Archive for January, 2007

Article on cracking AACS

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

I was quoted in an article on cracking AACS encryption (as used on HD-DVD and Blu-ray discs) over on NewsFactor.

"The title keys that are used to decrypt the movies will reside somewhere in the PC's memory -- it's just a matter of finding them," explained Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, author of Internet blog PC Doctor. "Sure, programmers can try to be sneaky, but this will only slow down a determined hacker. It's not going to stop them."

What's also nice is being quoted alongside Ed Felton (Freedom to Tinker). 

No more liquid-cooling for me

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

When I built my last PC I decided to add a liquid-cooling system.  The idea was that I could get more efficient CPU cooling so I could push the system harder.  After six months, I've abandoned liquid-cooling in favor of air-cooling.  Why?  Reliability.

In six moths I've go through two cooling systems.  The first was a Thermaltake BigWater cooling set up.  This worked well - for a couple of months.  Then the pump blew up.  Then followed the big hassle of pulling out the old cooling system and installing a new one.  This was was a Danger Den setup. 

Initially I was impressed with this new - overall it was a much better system.  The cooling block was more efficient, the pump quieter and the radiator more efficient.  However ...

After just over three of operation the pump developed a crack which progressively got worse and worse (luckily, I wasn't running the system on water, I ran it on non-conductive MCT-40.  At first the leak was a small one and I tried patching it up with epoxy resin.  The crack got worse.  The leak got worse.  Disappointing to say the least.

The liquid-cooling system is now gone.  Instead I've fitted a Thermaltake air-cooler (a Blue Orb II).  This is pretty efficient and quiet - and doesn't leak!) but it's not as responsive as the liquid-cooler.  The temperature spikes a little more when the PC is under stress, but this is nothing to be worried about.  It cools the CPU and doesn't leak, that's all that matters.

Thermaltake Blue Orb II CL-P0257 Cooler for Intel LGA775 and AMD K8

No more liquid-cooling for me. 

Evidence Eliminator using extreme scare tactics

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

Evidence Eliminator using extreme scare tactics to frighten web users into buying their software:

Evidence Eliminator

Evidence Eliminator

This is deceptive advertising in the extreme.  The claims made in these screenshots are total bull.  Like something out of a bad sci-fi movie. 

(via Sunbelt Software)

Could Windows Vista’s speech command be used as a remote exploit?

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

This from George Ou:

I recorded a sound file that would engage speech command on Vista, then engaged the start button, and then I asked for the command prompt.  When I played back the sound file with the speakers turned up loud, it actually engaged the speech command system and fired up the start menu.  I had to try a few more times to get the audio recording quality high enough to get the exact commands I wanted but the shocking thing is that it worked!  Anyone that's ever visited MySpace knows how many annoying webpages out there that will start blasting loud MP3 music as soon as they enter the page. 

Very interesting.  I don't think that enough people will have the speech command enabled to make this a worthwhile exploit.  But, having said that, I am surprised that the operating system doesn't filter out sounds originating from the PC - surely only signals from the microphone should be used in this way?

Extend Windows Vista’s trial to 120 days

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

Anyone can install Windows Vista on a PC without needing a product key.  After installation you get 30 days to evaluate the operating system before you have to enter a product key and activate it.

However, there is a legal way to extend this grace period to 120 days.  This isn't a hack or some evil crack - it's a method that's been put in place by Microsoft.

  • Log in to the system as an Administrator.
  • Press Windows key + R to bring up a Run dialog.
  • Type cmd and press OK.
  • Type slmgr -rearm and press ENTER.
  • Reboot.

That's it.  You can extend the grace period up to three times, giving you a total testing time of 120 days.  I suppose if you were willing to reinstall your OS every 120 days, you could run Vista for free indefinitely.  That would be a major hassle though.

Thanks to Jeff Atwood for this trick.