My Hacker Spirit Remains Alive

TL-MR3040-V2-04The word ‘hacker’ has acquired a bad reputation. Hackers steal. Hackers deface. Hackers take down.

I’m a hacker. Not that kind.

As a kid I took apart our family’s telephones (and reassembled them) to see what made them work. When computers first arrived I bought one, even though it could do next to nothing. I’m that kind of hacker.

I am fascinated by making things do tasks they weren’t designed to do. Sometimes that means circumventing controls, like jailbreaking a phone.

I did a little hacking this weekend. My Canon 7D camera (aka, “Clicky”) can now be operated remotely from my tablet or cellphone. This all came about after looking at a website posting titled, “TP-LINK TL-MR3040 wireless field monitor with DSLR controller.”

The MR3040 is a neat little wireless router made for road warriors. It gives folks with a USB cell modem the ability to use it with many devices at once.

DSLR Controller  BETA    Android Apps on Google PlayThe hack I found loads new firmware into the modem. Now, instead of a router the little white box becomes a ‘wireless cable,’ attaching my camera to my tablet. From there an Android app, DSLRController, takes over. Most of the controls on the camera now become accessible from the tablet.

Loading unauthorized firmware nearly always voids the warranty. There’s a chance the unit might get ‘bricked.’ The router was $30 with shipping on Amazon. I took a chance.

DSLRController itself is a hack, adding functions Canon left out!

I want to get more involved in using my 7D for video. This seems like an excellent step in that direction.

I Hate Passwords… Especially Today

I’m not saying passwords aren’t hacked, but the majority of hacking is done in bulk fashion by breaking into company computers, not knocking off employees one-by-one.

I love my new job. I thought that would be a good way to start this entry because today there’s something I didn’t like at work. I had to change my password.

For those who don’t work in a business environment user names and passwords are critical for accessing data and communicating with co-workers. My work computers won’t work without the proper username/password combo.

At this company your password must be changed every 90 days. Simple so far. It must contain upper and lower case letters plus a number or two. Punctuations are encouraged, but I haven’t crossed that line yet.

Once I changed my password it was necessary to update all the devices I use, like my cellphones and a handful of PCs.

Correct me if I’m wrong. The vast majority of us use one or two or a handful of passwords for the myriad sites that require one. I’m in the half dozen range.

That’s already tough enough to remember. Now I’ve got a password that’s specifically designed to be difficult to remember and which must be changed regularly!

I would buy into all this if password hacking was a big deal. It’s not. I’m not saying passwords aren’t hacked, but the majority of hacking is done in bulk fashion by breaking into company computers, not knocking off employees one-by-one&#185.

When individual user passwords are revealed it’s usually because they’re given away in social engineer schemes, like phishing. This password changing won’t stop that.

Most of us aren’t worth enough for someone to spend the time and energy necessary to hack our accounts. I’m certainly not.

I change my password because my bosses have asked me. I’m a good employee. I’m just not sure how much we’re accomplishing.

&#185 – “Hacking” of voicemail accounts by Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World is heavily in the news right now. I think, as the story comes into focus, we’ll see it’s not really hacking that’s been done, but bribing people with access to share that access.