Christian Jens

A nerd's diary

How does HTTPS work, a closer look

Many of us put a lot of trust in websites. We do our banking online, buy things in online shops, sign in to web sites and give out personal information. But why do we trust these websites? Probably because we trust the company behind it. Using Amazon is very convenient but to use that service we need to enter a payment method, our credit card for example and an address for shipping. We trust that Amazon will treat that sensitive data consciously. And that’s fair enough, Amazon has a good reason to keep your data safe. But how can we be sure that our data arrives safely? When we send that data to Amazon, we probably don’t want anybody else to read that information on the fly. Well, that’s where the browsers green padlock comes into play. That padlock indicates an HTTPS connection, a secure connection. But how does HTTPS work? Let’s take a closer look

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From zero to Kali on a MacBook with external WiFi

Kali VM on a MacBook Pro

Yesterday my eagerly awaited package was in the mail. I received my Atheros AR9271 USB WiFi Adapter that I ordered from AliExpress. A network interface that can easily be used with Kali Linux. Better yet, since it’s a USB adapter, it can be used within a virtual machine as a WiFi interface. Perfect! So we have everything we need to go from zero to Kali on a MacBook with external WiFi. Let’s get this up and running!

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“Oh, Amazon listens, too?” – Alexa and your privacy

It was this years Super Bowl, Eagles vs. Patriots, and I invited some friends over to watch the game together. As one of them sat down he spotted my Echo Dot and immediately determined, “oh, Amazon listens too, then, hu?”. Well, is that so? I asked him, if Siri was listening for its keyword in his iPhone and if Apple was listening as well, then. He shut it down, of course Apple was not listening! Is Alexa actually invading your privacy? What’s the issue with Alexa and your privacy?

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A Dystopia becomes Reality – A Social Credit Score to rate them all

It was funny, maybe even a bit scary, when I watched the movie The Circle with Emma Watson and Tom Hanks a few weeks ago. It’s a movie that draws a future in which we are surveilled 24/7. Not by the government, but by ourselves through social media. Our social behavior is the center of our lives. If everyone knew what we were doing, we wouldn’t be in danger any more. People would act sincere. At least that’s the premise. Just a few days later I read about Chinas attempt to implement a Social Credit Score by 2020 that follows the same idea. That’s when it hit me, our reality is now actually worse than what we see in movies. How can that be? When did we overtake the dystopian sci-fi movies and actually created something even darker?

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Secure cookies for the web

So the other day my father and I had one of our infamous tech discussion, one of the kind were the people around us would start a side talk as the two of us would got lost in our topics. One of the subjects we came across, was cookies and he told me he disables them and then selectively enables cookies for a few pages. He also told me, why he does so and it came down to two reasons. First, he is concerned about his privacy – and that is good, we all should be more concerned about that! The second reason is security and the lack of secure cookies. Cookies are not evil in themselves, they are, however, often implemented poorly and therefore I can understand both concerns. So, let’s see how to tackle cookies in the web.

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Just use a Password Manager already, it’s like insurance

I know, using a Password Manager is a somehow geeky thing to do. The setup takes time and you probably have better things to do. But in today’s world you have to think of it as an insurance. You probably think nobody wants your data and why should you be a target anyways, you’re just an average person on the web, correct? Well, we’ll get to that, but first let me ask you something: Did you spend time to get some kind of insurance? Maybe a fire insurance for your house or an extended health insurance that covers your teeth? You didn’t do that because you want your house to burn down or your teeth to fall out, you did it to be prepared if the worst case happened. You could ask the same questions: Why would somebody light a fire to burn your home down? Why would you not pay attention to burning candles, yet everyone understands that these things could happen. There’s a slight chance that it might hit you, so you get insurance.

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Let’s become an IT expert with having a blog

I was really going back and forth on whether to start a blog or not. It would take up quite some time to post regularly, do research on topics and in the beginning it takes some courage to put yourself out there. But I also think that a blog will let you grow in the things you write about. If you decide to publish your thoughts, you will naturally do some more research on a topic. You will try to understand even that tiny bit that you would normally just take for granted. For me, it hopefully helps me to become an IT expert, eventually. Furthermore I have the possibility to explain matters in English, which is not my first language and it might even help me to get in touch with some of you to talk tech and discuss trends. So I decided, I could only benefit from it and if I stuck to it, I’d create a profile of someone with a knowledge base about certain topics which might be a helpful career step as well.

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