Encrypt files in Dropbox Folder

Putting sensitive files on a cloud drive like Dropbox can be dangerous no matter how secure they claim their systems are. The basic fact is that any system can be hacked, it happens every day. If you are using Dropbox to backup and share critical files like I am the first thing you want to do is to setup two factor authentication. In Dropbox the 2nd factor authentication sends a six digit access code in the form of a text message to your mobile phone. While this extends your security it alone will not totally protect your files. In this article I will take you step by step in setting up a encrypted Dropbox folder using EncFS and Ubuntu. 

Step 1:

Install EncFS in Ubuntu

sudo apt-get install encfs

install gnome-encfs-manager

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gencfsm/ppa

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install gnome-encfs-manager

Step 2:

Create a directory inside your Dropbox folder. For this example I created a folder called crypt.

Start gnome-encfs-manager and set up a new stash by clicking the + sign.

Set the directory to encrypt to a folder inside your Dropbox folder.

Set the mount directory wherever you want, the default is fine just don't put it in your Dropbox folder. 


E
nter a strong password with at least 20 characters and click "Create".


Edit the new stash by selecting "Stash" and then "Configure" from the menu and check "Mount on Startup" and "Save Password in keyring" to save the password in the gnome keyring.

        
You should now have your encrypted drive mounted, it will be displayed like a mounted usb-drive.

 

Importing the drive on other computers:

1. Wait for all files to sync on Dropbox.
2. Start gnome-encfs-manager and set up a new stash.
3. encfs-manager will detect the drive and import it.
4.  Set the mount directory wherever you want (default is fine) and click "Import"
5. Edit the new stash as described above.
6. You will be asked for your password on first mount.

Hagelin BC-52 Simulator

This software is an accurate simulation of the Hagelin BC-52, one of the most famous Cold War era crypto machines. After the success of the C-38 and M-209 as tactical cipher devices, Hagelin developed a cipher machine for high level military and diplomatic encryption. In 1952 Hagelin Cryptos (Crypto AG) introduced the C-52 and, as Devours and Kruh wrote, ’caused ripples throughout the cryptanalytic community’. The C-52 raised the security of pin-and-lug devices to another level. The machine had 6 irregular moving pinwheels, selected from a set of 12, and the number of drum bars was extended to 32, of which 5 where also used to advance the wheels. When lugs and pins are selected carefully the C-52 provides even in this computer era a powerful encryption. The combination of C-52 and the keyboard, denoted B-52, was named BC-52. Within short time the BC-52 was purchased by more than 60 countries and remains popular until today.

This very realistic Hagelin BC-52 Cipher Machine Simulator enables you to encipher and decipher messages, and apply the key settings as you would with an actual machine. You can select between the C-52 and CX-52 model, and customize the machine in various ways. There’s also a formatted clipboard and an Autotyping function. The program includes a detailed help file containing the enciphering procedures, how to set the machine and all technical details .

Runs on Windows™ 98/ME/2000/XP/Vista/Win7/Win 8 and on MAC with CrossOver, Parallels Desktop or WINE (open source).

Download BC-52 Simulator

For more detailed information on the BC-52 and other encryption machines visit the Cipher Machines and Cryptology page.

HTTPS Everywhere

A essential security add-on for your web browser is HTTPS Everywhere, if you don’t have it installed I recommend that you do so.  To easily install it go to https://www.eff.org/https-everywhere and simply choose the browser(s) you are using and click the appropriate icon. You can also install from the add-ons menu in you browser settings  and search for HTTPS Everywhere.

HTTPS Everywhere is a Firefox, Chrome, and Opera extension that encrypts your communications with many major websites, making your browsing more secure. Encrypt the web: Install HTTPS Everywhere today.

HTTPS Everywhere is produced as a collaboration between The Tor Project and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Many sites on the web offer some limited support for encryption over HTTPS, but make it difficult to use. For instance, they may default to unencrypted HTTP, or fill encrypted pages with links that go back to the unencrypted site. The HTTPS Everywhere extension fixes these problems by using clever technology to rewrite requests to these sites to HTTPS.

Ardour Digital Audio Workstation

I recently switched my video editing software from Windows based Sony Vegas to Linux based Blender.  I had also used Vegas as my digital audio workstation for audio projects. Wanting to do both on Linux I started researching Linux based DAW systems and found Ardour. After testing Ardour I quickly realized that I found my solution.  Ardour was very intuitive to learn and had all of the features that I required for my audio mixing projects. Good news for you OSx and Windows user, there are versions available for both of you. Linux VST support provides access to high quality proprietary plugins on Linux from Loomer, Pianoteq/Modartt. Excellent open source plugins from Distrho and others.   It’s also a free under GNU Public License v2  but if you end up using do as I do and make a donation to help keep the project going.

