Friday, July 26, 2013

Coding your personal scripts

That moment when you code scripts and programs tailor made for uses that only and only suit you?

Punishments? No problem

The moment when you trick out of your situation.

Drone hacking via GPS Spoofing

The US stealth drone was captured by Iran spoofing its GPS coordinates tricking the bird to land within the Iranian territory instead of it's actual programmed landing zone, Afghanistan. Iranian engineers, only a few months back, claimed that the drone’s GPS was reconfigured which made it land inside Iran.

NATO monitors the long Iran-Afghan border for weapon smuggling into Afghanistan. Three years ago the Iranians claimed to have designed their own drone with a range of 300 miles reachable to Israel. The captured stealth drone has been built with very sophisticated technology. A same kind of stealth plane was monitoring the US raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan. The captured stealth drone costed up to $6 million and was manufactured by Lockheed Martin.

According to the US officials, RQ in its name means that it is unarmed and some industry experts who have written about the Sentinel stealth is that its design makes it more of an operational platform not an intelligence gathering aircraft. It was used to fly support during the Bin Laden raid. However, according to the Iranian news, the drone was shot down and recovered almost completely intact which goes as a warning to the US.

According to an unnamed Iranian engineer who has been working on the US bat-wing RQ-170 Sentinel, the spoofing method used allowed the Iranians to divert the landing of the bird without even hacking into the remote-control signals of the US control centre.

The GPS weakness of aircraft has been a concern for US since a long time. Such an attack is much more sophisticated than ECM jamming due to being executed under cover and finding out the hacker is not possible until the spoofing has already been done. The attack method allows the GPS receiver to send wrong GPS signals which makes the drone believe that it is located somewhere in space while it is flying at its normal altitude, making it to reduce altitude and actually land. The US officials lay the claim of their loss of the stealth drone on a supposed malfunction from their end.

The Iranian engineer, however, claims the GPS navigation to be the weakest point. After being “jammed” by sending noise over the normal communications, the bird automatically goes into autopilot mode and doesn’t know what to do next. It can then be tricked and commanded into doing whatever the controller wants.

None of the current GPS systems are “spoof proof” due to several reasons. The main reason being the near impossibility to validate consistently on a “one way” communications channel because of “replay attacks”. Therefore all the GPS sytems require an additional channel that is not possible to jam.

Claims have also been made that Iran has sold the stealth to China so that China may undertake serious investigations on the other hand Pakistan is also believed to have shared with China, the stealth technology from the stealth helicopter that crashed in Abbottabad attack.

The internet in 60 seconds

What happens online in 60 seconds?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Juggaar gone wrong

A Mehran breaks down on a roadside.

A BMW 750Li stops to help the driver.

"I will tow you to the next service station, but if I drive too fast please flash your lights."

They start up slowly but only a km or so down the line a Porsche speeds past 150km/h.

The BMW driver totally forgets about the Mehran & guns it after the Porsche.

Just as all 3 of them tear through a speed trap, the cop radios the HQ:

"Calling all stations : You won't believe this, I just saw a BMW & a Porsche racing past at about 190 km/h."

"...with a Mehran behind them flashing its lights to Overtake."

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

How CIA black ops teams are hacking into computers worldwide

by Frank Lopapa via Terminalx.

In a detailed account on Foreign Policy, the Central intelligence Agency, in concert with the National Security Agency, has been demonstrated to conduct what is referred to as "black bag" operations, or the manual hacking of a target's computer by uploading spyware onto anything ranging from personal laptops to large-scale servers. When a specific target is out of the NSA's reach, it calls on the CIA to do, in its own parlance, a "surreptitious entry."

In such an operation, a crack CIA team breaks into the place of interest and does one of the following, depending on the situation: install spy-ware, bug phones, hack data switching centers, and copy backup files and disks. It is a procedure often used when hacking remotely is not possible.

