Tag Archive: PIN

Message from the Chief Protocol of Independent Corrupt Practises Commission (ICPC)

I got a phishing spam this morning from Nigeria!

Typical 419 that I usually see: Office of the Seante House Nigeria

Nothing unusual in that, you say – the Nigerian 419 scam has been going on for years!  It even has it’s own scambusters (see references later) and the actual advanced fee fraud is usually just called a 419 scam because that’s it’s number in the Nigerian criminal code, apparently.

Anyway, I’ve not seen this particular version, and so I provide a full copy of all the spelling, syntax and language mistakes for your information and enjoyment.

From: Mrs. Marisa Smith <[email protected]>

Subject: Pls Reply

Attention: Sir,

I am Mrs. Marisa Smith the Chief Protocol of Independent Corrupt Practises Commission (ICPC) in alliance with economic community of West African states (ECOWAS) with head Office here in Nigeria. We have been working towards the eradication of fraudsters and scam Artists in Western part of Africa With the help of United States Government and the United Nations.

We have been able to track down so many of this scam artist in various parts of west African countries which includes (NIGERIA, REPUBLIC OF BENIN, TOGO, GHANA CAMEROUN AND SENEGAL) and they are all in our custody here in Lagos Nigeria. We have been able to recover so much money from these scam artists. The United Nation Anti-crime commission and the United State Government have ordered the money recovered from the Scammers to be shared among 100 Lucky people around the globe.

This email is been directed to you because your email address was found in one of the scam Artists file and computer hard disk in our custody here in Nigeria. You are therefore being compensated with $2.5 Million Dollars. We have also arrested all those who claim that they are barristers, bank officials, Lottery Agents who has money for transfer or want you to be the next of kin of such funds which do not exist.

Since your name appeared among the lucky beneficiaries who will receive a compensation of $2.5 Million, we have arranged your payment through our swift card payment centre. The swift card ATM has been specially prepared to enable you withdraw your money in any ATM machine in any part of the world, but the maximum is Five Thousand Dollars Only per day.

For proper execution of this project i decide to handle payment myself. Provide the information bellow to enable him prepare your ATM Master Debit Card including your Pin to access it.






Best Regard,

Mrs. Marisa Smith

Further Reading

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Wading Through a Ventilator

Strangely post on January 9th, 2009
Posted in Art Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Soft Boys

Many moons ago, before Crawling Chaos first played, I heard a tune on the late night John Peel Show called “Wading Through a Ventilator” by “The Soft Boys“.  You can get it on the compilation at left.

At only 3:20  it has the unique quality of extending time so it feels like about half an hour has passed when it’s impossible to speak, think or dance.  Just listen.

Later I found out that, independently, first one, then a later member of the band, had all gone out and bought the (very coral coloured) single. They made a fair bit from us!

Someone’s now plonked it on YouTube so, instant start and instant stop;  pin back your lugholes…  (Don’t forget to listen to the live version at the end as well…)

“Wading Through a Ventilator” Lyrics:

I fix my fish
I fool my frog
I fray my feet
I drag my dog
I drag my dirt
Across the wall
I squash my ___ just like my grub
I bang ____ in a pub
My girl is right
In greasy silk
A split tomato in her mind
A crumpled heart
Sagged to the sea
Tomato heart
Escaping gas
I think my girl has rubber skin
Of all the people that I know
The ones I like I love the best
The fishes in the sewer pipes
The highway man in yellow stripes
It might not now but it will be later
Wading through your ventilator
I tang my fag
You taint your cyst
The pretty Bob he
Licks my stamp
And twists her fang
She tugs his foot
We think of better things and laugh
Her hair’s on my marshmallow pout
My head is rich
Enough to burst
Without me struggling in my car
Fresh ale and flies
On melon halves
You wind up living somewhere cheap
And die upon a compost heap
Of all the people I don’t know
The ones I do I hate the most
The twisted father of mankind
‘S enough to drive a poor boy blind
It might not now but it could be later
Wading through your ventilator
I wading in and that’s a fact
The meat was cut the meat was packed
You shredded me with icy strings
As coiled salami I was led
Into a holy stocking shed
My life like antiseptic stings
A tounge of stalk
And tender leaves
And then she’ll eat
Her skull it _____ and splits
And like an egg
It dribbles down your inside leg
Don’t get me wrong I’m quite okay
I drank a cat
I sun a cake
She throws transistors in my lake
I threw her head
Far through the door
You wonder what I do that for
They wonder what she think I gots
Listen baby
There ain’t nothing in here but my own sweet mind
If it bothers you we can turn it off
With my antelope cheek and my raven’s eye
And my buffalo heart and a crocodiles hide
And my salmon head wait on a moose’s neck
A breathing fungus on a hemoraged lawn
Invented me one summers morn
I lost you now but I’ll catch you later
Wading through your ventilator

