Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Risky Login To CRA With CellPhone SMS

Communication with the CRA is mainly by HTTPS which is a secure protocol for everyday Internet activity. However,  they have introduced an additional login procedure which they call Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). But "multi" is an exaggeration, it is better known as Two-factor Authentication (2FA).  They send a one-time, temporary passcode to your phone by SMS which you must enter on the login page to satisfy the procedure.

If CRA needs to contact you, they do not send the content of your concern, they post the content to your account and notify by email that you need to login and read the content.  This avoid exposing your personal information in email.  So they care about security.

It is probably ok to use SMS passcodes for social media and other amusements where money is not involved. However, billions of dollars flow through CRA which is an attraction for bad-actor hackers. And hackers have tools to capture SMS codes while logging in as you.  Cell phone networks have security bugs so information passing through them needs to be encrypted.  This can't be done with SMS which is plain text.

Google "risk of sms for authentication" and it's all bad news. The best advice is don't use SMS for 2FA/MFA.  It actually weakens security for CRA business.  

 

Monday, May 31, 2021

The Toronto Maple Leafs Protected Their Vacation Time

Since golf clubs are opening soon, the Leafs went on vacation and brought in some beer-league look-alikes to take their place in the playoffs. Just kidding.

The Canadiens could beat the Leafs because they are a big, determined team backed by a super goalie and that team could defend the entire ice rink.  They gave the Leafs little time and space to make plays.  It does not matter what skill the Leafs have unless they have an answer to whatever tactics the other team tries. I only watched a part of game 7 and I saw a lot of small mistakes. Generally, the Leafs were slow and clumsy as if they were in an unfamiliar environment .  Playoffs require a special energy, not just skill.

It is insane to bring in high-salary players just to repeat the games of old. The Maple Leaf organization needs a fresh perspective starting with a name change to one that suggests energy or power.  Consider names like Lightning, Avalanche, Bruins, Golden Knights, or Jets.  They have energy to blow away the wimpy Leafs.  How about a name like Toronto Tornadoes.


Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Doorway Pull-up Rack For Home Exercise

A Doorway Pullup Rack, seen here suspended from a bedroom doorway, is a practical tool for home exercise. Body weight pull-ups and chin-ups, work the arms, shoulders, back, and abs.  This rack comes with optional straps that support easier exercises such as chest and bicep press, flys, and back row. It can be placed on the floor for tricep dips and pushups.


This steel rack can support 440 lbs. The hooks can rotate so that the rack is flat for storage.  There are no screws so the rack can be quickly hung or removed.  The padded grip bar is offset at angle so that a person's weight makes the rack fit more firmly.  Do not do jerky motions or hang from the unpadded bar.


 

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Pfizer Jab Against Covid-19

 

Got the Pfizer jab for covid19 yesterday. The clinic was in a sports complex and was very well organised. It took 10 minutes to walk through the various check points, get the jab, and then linger for fifteen minutes in case of shock. I was pleasantly surprised given that there has been much grumbling and frustration concerning the vaccine rollout.  This whole week was fully booked as soon as the online portal opened last week but I was lucky to see a few slots open when I made a random check this week.  However, only two percent of Ontario people have been vaccinated and another lockdown is looming.

Canada was once a world leader in developing vaccines or solutions for Polio and Diabetes. But various governments decided to sell the excellent research facilities. They also got sloppy with the maintenance of PPE for health care workers. Now the Canadian government is finally woke to the fact that we can't rely on other countries for health care materials.  Vaccine labs will open up next year. Better late than never.

https://connaught.research.utoronto.ca/history/article8/

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Kindle PaperWhite For Reading Comfort

 

Amazon provides two devices for reading ebooks.  First there is the Fire or other tablet with the Kindle App.  It's pretty good but the display is inferior to the Kindle Paperwhite which has a reflective screen with no glare. It does have a light with five LEDs but they do not shine in your eyes.  They are at the bottom of the screen near the 'kindle' label and they shine across the screen.  They are not noticeable.

The displays of phones and computers have thousands of red-green-blue LEDs. All these LEDs are emitting to produce white which is the default color for web pages.  The blue component is not good for your eyes.