Having already conducted over 100 such operations, it is a rate that, according to Matthew Aid, has not been seen since the Cold War. And the targets are not as narrow as one might think; in addition to foreign governments and militaries, multinational corporations and individuals with terrorist ties have been hacked as well. From a regional perspective, everyone is a target; operations have been undertaken in East Asia (particularly China), the Middle East, and South Asia. An example of such would be the tapping of fiber-optic cables at a switch center in a certain South Asian country, allowing the NSA to listen in real time highly sensitive communications.

This is also in addition to the NSA bugging of foreign embassies in Latin America and Western Europe in addition various European Union offices in Washington and New York. While the former are areas of strategic importance, the latter has caused much outrage, since these are supposedly allies to the U.S.

How important are such operations to national security? Or is it more unethical, wanton spying? Considering how old the art of espionage is, and that these operations are a modernization of what was done during the Cold War, it should not come as a complete surprise that the CIA still conducts these operations. What is surprising are the sheer number of operations being conducted, and how we do not know how effective it truly is. 

Considering the amount of sensitive information received through such operations, we may never know not only how effective black bag operations are, but how expansive they are.

These black bag operations are one of many tools in the CIA's ever-expanding toolkit; however, they has become a significant tool just by how often it has been utilized, particularly after 9/11. It is an expanding operation that has shown unprecedented cooperation between two former rivals with no signs of scaling back.

Work or deliberation?

Dear Diary,

Day not off to a good start... today I was dragged below the river surface by an alligator never to be seen again, best day ever.

Do you always deliberate and note down much? Deliberation is good, but starting to work is often neglected by those who over deliberate. It's a saying of Adolf Hitler, "Take time to deliberate, but when it's the time of action, don't think, Just go in."

Mary vs Messi

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Glacier deep freezer

Storing soft drinks in a carved glacier to use it as a deep freezer / refrigerator. Happens only in Pakistan. This one, I have seen on the way to lake Saif-ul-Malook, Naran, Pakistan.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Juggaar: Simplicity by definition

Juggaars are often risky life hacks and the most simple by definition. An example would be the development of space pen by NASA versus the use of pencils by the Russians.

Lead pencil contains graphite and the graphite dust conducts electricity. This was a hazard to the electrical equipment in space which made both NASA and the Soviets shift to the nitrogen pressurized space pen invented by Paul Fisher in the civilian pen industry.

That said, use of pencils was the juggaar or he life hack that saved a lot of effort to the space program at a small risk till the time it was more cost effectively produced by the industry.

Similarly while soap producers used expensive gamma rays based radiographic equipment to detect if a soap box was empty, Pakistani soap factories at Gujrat simply used a fan to blow off any empty boxes of soap which were on the roller belt.

Hence, a juggaar might not always be something rigged up - it can be the most simple alternative.

The work playlist

Focusing at work with background office noise might be a nuisance. Listening to music while working increases your focus and efficiency. While you might prefer the background noise over music at work, when disturbances get more attracting; like some one asking another about a task that you once worked on... you are definitely going to get distracted.

Listening to unfamiliar music helps focus on the task at hand. What does your work playlist contain? Mine's full of french music which I can play on loud so that I can fully focus on my task even with the background noise.

Unfamiliar music not only helps truncate the background noise but also makes sure that you are not distracted by the music itself.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Chromatic typewriter

If you've never seen 'typed' colours, you've missed a way of translating art.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The real download button

If you're visiting movie websites or download services, you will often see those fake download buttons everywhere even more prominent than the real one so that you get into clicking them instead.

A quick way to find out which download button's not real or an ad would be to just click and drag. If it moves, it's not real!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Coupling habits

If you are trying to develop a new habit or just trying to get used to doing something new... try this life hack. Couple it to a habit that is already well-engrained.

This can either be after you read your morning news, going to gym at evening or you can even couple it with something that you do more than once every day like checking your email.

If you are want your self to be nudged into doing it, you can simply leave yourself reminders on the same platform as your other habit. A mark on your keys or an email to yourself.

Unprotecting XP Adminstrator

If you have access to a windows XP administrator system, you might want to find the default screen saver file that loads when the users are logged off. What I did was, rename logon.scr to a temporary name, and place a renamed copy of cmd.exe to logon.scr in the position.

