Thursday, 28 April 2011

Sony PS3 PlayStation Network and Qriocity Hack - Update 1

The latest update from Sony regarding this hack is that all users credit card details were secure, Sony said "All of the data was protected, and access was restricted both physically and through the perimeter and security of the network. The entire credit card table was encrypted and we have no evidence that credit card data was taken. The personal data table, which is a separate data set, was not encrypted, but was, of course, behind a very sophisticated security system that was breached in a malicious attack."

They then went on to say "While all credit card information stored in our systems is encrypted and there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, we cannot rule out the possibility. If you have provided your credit card data through PlayStation Network or Qriocity, out of an abundance of caution we are advising you that your credit card number (excluding security code, sometimes called a CVC or CSC number) and expiration date may have been obtained. "

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Sony PS3 PlayStation Network and Qriocity Hack

Sony has discovered that between April 17 and April 19 2011, certain PlayStation Network and Qriocity service user account information was compromised in connection with an illegal and unauthorized intrusion into there network. In response to this intrusion, Sony have temporarily turned off PlayStation Network and Qriocity services and engaged an outside, recognized security firm to conduct a full and complete investigation into what happened.

Although Sony are still investigating the details of this incident, they believe that an unauthorized person has obtained the following information that registered users provided: name, address (city, state, zip), country, email address, birthdate, PlayStation Network/Qriocity password and login, and handle/PSN online ID. It is also possible that your profile data, including purchase history and billing address (city, state, zip), and your PlayStation Network/Qriocity password security answers may have been obtained. If you have authorized a sub-account for your dependent, the same data with respect to your dependent may have been obtained. While there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, Sony cannot rule out the possibility. If you have provided your credit card data through PlayStation Network or Qriocity, out of an abundance of caution we are advising you that your credit card number (excluding security code) and expiration date may have been obtained.

For your security, Sony encourage you to be especially aware of email, telephone, and postal mail scams that ask for personal or sensitive information. Sony will not contact you in any way, including by email, asking for your credit card number, social security number or other personally identifiable information. If you are asked for this information, you can be confident Sony is not the entity asking. When the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services are fully restored, we strongly recommend that you log on and change your password. Additionally, if you use your PlayStation Network or Qriocity user name or password for other unrelated services or accounts, Sony strongly recommend that you change them, as well.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

External Bell's on Cisco Call Manager

You may need a bell on a Cisco phone if for example you have a phone in a office and say a bell in a corridor or something like that.

This turned out to be quite a challenging issue, on a standard analogue PABX system it is quite easy to make a bell ring, you simply connect it in line with the phone and it works. If you want a bell to work on a Cisco IP system it's not that simple.

So the solution is as follows, lets say you have a Cisco IP phone with a extension number of 4567 what you need to do is set a ATA up (I used a Cisco ATA 186, but I guess others will work also) and assign the same number to the ATA as you have the phone.  Then, assuming you are on structured data cables, and keep the ATA in the comms cabinet, I connected a RJ11 to RJ45 cross over from the ATA RJ45 to the RJ45 on the patch rail, then from the room where the bell needed to be I connected a PABX Master from the RJ45 wall port and connected the bell to that and it works !.

One thing to note is that if the phone that has the bell is in a pickup group, the bell keeps ring when other calls come in, so best to not have it in a pickup group or if you do, don’t make it a audible pickup group.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Difference Between CDMA and GSM

GSM and CDMA are two different but similar wireless technologies.  GSM enjoys about an 82% market share globally. In the US CDMA is the more dominant standard.

So you may ask which is the best and why ? Here in the UK we use GSM.  Because GSM is used in more than 74% of the markets across the globe, users of tri-band or quad-band handsets can travel to Europe, India, and most of Asia and still use their mobile phones. CDMA however offers no multiband capability, however, and therefore you can’t readily use it in multiple countries. However, certain phones like the Blackberry Tour and the HTC Touch Pro 2 now have Quad-band GSM built in so they can be used overseas with special calling plans from mobile operators.

Another big difference between GSM and CDMA is in the data transfer methods. GSM uses high-speed wireless data technology known as GPRS (General Packet Radio Service), this offers a slower data bandwidth for wireless data connection than CDMA’s high-speed technology (1xRTT, short for single carrier radio transmission technology), which has the capability of providing ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network)-like speeds of as much as 144Kbps (kilobits per second). However, 1xRTT requires a dedicated connection to the network for use, whereas GPRS sends in packets, which means that data calls made on a GSM handset don’t block out voice calls like they do on CDMA phones.
GSM networks operate on number of different carrier frequency ranges most 2G GSM networks operate in the 900 MHz or 1800 MHz bands. Where these bands were already allocated, the 850 MHz and 1900 MHz bands were used instead (for example in Canada and the United States).   Most 3G networks in Europe operate in the 2100 MHz frequency band.
Regardless of the frequency selected by a mobile phone operator, it is divided into timeslots for individual phones to use. This will allow for eight full-rate or sixteen half-rate speech channels per radio frequency. These eight radio timeslots (or eight burst periods) are grouped into a TDMA frame. Half rate channels use alternate frames in the same timeslot. The channel data rate for all 8 channels is 270.833 kbit/s, and the frame duration is 4.615 ms.  The transmission power in the handset itself is limited to a maximum of 2 watts in GSM850/900 and 1 watt in GSM1800/1900 phones.

There is a good document here produced by OFCOM that explains how a mobile phone network works.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Using nslookup To Find MX Records

If you need to lookup a MX record then you will probably need to do this via nslookup or some of the other tools or websites that are available for this job.

For those of you who don’t know, A MX record is a type of resource record in DNS that specifies a mail server responsible for accepting email messages on behalf of a recipient's domain and a preference value used to prioritize mail delivery if multiple mail servers are available. The set of MX records of a domain name specifies how email should be routed with the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol.

As nslookup is part of windows already it is a handy tool for most system administrators to use, but many are not 100% sure how to use it.  I will now show you the very basics of using nslookup to check a MX record.

So, from a command prompt you type  nslookup  this then will return with a  >  prompt, here you type  set type=mx   this tells nslookup that you want to do a MX record query, now you type the domain name e.g  but no www in front.  This will now return the MX entry’s for that domain. 

Non-authoritative answer: MX preference = 10, mail exchanger = MX preference = 10, mail exchanger = MX preference = 10, mail exchanger = MX preference = 10, mail exchanger = internet address = internet address = internet address = internet address =

The results above show that has 4 MX records, all set to preference 10 (like a round robin approach), and then it list the IP's for each MX hostname.

Friday, 1 April 2011

The Closure Of 648 kHz BBC World Service

The BBC has closed its 648 kHz transmissions of World Service English language radio on 27 March, 2011. The BBC said it had to make some difficult decisions about the distribution of BBC World Service radio around the world, as a result of the Spending Review settlement that BBC World Service received at the end of 2010.

Closure of the 648 kHz service and medium wave frequencies to Russia, continues the process of withdrawing from direct broadcasts to Europe in response to a declining number of direct listeners.  The BBC World Service continues to be available in Europe by satellite, cable and online. In the UK it is available on dedicated channels across the whole of the UK on DAB, online and on all digital TV platforms. This is in addition to overnight transmissions of BBC World Service on Radio 4 frequencies.

The only thing I have noticed over the past few days is that it has been very difficult to get a connection to the BBC World service via my Internet radio or PC, is this because of the increased demand now for there online stream, who knows.