Suramya's Blog : Welcome to my crazy life…

May 24, 2024

OpenSSF launches Siren to provide real-time security warning for Open Source Software

Securing OpenSource software (OSS) can be a bit of a challenge at times and a lot of the Infosec feeds that give information on Security issues in software are commercial paid entities. There are software that scan for OSS vulnerabilities but we can always use more threat intelligence networks.

Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF) has launched a new threat intelligence sharing group called ‘OpenSSF Siren‘ that aims to provide real-time security warning bulletins and deliver a community-driven knowledge base to fill the gap between the open-source and enterprise communities.

The OpenSSF Siren is a collaborative effort to aggregate and disseminate threat intelligence specific to open source projects. Hosted by the OpenSSF, this platform provides a secure and transparent environment for sharing Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTPs) and Indicators of Compromise (IOCs) associated with recent cyber attacks. Siren is intended to be a post-disclosure means of keeping the community informed of threats and activities after the initial sharing and coordination.

The Key features of the OpenSSF Siren include:

  • Open Source Threat Intelligence: shared with the community about actively exploited public vulnerabilities and threats.
  • Real-Time Updates: List members receive notifications via email about emerging threats which may be relevant to their projects, enabling swift action to mitigate risks.
  • TLP:CLEAR: To facilitate effective unrestricted transparent communication, the list follows the Traffic Light Protocol (TLP), Clear guidelines for the sharing and handling of intelligence.
  • Community-driven: Contributors from diverse backgrounds collaborate to enrich the intelligence database, fostering a culture of shared responsibility and collective defense.

You can sign up for it here: Siren Sign-Up
Source: OpenSSF sings a Siren song to steer developers away from buggy FOSS

– Suramya

May 23, 2024

Windows 11 will feature builtin Spyware in the near future or Recall AI as Microsoft Calls it

Till recently if you wanted to spy on someone and see what they have been doing on the computer, you had to infect their computer by making them visit a dodgy site or get physical access and download a RAT (Remote Access Trojan) & install it on the target’s computer, configure the Antivirus to ignore it and put in a backdoor so that you can access the data remotely. Obviously this was a lot of work so looks like some cyber criminals reached out to Microsoft (MS) and asked for help. MS being a super helpful company, has added a functionality called ‘Windows Recall’ to it’s windows 11 Preview build to solve this. Recall takes a snapshot (literally) of the screen every few seconds and stores it in a searchable database ‘stored locally’. Basically it does exactly what spyware does without having to install anything new on your system. As per the company below is how the Recall works:

Recall uses Copilot+ PC advanced processing capabilities to take images of your active screen every few seconds. The snapshots are encrypted and saved on your PC’s hard drive. You can use Recall to locate the content you have viewed on your PC using search or on a timeline bar that allows you to scroll through your snapshots. Once you find the snapshot that you were looking for in Recall, it will be analysed and offer you options to interact with the content. What actions you can take depend on the content and the chat provider capabilities in Copilot in Windows. For example, you may highlight a block of text and decide to summarise it, translate it, or open it with a text editor like Word or Notepad. If you highlight an image, you will be able to edit it or use your chat provider in Copilot in Windows to find or create a similar image.

Recall will also enable you to open the snapshot in the original application in which it was created, and, as Recall is refined over time, it will open the actual source document, website or email in a screenshot. This functionality will be improved during Recall’s preview phase.

The best part is that according to their own announcement the snapshots will not hide passwords/account numbers etc. However, it does block you from recording DRM’d video you might be watching because protecting that is important not simple things like personal information etc.

Note that Recall does not perform content moderation. It will not hide information such as passwords or financial account numbers. That data may be in snapshots that are stored on your device, especially when sites do not follow standard internet protocols like cloaking password entry.

This is a gold mine for data thieves, abusers, industrial espionage, identity thieves and other cyber criminals. Once they have access to a PC they don’t need to do anything else except copy the data from the Recall DB to their own system and happily browse through the users personal data at their leisure.

