Feb 24, 2016

Jan - 14 2016 | By

There was no show on 1-27-16 due to a membership drive

On 2-10-16 Paul & Glenn were out of town and again there was no show. In its place, an interesting Radiolab show was played. It was about the experience of a woman who had to pay a ransom to have the files on her computer returned to her control. The second half was about how these and similar scammers operate. This segment was about 40 min long. There was an interview at the end to fill out the hour.

The audio to the entire show should be available for about 2 months here. After that, you can go here for the Radiolab segment.



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For a limited time, the podcast of today’s show is here. Recent shows are here. For podcasts of other KVMR programs go to archive.kvmr.org.


Paul was in the studio. We didn’t hear from Glenn.


The intro music was “Start Me Up” by The Rolling Stones. It was used by Microsoft for the ad campaign with the rollout of Win95. Paul misremembered when he said it was for Windows 3.1.

Paul talked a bit about the effort of the FBI to gain entry into an iPhone used by a suspect in the San Bernardino mass shooting. A request was made of Apple for help. Given enough time, the FBI can probably break into the phone, Paul said. The FBI wants Apple to replace iOS 9.2, the operating system of the phone, with a version that will allow the FBI to try an unlimited number of passwords until they guess the correct one. The way it works now is that with each guess the time interval between allowed guesses is progressively increased.

Later generations of iPhone & iPad have a fingerprint scanner built into the home button. When a finger is scanned, the print isn’t directly compared to fingerprints stored in some database. Instead, the data from the print is encrypted in such a way that it can be matched up only with another one like it — it’s the uniquely encoded data that’s compared.

Paul related a story about a journalist who dropped his iPhone and caused the home button to come out. He had the button replaced at a 3rd party repair shop with a button from China. He originally got his iPhone 6 with iOS 8 on it. After the repair, when the phone was upgraded to iOS 9, the new operating system noticed that the button was not part of the original hardware and locked the phone. The journalist wasn’t even using his fingerprint to secure the phone. The lesson is, have Apple do such repairs. If you’re interested in how the hardware and software in iPhone’s security works, Paul suggested searching for the words: secure enclave.

Fingerprints are not hard to fake. Ironically, the prints from your handling the phone can be lifted off. Some time back the Mythbusters showed how it can be done. The sensor is not able to tell if the print it’s seeing is part of a finger or fake or even from a dead person.

A caller, who’s name I couldn’t decipher, with a Mac Pro said it has trouble reading CDs.
– The lens may have dust on it. There are CDs made specifically for cleaning, Paul said. The caller said he’s tried that with no improvement.
– You can try a can of compressed air to clean the lens. The caller said he’s tried that, too.
– Buy an external CD drive for about $30 — ideally one that uses a Firewire connection. Be sure to get the correct type — with either a SATA or parallel interface.
– From the caller’s description, he has the older parallel interface. Go to Ebay or Amazon and search for the words: parallel cd rom drive. You may have to settle for a used or refurbished unit, as new ones are no longer made. Try to get one with a warranty.
– If the Mac has a PCI slot, you may be able to find an adapter card that provides a SATA interface. However, you may be pushing your luck with this approach.
– Try to disassemble the errant drive to clean it.

Brian called to say he’s heard that the iPhone in the San Bernardino case will destroy the data it contains after 10 failed attempts to guess the password. He asked Paul if that was true. Paul said he believed it’s true.

Brian’s other question is how does a smartphone lock us out? What actually makes that happen? Paul said, basically, it’s the firmware — the iOS operating system that does it.

Brian than asked if the firmware can be accessed to gain entry. Paul said, the iPhone has a hard-wired interface that can be connected to a computer and can communicate a certain amount of information. This can be exploited. This is what’s used to jailbreak an iPhone.

Paul raised the possibility that the FBI already has the information it needs and that its pursuit of Apple’s cooperation is to hide from the public its ability to crack the iPhones.

Paul talked about steganography. This is a way of hiding information in the data that comprises a picture — gif, jpg, png, etc..

“Fred Flintstone” called. He’s using an XP computer and is ready to go to a new PC. He’s currently using Outlook Express and wants to know how to transfer emails to a new machine, likely running Win10.
– Paul doesn’t recommend using the email programs that come with Win7 or Win10. Use Thunderbird, he suggested
– First download Thunderbird onto the XP machine, Paul said. Fred said he gets an error message when he tries. The message implies his machine is too old.
– Paul said he can get an older version of Thunderbird that still supports XP.
– Once you have Thunderbird installed, it allows you to import emails and contacts from other email programs, like Outlook Express
<Old versions of Thunderbird can be found here.
Article: Go back to an old version of Thunderbird
Support forum posting on how to revert to an earlier version of Thunderbird:
Windows Easy Transfer for transferring from Windows XP (32 bit) to Windows 7:
Transfer files and settings from another computer

After you have your emails in Thunderbird the next step is to get folders and settings and a other files from XP onto the new machine by using “Windows Easy Transfer“, This program was not shipped with XP but it is in Win7, Win8 and Win10. Easy Transfer creates a file containing all of the files that can be transferred. You can save this file on a USB drive that you then plug into the new machine. The Easy Transfer on Win7 or Win10 will then populate the new machine with all your old files. Paul also said to double check that all of the Thunderbird mail got transferred — there’s sometimes an issue with that, and you may have to search for other methods to to get the Thunderbird data to the new machine.

Paul noted that when searching for programs like “Windows Easy Transfer”, make sure you end up on a microsoft.com site.

Fred also said he tried using Windows Live some time ago and it pulled email out of Outlook Express — which he didn’t want to happen. Paul didn’t have a solution for that but suggested he switch over to Thunderbird.

Paul admonished those still using XP to avoid using Internet Explorer and to use some sort of anti-virus like Avast or AVG.

Those using Win7 or Win8 may have seen an icon in the lower right that says “upgrade to Windows 10 now”. If you haven’t upgraded yet, Paul suggested you first look at someone’s machine that’s running Win10 to see if you can get along with it. Also, the free Win10 upgrade offer MAY end in April — Paul didn’t know for sure. This upgrade method is not as straight forward as buying a disk with Win10 on it. Paul hasn’t found a reliable way to do the upgrade without following the steps provided by Microsoft. Remember to back up your data before doing the upgrade and to verify the backup by trying to install it on a different machine.

A caller with an Android phone asked how to get Google calendar to set off an alarm when a particular time is reached.
– There are apps to add features to the calendar. The caller said he tried a bunch of them but didn’t find a solution.
– Paul asked listeners for any tips they may have.
<There IS an audible alarm in Google Calendar, Maybe he has the volume set too low to hear it. Or, maybe he’s using a very old version of the program that didn’t have alarms.>

Lee called. He has an older Win7 machine on which he did the Win10 update. It didn’t work out very well. It kept shutting down because it was making the processor work too hard and over heat. He had to revert back to Win7.
– There may be something wrong with the hardware. Paul uses the programs called Speedfan and Crystal Disk Utility from Japan. They tell him about the state of his computer.
<I guess Paul meant CrystalDiskInfo>

Last Updated 11:22 PM 2-24-2016

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