Warren Guy
13 May 2015

Planet SysAdmin software update

I learned yesterday that some HTTPS blogs/feeds weren't being successfully polled by the (very old) PlanetPlanet software powering Planet SysAdmin. Rather than figuring out why software last maintained in 2006 isn't working properly in 2015, I upgraded to the more recent Planet Venus fork.

Everything should look and work the same as before. However as a consequence of rebuilding the Planet cache and being able to poll certain HTTPS blogs for the first time in a long time, some old posts from as early as 2008 have sneaked back into the feed today. If you notice any other problems with the Planet, please let me know!

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Warren Guy
8 May 2015

UK 2015 General Election Results Data

I couldn't find an "official" SQL/CSV/Excel/other parseable version of the election results (the Electoral Commission states simply that the results are available from the BBC), so I scraped all the results from the BBC website and present it to you here as a CSV:

Download CSV: election_results_GE2015.csv

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Warren Guy
2 May 2015

Planet SysAdmin: Call for blogs

I'm devoting a little time this weekend to the upkeep of Planet SysAdmin, so I'm putting out a call for new content.

Do you write a system administration, tech, security or otherwise relevant blog? Know of one that other SysAdmins might enjoy or find useful? Then please let me know about it! Comment below or send me an email.

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Warren Guy
29 January 2015

Detecting man-in-the-middle attacks: verifying fingerprints verbally

Have you ever wanted or needed to verify a GPG, OTP, SSL certificate or other fingerprint read aloud over the phone or even just sitting next to someone? This is important for detecting and preventing man-in-the-middle attacks, but reading/transcribing hexadecimal values can be tedious and error prone. Back in 1995, linguist Patrick Juola and PGP's Phil Zimmerman standardised a list of words corresponding with hexadecimal byte pairs for exactly this purpose. Each byte pair is represented by one of two words, depending on its position, to protect against inadvertently duplicated, missed, transposed words. As an example, my GPG fingerprint D1D4 64C0 04F0 0FB5 C9A4 C8D8 E433 E7FB 7FF5 6256 could be read aloud as "stairway souvenir flytrap recipe adrift upcoming artist positive spearhead Pandora spaniel stupendous tonic concurrent transit Wichita lockup visitor flagpole escapade".

I've written a pair of simple libraries, for JavaScript and for Ruby, for easily implementing the PGP word list, as well as a simple web based converter using the JavaScript library which is at https://warrenguy.me/projects/pgp-word-list-converter. Check out the libraries on Github:

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Warren Guy
23 December 2014

Reverse proxying Tor hidden services

This is a simple method of exposing a Tor hidden service via a regular TCP port.

You might find this useful as a convenient way of exposing a service behind a NAT firewall to the internet, or to provide a public internet presence for a service that you wish to conceal the real location of.

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