Thursday, 27 August 2009

WPA Wi-Fi encryption now cracked in a minute

Wireless networkScientists at the Hiroshima University and Kobe University in Japan revealed that they can break WPA (WiFi Protected Access) encryption in wireless routers, in about one minute.

The initial encryption (WEP) used on wireless routers was cracked a few years ago and was therefore quickly identified as a very weak encryption to use. Industry experts have always suggested to use the much stronger WPA security on your router instead. Great, everyone was happy and felt safe. WPA's TKIP algorithm was first cracked in November 2008 but the exploit by the Japanese takes it to a new level.

Bad news

Once the Japanese scientists make their findings public, users who use the WPA encryption standard will suddenly become vulnerable. The weakness lies specifically in the TKIP (Temporal Key Integrity Protocol) algorithm used by WPA.

Good news

All is not lost though, most of the latest wireless routers available today offers WPA and WPA2 encryption with the much stronger AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) algorithm. The AES algorithm has not been cracked yet (at time of writing anyway, haha).

Stay safe

If you therefore have a wireless network in your home and your wireless router and wireless adapter supports WPA and/or WPA2 encryption, go into the router configuration and change the algorithm option from TKIP to AES.

If only TKIP is supported by your router, then you'll probably be fine for a while but know that the encryption has now been cracked already and you'll eventually be left vulnerable to attacks. WPA/WPA2 with the AES algorithm is the way to go.

Related link
New Attack Cracks Common Wi-Fi Encryption in a Minute - PCWorld

For the Netgear fans

I use a Netgear DG834GT wireless router and the latest firmware version 1.02.19 does support WPA2 with AES but unfortunately the 1.02.19 firmware release is very unstable and causes several other problems as well, as discussed in that blogpost. So that meant I had to downgrade to version 1.02.16 again, which is the latest stable release for the router but unfortunately... it does not support WPA2 with AES!

So I'm sincerely hoping that Netgear will get their act together and release another firmware version soon in order for users of the Netgear DG834GT wireless router to utilise the WPA2 with AES encryption. Read more on "WPA Wi-Fi encryption now cracked in a minute"!

Monday, 24 August 2009

Habana signs with WP

Bryan HabanaBryan's father and agent, Bernie Habana, confirmed to rugby365.com's Jan de Koning that his son will play for WP and the Stormers for the next two years, until 2011. Stormers coach, Rassie Erasmus, met with Bryan Habana a week ago. The winger had a wonderful career with the Bulls, winning the IRB and SA Player of the Year awards in 2007. He's only 26 years old and therefore still has a lot of good years ahead of him.

Western Province Rugby UnionThe Western Province Rugby Union is trying to lure a number of high profile Springbok players to Cape Town. A bid for Bulls centre, Wynand Olivier, failed since the player decided to stay with the Bulls franchise. WP is currently still trying to sign Lions centre, Jaque Fourie, but the Lions don't want to let him go but WP is confident that his current contract has a loophole that will allow WP to sign him. The player has indicated that he wants to play for WP.

The main reason why WP wants to cover midfield is because their top centre, Jean de Villiers, signed with Irish province Munster.

Related link
Habana accepts WP offer - Rugby365 Read more on "Habana signs with WP"!

Friday, 21 August 2009

Bolt breaks 200m world record again: 19.19 seconds!

Usain Bolt - fastest man in the worldUsain Bolt broke his own 200m world record by the same margin he sliced off his 100m mark on Sunday, to secure his place as the greatest sprinter the world has ever seen. Last year he broke the world record at the Beijing Olympics in 19.30 seconds. Last night he did it in 19.19 seconds! He said afterwards that it was 'not a good race' since he had to really go all out (obviously!?). He turns 23 today, should be a big party!

Video: IAAF Berlin 2009 - World Championships 200m Final

Related link
Usain Bolt does it again, this time in 9.58 seconds! Read more on "Bolt breaks 200m world record again: 19.19 seconds!"!

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Semenya wins gold in 800m!

Caster SemenyaSouth African teenage sensation, Caster Semenya, won the 2009 IAAF World Championships 800m race in spectacular fashion in 1 minute 55.45 seconds, comfortably beating former champion Janeth Jepkosgei from Kenya by 2.45 seconds.

Britain's Jennifer Meadows took bronze. Semenya's time is this year's fastest and the fifth-fastest of all time.

Video - Caster Semenya wins 800m gold in Berlin


Semenya wins 800m gold at 2009 world championships in BerlinOnly 18 years old, Semenya has stunned the athletics world with her rapid success this season but unfortunately she has also been shrouded in controversy. IAAF officials ordered South Africa's athletics association (ASA) to do a gender verification test but it's a very complex procedure and the outcome will only be known in a few weeks. The IAAF has decided that the athlete will be allowed to compete pending the results of such a test.