I don’t think MS has thought about folks who use public computers such as the ones in an Internet Cafe or Hotels or Libraries. With this feature enabled all someone has to do is wait a few days then come back and copy incredibly private information that they can then sell/use. Privacy and Domestic Abuse experts are raising questions about this as well because sure as night follows day, abusers will use this to track what their victims are doing on a computer and that can go bad very quickly.

Even if the data is supposedly only on the local machine we don’t know when MS is going to force it to be uploaded to their servers using OneDrive or other similar setups. All the coverage I have seen for this functionality 99% of them have raised similar concerns about the security, privacy and quite frankly the need for this kind of surveillance.

Imagine what would a regieme like Taliban, China or other conservative/restrictive governments do with information they get from this system. You are dreaming if you think that they will not force MS to make this information available to them at the risk of losing access to that market if they don’t. Once you have the capability to do this, feature creep will happen for sure and we will end up in a Surveillance state.

The only Windows 11 system at my place is my wife’s laptop and you can be sure that I am going to disable this ‘feature’ as soon as it launches.

Source: Bleepingcomputer: Windows 11 Recall AI feature will record everything you do on your PC

– Suramya

October 4, 2022

Workaround for VPN Unlimited connection issues with latest Debian

VPN’s are a great way to ensure that your communication remains private when using a pubic internet connection such as when you are connected to an Airport or Coffee shop Wifi. Plus they are good for getting access when a site is blocked where you are, for example in India the main site for VLC Media player has been blocked for a while. I primarily use VPN Unlimited on all my systems as I have a lifetime subscription though I also have other VPN’s that I use sometimes.

Unfortunately, the native VPN Unlimited application for Linux has stopped working a while ago due to a compatibility issue with SSL. When I upgraded to the latest version of Debian back in July 2022 it suddenly stopped working with the following error message:

vpn-unlimited: symbol lookup error: /lib/ undefined symbol: EVP_CIPHER_block_size

Reinstalling the software didn’t resolve the issue and neither did a search on the internet help. When I reached out to support they told me that Debian 11 wasn’t yet supported and they didn’t have an ETA for the new version to be released. They did recommend that I manually create & download an openvpn config from their site that would allow me to connect to the VPN manually using OpenVPN instead of the App. Unfortunately, the config generated didn’t work either as it would fail to connect with the following error message in the logs:

Sep 21 02:56:55 StarKnight NetworkManager[1123]:  [1663709215.0845]vpn[0x559d7fc46900,833a72d8-a08a-474e-a854-c926cd6c694a,"VPN Unlimited"]: starting openvpn
Sep 21 02:56:55 StarKnight NetworkManager[1123]:  [1663709215.0847] audit: op="connection-activate" uuid="833a72d8-a08a-474e-a854-c926cd6c694a" name="VPN Unlimited" pid=2829 uid=1000 result="success"
Sep 21 02:56:55 StarKnight kded5[2780]: org.kde.plasma.nm.kded: Unhandled VPN connection state change: 2
Sep 21 02:56:55 StarKnight kded5[2780]: org.kde.plasma.nm.kded: Unhandled VPN connection state change: 3
Sep 21 02:56:55 StarKnight NetworkManager[233850]: 2022-09-21 02:56:55 WARNING: Compression for receiving enabled. Compression has been used in the past to break encryption. Sent packets are not compressed unless
"allow-compression yes" is also set.
Sep 21 02:56:55 StarKnight nm-openvpn[233850]: DEPRECATED OPTION: --cipher set to 'AES-256-CBC' but missing in --data-ciphers (AES-256-GCM:AES-128-GCM:CHACHA20-POLY1305). OpenVPN ignores --cipher for cipher negotiations.
Sep 21 02:56:55 StarKnight nm-openvpn[233850]: OpenVPN 2.6_git x86_64-pc-linux-gnu [SSL (OpenSSL)] [LZO] [LZ4] [EPOLL] [PKCS11] [MH/PKTINFO] [AEAD] [DCO]
Sep 21 02:56:55 StarKnight nm-openvpn[233850]: library versions: OpenSSL 3.0.5 5 Jul 2022, LZO 2.10
Sep 21 02:56:55 StarKnight nm-openvpn[233850]: WARNING: No server certificate verification method has been enabled. See for more info.
Sep 21 02:56:55 StarKnight nm-openvpn[233850]: NOTE: the current --script-security setting may allow this configuration to call user-defined scripts
Sep 21 02:56:55 StarKnight nm-openvpn[233850]: OpenSSL: error:0A00018E:SSL routines::ca md too weak
Sep 21 02:56:55 StarKnight nm-openvpn[233850]: Cannot load certificate file /home/suramya/.local/share/networkmanagement/certificates/E87E7A7D6DA16A89C7B4565273D3A792_hk_openvpn/cert.crt
Sep 21 02:56:55 StarKnight nm-openvpn[233850]: Exiting due to fatal error
Sep 21 02:56:55 StarKnight NetworkManager[1123]:  [1663709215.1095] vpn[0x559d7fc46900,833a72d8-a08a-474e-a854-c926cd6c694a,"VPN Unlimited"]: dbus: failure: connect-failed (1)
Sep 21 02:56:55 StarKnight NetworkManager[1123]:  [1663709215.1095] vpn[0x559d7fc46900,833a72d8-a08a-474e-a854-c926cd6c694a,"VPN Unlimited"]: dbus: failure: connect-failed (1)

