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    • New note by bobjonkman 22 February 2018
      I read that as "...become the PHB". It's funnier that way.
    • Favorite 22 February 2018
      bobjonkman favorited something by elizafox: "With the rise of self-driving vehicles, eventually there will be a country song about a truck leaving a guy, too."
    • New note by bobjonkman 20 February 2018
      While #Steemit is an #OpenSource application, it does not appear to be federated, so although I could run my own server it won't connect with Steemit's main servers. Assigning payment to posts is only going result in posts for the sake of making money. And three of the four top posts right now seem to […]
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      bobjonkman favorited something by solariiknight:
    • New note by bobjonkman 19 February 2018
      Reading the #Steemit FAQ and the Wikipedia article, there is absolutely nothing that would make me want to participate in such a scheme.
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      bobjonkman favorited something by solderpunk: @lnxw48a1 This is an astonishingly rare thing for sites to do, and it's a pet peeve of mine. I'm also annoyed by very vague "timestamps" like "three years ago", which lots of trendy CMSes seem to prefer.
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      bobjonkman favorited something by colinthemathmo: Web designers need to know of this exchange between my parents:Father: Ah - they've updated their web site!Mother: Oh no.Father: It looks good ...Mother: Can you find the things we need?... (long pause) ...Father: No ...
    • bobjonkman repeated a notice by colinthemathmo 19 February 2018
      RT @colinthemathmo Web designers need to know of this exchange between my parents:Father: Ah - they've updated their web site!Mother: Oh no.Father: It looks good ...Mother: Can you find the things we need?... (long pause) ...Father: No ...
    • Favorite 19 February 2018
      bobjonkman favorited something by pettter: @elizafox Also, this:
    • Favorite 19 February 2018
      bobjonkman favorited something by pettter: @elizafox George R. R. Martin, a writer of some repute, is writing a series of fantastic fiction. His latest installment is late in coming, vexing his readers to no end. Some of said readers have misunderstood the relationship between reader and author, and seem to have some slight notion of […]

Auto-Type Keywords for KeepassX

Posted by Bob Jonkman on 1st November 2016

KeepassX logo


I use KeePassX to keep track of passwords for web sites, server logins, and encrypted disks. And, at the touch of a keystroke, KeepassX can auto-type login names and passwords to those web sites, servers, and disks.

By default, KeepassX sends the sequence


but if the Username field is blank then KeepassX just sends


or if the Password field is blank then KeepassX only sends


But what other things can KeepassX send? A quick look at the AutoType.cpp source code reveals these additional keystrokes:

  • {tab}
  • {enter}
  • {up}
  • {down}
  • {left}
  • {right}
  • {insert} or {ins}
  • {delete} or {del}
  • {home}
  • {end}
  • {pgup}
  • {pgdown}
  • {backspace} or {bs} or {bksp}
  • {break}
  • {capslock}
  • {esc}
  • {help}
  • {numlock}
  • {ptrsc}
  • {scolllock}
  • {add} or {+}
  • {subtract}
  • {multiply}
  • {divide}
  • {^}
  • {%}
  • {~}
  • {(}
  • {)}
  • {{}
  • {}}
  • {f1}
  • {f2} .. {f16}

KeepassX is written by Felix Geyer and Florian Geyer with reporter Tarquin Winot, and is released under the GNU head logoGNU General Public License.

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Posted in FLOSS, security, Software | No Comments »

Chotchkie’s Passwords

Posted by Bob Jonkman on 7th March 2015

Note to security policy admins: Be sure there are technical means to enforce the policies you set, because, like physics, people tend towards the lowest energy levels.

It’s amazing what a little search’n’replace will do.

Manager: We need to talk about your password.

Joanna: Really? I… I have fifteen characters. I, also…

Manager: Well, okay. Fifteen is the minimum, okay?

Joanna: Okay.

Manager: Now, you know it’s up to you whether or not you want to just do the bare minimum. Or… well, like Brian, for example, has thirty seven characters in his password, okay. And a terrific smile.

Joanna: Okay. So you… you want me to use more?

Manager: Look. Joanna.

Joanna: Yeah.

Manager: People can get a password anywhere, okay? They come to Chotchkie’s for the atmosphere and the security. Okay? That’s what the password’s about. It’s about security.

Joanna: Yeah. Okay. So more then, yeah?

Manager: Look, we want you to secure yourself, okay? Now if you feel that the bare minimum is enough, then okay. But some people choose to have more and we encourage that, okay? You do want to secure yourself, don’t you?

Joanna: Yeah, yeah.

Manager: Okay. Great. Great. That’s all I ask.


Manager: We need to talk.

Joanna: Yeah…

Manager: Do you know what this is about?

Joanna: My password?

Manager: Yeah. Or your, um, lack of password. ‘Cause I’m counting, and I see only fifteen characters. Let me ask you a question, Joanna. What do you think of a person who only does the bare minimum?

Joanna: What do I think? You know what, Stan, if you want me to have 37 characters in my password, like your pretty boy over there, Brian, why don’t you just make the minimum 37 characters?

Manager: Well, I thought I remembered you saying that you wanted to secure yourself.

Joanna: Yeah. You know what, yeah, I do. I do want to secure myself, okay. And I don’t need 37 characters in my password to do it!

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Posted in security | No Comments »

What to do about compromised Hotmail passwords

Posted by Bob Jonkman on 18th November 2010

autoroute à emails

autoroute à emails by Biscarotte

I administer a number of e-mail systems, and I’ve been seeing a lot of spam coming from Hotmail accounts recently. And both friends and clients have been telling me that it’s not them who are sending spam from Hotmail (and ending up in my e-mail systems), their accounts have been hacked. One person asked me:

Is it just Hotmail? What else could I use? Can’t I just change my password?

Changing passwords is only an effective solution if the account was compromised by social engineering, eg. the legitimate user giving out the password in a phishing attempt or other direct means, or if a simple password was guessed or cracked.

There is evidence that Hotmail and Yahoo’s password recovery mechanism is flawed (eg. the Sarah Palin breach), so that malusers can acquire a new password for an account. I don’t think this is happening, because victims are not reporting being locked out of their accounts. Of course, if the service merely sends out the current password then this may be what is happening, and no amount of password complexity will protect the account.

If the passwords were compromised by an automated password cracker then I would expect only simple passwords to be breached, and accounts with strong passwords would be safe. I do not know what kind of passwords were in use by the people who have compromised accounts, but it is likely they were simple passwords.

While I have no evidence, I think the current rash of breaches is due to a more systematic attack by URL munging, or fuzzing the inputs on a POST request, or some other attack vector. These attacks do not require an authenticated login, and in that case no amount of password complexity will provide security either.

I haven’t heard of similar compromised accounts in Gmail, so that may be a suitable alternative for now. I’ve been recommending that people use the mail accounts provided by their ISPs, largely so that they can make use of the ISP’s technical support if their accounts do get compromised. And, of course, if they’re paying their ISP for a mail account then there may be immunity from liability (“My mail account was compromised and I was paying my ISP for security, so all this spam is their fault”).


Update 5 Feb 2012: I retract the first sentence in the last paragraph. E-mail Administrator friends have been telling me that Google Mail is just as vulnerable as Hotmail and Yahoo. Having just read “Hacked!” in The Atlantic I’m convinced the problem of compromised mail accounts is worse than I thought, and that no online providers (especially the “free” ones) adequately protect the e-mail of their users.

autoroute à emails by Biscarotte is used under a Creative Commons by-sa-v2.0 license.

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Posted in email, Internet, spam | 1 Comment »

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