Mr. Shodan

Mr. Robot season 3 is off to a great start. As per usual, the episode features tonnes of Easter eggs for hacker nerds.

But I have to admit I was a little surprised to see a cameo. Shodan is a search engine for things connected to the web that isn’t a web server.  Web cams, network equipment, industrial controls and other hardware that relies heavily on security through obscurity.

Here’s a fun video from Defcon 20 demonstrating what fun can be had.

Bonus: The search Mr. Robot performs org:”Evil Corp” product:”Apache Tomcat”,  returns real results with show relevant data.

Bonus Part 2:

The domain in question has an open SNMP (file sharing port).

No guest account unfortunately. If only I could remember some of the logins from the show.

The rabbit whole goes deep this season! Hack the planet.

Culture Review

astsu: why Mr Robot is the most tech-savvy show ever

I finally watched the pilot episode of Mr Robot and I was totally blown away by the way the handle the hacking aspects of the show. If you haven’t seen the show, the main character is a professional security engineer by day and a “cyber vigilante” at night. It’s great!

Every aspect of the way Elliot – protagonist – goes about his job is completely believable and authentic, from: social engineering techniques, password cracking, right down to the command line.

As an example of the authenticity + poetic license = tech-savviness, throughout the pilot the Elliot uses a command: astsu.

astsu is not a real linux command and it’s not totally clear what it does. However, the way that he uses it feels totally legit. He doesn’t use it when other commands would do the job (like a sloppy writer might have him do) and the arguments he passes to it look about right for something vaguely network/security related. We can assume that this command is code that he’s written himself. The command is basically a plot device for the nerds that will notice this sort of thing.

The fact that writers/producers/whoever demonstrate an incredible attention to detail and authenticity. I’m definitely going to continue watching

Oh, the soundtrack is perfect too.


TIL William Gibson wrote an episode of The X-Files

I’ve been re-watching The X-Files on Netflix. 1997’s season 5 has an abnormally high number of good monster of the week episodes.

Today I watched Episode 11, “Kill Switch,” a story in which rouge AI has sexy-time with Mulder. I was pleasantly surprised (then not surprised at all in hindsight) to find out that the episode was written by William Gibson (and Tom Maddox). Directed by Rob Bowman, director of some of my favourite Star Trek: TNG episodes (like the on where Wesley Crusher falls in love with a girl who turns into a giant monster, literally).

Anyways, check it out if you have the Netflix.

PS. This is what email on TV looked like in 1997. Not sure exactly why they felt the need to make it look worse than reality.


How Friend’s Met Your Mother or Everything Old is New Again

This image is currently at the top of the Reddit front page. Click it for the full story.

So the thing is, I agree with the poster, it would appear that the general story arc of How I Met Your Mother bears a striking resemblance to Friends. Where I disagree with the poster and Reddit in general, is the implication. I do not thing this makes HIMYM good or bad. I feel like the three-camera sitcom format was perfect in the 80s or 90s and I am not surprised to see similar story arcs emerge. As someone who grew up with the ‘filmed before a live studio audience” shows of TGIF shows and a fan of even older 3-camera shows, I was pleasantly surprised to see the return of the format a few years ago. If the writers of the show are giving a nod their influences, then even better, imho.

That is all, Reddit STFU.

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