If truth is relative, then the truth that is relative to me is that truth is not relative, and since truth is relative, then truth is not relative, and I am completely correct.

By Jordan Spencer Cunningham on January 28, 2015

The next person who points and shouts (or even whispers) “BIGOTRY!” is going to get a knuckle sandwich.

Bigotry: I do not think it means what you think it means
{Read further…}

By Jordan Spencer Cunningham on December 22, 2014

A merry Christmas, indeed! There’s not much snow here in the northwest, and to top that off, a new ransomware malware variant has surfaced, infecting untold numbers of small business and home computers throughout the country. You’re likely here because you or your client has been attacked by this ruthless plague, and you want nothing for Christmas other than to recover those encrypted files. You have been visited by the Ghosts of Backups Past, Present, and Future, and now you exclaim, like Scrooge of Dickens fame, “I will honour Backups in my heart, and try to keep them all the year. I will make Backups in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!” You have learned your lesson to make backups nightly, if not more often, but this hard-won knowledge cannot bring back your corrupted data. Is there any way to get that data back without paying the scum that took it in the first place?

Well, probably.

UPDATE: Probably not, I’m afraid. I’ve confirmed with people who have analyzed the virus in minute detail down to how each byte is encrypted, and they’re 100% certain that the virus does not copy files, encrypt the copies, and then delete them; they rather just encrypt the original. This renders my theory of recovery moot, though if you’re desperate, please feel free to read on and give it a try. It never hurts to try. I would still recommend initiating the purchase of some Bitcoin as it takes four or more days for Bitcoin to process from your bank account, and it’s less likely that you’ll be able to recover your files if you pay the ransom after ten days. If you are able to recover the files before you pay the ransom, you can always transfer the Bitcoin back into your bank account or use it to buy stuff at Newegg.

{Read further…}

By Lisa Kaye Cunningham on November 30, 2014

I publish this as an assistance to those who, as tradition dictates, would like to share gifts with loved ones, a tradition in which I also partake. At the same time, I readily acknowledge God and my family for all of the material wealth and possessions which I own, which are plentiful. I am already extremely blessed in my loving family, my close friends, and, above all, my adorable husband. No material possession will make me happier than I already am being married to him. Still, I enjoy and adhere to Christmas tradition. Give it your best shot. Merry Christmas. {Read further…}

By Jordan Spencer Cunningham on November 29, 2014

It wouldn’t be Christmastime without the annual Christmas Wish List. This year’s theme is a bit of 8-bit nostalgia. As always, this is done mostly for kicks and giggles. Below is an embedded PDF. To scroll through it, simply place your mouse somewhere over it and use your scroll wheel (or alternatively click and drag the scroll bar on the right side). Also, most of the list item descriptions are also links to a product page for that item, and they’re clickable. Go ahead. Try it.

{Read further…}

By Jordan Spencer Cunningham on November 21, 2014

In the course of writing a research paper on possible new methods to reduce and eradicate computer virus threats, I came across a bit of intriguing history whose available details did not satisfy my curiosity, and I needed to know more than what the internet had to offer. The event in question was the creation of Creeper, a piece of software created in 1971 by Bob Thomas that has since been commonly accepted as the world’s first computer virus. What Wikipedia and the rest of the internet will tell you is that Creeper was created to “infect” computers running the TENEX operating system on ARPAnet, the predecessor to the internet. It would cause the machine to print “I’M THE CREEPER. CATCH ME IF YOU CAN.” Then Ray Tomlinson created Reaper whose sole purpose was to seek out and remove Creeper from TENEX machines on ARPAnet– so all at once, the first virus (specifically worm, if that) and the first helpful worm were created.  However, I’m beginning to think journalistic sensationalism has turned Creeper into something it’s not, especially by today’s standards– that is, a virus. Regardless, this was all still interesting.

I wanted to know more, though. Why was Creeper created in the first place? Did it cause problems? Was it an annoyance?  Should it really be considered the first virus? So I found contact information for Ray Tomlinson, asked him if I could ask a few questions about Creeper and Reaper, and he very kindly obliged. Below is an email Q&A session with Ray himself, and I think the details he reveals about this piece of history are very interesting and enlightening; they also cast it in an entirely different light. Also, Ray sent me a link before I asked him my questions that contained the best information I could thus far find online; this information helped me form some of these questions in a better way as it helped me realize that Creeper wasn’t a malevolent or even jovial practical joke as it is sometimes painted. The link he sent is available here.

{Read further…}

By Jordan Spencer Cunningham on September 24, 2014

I happened to lose the five-digit code for a SentrySafe (model KSW0510) that we had bought. Looking up the company’s website let me know that I could get the factory default combination from them again with a notarized form proving that I am who I say I am as well as $30. I knew of a couple of other things on which I could spend that $30, and I knew that the safe’s electronics were likely rather simple, so I opted to take the funner way out and use my programming and electronics prowess to crack the combination myself. This post outlines in good detail how I cracked the combination using a brute-force combination cracker I programmed in Python that interfaced with the safe using a Raspberry Pi. If you’re not very tech-savvy and just want to see the safe cracker in action, click here to skip ahead to the video of the finished product.

{Read further…}

By Jordan Spencer Cunningham on September 23, 2014

“Bigotry” is one of those 21st-century words that’s thrown around by the media and the popular kids like a football at a college campus on Thanksgiving. It doesn’t really mean what it originally meant. In fact, it doesn’t really mean anything anymore just like the rest of the words that have been neutered by the “progressives” with perpetually hurt feelings, but let’s explore what it’s supposed to mean and what it originated in meaning and compare and contrast (like we did in elementary school) the vast, ironic, and funny differences.

{Read further…}