An Itty Midi Mystery
The Hacker Factor Blog
by Dr. Neal Krawetz
2d ago
My online metadata viewer service, Hintfo, has been watching for any file formats that have little or no metadata support. It recently sent me an alert, informing me that the MIDI file format fits this problem space. The Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) file format is really old, like from 1983. (Editor's note: Way to reach out to GenZ!) To put this into perspective, GIF came out four years later (1987), the first consumer digital camera appeared in 1990, JPEG was standardized in 1992, and PNG followed in 1996. This means that MIDI doesn't have metadata in any of the standardized f ..read more
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Six Million Pictures
The Hacker Factor Blog
by Dr. Neal Krawetz
1w ago
Last Saturday we hit a milestone at FotoForensics: 6 million unique pictures! I was really hoping that this achievement wouldn't be marred by porn so I could do a deep dive into it. (SPOILER ALERT: Not porn! Woo hoo!) Here's the picture! It arrived on 2023-01-14 at 11:50:55 GMT: I'm not big on following sports, celebrities, or pop culture, so I approached this picture with zero knowledge. The picture shows two women and a guy at some kind of club or restaurant. However, I don't know the people or the situation. This sounds like a great opportunity to do some image sleuthing. (Click on the ..read more
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No Apps!
The Hacker Factor Blog
by Dr. Neal Krawetz
2w ago
I recently received requests from two different people who wanted help with their FotoForensics apps. It seems that their apps stopped working. I do not provide a "FotoForensics app". Over the last decade, I have identified over a half-dozen knock-off apps that claimed to be "FotoForensics". These fake apps fall into 3 basic categories: Malware. A few of the knock-offs install viruses on the user's device. They just reuse a good product's name in order to lure the victim into installing the software. If the application is not from the official vendor, then assume it is malicious. Ads. Some ..read more
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Technological Divergence
The Hacker Factor Blog
by Dr. Neal Krawetz
1M ago
One of my annual goals has been to lose some weight. Walking on a treadmill is boring, so I placed a Roku (streaming video system) with a monitor in front of it. This permits me to walk while watching some streaming shows. I can honestly say that I've seen every good piece of science fiction on Netflix. (As well as some really bad sci-fi.) When I started running low on new content, I began rewatching the good shows. (I must have seen The Old Guard at least a half dozen times.) Unfortunately, the media providers have divided up the available shows. Some things are only available on Netflix, ot ..read more
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Weird Science
The Hacker Factor Blog
by Dr. Neal Krawetz
1M ago
Over at FotoForensics, we see pictures that are related to scientific journals almost daily. These stand out because they are not your common social media, celebrity, or conspiracy images that we typically receive. We often see photos of cells, western blots, gel assays, things growing in petri dishes, and related results from science experiments. Sometimes these images come from people who are trying to validate the authenticity of the images, while other times the pictures seem to come from researchers who are intentionally making altered images. Just Flesh and Blood Fraud in scientific pub ..read more
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Niches Get Stitches
The Hacker Factor Blog
by Dr. Neal Krawetz
2M ago
The demise of Twitter certainly happened faster than I imagined. My Twitter stream went from hundreds of new messages per hour to at-most a dozen a day. The topics changed from a wide range of discussions to nearly all being centered around some kind of conspiracy. And people who had been blocked or banned are suddenly back in my feed. (Long ago, I had muted and blocked Elon Musk. Yet now he's at the top of my feed.) In effect, the community has evaporated and the desirable functionality is gone. I really don't want to focus on the new owner of Twitter, his far-right and fascist leanings, or ..read more
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What doesn't kill you
The Hacker Factor Blog
by Dr. Neal Krawetz
2M ago
My new servers have been having a little bit of a problem lately. Someone out there has decided to do a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack against them. The specific type of attack is an "HTTP flood". Basically, the client makes as many HTTP requests as it can, as fast as it can. To increase the volume, they also use a wide range of IP addresses. The goal from this type of attack is to overcome the server's resources, making it unavailable to other users. If they are really successful, then the server completely fails until it is rebooted. How big was the attack? So far, my server ha ..read more
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Microsoft Mail Problems
The Hacker Factor Blog
by Dr. Neal Krawetz
3M ago
Change is inevitable. Sometimes it is for the better, and other times there are little differences that you have to adjust to. But problems can happen when you have an inflexible system that cannot adapt to change. I recently relocate all of my services into a new hosting provider. My previous provider was going out of business, so I had to move everything fast. The good news is, I had enough time to plan things the move, so it was pretty painless. The new location comes with a lot of benefits: Speed! The new network is 40x faster than the previous network. I can definitely tell the differen ..read more
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Introducing Hintfo
The Hacker Factor Blog
by Dr. Neal Krawetz
4M ago
I was in the grocery store the other day and saw two young kids looking at a picture on a cellphone. (Well, "kids" may not be right; they might have been in college, but they all look so young.) One of them said, "Oh my Gawd! Is that real?" and the other immediately replied, "I don't know. Check the metadata!" I don't know what picture they were looking at, but clearly the concept of metadata has reached critical mass. These kids knew that, hidden in the file, there might be helpful and informative information, just waiting to be discovered. There are lots of tools for displaying metadata, bu ..read more
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Be Right Back
The Hacker Factor Blog
by Dr. Neal Krawetz
4M ago
I don't typically write about my works-in-progress. However, I haven't blogged in awhile and I've had a few people write in, asking if I'm okay. Yes, I'm okay -- just a little overworked with unexpected issues. New Location (Soon) First, I've been trying to get a second service location up and running. I run nearly a dozen web services. Most people only know about the public FotoForensics service, FotoForensics Lab (the commercial counterpart to the public site), and Hacker Factor (this blog). But there's also RootAbout and a few other sites. They are all physically located in the same server ..read more
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