The great thing about mono and C#

So, it seems like a ton of programs I've been trying to use recently don't work with the latest version of their dependencies. For instance, Metasploit doesn't work with Ruby >= 2.0. I was using some other program that required Python 2.0 rather than 3. And we've all heard the horror stories about programs requiring specific versions of Java.

I never have this problem with C# though. In theory, it could happen.. but Microsoft really likes keeping things compatible, it's their business plan. And as an extension of that, Mono never seems to flat-out drop support for anything in their core software. I have never seen a program that requires a specific version of .Net or Mono.

This is awesome! The worst thing I have to do with Mono is compile it from git so that I get pre-release (good) support of portable class libraries. Now, let's break this down. Why exactly is it like this though?

  • C#/.Net uses compiled-to IL
    • This prevents that issue of deprecating or changing misleading language features. It's all IL after compilation, so it doesn't matter
  • There is a spec for .Net. In theory, if you abide by the ECMA spec, most things should work, logic-wise
  • It's easy to take my dependencies with me with .Net

Now let's step through why this isn't easy with Ruby/Python

  • The language is improving and getting better. This can cause old programs to break, but is unavoidable with scripting languages
  • There isn't a spec that the latest version will always implement. This is probably a good thing though
  • There is a huge emphasis on not taking your dependencies with you. This leads to breaking changes in gems and such breaking your program.

What about Java? Honestly, I have no idea why Java doesn't benefit more. In theory, they should be equally as capable as .Net.

Am I saying .Net is perfect? By all means, no. In fact, .Net has seen some breaking changes

  1. I've a JIT bug that only happens when using .Net 4.5's runtime, not .Net 2.0's
  2. In .Net 4.5, they changed marshaling to be more "strict", breaking at least one program I've seen (at my work)

And mono of course is (by design), not a complete copy of Microsoft's .Net. In fact, I've even seen a bug where .Net accepted a piece of IL, where Mono broke, due to Microsoft not being "strict" about the ECMA spec.

With all that being said though, this seems to be the major leg-up for compiled to bytecode languages. They'll probably work a very long time, despite the bytecode runner being updated.

This is also avoidable. I've seen some scripting language use a version number attribute, so that it can avoid this scenario. I'm sure there are other methods as well.

All I know is, I'm tired having python 2 and 3 installed on my system because not all my programs will run on just one or the other.

Posted: 6/3/2013 5:49:16 AM

Hacking the 2-Wire

So, I've been trying to find an exploit in the 2-wire modem I received. In my journeys, I found one guy who has already done a lot of work on it. His blog is here

Now, here is a quick summary:

  • It uses a TriMedia SoC with a proprietary instruction set
  • It uses some kind of *nix
  • It has an SSH server, but it ships disabled
  • It has an exposed JTAG connector, but it's very involved to try to get anything out of it.

He's ran arbitrary code on it, but he's failed at flashing it so that it uses it's standard firmware, but with sshd enabled.

So, I'm now refocusing my efforts on finding an external (black-box) exploit against the DNS and HTTP servers. I've been poking around the HTTP server, trying to find a simple command-injection type exploit, but even where it looks like it should work, it just doesn't. This seems quite hardened. The only significant thing I've forced it to do is to run out of memory (apparently the HTTP server doesn't have a maximum request size)

The DNS server, however, I've already found a bug with. It apparently doesn't clear the response memory properly... So, if I go to facebook.com and then I go to the DNS server and send an invalid commmand, it'll send back a garbled response with a mention to facebook.com. That's a pretty scary privacy flaw heh. It also has recursion disabled, so the DNS server seems quite weak, but I've never tried to exploit DNS

Happy hacking

Posted: 6/1/2013 8:42:45 PM

Command line SUMP logic analyzer client

So, I've been trying to poke around on this modem I received. One problem, I don't have an oscilloscope. I do however have an FPGA. And, FPGAs and be almost anything they wanted to be, so mine became a SUMP logic analyzer, thanks to the porting effort at gadget factory

Anyway, problem is the official Java client doesn't appear to work on Linux 3.x, or on 64-bit machines. I avoid having to do multilib (running 32bit programs on 64bit linux) like the plague, so I decided this will not do. On my quest I also found a half working python logic analyzer client. This one I got to work, but it's quite clunky and the code is GPL licensed. Where's the fun in that?

So, I wrote my own client, apparently in only a week. It's called monosump. It has zero external dependencies and as long as mono/.Net4 works, this client works. I've even tested it on the raspberry pi and it worked fine.

Here are the big features:

  • API-centric. The command line client is just a separate project consuming the easy to use API
  • Command line. Ever wanted to do some analysis with awk and friends? now you can
  • Plain text and JSON data output. Easy to consume.
  • BSD licensed. Have a commercial project in mind? Go ahead and use my code
  • Works everywhere there is a mono implementation(which is everywhere with the processing power to use this)
  • Simple (but limited) command line interface and powerful configuration file interface

Of course, this all being said. It sucks currently. I have a v1.0 release, but that's because I'm impatient. Next steps are getting analysis plugins, serial support at the command line, and maybe a simple web-app interface to take advantage of existing cross platform javascript libraries for graphing.

