Saturday, 27 January 2007

Verified by Visa is just plain dumb

I hate the "Verified by Visa" program - it doesn't provide extra security... in fact it takes some away.

The whole concept of the verified by visa program is that when I pay online using my Visa card I get prompted to enter a password for my Visa card before the transaction can continue. This program is just dumb because using the VbV program is optional to merchants. This means that sometimes I get prompted to login to the program when using the card but, more often than not, I don't. So how does this protect me, the consumer? It doesn't... fake vendors will still attempt to steal credit cards from suckers and the suckers will keep giving it to them - outside of the VbV program.

But ahhh... I hear you say... the program isn't for the consumers... it's for the merchants, it verifies to them that the credit card is really being used by the owner of the card. No it doesn't! Because if I setup a fake merchant website to steal credit card details, all I need to do is add a popup at the end asking for the users VbV password... the user will happily give it to me because they've been trained to do this by Visa. You see when a merchant uses VbV I, as a consumer, get redirected from the merchants website to a supposedly Visa website (although it's not even on a URL) and asked to provide my password. This teaches users to give up their passwords to anyone who asks - bad Visa!

Similary, if someone had already stolen my credit card through some other means (and didn't have my VbV login) and they wanted to run up a bill on it or to extract money from it - they'd just choose a merchant who isn't using the VbV program - they're not prevented from using the credit card number in any real way.

If VISA really wanted a secure program then they would require you to log into your Visa account (or your bank account) and authorise the transaction apart from the merchants website... but they've skipped this step, no doubt, to make the transaction 'smoother'. The end result being that neither the customer nor the merchant are any more protected than they were before.

C'mon VISA - you should be doing more than training users to act in this way in the name of security theater.

Australia Day Caching

We had a great family day out geocaching for Australia Day. We all came home pretty tired, but its always nice to spend time together.

And here's the video!!!

Wednesday, 17 January 2007

Dell coupon code

I recently purchased a new Dell computer. They've sent me a coupon code which is valid for a 5% discount on any Dell purchase until 1st February 2007 & it says to pass it on to family and friends, so here it is: 391504BDE29

Wednesday, 10 January 2007

MS Office 2007 - on 3 computers for $168!!!

OK here's the deal... but you'll need to be quick.

Currently Dick Smith have MS Office 2003 Student and Teacher Edition on special for $168. This price is until 28 January 2007. This version of office is licensed to be used on up to 3 computers!

Also at Dick Smith, if you buy the above you will get a $27 WISH voucher that you can use at a number of stores in the Woolworths chain including Woolworths and Big W (so you shouldn't have any trouble speding it). I don't know how long this offer is available.

Then... Microsoft currently have an upgrade guarantee program on where you can get an upgrade from your newly purchsed version of Office 2003 to the equivalent version of Office 2007 for only $27.00. You need to visit their website to get the full details, but its just a matter of filling in forms and mailing something off.

If you'd prefer to get the Professional Version of Office (Academic version) then the price is $60 more going through the same process... the Professional version will include MS Access and MS Publisher, but it is only licensed for 1 computer, not 3.

So what are you waiting for?

Sunday, 7 January 2007

ouverture-facile game and solution provides a logic game for you to solve. Each level of the game could require you to do underthing from mathematics, image manipulation, audio editting, hex editting... in fact anything could be required to solve it.

I've provided full and complete spoilers as a walkthrough of the game. I haven't finished it, but I've included information on the level that I'm up to. I will update this over time & contributions are welcome as comments to my blog.

You may be disappointed if you look at this, but here are the spoilers.

Saturday, 6 January 2007

Palm Gully Geocache trip

Rogainer, Hawmorfords Pirate63, Wingaap and myself today hiked out and did IF's new cache Palm Gully.

It is a great walk in a beautiful spot. The weather was perfect for it.

Watch the video below. A high(er)-res version of it is available from here.

Thursday, 4 January 2007

Security in shopping

I've just been shopping and had two things happen that made me question the security of the whole process.

The first one has bugged me for a while and its about credit card security. It seems a little bit archaic that in this day and age we are required to enter a PIN when using EFTPOS for our savings accounts, but no PIN is required for a credit account. So you'd think it would be easy enough to just forge the signature right? Well, you don't even need to go to the trouble of doing that.

Many checkouts now allow you to swipe your card yourself. You swipe, you sign, and then they check your signature - but how easy would it be for someone to swap the card that they swiped for a different one when checking the signature. i.e. Someone swipes a stolen card then puts down a card of there own for signature verification - the switch could be easily done. I know that they could just check the number on the card, but the operators barely seem to have enough time to check the signature, let alone the card number.

The second thing that concerned me was that as I left the store I had to pass through those little posts that bleep at you if you're carrying stolen goods out. They bleeped at me because I'd bought and paid for my stuff in the electrical section & they hadn't properly de-cleansed it (or whatever they do). The lady came over and said "Oh, didn't they scan your things correctly, let me fix that for you"; she took me over to a desk and spent about 60 seconds swiping my 3 items over some sort of invisible force-field and then proceeded to carry them back through the posts again. "Good", she said, "all fixed". I wondered what the point of this whole charade was when I'd already passed through the only set of posts I had to when leaving the store & they didn't even bother asking to look in the backpack that I was carrying over my shoulder!!!! Pointless!

Wednesday, 3 January 2007

List of free Microsoft Software

This is a great list of free Microsoft software... some of it I've never heard of and already can't do without!

Monday, 1 January 2007

Gateway Flash Game

A cool game called Gateway located here.

(My comments about and walkthrough of Gateway 2 are here)

If you get stuck, here is the solution:

Room 1
Press the button

Room 2
Pick up the stairs
Place the stairs on the indicated spot
Press the button

Room 3
Pick up the remote
Pick up the batteries
Put the batteries in the remote
Use the remote on the sensor

Room 4
Press the first and then the forth button
If you’ve pressed others then you’ll need to tidy them up. Button 1 alters panels 1 and 2; button 2 alters panels 1, 2 and 3; button 3 alters panels 2, 3 and 4; button 4 alters panels 3 and 4

Room 5
You need to create the same pattern on the floor that is printed above the gateway.
Starting from the beginning colour you need to step on the outer twice, the middle 4 times and the inner 6 times to get the right colours.

Room 6
(Optional) Look through the telescope; look at the right window 3 times.
The code is written on the window (backwards) it is 739339.
Use the keypad, enter the code.

Room 7
Push down the left plank.
Walk over the centre, activating the panels, setting them to the same colour.
Walk back through the gateway you entered, you will emerge on the right.
Push down the right plank.
Walk over the right panel a number of times, changing it back to its original, floor, colour.
Exit through the gateway.

Room 8
Pick up all 6 balls.
Place them in this order (from the left): large, medium, huge, tiny, big, small.
Push the button.

Room 9
Get the screwdriver from on top of the tv.
Unscrew the access panel.
Open the access panel.
Get the extension cord.
Get the power cord.
Plug the extension and power cord together.
Watch the TV.
Note the order of the rooms that the person is in… including ‘9’ that they start in.
The code is 954271

Room 10
Note the number of flashes of the lightbulbs… you need to press the floorswitches below the light bulbs this many times.
The numbers, in anticlockwise order from where you enter, are 135264.
Then stand on the elevator

Recent Geocaching Logs

Stuff I"ve read lately