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26 June 2017

French language A1 level passed

I'm here writing in English, once again, once a week. Recently, I've written about Spanglish & Frañol where I highlighted what was the main reason why I started to study English language at Official School of Languages, mainly, because my DNI was stolen in London and I didn't know to explain, by myself, my situation to the Police, which was mandatory if I wanted to return to Spain. This situation was a tipping point in my life and my career because I can now speak and write properly in English language, which is useful for travelling, reading and studying English books, speaking with support engineers, watching webinars and conferences in English languages for learning new technologies, etc, etc.

Currently, I'm studying French language at Official School of Languages, and who knows if I'm going to be writing in French language within 5 years but what it's a fact is I passed the exam of the first level (A1) of French language last week, and I have a good score, I'm proud of it. However, there is not a tipping point this time but I started to study French language because I like languages and it is the language spoken at the main institutional headquarters of the European Union such as the European Parliament, European Commission or European Council in Brussels, as well as other institutional headquarters in Strasbourg and Luxembourg.

Preliminary level - scores

I still remember when I was at High School and I was studying English language, which was mandatory, and French language, which was optional. Those years I studied lots of grammar and vocabulary, and I read books as well but skills like speaking and listening weren't studied enough. Therefore, I think I was studying many years to learn a little bit. However, I have to admit that I've learnt a lot of French language in just one year at Official School of Languages because teachers emphasize active skills such as writing and speaking as well as passive skills such as reading and listening. The method of the Official School of Languages is much more efficient than the method of the High School, although active skills like writing and speaking are still the most difficult to pass, maybe, because they are more difficult to study.

I think learning a new language, to be bilingual or trilingual, is something mandatory today because it has many advantages. For instance, we'll delay diseases like Alzheimer, we'll improve creativity, we'll have better ability to concentrate, we'll get better agility and flexibility into our cognitive system, we'll made better decisions, etc, etc. These are just some advantages but there are many others in the globalization era we are living like travelling, jobs opportunities, etc.

I'm going to keep studying French language next year. I hope to improve my language skills to be speaking French language someday, who knows!!

Regards my friends. Enjoy, read, study!

19 June 2017

Steve Jobs BIO

Reading is a good way to stimulate our brain and reduce the stress. I don't know if these are the reasons why I read but I really love reading quietly about technology, business, psychology or history. Last books I've read are The Century Trilogy, Countdown to Zero Day, Creativity, La Corporación and Crush it!, and this time I would like to write about Steve Jobs because I've just finished reading his biography.

Was Steve Jobs a good leader? He had skills to be a good leader like visionary, good speaker, positive thinker, enthusiastic, intelligent or decision maker but he also had skills to be hated by his employees and colleagues because he didn't want to be realistic sometimes and he didn't respect people many times. It seems he wanted to do something great and big, like Apple, and no one cared, just his aim. Be rude isn't a skill needed to make something great as we have seen with Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg or Larry Page. What is my opinion? He could have been a much better leader.

Steve Jobs in the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2010

Steve Jobs was a businessman who loved design, marketing and business, where he was always worried about design and marketing but not about money. First, he founded Apple Computer to build personal computers, which got the name of his strict diets about apples. After he was fired on his own company, he bought a small company about graphics and founded Pixar to produce animated films for Walt Disney, like Toy Story, and he also founded NeXT Computer to build personal computers. At the end, Apple Computer bought NeXT Computer and Steve Jobs returned to Apple to make it great again.

Companies founded by Steve Jobs

He wanted to bring closer the technology to consumers and he got it with reliable, beautiful, innovative and easy to use devices like iMac, iTunes, iPod, iPhone and iPad. As a CEO of Apple, even he was always worried about small details like colours or shape of devices, in addition to the business strategy. Therefore, he wanted to manage everything to build consumer devices where hardware and software were integrated at the same device and nobody could modify anything.

Apple devices

I don't use Apple devices and I don't have Apple shares either but last ten years are being amazing for the company and for the stock market because shares are increasing since the first iPhone was released. Today, Apple is a company with more than 40 years old and shares are about 142$ thanks to his innovate devices for consumers.

Apple shares

Sadly, Steve Jobs isn't already here with us because a pancreatic cancer took all his forces till to death. He was Buddhist and vegetarian, and he thought alternative medicine was going to treat his disease, but after 9 months, he had to change to conventional medicine because he was getting worse with alternative medicine. It was late and his cancer was expanded in his body that it took him to death. Today, Steve Jobs is dead but his profitable company is still with us with Tim Cook in charge.

Regards my friends. Enjoy, read, study!

12 June 2017

Overview of tools and frameworks of the CIA

It seems an action film where a man connects a memory stick to a computer for stealing confidential information or getting remote access to computers and databases but intelligence services seem to work like this. It's not just an action film but the real world where hackers develop hacking tools and malware frameworks to fight against terrorism and crime.

