Could you describe early cryptographers as hackers, breaking codes through analysis or mechanical systems?
How about the cryptologists at Bletchley Park in the forties, who broke the systems used by the German Navy's
Enigma machine? It's much, much easier to nail down when the use of hackers' and hacking' first came into
common parlance. It first appeared, in this sense, at MIT in the mid-1950s, in minutes from a meeting
of the Institute's Tech Model Railroad Club.
Early hacker culture was inspired by the phone phreaks, with hackers working alone or in loose groups, often on the edges of the law though not usually for criminal purposes or financial gain. In 1980, the New York Times described hackers as "technical experts; skilled, often young, computer programmers, who almost whimsically probe the defences of a computer system, searching out the limits and possibilities of the machine". You can see this in the exploits of early groups like the 414s, six Milwaukee teenagers who, between 1982 and 1983, used cheap PCs, analogue modems and simple password-hacking techniques to break into 60 computers at US institutions ranging from the Los Alomos National Library to the Security Pacific Bank. It's there in Germany's Chaos Computer Club, who transferred over 130,000 Deutsche Marks to a Hamburg Bank account from the German financial computer network, then returned the money the next day in front of the press.
Contrary to widespread opinion, the computer is not an invention of modern times but the result of
the consistent development of an ancient idea - to efficiently process stupid tasks (arithmetical tasks)
by leaving the calculation to a machine. The first known calculating machine is the Chinese abacus.
This video shows what became of this simple calculating machine.
This is the story of some nerds who started an industrial revolution. They were middle-class white kids from good suburban home the silicon valley south of San Francisco CA.
Their idea was to build a machine that would serve them alone. Until then, computers were wardrobe-sized machines in data centers, operated by conscientious engineers in white coats, to which only a few people had access.
This was to change radically.
And it all started in their garages.
In 1984 IBM sold 2 million computers.
At that time, not even the greatest optimists in their wildest dreams could imagine that it would one day be
100 million. An unknown nerd and a disk operating system MS-DOS offered by IBM were the starting signal.
The next one was to follow soon.
The 5150 from IBM can be called the mother of all personal computers.
Although it was not the first PC, the IBM PC is the only microcomputer that is not a dead-end.
It was not even IBM's first PC but its 5th generation. Unlike Apple's Model II the
IBM compatible PC became the quasi standard for micro computers over the years
Virtual Routing and Forwarding or VRF allows a router to run more that one routing table simultaneously.
When running more routing tables in the same time, they are completely independent.
For example, you could use overlapping IP addresses inside more VRFs on the same router
and they will function independently without conflict (You can see this kind of overlap
in the example below). It is possible to use same VRF instance on more routers and
connect every instance separately using VRF dedicated router port or only a sub-interface.
You can find VRFs to be used on ISP side. Provider Edge (PE) routers are usually running one
VRF per customer VPN so that one router can act as a PE router for multiple Customer Edge (CE)
routers even with more customers exchanging the same subnets across the VPN. By running VRF
per customer, those subnets will never mix in-between them.
To avoid vital secrets falling into the wrong hands, messages are scrambled (encrypted)
so that only someone with the right code can unscramble them.
A famous case of encryption was during World War II when the Germans used a
typewriter-like machine, called Enigma, to encrypt military messages before
playing them on the radio. These were decrypted by a group of Polish code breakers
from the Cipher Bureau and British code breakers from Bletchley Park.
Quantum computing should not be confused with “quantum cryptography”, which is the
science of exploiting quantum mechanical properties to perform cryptographic tasks.
A prime example of this is “quantum key distribution”, which enables a secret
cryptographic key to be shared between two remote parties such that any interception
can be reliably detected.
This technology, whilst less complex than quantum computing, is also relatively
immature with many existing practical implementations proving unable to live up
to their theoretical promise.
Radio waves are used to transfer information all around us. They are used in mobile phones,
WLANs, all kinds of remote controls, traditional AM/FM radio stations, satellite communications,
and numerous other places. Utilising radio technology is one of those things we take for granted
in our everyday life, but we don’t necessarily know how everything works under the hood.
Software-defined radio as a concept means that some or all of the components in radio that
have traditionally been implemented in hardware (e.g. mixers, filters, amplifiers,
modulators/demodulators) are now implemented in software. This enables higher flexibility
when experimenting, because you don’t need to change physical hardware components if you want
to change, say, the modulation type. As a software engineer, it also helps that you can go in
and read the source code to understand what’s happening. Upgrading software-defined radios
after deployment is naturally easier than upgrading their hardware counterparts. If you
know exactly what your needs are and they are not going to change, or if a high level of
energy efficiency is a must, then traditional hardware radios are still probably the better
choice. Check out this great and entertaining DEF CON talk from a couple years ago on what you can do with SDRs.
The cost of SDR hardware ranges from tens to thousands of dollars. The main features of SDRs
are the frequency range, maximum bandwidth, whether is it only a receiver or also a transmitter,
possible analog filters, and analog-to-digital converter resolution. You can find quite an
extensive list of available SDR hardware here. In our project, we have mainly used HackRF
Ones and USRP B200/B210 devices.
We prefer using USRPs because they work in full duplex mode and have better driver support
for GNU Radio (TX burst length support), although they are considerably more expensive.