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Why Our Government and Agencies are So Bad at Security

Strangely post on August 23rd, 2008
Posted in Freedom Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

…er.  Well not really.  Did you expect an answer!

The fact is that I don’t know why so many individuals and groups of individuals are so inept and so incompetent, that it’s puts all our security into jeopardy.


This is a post from Will Norris, a computer programming guy, who points out in the above link, how a big airline Delta, naffs up basic privacy and security.  They;

  • use a four digit PIN to logon!
  • they plain text email the PIN or other data if you forget it
  • they have simple “pet and mother’s maiden name type” security questions

My point is that lax security is endemic.  It’s usually managed by semi-skilled managers who can just about make an Excel Chart.  It’s operated by clerks on minimum wage or slightly better.  People’s personal data is treated like supermarket CDs, to be swapped and copied without regard for anything.

Government departments and agencies are no better.

That’s why the mere idea of ID Cards and a unifying database of everything is crap.

That’s why the idea of storing years and years worth of texts, IP logons and content, telephone conversations and CCTV footage is crap.

The only really free people in this country are tramps because they’re not on any system.

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More Chips Off the ID Card Block

Chip ‘n Pin Fails to Stop Criminals

Yesterday’s news that the UK banks’ Chip ‘n Pin card security system has been (easily) cracked is yet more evidence that ID Cards will be a colossal waste of money and a major plough through our freedoms and liberties.  The only people hurt by the scheme will be normal, average, citizens trying to go about their daily lives.

The crooks will just by-pass it.  Just like the Chip ‘n Pin cards in most people’s pockets.

Device ‘steals chip-and-pin data’ – BBC

Raid turns up chip and pin card fraud – FT

The system used by Apacs cost £1.1 billion three years ago.  So far, the UK High St losses have fallen from £218million per annum to £73million per annum, that is, a maximum saving of £435million – so the system hasn’t even paid for itself yet! In actual fact, all the savings are swallowed up by the increase in card fraud abroad, which doesn’t use C ‘n P.

Criminal Spam

This Marshal article, Spam Volume Doubles and Is More Likely to Be Malicious points another way that security systems are easily breached by criminals, usually, for financial gain.

Marshal says that 90% of all spam comes from just seven botnets!  These control >105 computers that are used for many nefarious schemes by really nasty men.  Nowadays, a large part of the spam I see is carrying a trojan payload to set up my machine as another ‘bot in the network.  Social and other methods are used to tempt me to open attachments.  I have stuff spoofing MSDN with the latest news and others that say I have a nice eCard ready to be opened.  All have attachments or point to hacked websites that carry the package.

I had a test today – NOD32 & Firefox 3 both trapped them.  IE7 hung for ages thinking about them.  Say no more…

My point is that it looks like the criminals are starting to use network computers as a form of “Distributed Computing“.  If the normal methods of cloning and reverse engineering don’t provide a solution for them (like in Birmingham yesterday), then the vast power used by SETI for example, can be easily harnessed with or without the machine owners permission or knowledge, to provide a formidable code cracking tool.

What would they want to crack?  Anything that makes money!  Forged ID Cards are a start.

Remember.  Any security system made by man can be broken.  All it takes is time – or lots of examples of the target….

There will be millions of ID Cards floating about.  The usual way to start cracking into a code is to find repetetive sequences, and the more examples there are, then the more chances of finding some relevant sequences to open the gates.

Saying all that, the main weak spots are humans and their behaviour.  And this all goes against having ID Cards as a “defence” against terror and immigration and more as an attack on all our freedoms which have taken so long to accumulate.