This week, I'm going to leave an overview of the last hacking tools and malware frameworks developed by the CIA and published by WikiLeaks. I think, all of these tools and frameworks are interesting to know how intelligence services work:

Pandemic: This malware is able to replace genuine files to trojaned files on-the-fly in Microsoft Windows File Servers to infect targeted machines over the LAN.

Athena: This is another malware for Microsoft Windows where it's able to retrieve files or sending files to target systems and also to unload/load malicious payloads into memory.

After Midnight: This is a malware framework for Microsoft Windows which is able to upload exploits to infected machines from a C&C system via HTTPS.

Archimedes: This is a malware for Microsoft Windows where infected systems are pivot systems to perform man in the middle attacks for monitoring and logging HTTP requests, as well as redirecting requests to the desired destination.

Scribbles: This is an interesting project to track who has opened, copied or modified confidential or secret information inside the CIA. This was done for identifying insiders and whistleblowers.

Weeping Angel: This is a powerful tool to turn on the built-in microphone of Samsung Smart TV to record voices and send it to a remote server.

HIVE: This is a project to design and configure a back-end infrastructure to hide the real communication between infected systems and C&C servers.

Grasshopper Framework: This is a framework to develop malware easily. We can choose modules to develop our own malware without a deep knowledge about developing malware. It sounds great, just for CIA operators.

Marble Framework: This framework is used by CIA for hiding and changing their text fragments written in English language to another language like Chinese, Russian or Korean with the aim of hampering forensic investigators and anti-virus companies from attributing viruses, trojans and hacking attacks to the CIA.

Project Dark Matter: This is a project to infect Apple devices like Macs and iPhones that it's even able to gain persistence into re-installed devices because the malware is able to persist in the EFI firmware, kernel-space and user-space.

These are only some hacking tools and malware frameworks. I'm sure we are going to see more of this stuff soon.

Regards my friends. Enjoy and profit!!

5 June 2017

More hacking tools and malware frameworks

It's amazing how the media speaks about WannaCry and cyberattacks again and again on TV, radio and news but it seems to forget other kind of cyberwar that we have today. The Athena project, After Midnight and Assassin, Archimedes and the Scribbles project are just some hacking tools and malware frameworks developed by the CIA to exploit Microsoft operating systems for surveillance and gathering foreign intelligence. This week, I'm going to write again about more astonishing hacking tools developed by the US government which deserve to read and study for realising how they have been developing tools to get into our system for years.

Last Thursday, June 1st 2017, WikiLeaks published documents of another hacking tool from the Pandemic project of the CIA. This new project is able to compromise target machines in a local area network from Microsoft Windows File Servers. How this hacking tool works? A Windows File Server, which is sharing files with users, are going to replace the shared files on-the-fly with a trojaned version without changing the original stored file on the file server. Therefore, the file server infected with the “Pandemic” implant are going to modify/replace files from the server to target machine in transit over the LAN.

Pandemic Project: The same file is copied twice from the remote file share to the user's local disk. The file size Windows reports is vastly different, even if the user only gets the smaller replacement file

It's not only for enterprise networks and servers but the CIA, along with MI5 of the United Kingdom Intelligence Agency, is also developed tools to record audio from the built-in microphone of Samsung F Series Smart TV and send this audio to the CIA server by WiFi or store it into a memory stick. This tool, called Weeping Angel by CIA and Extending by MI5, was even going to record audio in a fake-off recording mode where the Smart TV seems to be off but actually was on because it keeps recording voices for surveillance purpose. I'm wondering if new version of this tool was able to record images from the webcam as well. Maybe yes.

Fake-off recording mode

How to control all of these malware? Where are the Command & Control servers? Maybe, this question is answered by the HIVE project of the CIA. This project was to design and configure a back-end infrastructure to hide the real communication between target machines and C&C servers, where the CIA has configured a complex infrastructure with commercial VPS (Virtual Private Servers), a custom cryptographic protocol, VPN and SSL sessions to hide the real communication between infected machines and CIA operators.

Hive Beacon Test Infrastrucgture
Developing malware is something difficult for most developers because they must have a deep knowledge about persistence mechanisms, encryption, exploits, etc. Therefore, the CIA has also developed the Grasshopper framework to build customized malware payloads for Microsoft Windows operating systems in an easy way. For example, they can build a simple malware, or a complex one, choosing components like building a malware for a specific version of Microsoft Windows, or if a particular Antivirus product is running or not.

Using Grasshopper
As we can see, there are lots of hacking tools and malware frameworks from United States Agencies, and UK as well, for cyberattacks, cyberwar, cyberwhatever … are we ready?
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