Is A Protocol The Best Solution to Web-Content Accessibility?

Graphic image of visual eye test and reading glasses

If you have been around the internet since the mid 1990’s you may have the same sense of I have. The internet was better then. Gillian Anderson… and other reasons. Mostly the web wasn’t so… bull-shitty. There were less advertisements. There were fewer user interface changes to websites so you didn’t have to search for the button that some psychometric web-design team lead decided to move because you would look at ads longer if they made it harder to find. The real content still changed. Websites still changed and were updated. It was just mostly the content that changed not the UI. I suspect that nobody has felt the wave of the new “bull-shitty” internet more than people with disabilities. Yes, accessibility features existed in the 1990’s for computers. They may have been even better than the state they are in today. Perhaps as Bill Hicks might say, it’s that…

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How to Prevent Attacks With Proper Input Handling (Part 2)

Part 2 of this article is aimed at demonstrating how to code a accept-list validation class in PHP. We will start with a classic example of request routing where a HTTP GET request will include a “page=” parameter which will instruct the server which page the user is requesting and an empty “?action” parameter which will instruct the sever-side application which HTTP POST data to expect in the request. However, this model of input validation can be modified to handle other forms of HTTP GET and POST attribution to specify the data request. Let’s start with the basics of compiling the accept-lists for GET and POST. This is specified as a config file as shown below. The configuration is setup as constants that hold arrays. This does a couple things. Firstly, it makes the values global and they can be access from anywhere in the application code. Secondly, it prevents…

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How to Prevent Attacks With Proper Input Handling (Part 1)

Input handling is an key aspect of secure web-design.  But what makes a good data validation/sanitation engine? The implementation depends greatly on the language and framework that your site is build on.  However, best practices across IT security topics maintain that “whitelisting” or “strict checking” is a more secure way to validate.  The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) is an online community that produces freely-available articles, methodologies, documentation, tools, and technologies in the field of web application security.  Below are some exerpts from their advisories on input validation .  After the quotes from OWASP, the article will use the terms “strict checking”  and “accept list”  to refer to whitelisting and “blocklist” to refer to blacklist . OWASP Input Validation Cheat Sheet Input validation is performed to ensure only properly formed data is entering the workflow in an information system, preventing malformed data from persisting in the database and triggering…

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Stages of Vulnerability Disclosure

This article attempts to give an overview of how IT vulnerabilities are categorized during their life-cycle.  Understanding the terms related to the various stages of IT security vulnerabilities can allow a better understanding of what a proper security policy framework should include.  First lets cover the stages: Unknown – vulnerabilities that exist but nobody knows about them.  The vulnerability is not designed in put into the software or hardware by a malicious actor.  These vulnerabilities are caused by poor implementation.  Software coding standards and software development guidelines attempt to prevent these types of vulnerabilities from happening, but complex constructs in software programming languages are difficult to implement properly can be a large source of vulnerabilities.   Unknown vulnerabilities may be discovered through static code analysis and “fuzzing” (automated testing) by malicious actors, bug hunters, or security threat hunters. Known – once the vulnerability has been discovered, it may fall into…

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Sources of Red Team Education

What is red-teaming? A important term in IT security context, a red team (red cell) is a group of hackers with various skill-sets, who simulate attacks on the network infrastructure.  By contrast the blue team’s job is to defend the network.  Red teams follow a specific set of rules known as the rules of engagement which stipulate what types of attacks are allowed and points in the attack when they should stop and reporting should be done.  The attacks may employ technical, physical, social or process-based attack vectors.  This intends to cover all aspects of a organization’s security controls such as physical,  administrative, and technical.  The red team helps step 4 of the NIST Risk Management Framework to assess the security controls. Taking the steps of the cyber-kill-chain into account (reconnaissance, weaponization, delivery, exploitation, installation, command and control, actions on objectives), the red team may simply seek to gain reconnaissance…

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What is EPO OPS Open Patent Services?

EPO Logo

The European Patent Office OPS offers a RESTful API for its patent data designed to allow clients to access EPO data for use in their own products and applications.  Basic access to the API is free.  However, annual subscription fees are required if you need more than 4 GB of data per week.  Authentication is handled using OAuth to track your data usage, and documentation is available at the EPO Web-services page under the Further Information tab.  

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Building a crypto-currency POS with an API.

Bitcoin Featureed Image

I’ve recently been working on a project to create a crypto-currency wallet and API for POS transactions. I won’t tell you which crypto-currency I’m working on publicly, but if you want to hire me for helping you to create a POS system, blockchain parser, or API. Please let me know. First off, I had to choose between two packages: Node.js driven bitcoin-insight-api, and python scripted bitcoin-abe. Both are available on GitHub. https://github.com/bitcoin-abe/bitcoin-abe https://github.com/bitpay/insight-api Although it seems that node.js is increasing in popularity everyday, and python is looked down on by some for it’s high-level syntax, I eventually decided to use bitcoin-abe for the time being with hopes of eventually modifying the insight app. My reasoning is as follows: insight is dependant on bitcore.js. Right now there is not much documentation out there on modifying bitcore to work with alt-coins. There docmentation even advises that the package is still in development…

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More about the CNT Disruption

The industry I have chosen to investigate, and claim will be a big disruption in the future – although it isn’t poised for market yet – is the carbon nanotube (CNT) processor. Carbon nano technology was highlighted as a disruptive technology in a May 2013 report from McKinsey Quarterly (Manyika, 2013). The reason I believe it will be disruptive is because carbon nano processors have the potential to be much more energy efficient and compact (per processing capacity) than silicon based transistors. The infamous Moore’s Law has accurately predicted the improvements of silicon based semiconductor technology since it was stated by Moore in 1965 (Moore, 1965). While 9nm silicon chips are manufactured today, the the inherent quantum limitations posed by silicon-based semiconductor technology threaten to cause the development pace to drop below Moore’s expected level of improvement by 2020 at the 7nm scale (Merritt, 2013). On the other hand, a…

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Stanford Online: Course on Academic Writing

I’m currently enrolled in a Stanford Online course linked below; Writing in the Sciences.There is still time to enrol although the course has already started. The first module seemed pretty straight-forward, and I am working on the second module now. Apparently over 30,000 students have signed up for the course. It includes 10 weeks of study, unit modules which include videos, and quizzes. The first writing assignment is 300-500 review of a seminal essay from your field. All in all, the course is very easy to navigate, informative, and so far I believe I have learned something that can help me improve my writing. https://class.stanford.edu/courses/Medicine/SciWrite/Fall2013/info  

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Look What Patent the Queen Owns!

Doing some research, I discovered a patent: <a href=http://www.google.com/patents/US5026417>5026417</a>. The assignee for this patent is none other than: Her Majesty the Queen in right of Canada, as represented by the Minister of Agriculture Published: Jun 25, 1991 The country associated is Canada: CAX Here is the abstract: A method and composition for increasing the amounts of phosphorus and/or micronutrients available for uptake by plants from the soil. The invention involves introducing an inoculum of the fungus Penicillium bilaji into (or onto) the soil. This has the effect of increasing the solubility of phosphates and micronutrient sources which may be either native to the soil or added to it, e.g. in the form of insoluble rock phosphate or manufactured phosphate fertilizer. The invention can be used to increase the health, growth rates and yields of plants, especially crop plants grown on nutrient-deficient soils, while eliminating or minimizing the need for expensive…

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