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studiomaster diamond compact 4-2

Mixer Pictures from Paul

Mixer_003 Front Panel
Mixer_002 Back Panel
Mixer_001 Main Board

These are the best pictures Paul can get. I just received them today. But what does it all mean?

This is my appraisal.

It’s a very simple four channel mixer. It doesn’t appear on the Studiomaster website, so it must be quite old and obscure. A mention is made here on this website for a similar model.

Here’s how I see the circuit board on a point-by-point basis in no particular order, just as I come to them:

  • It’s a little mixer using @9V supplied by an external “brick”, say. This limits the p-p voltage swing to something less than 9V, say 8 to 8.4V. This is only 4x line voltage but as that is p-p and the line is rms, it’s only going to give you a few dB gain.  Check out the formula for comparing p-p voltage to rms of a sine wave.  There’s a lot of difference.
  • The half hidden sub-board has a diode close to the 9V input which will probably protect the unit from a wrongly connected power supply.
  • On the main circuit board I can see four identical preamp stages. They aren’t in line with the pot controls but you can spot them as the bunches of four electrolytic capacitors. Squeezed in each group are two little black transistors (little D-shaped thingies). These are probably something like BC182s or similar. These two transistors will most likely be connected as common emitter for the first stage and common collector (aka emitter follower) for the second stage.
  • Because there are only the two active components, to maintain linearity the gain will be quite low, set to be just enough to amplify a microphone signal, no more.
  • It will also be quite bandwidth limited to keep the gain-bandwidth product down. Basically I wouldn’t expect a full 20Hz-20kHz range and this seems to tally with Paul’s observations.
  • There is probably an extra stage or two of amplification and buffering on the little half-hidden board that holds the line inputs and outputs. This will drive the line outputs. It’ll provide a high input impedance to the four channel outputs, being fed in by a resistor network to split and take signals from the mic preamp outputs and the line inputs.
  • I can’t tell from the board how the “gain” controls work. There are two main options:
    1. Have the pot in the negative feedback path of the preamp.
    2. Have the pot across the second transistor output with the slider giving a variable output to the mixer stage.
  • The mixer is unlikely to be an op-amp using a virtual earth mixer. Unlikely, but not impossible as it’s really the best way to do this.
  • In the preamp, the four capacitors will be providing DC decoupling, probably two in series on the input and output and one dangling off the emitter paralleled with a resistor to the 0V rail.
  • The two larger electrolytic capacitors will be to smooth the main power rail and reduce any extra mains hum that will arrive with a cheap consumer “brick” power supply.
  • Examining now the resistors surrounding each preamp. In a fully set-up single transistor amplifier stage, I’d expect to see a minimum of four resistors to set the bias currents etc. Maybe add a couple with a couple of low capacitance capacitors to set the operating frequency range. That is, about six per transistor. Check the picture and there are about a dozen around each preamp, so that’s about as I expected.
  • The low value capacitors are the small dull orange components. As I thought, there are two in total per preamp.
  • Most resistors are mounted end-on to conserve space so I can’t see the values. However, even if I could, without seeing the circuit board tracks and the type and thus pin-out of the transistors, I can’t draw a circuit diagram from it with any certainty. It’s just the general principles I can see at work here.
  • It’s likely that the inputs could have high or low impedance sources thrown at them. The input impedances will probably be set as a compromise.
  • A better look at the half-hidden board may provide me with more info.


It’s a little cheap mixer with no pretensions to hi-fi. You’d maybe use it to quickly mix a few mics together for a conference or garden party sort of affair. What’s needed for this is a nice flat mid-range and no bottom or top to make it easy for an unskilled person to get something going without feedback etc. This unit fulfils that purpose admirably.

If you are wondering where the 6dB of amplification has gone, I don’t think it’s gone anywhere, unless the power supply isn’t managing to chuck out 9V when it’s connected (you could check that with a meter when it’s working). It’s the way it is, from what I can see. You could always stick another amplification stage into the output. You’d only need 2 transistors and associated components and about a 2cm of circuit board to squeeze into the box. It could be a nice little project for your soldering iron!

Plugging crystal quality sound through the unit will thoroughly muddy and truncate the sound spectrum. Of course, it’s up to one’s artistic sensibilities to determine the “goodness” of it all… :-D

I’ve added a few books that might build on the knowledge for this post – SP

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