Now when the windows tried to load the screen saver while the administrator was logged off, an unprotected command prompt opened. All you've to do to reset the password is:

net user administrator password

Now if you're thinking how will you get it to a system where you do not have access to a logged in administrator account? Create a .bat trojen and social engineer the original admin into running the file. The .bat file will do it all for you. Once completed, you can just wait at his terminal for the screen saver to load.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

BSOD screen saver

Easy way to shock the lab incharge. Create and setup a screen saver using a Blue Screen of Death as a picture ;)

Advertisement juggaar by Yahoo!

Good way to catch more eyes; well placed edges.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The next level of car customization

Beating the heat in Pakistan

Camera reel cover as a dice roller

Guess what the object is? A 1990s analogue camera reel cover. It might be so that you would have guessed it as a dice roller at your first look. That's because this has been one of the most popular 1990s life hacks in Pakistan; using a camera reel cover as a dice roller & storage. Too bad we don't have any more of those around since digital cameras.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Downloading all attachments from your inbox

This time I want to download all the attachments in my inbox to my hard disk. There would be alternate methods, but since this one was almost already set up for me, I chose this. In one of my previous posts, I shared how to upload files from your hard disk to gmail in a one attachment per email format via SMTP and command line email. This one would be something opposite of that; infact exactly opposite of that as far as my data is concerned.

I had uploaded all my music to a gmail ID the SMTP method. Now I wanted to download it all in my office computer without having to open each email and download the attachment. I already use dropbox to sync with my office PC, so I linked the Send to dropbox app with my dropbox. The rest was easy. I used pop to download all email from my music gmail ID using another gmail ID and filtered all mp3 email attachments to forward only so that I didn't forward any other attachments I was saving:

Matches: subject:mp3 has:attachment
Do this: Apply label "Send to dropbox", Forward to

The glitch here is that gmail needs to verify IDs that it forwards emails to. And the Send to dropbox email address doesn't recieve email without attachments. To bypass this, I setup a filter before hand to forward all pop email to a email address which doesn't ask for verification before forwarding email to another ID and would forward everything to the Send to dropbox email address.

Once all set up, I get all the attachments in my dropbox and selectively synced to my office PC.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Unloading a truck: The Pakistani way

Quick unload: not as classy, but probably a quicker unload method than the last one.

Pakistani truck unloading juggaar

This picture was named as one of the best photographs of 2012 by Reuters. Unloading a truck on the hind wheels, in a hacky way, rigged up with a rope; a Juggaar that only happens in Pakistan.

Truck overload with Scotch Tape!

Putting Pakistani flavour to truck loading, Scotch tape is all you need to overload a truck taking overloading itself to a new level.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The finisher: when you hack with art

How to Restore-edit Linux Grub2 After Windows is reinstalled in dual boot

Shared via

GRUB 2 is the default boot loader and manager for Ubuntu since version 9.10 (Karmic Koala). As the computer starts, GRUB 2 either presents a menu and awaits user input or automatically transfers control to an operating system kernel. GRUB 2 is a descendant of GRUB (GRand Unified Bootloader). It has been completely rewritten to provide the user significantly increased flexibility and performance. GRUB 2 is Free Software.

In this guide, GRUB 2 is version 1.98 or later. GRUB legacy (version 0.97) will be referred to as GRUB. To determine your version, use grub-install -v. Grub version 1.99 will be the default on Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) and introduces some major changes in the Grub file contents. The main user interface file, /etc/default/grub will appear relatively unchanged to the user. This guide primarily details the use of Grub 1.98, the Grub release found in Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid Lynx). Content reflecting other versions of Grub 2 will be noted in the appropriate entry.


GRUB 2's major improvements over the original GRUB include:

    Scripting support including conditional statements and functions
    Dynamic module loading
    Rescue mode
    Custom Menus
    Graphical boot menu support and improved splash capability
    Boot LiveCD ISO images directly from hard drive
    New configuration file structure
    Non-x86 platform support (such as PowerPC)
    Universal support for UUIDs (not just Ubuntu)


GRUB 2's default menu will look familiar to GRUB users but there are a great number of differences beneath the surface.

