Monday, August 7, 2017

Windows 10 Explorer Shell Crash

I had some issues after installing Windows Updates in 1607 for June 2017.  My Explorer shell crashed constantly, and I had to go into Task Manager and restart it 3-4 times per day.

After using Process Monitor and looking at the event log, I was able to narrow it down to Microsoft Office.  I had Office 2016 installed, but also Visio 2013.  I uninstalled Visio 2013, ran a repair install of Office, and upgraded to Visio 2016.  I haven't had a problem with it since.

It looks like Windows Update was trying to upgrade Visio 2013, but the install was either corrupted or conflicting with my Office 2016 install.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Facebook Shadow Profiles

Facebook has tons of info on people who never made an account on it, it's called shadow profile and it's all thanks to stupid friends.

FB collects phone numbers from phones of people who download their shitty apps and cross-references them with their database of phone numbers. Phil has a number 123-456 in his phone address book assigned to Frank Walcott. Mary has number 123-456 in her phone address book assigned to Frank Walcott.

Also, Phil and Mary have each other's phone numbers, so FB can with 99.99% certainty know Frank Walcott's phone number, even though the guy might have never made an FB account and thinks he's safe and anonymous. The same process can be applied to names of WiFi networks, for example. In fact, just having the ability to know the names of available WiFi addresses precisely pinpoints the user geographically.

FB collects so much data, it boggles the mind. Downloading any of their apps is like putting the phone through a data juicer, it just collects everything.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

No mouse cursor in games

Here's a simple fix.  I would launch games in full-screen mode and my mouse cursor would disappear.  Internet articles said it was related to mouse pointer trails being enabled (they weren't).  In my case, though, I fixed it by closing the Magnifier application.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Putty crashing on Windows 10

Using a dynamic proxy in Putty, I was encountering an issue where Putty would crash in Windows 10.  I got an error in the Application event log:
Faulting application name: putty.exe, version:, time stamp: 0x52012e86
Faulting module name: putty.exe, version:, time stamp: 0x52012e86
Exception code: 0xc0000005
Fault offset: 0x0001846e
Faulting process id: 0x3f4

Also looking at the System event log, I saw a lot of these (Event ID 140, Source NTFS):
The system failed to flush data to the transaction log. Corruption may occur in VolumeId: ??, DeviceName: \Device\ImDisk0.
(The device has been removed.)

This turned out to be an issue with Veracrypt.  I had the entire system drive encrypted.  After decrypting it, the errors are gone and everything is working again (for now).  Also, the system is running on VMware ESXi 6.0.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

dllhost.exe - High CPU Usage

I was getting high CPU usage from dllhost.exe recently.  I noticed it when my laptop's battery started draining unusually quickly.  After trying several things, I logged on as a different user, and the problem went away.  So I backed up my documents and settings, blew away my profile, and logged back in.  Problem solved.

Or so I thought.  After restoring all of my documents, the problem came back.

I discovered it was Windows, trying to index a corrupted video file that was on my desktop.  I deleted the corrupted video file, and my CPU usage returned to normal.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Airodump CSV Tools v0.5 Released

After dragging my feet for a long time, I decided to just release a new version.  I didn't get all of the features I wanted implemented perfectly, but there are some bug fixes and new features.

  • Fixed a few bugs with string processing
  • Added the -i option to read known IP addresses
  • Used binary search on vendor lookups to improve performance
  • Fixed bugs introduced in new code with onlyAddNew and onlyAddOld
  • Output now sorted by power level by default

Monday, March 30, 2015


I thought it might be good to share a few of the steps I take to maximize my privacy while maintaining my ability to use digital and social media.  If you think privacy is not a big deal, I highly recommend the TED talk “Why Privacy Matters” by Glenn Greenwald.

These are loosely in order of difficulty and/or the technical skill required, with the easier ones at the beginning.

Check your Facebook privacy settings.  Facebook has an option that will show you what your page looks like to other people (friends and the world).  Or even better, delete Facebook.

Download the Firefox extensions: HTTP Everywhere, Adblock Plus, (maybe) Noscript.  Enable the options in Adblock Plus to block social media so that Facebook can’t track your web browsing.

Disable Flash cookies.  Open Control Panel, Flash Player, and Block all sites from storing information on this computer.  However, this may cause some web sites not to work, and sometimes you won’t even get an error message as to why it isn’t working.

Check the security certificates on secure web sites that you go to.  (See my previous post.)  They should be signed by a certificate authority that your web browser recognizes.  (These are pre-installed with your web browser.)  Furthermore, as you do this, you’ll know which CA the web sites you visit use, and you’ll be able to recognize if a site you frequent is using a different CA than before, which is highly suspicious.

Uninstall Java.  This also may cause some web sites or apps to stop working, so run those apps in a VM if you really need Java.

Disable Wifi on your phone when it’s not needed.  This can be a pain, but if you have an Android phone, there are some apps that will turn it on and off for you at certain times of the day.

Set up email encryption.  There are two popular formats: S/MIME and PGP.  S/MIME is recognized by Outlook, Thunderbird, and some mobile clients (such as the one that comes with Samsung Galaxy phones).  You can get a free personal SSL certificate from StartSSL and use it for email encryption and authentication.  However, you can only encrypt email to other users that also have S/MIME encryption set up.  Here is a guide for Outlook, though it’s a bit old.

Don’t use Gmail, Hotmail, or any of the other “free” email services.  You can host your own email server if you really know what you are doing, or you can pay for a hosted email service with a hosting company.  Some DNS registrars will give you free email addresses if you buy hosting from them.  Hosting your own email server is the most private option, since only you will have access to your email server.

However, it must be stated that email is not secure, nor is it private.  It is not encrypted, and it is not authenticated, unless you set up email encryption and authentication as described previously, and even then, that only works for other people who also have email authentication and encryption set up.

Your phone calls are also not private.  There are, however, apps that will allow you to make private telephone calls, such as Whatsapp, which also offers end-to-end encrypted text messaging.  Again, the best option for privacy is going to be to host your own phone server, and you’ll want to make sure it’s configured properly.

I hope this has been helpful.  I’ll update this post if I think of anything else.