The reason why the gender test is complex is because it's not simply a matter of determining whether a person has male or female sexual organs. That does not constitute male or female. You can have male characteristics without having male organs, and vice versa. Proper gender testing will be done by a group of medical scientists like gynecologists, psychologists, geneticists and endocrinologists. Hence the long waiting period for the test results.

I found the comments by a few of the british commentators after the race and some australian news articles to be extremely insensitive about the matter, since the athlete is not a cheat nor has anyone even suggested that she was. The IAAF has at least confirmed that they themselves are sensitive to gender issues. She's very young and if this matter is not handled correctly, it could scar her for life.

Related links
Caster Semenya wins 800m Gold - The Times
The centre of controversy - iafrica.com Read more on "Semenya wins gold in 800m!"!

My Facebook profile gives Page Not Found error

I noticed a strange problem today; when I access my own Facebook profile page, it says "The page you requested was not found". Huh?

I can log in to my FB account, view my friends' profiles, see myself in the listings if I do a search for my name but if I click on the actual profile link, I get that error message. When I type in the full web address for my facebook profile, I also get the error. Never had this problem before.

Previously, when I loaded my FB profile, e.g. www.facebook.com/username it would re-route to en-gb.facebook.com/username which I found strange since I'm not in Great Britain (or perhaps it's because I have the language set as "English (UK)"), but at least it worked. Now when I type the address in, it stays www.facebook.com/username but gives the error. When I log in to www.facebook.com my personal information that usually appears on the left and my list of uploaded photo albums are gone too.

Maybe it's a temporary propagation error? I didn't change any settings anywhere. I'm hoping it's just a temporary problem which will automatically be resolved soon.

Anyone else getting this error when they try and view their own Facebook profile?
So far I've not had any luck in getting any feedback from the FB Helpdesk on this matter.

My profile is fixed. I reported it to Facebook, not sure if they acted on it but a week after I first experienced the problem, it just went away and my profile is visible again.

More people are experiencing this problem today, than back in August when I had the problem. I suggest you report the profile "Page Not Found" problem directly to Facebook as well, via this online form which was set up for this specific problem.

Alternatively, you can also try the Facebook profile bug report form. The more people submit, the more they have to take the problem seriously.

You can also add your comments about this problem on the last page of this thread at the Facebook Help Centre. Read more on "My Facebook profile gives Page Not Found error"!

Monday, 17 August 2009

Usain Bolt does it again, this time in 9.58 seconds!

Usain Bolt - fastest man in the worldThe Jamaican sprinter, Usain Bolt, did it again. He broke his own 100 meter sprint record by winning the IAAF World Championships in Berlin on Sunday in an astonishing 9.58 seconds! American Tyson Gay claimed silver in 9.71s with former world record holder Asafa Powell of Jamaica clocking 9.84s for bronze.

Video: IAAF Berlin 2009 - World Championships 100m Final

Usain Bolt history

Usain Bolt winning the IAAF World Championships 100m in Berlin in 9.58 secondsLast year he broke the 100m world record at the 2008 Beijing Olympics (9.69 seconds) but he visibly slowed down before he reached the finish line so everyone knew he had the ability to eventually win the event in a faster time. Well, it took him exactly one year to do it! He truly is an incredible athlete.

Usain Bolt currently holds the world records for the 100 metres at 9.58 seconds, the 200 metres at 19.30 seconds and the 4x100 metres relay at 37.10 seconds.

I've always loved big sport events and I've have always had a particular interest in the sprints from an early age. I also participated at school level and it was my favourite track event. Who can forget Carl Lewis completely dominating the track in the early 80's, or Ben Johnson who disgraced the sport when he was disqualified for taking a banned substance after breaking the 100m world record at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul (9.79s). His previous record of 9.83s at the 1987 World Championships in Rome was also nullified after he admitted using banned substances then as well. It's therefore refreshing to see an athlete like Usain Bolt running these incredible times, drug free!

Can Bolt run the event in under 9.50 seconds? I think so. He's very tall and still seems to be the last one out of the blocks at the start and if he can improve that, I'm sure we'll see another world record in the not too distant future.

Related link
Photo gallery of the race - Sport24 Read more on "Usain Bolt does it again, this time in 9.58 seconds!"!

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Preferred password manager: KeePass

KeePassMy favourite password manager is KeePass. I use it so often, I've reached a point where I cannot operate without it.

If you spend a lot of time online, you need a password for just about everything you do. You need several passwords, from logging on to the operating system to your email account, online passwords for different sites; the list is endless. This is where a password manager comes in handy.

