Tag: The Internet

The Internet

El Cnutador, Going Postal

So there I was, at 16, with my Commodore 64, a Programmers Reference Guide and no assembler, translating assembly instructions into hexadecimal opcodes, by hand, then typing them in as DATA statements in decimals. A friend had one of these new fangled Modem thingies, and he could connect to the various bulletin boards, where we would swap our C64 BASIC code into their gaping ether to gain enough upload credits so we could download a few grainy gifs of grot. The modem could handle a blistering 14.4Kbps in one direction at a time.

Never mind that the forests outside our houses were a veritable cornucopia of grot, Reader’s Wives, Playboy, and Fiesta. We even found a copy of Roue once but the stories of lesbian hockey girls in private schools being lightly frotted with a feather duster did little for us.

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The Internet is Simple, Part Four

El Cnutador, Going Postal

The UK, of course, ever keen to gild the lily and gold plate the restrictions that everyone else was putting on the internet, began blocking the torrent sites like The Pirate Bay, through the Cleanfeedsystem. It is interesting to read what Wikipedia says the purpose of Cleanfeed is – to block access to illegal pictures of children, and what its use has also been subverted to. Cleanfeed most likely works by putting an “incorrect” DNS mapping in the local tables of the internet on ramp – you are redirected to a “page not available” website, or receive no response, and I would lay dollars to doughnuts that this is specially logged by a government controlled computer somewhere. The UK has one of the most censored accesses to the internet – I strongly advise you read this writeup .

Our mainstream media has been often complicit in this censorship and control – publicising how the latest Act of Parliament strengthens the protection of our children yet ignoring how they are sometimes helped by filesharing being blocked – many media firms in the news business also have film and music corporate arms that are harmed by filesharing. Very little is made of how free speech is curtailed by the restrictions the UK government has introduced, so very few people are aware of how extensively we are monitored.

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The Internet is Simple, Part Three

El Cnutador, Going Postal

We’ve talked about asymmetric and symmetric encryption keys here but without really going into them. Encryption is a way of scrambling data so that it is unreadable, unless you have the key to turn it back into the original message. If Alice has something she wants to keep secret (or Victoria, for that matter), she can get a box with a lock. She can lock the box with the key, and if she wants to let Bob into her box, she can give him a copy of the key. In a nutshell, the same (symmetric) key locks and unlocks the box, and the key can be copied and given to other people, should Alice want to let Charlie and Dave into her box, too. Filth!

Asymmetric keys are a bit special. Imagine Alice has a box with a clever lock that has 3 settings – A, B and C. A and C are locked, no one can get into Alice’s box. Only when the lock is in position B can the box be opened.

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The Internet is Simple, Part Two

El Cnutador, Going Postal

Routers keep this mapping in a list for future lookup. The chain keeps on going, with each step out to the wider network adding enough information so the network knows how to handle your packet at each step. Packets hop between routers from the originating machine until they get to where they should be going, or otherwise you get an error returned to you. If a router does not know of the target IP address of where the packet should be sent, it take a look at the target IP address and see if it is an address it should know about. If it is, then it will try to connect to the machine and forward the packet. If it isn’t, then the packet will be forwarded to another router higher up in the hierarchy to deal with.

All internet computers will have an IP address, and this is what is used to pass the packets of data around. But wait, no one is typing dotted quads in to surf the net though, right? Because we are rubbish at remembering numbers, there’s an aliasing system in place – that links a friendly name to the IP address. This service is offered by Domain Name Servers or DNS for short. These are machines on the internet that can turn easy to remember human names into actual IP addresses.

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The Internet is Simple, Part One

El Cnutador, Going Postal

If a packet hits a pocket on a socket on a port,
And the bus is interrupted as a very last resort,
And the address of the memory makes your floppy disk abort,
Then the socket packet pocket has an error to report!

Rest can be found here. Below, we’ll go through how the internetz actually works, from switching on your computer to how to keep prying eyes out of your biznai with encryption and VPNs.

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The Democratisation of Information

Rorschach / Mr Cloud, Going Postal

In the first week of December 2016, 28 year old Edgar Maddison Welch walked into the Washington based Comet Ping Pong pizza restaurant armed with an AR-15 assault rifle and let off a shot. He was taken into custody without incident. Welch it had turned out had come to “self investigate” reports that had found there way onto the internet that this pizza restaurant was somehow involved in a sex trafficking ring taking place in its basement (it didn’t actually have one) that was being run by high profile members of the Democratic Party, including Hillary Clinton herself and her campaign manager John Podesta. Around the same time, 57 year old Lucy Richards from Florida was charged with making death threats to a family of one of the Sandy Hook victims. Richards, like Welch, it seemed had come to be convinced of an internet conspiracy theory that peddled the idea that the massacre was a hoax.

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