The blue in sunlight provides some healthy stimulation during the day but humans did not evolve to live in constant blue light.  So we should minimise exposure to device screens after sundown so that relaxation and a good night's sleep will follow.

The Kindle does emit some blue light but it is much less intensive than the blue level from phones and tablets.

About Blue Light

Monday, December 21, 2020

No Pain, No Gain


Some say "No Pain, No Gain" when talking about sports and muscle training. But suppose you just want to feel energetic and healthy.. pain should not be required. My idea is "train to maintain".




I can't go to the gym anymore and did not find any free weights to buy so I make do with large bottles of water (3 liters = 3 Kilo) which I use like kettlebells. They are used with a swinging motion to stimulate the upper body muscles and joints. I follow that with some pushups. And walk outside 30 minutes per day.


Saturday, December 05, 2020

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Living Room Upgrade

Replaced the tired old wooden TV cabinet with modern tempered glass stands.



See The Upgrade

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

Friday, July 10, 2020

Release The Kraken (Not)

And the candidates for Kraken of the Year 2020 are:-

- SARS-CoV2, the most terrible coronavirus ever
- Donald J Trump, the self-impeaching POTUS
- Jair Bolsonaro, President of Brazil
- COV-IDIOTS .. don't worry, be happy
- The Economy



Meme  What does it mean?

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Defend Your Castle With Security Key

Castles of yore had multiple layers of defence. They had thick and high stone walls,  moats, and more walls.  It was very painful and expensive for attackers to breach these defences.  Internet security in the modern world is like this .. black-hat hackers create more clever attacks while security experts devise more defences.

It seems there is no absolute security with this neverending battle. But one can make best use of existing defences. For example, some WWW services use two factor authentication (2FA) when you update an account.  The server sends a clear-text SMS message which you enter into your application page. Hackers have tools and tactics to intercept and exploit this procedure.

A hardware security key mitigates this weakness because it has unique encryption codes which can't be modified by software hacks.  The key shown is made by Yubico to plug into a standard USB port. When you add this key to your account on Google or Facebook, the service requires you to plug in the key and tap it for login. Then you are good to go.

Keep the key with you as if it were a credit card. If your computer fails or is stolen, you can use the key on another computer.  Some phones, such as Google Pixel 4, have a Titan security chip which you can use for account setup.  Nobody  should use an App or SMS messages for account security.  If you have a business which stores private client information, it is more important to use this technology and consult a security specialist.

Yubico Example  .. Breaches come to those who wait!


Friday, March 20, 2020

The CoronaVirus Mayhem



There are many alarming reports about 'coronavirus' but that word is a just type or category. It should be mentioned by name "COVID-19" just to avoid any confusion. Next year there might be a different coronavirus which causes more chaos.

Under an electron microscope, the COVID-19 appears as fuzzy blob with many legs. The image above is more artistic.  The spikes on the ball may remind one of the sun's corona.  These spikes attach to a human cell which the virus uses to clone itself.  Fortunately, it's fatty tissue can be destroyed by common detergents.  I use a mixture of water and Dawn in a spray bottle to clean my countertops.  Handwashing with soap is better than using alcohol-based cleaners which don't remove the dirt while the alcohol irritates the skin. The alcohol-based is ok for portable use.

Apparently, the virus slowly meanders through the human body such that it takes a week or more for the infection to become evident. Symptoms vary from mild to menacing. People with pre-existing conditions are most vulnerable. If the virus attacks the lungs, the person may drown in their own fluids unless attached to a mechanical ventilator.  This is just my interpretation of what the experts explain.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

The Bailed-Out Plane

Bombardier designed an excellent jet named the CS300 produced in Mirabel.  Online reviews suggest it is a nifty aircraft designed for efficiency and comfort. You should give it a try on your next trip within North America.  Air Canada has about forty of them.

Airbus has a majority stake in the CS300 and probably earns more from it than does Bombardier. They renamed it A220-300.

The original CS300 was late entering production and got a big bailout from the Canadian government. Executives got big bonuses paid for by you, the citizen-taxpayer. So when you fly, there should be a least a seat with your name on it and a free pack of goobers.

Keep Bailing

Looking Good