Ardour is a multichannel hard disk recorder (HDR) and digital audio workstation (DAW). It can be used to control, record, edit and run complex audio setups.

Ardour supports pro-audio interfaces through the ALSA project, which provides high quality, well designed device drivers and API’s for audio I/O under Linux. Any interface supported by ALSA can be used with Ardour. This includes the all-digital 26 channel RME Hammerfall, the Midiman Delta 1010 and many others.

Ardour has support for 24 bit samples using floating point internally, non-linear editing with unlimited undo, a user-configurable mixer, MTC master/slave capabilities, MIDI hardware control surface compatibility.

It supports MIDI Machine Control, and so can be controlled from any MMC controller and many modern digital mixers.

Ardour contains a powerful multitrack audio editor/arranger that is completely non-destructive and capable of all standard non-linear editing operations (insert, replace, delete, move, trim, select, cut/copy/paste). The editor has unlimited undo/redo capabilities and can save independent “versions” of a track or an entire piece.

Ardour’s editor supports the community-developed LADSPA plugin standard. Arbitrary chains of plugins can be attached to any portion of a track. Every mixer strip can have any number of inputs and outputs, not just mono, stereo or 5.1. An N-way panner is included, with support for various panning models. Pre- and post-fader sends exist, each with their own gain and pan controls. Every mixer strip acts as its own bus, and thus the bus count in Ardour is unlimited. You can submix any number of strips into another strip.

Ardour’s channel capacity is limited only by the number on your audio interface and the ability of your disk subsystem to stream the data back and forth.

JACK (the JACK Audio Connection Kit) is used for all audio I/O, permitting data to be exchanged in perfect samplesync with other applications and/or hardware audio interfaces.

Ardour is sample rate and size neutral – any hardware formats from 8 to 32 bits, and rates from 8kHz to 192kHz. Internal processing in 32/64 bit IEEE floating point format.

Further information can be found at http://ardour.org/.

 

VirtualBox Host Keys

I’m always forgetting the  host keys when using the VirtualBox install on my laptop. I did  a Google search for them and could not find a comprehensive list of all of the VirtralBox shortcut keys in one place so I made up a list myself.

Default Host Key = Right-CTRL
Main Menu Bar = Host-Home
Full Screen = Host-F
Scaled Mode = Host-C
Adjust Windows Size = Host-A
Take Screen Shot = Host-E
Settings = Host-S
Take Snapshot = Host-T
Pause = Host-P
Reset = Host-R
ACPI Shutdown = Host-H
Close = Host-Q

Press the Host key to capture/ uncapture mouse.

How to Make a Bootable USB

There are many different ways to create a bootable USB drive both on Linux and Windows. The method I prefer is using a Windows program called Rufus, I find that it is the easiest and most reliable method of all of the different ones I tried. You can obtain Rufus by going to https://rufus.akeo.ie/.  To make a bootable USB do the following steps:

Step 1:
After starting Rufus use the device drop down menu to select your target USB drive. If you only have one USB hooked up to your computer it will default to that drive.

Step 2:
Click on the disk icon next to the ISO image drop down menu which will pull up a explorer window and select the ISO image you want to use.  Select the .ISO image file then click open.

Step 3:

The partition scheme and target system type, file system cluster size and new volume label settings are determined by the .ISO image and should not need to be changed unless required by you.  Click on Start.

Step 4:

You will then get the following dialog box. Click OK to begin the process.

Step 5:

You will get a warning message below. Make sure you are using the correct device and then click OK.

The process of creating the bootable USB will begin.

That’s all there is to it, when the process finishes you will then have a bootable USB drive!

 

 

 

 

 

KL-7 Cipher Machine

This software is an accurate simulation of the KL-7 Cipher Machine. The KL-7, codenamed ADONIS or POLLUX, was an off-line rotor cipher machine, developed in the late 1940’s by the American Armed Forces Security Agency (AFSA) and introduced by the newly formed National Security Agency (NSA) in 1952. The KL-7 served in the United States and several NATO countries until 1983.

The KL-7 simulator provides authentic handling with its hands-on approach. All switches, buttons and even the sound function exactly like the real KL-7. Its rotor and cage wiring are fully customizable. With most surviving KL-7’s sanitized, this simulator is the only remaining way to actually work with this beautiful machine and the simulator serves as an attempt to keep this machine and its history alive. The simulator comes with an extensive 20 page manual (view here ) that includes the use of the simulator, the KL-7’s technical details, its history and sample messages.