After a little more back and forth with the support team (which was extremely responsive and quick) which in turn reached out to their developers we identified the issue with the OpenVPN config. The fix for this will be deployed to all their servers by the end of this month. In the mean time I was given a workaround that resolved the issue for me. To fix the issue add this line to your OVPN file under the VPN section:


More information on this is available in the OpenVPN forum. Keep in mind that this is not a really secure configuration and if you are working on something really top secret you should use another VPN till the issue is actually fixed instead of this workaround as it is not secure.

However, just wanted to share this here for others who might be having this same issue. Hope this helps.

– Suramya

January 20, 2010

List all machines connected to a LAN with additional details on each

Filed under: Knowledgebase,Security Tools,Tech Related — Suramya @ 12:15 AM

If you ever had to figure out how many systems are connected to a network and what IP’s they have then you will find this tip useful. It is also useful to identify any rouge machines on your network if you know how many systems are supposed to be there on that network. Like in case of my home network, where I know the exact no of machines.

There are multiple software out that, that allow you to do this. Some are free, some are very expensive. In my opinion the best one is nmap. It is free, fast and can be scripted.

To find all machines on my LAN (IP Range: 192.168.2.x) I just have to issue the following command:

nmap -sP

This gives an output like the following when I run it as a normal user:

suramya@Wyrm:~$ nmap -sP

Starting Nmap 5.00 ( ) at 2010-01-20 00:01 IST
Host is up (0.0018s latency).
Host is up (0.00018s latency).
Host is up (0.00018s latency).
Nmap done: 256 IP addresses (3 hosts up) scanned in 2.93 seconds

When I run the same command as root, it gives me additional information that looks like:

Wyrm:~# nmap -sP
Starting Nmap 5.00 ( ) at 2010-01-19 23:50 IST
Host is up (0.0015s latency).
MAC Address: 00:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX (Cisco-Linksys)
Host is up.
Host is up (0.011s latency).
MAC Address: 00:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX (Intel)
Nmap done: 256 IP addresses (3 hosts up) scanned in 3.00 seconds

In this case, as you can see nmap also gives me the MAC address of the machine. is the machine I ran the scan from so I didn’t get any information on that one.

