly) everything just works on my MacBook Pro. I also have a Windows Notebook (Vista, sigh!) and another running Linux (Ubuntu). The Vista notebook is best described as a gutless wonder, largely due to the OS. Everything is a bit of a wait, somethings may load at boot time, some may note, depends on the day of the week........and yes its clean of viruses and malware, etc. etc. etc.

The Ubuntu notebook works fine, but its a lot of mucking around getting things to work just right, be it hardware or applications. I have to add that it has been getting better every release.

The MacBook Pro was a breath of fresh air, things are where I expect them to be, things (nearly) work how I think they should. Of course, it by design, deals a blow to my "open standards mantra", but a good capitalist always has to see the wood for the trees :-)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

IGF 2008 and 2009

Although I attended both IGF 2008 and 2009, I did not have time to blog
about them. Here are links to the ISOC blogs on IGF 2008 (Hyderabad,
India) and IGF 2009 (Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt) which give some coverage on
the sessions and events:

IGF 2008:
IGF 2009:

I am back......I think

Its been nearly 2 years since I posted regularly on this blog. Various things have kept me away, however, I hope to post with some regularity from now least that's the thought :)