Thursday, January 18, 2007

Wireless connectivity in India - SCO style

The Linux litigators, The SCO group have decided to stake their bets on wireless technnology for the Indian province of Gujarat. See the story . Details of SCO and their litigation history.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

ATM security in Ghana

I am always on the lookout for security issues in developing countries. The unique nature of payment systems in sub saharan countries create a new problem set of security issues. See this post article about how some university students were able to purchase mobile phone cards.

The payment model used by the bank is very simple.

1. Clients purchase rechargeable units.
2. The clients account is debited
3. The service providers account is then credited.

There is absolutely porous security in this model. These scammers just took advantage of the time period between the credit and the debit to dupe the banks. There are no futher details about the exact attack but is it not scary that this fraud was not discovered earlier.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Mr Bourg- The good sherperd

Welcome, Mr Bourg. My good friend. How are you doing? My good friend Carville is back in town from the holidays. Carville is one on the friends in my clique, the CIA.

C - Carville
I - Ivan
A - Akwasi

The CIA have been hanging out for a long time. The unfortunate thing is that we have not hanged out for a while. The great thing is that we all support different football teams in California.

Akwasi - Oakland Raiders
Carville - San Diego Chargers
Ivan - San Francisco 49ers

Of course, it is playoff time and well.... the chargers are the only ones in playoff contention. Ok Ok. we all have to support our friend. We hate it but love it at the same time. Well I can not speak about Ivan. He won some money from Carville . wooo yeah.
Well I am glad the CIA is back. Welcome the Good Sherperd. ....

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Ghana on Travel channel

My friend Levi tipped me to a documentary on the travel channel on Ghana. I wrote a guide for doing business in Ghana . Details on the travel channel documentary can be found here.

It was fun to see the old neighbourhood of Osu where I grew up playing soccer on the streets and chasing small fish through drains. Osu was a small town back in the early eighties. It is most famous for its night market where you can come back to some kenkey and fish after a drunken nite at the nite clubs. The food vendors start preparing smoked fish at 9pm in the evening. The smell of banku, fried fish, smoked salmon emanate from the tents. Ahh, those days. After a coke bottle of apio, a hot plate of domedo and apkle is in order. And for Christ sake, you could buy food on credit and pay Auntie Akwele after you collected your weekly paycheck. All you had to do was to keep the tally on Auntie Akwele's board in charcoal. Dont even dare to cheat her. She has a photographic memory and can remember what your tally was from the year before. I tell you. I am not joking.

It was also good to see Koo Nimo on the documentary. Koo Nimo is a lecturer at the University of Science and Technology, my alma-mater. A very humble man, Koo Nimo is one of the few who are trying to preserve the rich culture of the Ashanti's. Here is some info about Koo Nimo.

Anyway, i will not burden you with the details. If you are interested in Ghana and dont know how find more information, then let me introduce you to a powerful tool .

Some definitions for you.

kenkey - A thick round dough made from maize. The main staple food of the Ga's
Ashanti - not the singer. One of the most powerful tribes in Africa
apio - dont ask me - powerful liqor. Tequila can not even come close
domedo - fried pork feet

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

thou shall see the light and abandon Microsoft

Yet another government agency is making a major switch from Microsoft to Linux. This slasdot article announces that the government of Tamil Nadu in India is making a switch to Suse Linux. Hmmmn. Any comments?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

419 419 new tactics. Is the blogosphere at risk?

Most people have recieved the 419 emails from scammers using phishing techniques (pretending to be someone else) to extort money. I have collecting the emails for a while but a recent one surely deserved mention. The 419 scheme is named after the Nigerian criminal code used to prosecute suspects. See this FAQ on the 419 scheme.

For once, the email contained a picture of the fella purpouting to be Kelly Hung. For copyright reasons, I will not post the image. Needless to say, Kelly's did not look like chinese and it took me here
The scammers have taken it to a different level. They are trying to legitimise their scams using pics. This particular Kelly Hung is a fool. He/she hoped I will not click on the image.

However, we could see these phishing attacks get better. The blogsphere could be a breeding ground for scammers to attain some legitmitly. Blog is an shortened from of
personal blog. We all read blogs in a context of trust. We believe that bloggers
are actually reporting on their experiences and lives. A 419 scammer can release a blog over a period of time chronicling some activities and then try to dupe someone of money. I am yet to hear of anything yet but of course it is imminent.

Watch out blogosphere. The scammers are coming.

Below was the corresponding email.

"From Mrs. Kelly Hung,

I am the above named person from China. But now undergoing medical treatment in London City. I am married to Dr. Davis Hung who worked With China Embassy in South Africa for Nine years before he died in the year 2002.

We were married for eleven years without a child. He died after a brief illness that lasted for only four Days. Before his death we were both happily together. Since his death I decided not to re-marry or get a Child outside my matrimonial home.

When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of $1.5Million (One Million Five hundred thousand U.S.Dollars) with a Security Company . Recently, my Doctor told me that I would not last for the next three months due to cancer problem.

Having known my condition I decided to donate this Fund to you as a Good individual that will utilize this money the way I am going to Instruct here in. I want a church,mosque or individual that will use this fund for a Non-Governmental Foundation, orphanages Old people homes and Propagating the word of God and to ensure that the house of God is maintained. We are made to understand that blessed is the hand that giveth. I took this decision because I don't have any child That will inherit this money and my husband relatives Are not taking care of me and I don't want my husbands hard Earned money to be misused by wicked people, Hence the reason for taking this bold Decision.

I am not afraid of death hence I know where I am going. I know that I am going to be in the bosom of the Lord. I don't need any telephone Communication in this regard because of my health, and Because of the presence of my husband's relatives around me always to know my decision.

I do not want them to know about this Development. As soon As I receive your reply I shall give you the contact Of the security Company and our lawyer who will help you effect the changes to your name as the original-beneficiary of
this fund.

I want you to always pray for me because the lord is my shepherd my happiness is that I lived a life of a worthyness. Whoever that wants to serve the Lord Must serve him in spirit and truth. Please always be Prayerful all through your life. Any delay in your reply will give me room in Source for any organization for this same purpose. Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated herein. Hoping to hear from you.
Please send your reply only through this my private email box or the alternative:

Kelly Hung

Monday, January 01, 2007

2007 here we come

Once again, another year is leaving us. Time waits for no man and many of us are wondering " Wow. This year has come quick". Well ya, whiles we were engrossed with our lives, a lot has happened this year.

Steve Irwin, James Brown died. God bless their soul. And ...... just recently Saddam was excuted... Oh well... Blogging has taken off. Myspace is still a major player in the social networking scene. At last Vista aka Longhorn was finally released to almost no fanfare. Microsoft does not make great news anymore. The buzzword is opensource. This blog lists all the 2006 Web technology trends.

For me, I found and lost a job, lost a girlfriend and almost completed school. Looking back at the year, I would rate it B. The great thing is that I get to try next year. Welcome 2007.