A few advantages to using a password manager
  • You don't have to remember all the passwords

  • You can use different passwords everywhere

  • The passwords can be strong (complex), using the built-in password generator

  • The passwords are encrypted

  • It's all stored in one encrypted file which makes it easy to copy to another computer

  • You can add extra accompanying text to your password entry

  • You can easily group certain passwords together

  • Finding a password entry is easy, using the built-in search function


There are two different versions of KeePass: You can either use the normal Windows Installer version or you can use the Portable version and unpack it on your USB memory stick only. This will enable you to connect your USB flash drive to any computer and have all your passwords readily available to you without anything being installed on the computer you're working on. Very useful if you access a lot of different computers.

Previously I used AnyPassword but the free version only works on Windows XP. So I converted to KeePass, which works on all the popular operating systems out there. Since it's open source software, it's free. I easily imported all my AnyPassword passwords into KeePass, using the VariousImport plugin.

You only have to remember ONE password, and that is the master password to open your KeePass encrypted file (that stores all your different passwords). Naturally this has to be a very strong password and one that you must never forget.

Download KeePass Read more on "Preferred password manager: KeePass"!

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Randy Pausch - The Last Lecture

Randy PauschToday I watched a video, The Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams by Randy Pausch, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. What an inspiration! He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given only a few months to live when he did this lecture. Fantastic human being. I was really moved by his phenominal positive attitude. He passed away 25 July 2008, age 47.

Not even death could bring this man down and the dreams he sought to come true can inspire us all. He was a rare combination of scientific genius and artistic imagination.

His lecture became a hit on YouTube with over 10 million views (and counting) and he became an accidental celebrity overnight. Do yourself a favour and watch the video:

The Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

Shortened version of the speech, on Oprah

Diane Sawyer's moving interview with Randy Pausch

Videos: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

Some memorable quotes from Randy
  • We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.

  • Have something to bring to the table, because that will make you more welcomed.

  • Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted.

  • When you see yourself doing something badly and nobody's bothering to tell you anymore, that's a very bad place to be. Your critics are the ones telling you they still love you and care.

  • You get people to help you by telling the truth; by being earnest. I'll take an earnest person over a hip person every day, because hip is short-term, earnest is long term.

  • Do not tell people how to live their lives. Just tell them stories. And they will figure out how those stories apply to them.

RIP Randy. Read more on "Randy Pausch - The Last Lecture"!

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Steyn stars in Bok victory

Springbok flyhalf Morné SteynThe Springboks beat the All Blacks 31 - 19 today in a convincing victory. Young flyhalf Morné Steyn had a fantastic day allround and deserved his Man of the Match award for kicking the All Blacks into oblivion. He scored all 31 points for the Springboks which is a new Tri-Nations individual record as well the highest score by a Springbok player against New Zealand (previous record was held by Jannie De Beer with 22 points).

The South African forwards laid the foundation which made it easier for Steyn and they forced the All Blacks into mistakes, capitalising with Morné's boot every time. It was not the best performance by the All Blacks with several knock-ons at key moments which kept South Africa on the front-foot.

Special moments

Springbok captain John SmitIt was also a special moment for Bok captain John Smit, who played in his 60th Test as captain, a new world record. Winger Bryan Habana and centre Jean De Villiers also played in their 50th Tests for South Africa today. It was therefore a great occasion from the outset and the Springboks absolutely oozed confidence before and during the match. I thought scrumhalf Fourie Du Preez and hooker Bismarck Du Plessis had great games with lock Bakkies Botha putting in another industrious performance. Fetcher Heinrich Brüssow again outperformed All Blacks captain, Rithie McCaw, at the breakdown.

New Zealand's Isaac Ross scored a try but the team's handling let them down, as well as their tactical nous because even when it started to rain, they insisted on running the ball on the counter-attack with every ball, almost in desperation. They failed to score a bonus point during their two matches against South Africa.

South Africa - Try: Morne Steyn. Conversion: Steyn. Penalties: Steyn (8).
New Zealand - Try: Isaac Ross. Conversion: Stephen Donald. Penalties: Donald (4).
Halftime: 22 - 13

South Africa's achievements

South Africa are the current rugby world cup champions, Tri-Nations champs, won the 7's world cup, Super 14 champions, beat the Lions, rated no.1 rugby team in the world by the IRB (after beating the All Blacks last week) and they're currently top of the log in Tri-Nations 2009. South African rugby is pretttttty healthy!

The Springboks take on Australia in a Tri-Nations test next week at Newlands stadium in Cape Town. Kick-off: 17h00 (GMT+2) on 8 August. Read more on "Steyn stars in Bok victory"!
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