    On a new installation of Ubuntu 9.10 or later with no other installed operating systems, GRUB 2 will boot directly to the login prompt or Desktop. No menu will be displayed.
    Hold down SHIFT to display the menu during boot. In certain cases, pressing the ESC key may also display the menu.

    No /boot/grub/menu.lst. It has been replaced by /boot/grub/grub.cfg.
    There is no "/find boot/grub/stage1" at the grub prompt. Stage 1.5 has been eliminated.

    The main Grub 2 configuration file, normally located in the /boot/grub folder, is grub.cfg. It is the product of various scripts and should not normally be edited directly.

    grub.cfg is overwritten by certain Grub 2 package updates, whenever a kernel is added or removed, or when the user runs update-grub.

    The menu list of available Linux kernels is automatically generated by running update-grub.

    The user can create a custom file in which the user can place his own menu entries. This file will not be overwritten. By default, a custom file named 40_custom is available for use in the /etc/grub.d folder.

    The primary configuration file for changing menu display settings is called grub and by default is located in the /etc/default folder.

    There are multiple files for configuring the menu - /etc/default/grub mentioned above, and all the files in the /etc/grub.d/ directory.

    Partition numbering has changed. The first partition is now 1 rather than 0. The first device/drive is still hd0 by default (no change). These designations can be altered if necessary in the file in the /boot/grub folder.

    Automated searches for other operating systems, such as Windows, are accomplished whenever update-grub is executed. Operating systems found will be placed in the Grub 2 menu.

    Changes made in the configuration files will not take effect until the update-grub command is executed.

How to Restore-edit Linux Grub1 After Windows is reinstalled in dual boot

Boot from linux live cd and open its terminal...

first step

sudo grub

> find /boot/grub/stage1
> root (hd0,0)

> setup (hd0)

> exit

gedit /media/disk/boot/grub/menu.lst

(Put ur own path in place of hd0,0 in the commands above)

Then put this case in the end of the menu.lst: (you can also edit OS titles)

# This entry automatically added by the Debian installer for a non-linux OS
# on /dev/sda1
title Microsoft Windows XP Professional
rootnoverify (hd0,0)
chainloader +1

[Reinstall Ubuntu Grub Bootloader After Windows Wipes it Out]

If you run a dual-boot system with Linux and Windows, this has happened to you. You had to do your monthly reinstall of Windows, and now you don’t see the linux bootloader anymore, so you can’t boot into Ubuntu or whatever flavor of linux you prefer.

Here’s the quick and easy way to re-enable Grub.

1) Boot off the LiveCD

2) Open a Terminal and type in the following commands, noting that the first command will put you into the grub “prompt”, and the next 3 commands will be executed there. Also note that hd0,0 implies the first hard drive and the first partition on that drive, which is where you probably installed grub to during installation. If not, then adjust accordingly.

sudo grub
        > root (hd0,0)
        > setup (hd0)
        > exit
Reboot (removing the livecd), and your boot menu should be back.

Only read below if Windows is now missing from the boot menu

If you installed Ubuntu before you installed Windows, then Ubuntu will not have anything in the grub configuration for Windows. This is where you’ll have to do a bit of manual editing to the grub boot menu file.

If you open the file /boot/grub/menu.lst with the following command:

sudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst
You’ll see a sample section for Windows, which you’ll want to uncomment and add to the boot menu list in whatever position you want it in. (uncomment by removing the #’s)

# title   Windows 95/98/NT/2000
        # root   (hd0,0)
        # makeactive
        # chainloader   +1
Note that you should also verify that hd0,0 is the correct location for Windows. If you had installed Windows on the 4th partition on the drive, then you should change it to (hd0,3)

Healing W32 damages

If you've used windows XP and it ever got infected, you must have faced this one. No need to format your system because you got infected. The virus does not destroy your desktop properties, it just disables them. Here's how to re-enable them after you have deinfected your system.

go to


> gpedit.msc
> administrative templates
> goto desktop

and enable the properties that were disabled.