Friday, March 22, 2013

Email Tapping?

"Pintasan E-mail" - or e-mail tapping in English.

On 18 March, The Malaysian Insider published a report originally sourced from the New York Times stating that the state uses spyware to tap to keep tabs on citizens via images off computer screens, recording video chats, turning on cameras and microphones, and logging keystrokes.

The software used is FinSpy or  the FinFisher suite, the report alleges.

While the original goal of FinFisher is mainly use to monitored known criminals, thieves, human / drug trafficking, and terrorism, it is also a double-edge sword and it can also being misused. Misused in the sense that the tool is being used to oppress dissenters / human rights and democracy activists, etc.. (those who fall in that group)


The below photo appeared on the Radio Bangsa Utama Facebook page an hour ago at the time of writing..

For those who are not from Malaysia, the translated letter reads about the report on the Federal opposition strategy. On the second paragraph it says in translation: Attached herewith is the report about the PR Opposition strategy that has been obtained via "email tapping" for your (Najib Razak) attention.

Can anyone notice and explain why there's this covert e-mail tapping going on there? It's already an abuse to the system.

Who is that man (National Security Council secretary) who signed the letter? A mamak. Upon digging the name via Google, you get:

This picture was taken from last Sunday's Star titled: "NSC: Cyber War is a Crime."

E-mail tapping right?

The letter above says that the government e-mail tapped the opposition e-mails to document the report on the opposition strategy in the general election. So who's really lying? But the signature on the letter is genuine.

The context is abuse of system, with you know which organization is presently running the federal level show. This of course plays hand in hand with the likelihood of gerrymandering of the upcoming general elections no doubt. 

Don't believe everything, says MCMC in response to the report. But this?
If there was a talk that by certain people that BN would suffer a reversal like the result in 2008 if elections were to be hold in November last year, then it also implies that the intelligence report leading to this illegal activity that they have committed would be also true after all.
What is the inference with the Citizen lab report and the leaked letter? Up to you to decide.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Even With Reckoning Pack Origin Mass Effect Server Still Needs A Haul

Surely many people say that Mass Effect 3's multiplayer mode is quite an interesting and at times addictive play, especially with many people including myself participating in the weekend challenge without fail in order to gain weapons and additional upgrades to one of the 5 N7 promotional weapons. Since each of those weapons have 10 levels, so expect to play throughout the entire year minus Christmas period before you can fill up that portion, but that does not stop you from earning more credits to buy higher-level packs to get newer weapons and characters.

Many of us are aware that the final multiplayer DLC, Reckoning was released one week ago and adds few more new characters and weapons that will help improve the chances of whacking enemies to kingdom come, especially those from the Reaper / Collector class. But the bane of every player's multiplayer experience, the frequent disconnection from the EA server near to the end of a match knows no ends to the anger of a person who have worked hard to farm credits and utilizing special ammo / gear for that match itself.

Once after I installed Reckoning, to participate in the weekend challenge, I got very very pissed off.

I thought it was my Internet connection that screwed me up for it reminded me of the sudden surge of ping latency when I was playing Diablo III sometime back. Ping latency is higher on a non-fixed line compared to a industrial-grade fixed line as noticed in top countries or in organizations.

Bioware was generous to throw in a gift pack for installing at the start, but I wasn't lucky like other players - I only got an extra character for Reckoning - a Cabal Vanguard to play. Seeing that the week's challenge was only to complete one match at any difficulty using any Reckoning kit, I decided to finish up my other character that I was playing, the Vorcha Engineer hoping that by playing three more matches, I can farm enough credits to get a Spectre Pack or a Reserve / Arsenal / Premium Spectre pack to get some new stuff or so.

After playing four matches with Vorcha, I am getting nothing out of it as by the 10th wave, I got disconnected almost every time. While looking at similar topics online about this problem, I stumbled upon a small forum post on reducing lag at the Origin server. I thought this might help since, the fifth match got disconnected three seconds before extraction (on Cabal Vanguard) - can you imagine the anguish of being so closed to the finish line only to be stopped?

Team Fortress 2 has the ability to distinguish whether the player quits midway or gets disconnected against his will. 

The posting apparently suggested that the UPnP Device Host service should be turned off in the services window. (I also turned off other background applications that requires connection to the net as well). Frustrated that I spent 2 hours with nothing to gain from playing the earlier matches, I just turned it off, and went off for a 3 hour nap, hopefully to have some extra time in case things go sour again.

Just open the Services window (services.msc), then look for that UPnP service and turn it off (stop). 

I got lucky somehow as I managed to complete that match. But I wasn't sure whether the method is a stop-gap measure for now. In any case, EA and Bioware has to do something serious about it, especially if this game is played by PS3 and XBox users as well. If I have time back home at night, I might try again on testing that solution on leveling up my Vorcha at level 20.

The other thing was that the iPhone app for the game has outlived its usefulness. Apart from helping to improve your military rating, the credits earned from the match couldn't be transferred over, which is a disadvantage as to helping to get more packs for matches.


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