If you want additional details on a system you can issue the following command to get the system to try and identify the OS and services running in detail.

nmap -A

It gives an output that looks something like:

Wyrm:~# nmap -A
Starting Nmap 5.00 ( ) at 2010-01-19 23:52 IST
Interesting ports on
Not shown: 995 closed ports
22/tcp open ssh OpenSSH 5.1p1 Debian 8 (protocol 2.0)
| ssh-hostkey: 1024 xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx (DSA)
|_ 2048 xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx (RSA)
80/tcp open http Apache httpd 2.2.14 ((Debian))
|_ html-title: Index of /
139/tcp open netbios-ssn Samba smbd 3.X (workgroup: WORKGROUP)
445/tcp open netbios-ssn Samba smbd 3.X (workgroup: WORKGROUP)
631/tcp open ipp CUPS 1.4
Device type: general purpose
Running: Linux 2.6.X
OS details: Linux 2.6.17 – 2.6.28
Network Distance: 0 hops
Service Info: OS: Linux

Host script results:
additional information on the server

Hope you also find this useful.

– Suramya

March 23, 2007

Programs that detect/monitor File alteration

Filed under: Knowledgebase,Security Tools,Tech Related — Suramya @ 5:56 PM

The following is a list of programs that detect/monitor file changes on both *nix/Windows:

Good article on how to do a File Integrity Assesment and how to securely use AIDE.

– Suramya

July 31, 2006

ScatterChat: A secure instant messaging client.

Filed under: Computer Security,My Thoughts,Security Tools,Tech Related — Suramya @ 5:15 PM

Now this is a cool software. It allows a user to encrypt all communications using end-to-end encryption and routing based on Tor (Tor Overview)

The program is a ‘friendly’ fork of the Gaim project. In case you are wondering what a fork is, a project fork or branch happens when a developer (or a group of them) takes a copy of source code from one software package and starts to independently develop a new package.

The software itself is pretty cool, but its likely to come under heavy fire from various govt and ‘spy’ agencies because the design of the software makes it really hard for anyone to eavesdrop on anyone. They will claim that this will allow terrorists and child pornographers to communicate anonymously.

It might be used by a terrorist but then so can a car (used as a getaway vehicle), a cell phone (used as a communication tool), watch (to sync timed attacks)… does this mean all of them should be banned as well? Any technology developed can be used for good as well as bad purposes.. starting with fire all the way upto a nuclear reaction… now that the genie is out of the bottle you can’t stuff it back in.

I think it will be useful for all sorts of people including:

Spies, to let them communicate with the home office, report anonymously
Corporate whistle blowers: they can report wrongs/broken laws without getting into trouble
People behind the great firewall of china, where you can be arrested for disagreeing with the government.

Check out the software: ScatterChat

Thanks to Schneier on Security for the link.

– Suramya

PS: I haven’t tried the software yet so don’t know how stable it is. Though I will be installing it shortly so will let you know how it goes.

November 2, 2005

Network monitoring with Cacti

Filed under: Computer Software,Security Tools,Tech Related — Suramya @ 9:04 PM

Interesting software to try out for network monitoring. Hopefully it will be simpler to use/setup than some of the other software I have tried earlier.

Network monitoring with Cacti

October 11, 2005

Protecting Files at Home Using Encrypted Containers

Filed under: Security Tools,Security Tutorials,Tech Related — Suramya @ 9:05 PM

This is an awesome article on how to create Encrypted Containers that makes it easy to create encrypted backup locations that can copied to other systems without hassle and are simple to use.

Protecting Files at Home Using Encrypted Containers

May 25, 2005

Tools for configuring iptables

Configuring firewalls is not easy if you don’t know what you are doing and most of us don’t have the time of the paitience to spend hours figuring out internet security. But having a badly configured firewall is worse than having no firewall ’cause it gives you a false sense of security.

Thankfully there are tools out there that allow you to configure a decent firewall without needing a degree in rocket science. Chris Lynch has written an article on Newsforge which looks at Three tools to help you configure iptables.

Check it out.

– Suramya

May 11, 2005

Tools to display Folder Permissions in Windows

Filed under: Security Tools,Tech Related — Suramya @ 3:19 AM

Tools that will display group and user permissions on a set of folder:






– Suramya

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