The development of this simulator is based on publicly available information on the KL-7. It’s principles of operation and most of the technical details are known. However, the internal wiring of the ciphering rotors, which is considered part of the secret key settings, is still classified. The KL-7 simulator operates with the same cryptographic principles as the real KL-7 but consequently uses its own rotor and stepping wiring.

Runs on Windows™ 98/ME/2000/XP/Vista/Win7/Win 8/Win 10 and on MAC with Parallels Desktop or WINE on Linux.

Download KL-7 Simulator
Download Manual

For more detailed information on the KL-7 and other encryption machines visit the Cipher Machines and Cryptology page.

220 Mhz Sat-Comm Antenna

Here is my  220 mhz sat-comm antenna that I recently put together so I could monitor Navy fleet satellite communication birds.  The antenna is a Arrow II hand-held portable model 220-3 yagi that I use to work my club’s local 220 repeater. I was in the Dollar store with my wife when I noticed this neat little blue wire mesh colander (two for a dollar) when the light bulb went off. Not only can I strain my pasta with it but it makes a perfect reflector for my 220 yagi. While testing it I picked up some Brazilian pirates on FLTSACOM 8 255.550 mhz using it as their own private CB. The coordinates for FLTSACOM 8 (USA 46) is as follows if you want to listen in:

 

NORAD ID: 20253
Int’l Code: 1989-077A
Perigee: 35,756.9 km
Apogee: 35,831.6 km
Inclination: 12.9 °
Period: 1,436.1 minutes
Semi major axis: 42165 km
Launch date: September 25, 1989
Source: United States (US)
Launch site: AIR FORCE EASTERN TEST RANGE
Track the satellite in real time

 

M-125 Fialka Cipher Machine

The M-125, codename Fialka (Russian: ФИАЛКА), was an electromechanical wheel-based cipher machine, developed in the USSR shortly after WWII. It was first introduced in 1956 and soon became one of the favorite machines of the Warsaw Pact and some allied nations, such as Cuba. The machine is similar to the American Sigaba, the KL-7 and — to a lesser extent — the Enigma. For this reason the machine is sometimes called: the Russian Enigma. The original M-125 was succeeded by the M-125-3 in the mid-1960s and remained in use until the early 1990s.

The fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, marked the decline and finally the collapse of the Soviet Union. With the retreat of the Russians from the countries behind the Iron Curtain, the remaining Fialka machines were taken back and have subsequently been dismantled or destroyed.

Each country of the Warsaw Pact had its own customized Fialka version, adapted for the local language. This means that each country had its own keyboard and print head. Furthermore, the wiring of the coding wheels is different for each country. The rest of the machine is identical.

Each country of the Warsaw Pact had its own customized Fialka version, adapted for the local language. This means that each country had its own keyboard and print head. Furthermore, the wiring of the coding wheels is different for each country. The rest of the machine is identical. Fialka M-125-3 with open lid

Most machines were capable of communicating either in Latin or Cyrillic (Russian) writing. Although the Latin alphabet was specific for each country, the Cyrillic alphabet had no punctuation marks and was identical on all machines, making them interoperable when a mutual set of wheels was used. A standard – Russian-only – version also existed.

Ukrainian programmer Vyacheslav Chernov (Чернов) has written a beautiful graphical simulator for Windows TM, that emulates all known Fialka models and countries. It supports the old wheels as well as the later adjustable wheels, and supports different wheel-wirings for the various countries. Furthermore, the wiring cores can be installed, flipped and rotated in any of the other wheels.

 

Download Fialka Simulator
How to set the keys (and card)

For more detailed information on the M-125 visit the Crypto Museum.

How to build a Uber UPS Backup Sytstem

Here is how to build my Uber UPS Backup System on the cheap. First you will need to obtain a suitable UPS unit to start with,  I recommend at least a 350 watt unit.  I picked up mine at the Goodwill store for $6.00. After that it’s quite simple. Remove the stock battery, that is usually bad if you get one at a 2nd hand store like I did, and crimp on two quick release connectors to the red (+) and black (-) battery connection wires. Then do the same with the wires going to your new batteries. The wire size for the battery connection should be no smaller than 12 gauge for this project.  I suggest that you always go male/female to the UPS unit and also on the battery cables so you won’t be able to accidentally reverse polarity.  If you are using more than one battery like I am it’s also a good idea to put a in-line 10 amp fuse between the batteries for overload protection.  For the batteries I use two AGM 35 amp sealed lead acid batteries.  You should be able to get these from your local battery speciality store or if you live in the St. Petersburg, FL area go to Electro Battery  where you can pick up a refurbished battery for around $25.00.  I also recommend that you use your soldering iron and tin all of the wire connections for circuit reliability.  When you are finished, put a load on the system and test it by unplugging the UPS unit from its electrical source. As always if you have any questions on this build you can contact me for assistance.