February 2007 Archives

Mobile Spam Is Here

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Got an interesting message on my Mobile today. The message is from "Peggy" and is a Service Message rather than a normal SMS Message. It's only content is

Free Ringtone!


I have contacted both Vodafone and Regtel about this, however due to the way Vodafone's system works, their customer service won't be able to get access to the needed record until 24 hours have elapsed.

I decided to look into it and have turned up some interesting information about the people responsible for the spam. A whois of vkap.net indicates that "Venista Holding GmbH & Co. KG" are the registrants. They have have the same annonying flash based site at www.venista.de, www.venista.com and venista.co.uk. There is a piece of text at the right under "Company 2007" which can't be made out even after taking a screenshot and magnifying.

So far, so boring. What's more interesting is if you search for Venista on Google. Seemingly the UK version of Regtel, ICSTIS, has fined Venista twice before for various breaches of their Code of Conduct. The full details can be found here and here. From my reading of it, they first got fined £5000 and then £15000.

I also decided to check and see what the payload of the spam might be. A quick search for vkap.net turned up this post on F-Secure's blog.This particular form of spam has been showing up on networks around Europe since December 2006. The URL in the message is tied to your phone, so going to it in a normal browser is no good, you will just get an error. However, if you go to it on the phone, you will seemingly get signed up to a premium ringtone provider. The first ringtone might be free, however it will be €2 a pop after.

All this begs the question, how are these people able to send a "Service Message". I'm no expert on the SMS protocol, but I would have presumed that the service provider, in this case Vodafone would be the only one able to send a Service Message. Are Vodafone in bed with Venista, or have Venista found some other loophole to exploit in order to send the message?

I will be contacting both Vodafone and RegTel again tomorrow, and hopefully I will get some more light shed on the situation :)

Update (Mar 1st):

Seemingly it will take another 24hours to get the information from Vodafone.

Update (Mar 2nd):

They still don't have recent enough records. They seem to have access to the same information as I have on my online Vodafone account, so I possibly should be able to get the number when it appears there.

Server Upgrade

I upgraded the server from Debian Sarge to Debian Etch this evening. Other than a few minor glitches, everything seems to have survived fairly intact. No doubt noboby missed the blog for the 30 minutes it was offline anyway :)

Useless Accounts

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Seeing as I already have a lot of random accounts all over the place, I decided to sign up for another at Useless Accounts.

What do people do to manage their various accounts? What software is being used? Or are people simply using the same default password over and over again?

I have tried various software like PWMan and Gnome-keyring, but the problem with them is that they are tied to one PC. Putting all my passwords up on one https password protected page also doesn't appeal as I'm a paranoid fool at the best of times and don't trust any computer than isn't my own :)

My current solution, lots of use of the "Lost Password" link, works but tends to be annonying if you have greylisting enabled. Anyone have any handy solutions which will make my life easier :)

DMIDecode alternatives for Windows

Since writing the Dell Service Tag post I have been looking for other methods to get a dmidecode type information from Windows without sacrificing goats to the altar of Microsoft :)

One alternative I've come up with is SIW. It's nice and simple, doesn't require installation and also shows more than what you would get using dmidecode in Linux. It also does a listing of PCI devices and lots of other nice stuff such setting the Mac address on network cards.

It will also show the Dell Service Tag under Hardware/System Info. It shows up a Serial Number.


The author of the software has pointed out to me that it doesn't actually decode DMI. It does do what I have used dmidecode for, so it's still good for the job as far as I'm concerned.

I’m A Lotto Winner!!


If only :( Seemingly I have won €4.8 Million in the last 4 months. Unforunately all the notifications have been caught by my spam filter and thrown into my Spam folder. They also all seem to be from countries in which I have never been, and from Lotto organisations who can't afford anything more than a Hotmail or AIM address.

Do people honestly fall for this tripe?


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Looks I'll be heading to the next Barcamp in Dublin on April 21st. I don't know what exactly to expect, but it should be fun anyway.

Pictures Of Walls!

You really can find anything on the internet, spotted this in an AIM away message: Pictures Of Walls.

Dell Service Tags

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In order to put something useful on here, and in order to save me having to Google this again, the following is how to get the Dell service tags on Linux and Windows: Linux:
dmidecode | grep Serial\ Number | head -n1
Windows: Open Notepad or your text editor of choice and put the following in:
strComputer = "."
Set objWMIService = GetObject("winmgmts:" _
& "{impersonationLevel=impersonate}!\\" & strComputer & "\root\cimv2")
Set colSMBIOS = objWMIService.ExecQuery _
("Select * from Win32_SystemEnclosure")
For Each objSMBIOS in colSMBIOS
Wscript.Echo "Serial Number: " & objSMBIOS.SerialNumber
Save as get-tag.vbs and double-click to run. This will only work on Windows Server as it requires WMI.

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This page is an archive of entries from February 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

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