Tools for the Home User

Published: 2008-01-06
Last Updated: 2008-01-07 00:26:21 UTC
by Lorna Hutcheson (Version: 1)
1 comment(s)

Since Christmas has come and gone, I'm sure we have many more new computers that have made their debut on the internet.  I have gotten asked over and over again by friends and family what they can do to make their home system or small home office more safe and to be aware of what is happening. 

In light of this, I thought a diary might be the way to go in order to solicit and compile an updated list of good tools that folks can put to good use.  If you have something that you use or have used that you think would be worthy of mentioning, please drop us a line and I'll compile a list. 

To start things off, I wanted to point to a tool called PacketProtector that was recently featured on and provides some nice features for protecting your wireless home network.  PacketProtector is a Linux distribution for your wireless router.  Here are a list of the features that you get according to their website:

--a stateful firewall (iptables)
--WPA/WPA2 Enterprise wireless (802.1X and PEAP with FreeRADIUS)
--intrusion prevention (Snort-inline)
--remote access VPN (OpenVPN)
--content filtering/parental controls (DansGuardian)
--web antivirus (DG + ClamAV)
--a local certificate authority (OpenSSL)
--secure management interfaces (SSH and HTTPS)
--advanced firewall scripts for blocking IM and P2P apps
--IP spoofing prevention (Linux rp_filter)
--basic protocol anomaly detection (ipt_unclean)

This is a nice addition without having to add any other computers to your network if you don't want/need to.  If you have tried it (I haven't as of yet but I hope to do so in the very near future), please let me know your thoughts such as ease of use etc.  I'll try to compile that as well.

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Solution: Christmas Packet Challenge

Published: 2008-01-06
Last Updated: 2008-01-06 23:53:46 UTC
by Lorna Hutcheson (Version: 1)
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I want to thank everyone for the responses to the Christmas Packet Challenge.  I'm glad everyone enjoyed them.  I sincerely hope to do more of these this  year if  time permits. I learned a lot from the responses myself such as there are different versions to the story "A Christmas Carol" and the  questions required Google and Wikipedia searches for folks who are not from the US:>) I want to post the solution to the challenge and then post the names of those who submitted correct answers. Many folks chose not to have their names listed. If I missed someone, please accept my apologies and drop me a line.  I'll update the list!  Thanks again for playing and I hope everyone has a wonderful new year!!

The starter packet contained the following Base64 encoded question:

In the movie A Christmas Carol, how many night(s) did the three spirits come to visit?
The Answer was 1 night  so the next question is in Packet 1 of the xmas_challenge_2007.pcap

Here are the rest of the questions and answers to the challenge:

**All I want for Christmas is my ____ Front Teeth.  Answer is 2 so the next question is in Packet 2
**How many reindeer have names that begin with the letter "D"?  Answer is 3 so the next question is in Packet 3
**How many reindeer pull Santa's sleigh?  Answer is 9 so the next question is in Packet 9 (Yes I counted Rudolph)
**How many pipers piping did my true love give to me?  Answer is 11 so the next question is in Packet 11
**How many days in the song the ___ Days of Christmas?  Answer is 12 so the next question is in Packet 12
**Of the 365 days in year, what number is Christmas Day?  Answer is 359 so the next question starts in Packet 359 and continues through packet 365 for the message from the handlers (Only a couple of folks pointed out that I had the flags set  to match the holiday spirit of things i.e. xmas tree:>)  Also this data was not Base64 encoded but rather required a conversion from ASCII Decimal to get:

We wish you a Merry Christmas,
We wish you a Merry Christmas,
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!


Thanks again to ALL those who submitted the correct answers!  Till next time...

Clif Bratcher
Kenny Long and Michael Brown
Chris Rohlf
Charles Hamby
Brandon Applegate
Faisal Sehbai
Matt Johnson
Vikas Taneja
John Mark
Stefan Ford
Peter Abromitis
Andre DiMino
CS Lee and Hazrul Hamzah
Joseph Kern
Eric Paynter and wife
Matt Carlson
Christian Gueco
Dan Roberts
Eduardo Tongson
Mario De Tore
Stéphane Adamiak
Morgan Bailey

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