Posted: 5/29/2013 4:59:33 AM

Hacking Another Modem

So someone was nice enough to donate a 2-Wire 3801HGV to me. For what purpose? I don't have U-Verse! Why to root it of course! Apparently no one knows how to make a decent modem these days. So, my goals for this are to get as much info as possible, hopefully find a remote exploit like I did with the NVG510 and publish what's possible and what's not, as well as lay the groundwork for future hackers that probably know a lot more about this stuff than I do. My primary goal at this very second is to get a serial port working and get a root shell.

I'll publish more as I work through this

Posted: 5/21/2013 12:43:19 AM

Free Startup Idea: online yardsales

Go ahead and check out this page: Pittsburgh County Yard Sale

I'm not sure you'll be able to actually see the group without being in it or logged in on Facebook, so here is a summary:

yardsale

It's a group on Facebook with rules and you must be "accepted" to post to it. The moderator generally accepts anyone who asks though. There are over 10,000 people in this single group. This group targets a specific rural county in Oklahoma. According to the 2010 census, there are about 45,000 people in the county total. This means that roughly 1/4 of the county uses this group. ONE FOURTH of the county. That is HUGE!

How does it work? Basically, it's free-form. It has a few rules like "no business ads", but beyond that, it's just post stuff you want to buy or sell. So there are some posts with things like "selling Samsung Galaxy S $200 obo(or best offer)". Or there are people requesting to buy things "Looking for otter box defender camo for iPhone 4s".

People post these and then people who are interested comment. Usually it goes something like this:

  1. Bob: Looking to sell iPhone for $100
  2. Alice: I'll give $75. Call me at 555-1234
  3. Bob: Sold!

First thing you'll notice: Oh my god Facebook is horrible at managing such a thing!

Second thing you'll notice: How is this so freaking popular!?

Here's my analysis for why this Facebook group is so hugely popular(relatively):

  1. High signal to noise ratio (no spam, usually little pointless junk)
  2. It's easy. You're in Facebook and you can just click on it and click join group. Afterwards you have a simple topic sell stuff or offer to buy stuff.
  3. It's viral. All the time I see people posting stuff to this group, friends and otherwise.
  4. It's local. It's for southeastern Oklahoma in a rural county. You know there won't be anyone posting stuff you'll have to drive more than 30 miles for

Let's analyze this a bit more.

  1. The group is technically "closed" so that people can get kicked out. This moderation process weeds out the spam
  2. If you have a Facebook account, you can almost instantly join the group and sell or buy something
  3. There a huge amount of posts per day(you'll quickly lose where your post was after a few days). Facebook apparently has a loophole so that I end up seeing a good percentage of these
  4. Facebook is huge in that corner of Oklahoma. I didn't get a Twitter until moving to Cleveland, and I'm a programmer.

Why haven't other competing and arguably more suitable products win out? Frankly, there aren't any. The only semi good competitor is Craigslist. You can't post to Craigslist from within Facebook. Craigslist is (mostly) anonymous. On Facebook you can see the person's face your going to be meeting. This in itself instills a good amount of trust.

So, why shouldn't it just stay on Facebook's group thing?

  1. It's not possible to search the group AT ALL
  2. There is no way to monetize it for anyone other than Facebook
  3. Because it's so active it's extremely easy to "lose your post". This is when it gets to a point that you're scrolling several screens down but just can't find where your post is to check it's comments or comment on it
  4. There is no filter. If you're looking for electronics, the only thing you can do is skim through the feed manually

Free startup idea?

I've toyed with the idea of making a product to "fix" this and to let the idea easily expand to other counties (at first the plan was only Oklahoma). However, I can't stand developing against Facebook, because Facebook Integration is an absolute must. So, I give it to you, the community. If it sparks an idea and you go off to make a million dollars, awesome! (maybe you can send me a few thousand dollars as a gift :) )

Anyway, I wish this situation was better, but it's not. It sucks horribly. Hence this is why I'm putting the idea out there. Someone make the world suck less! Please!

Posted: 5/15/2013 4:35:45 AM

A preview of my next project

Not going to go into details just yet, but here is a teaser of what I've been working on recently

It's all HTML5/Canvas, including the way I actually created it (ie, I created it in a browser).

If you look at the code, notice it's in no way open source right now. It may be though at some later point.

Posted: 5/8/2013 7:15:28 AM

Marketplaces Enforce Master-of-None Mentality

Marketplaces are great. On my Android phone I have, at my fingertips, a huge amount of applications that just work. Marketplaces provide us with a sense of security. To uninstall the app, there is guaranteed to be exactly one thing you must do. To install an app, there is exactly one way to install it. It is self contained, there are no dependencies I have to install. Configuration is non-existent, if at all. Discovering how to launch your app is straight forward. It just works.

Let's contrast that with a typical Linux system. I use Arch Linux. So, when I go to install an application, I use pacman -S someapp. And I cross my fingers and pray that it works. Usually it does. Sometimes I have to manually download and install things that aren't in this blessed "marketplace" of sorts. It's never as seemless as "closed" markets though. A linux application can do anything. It could corrupt my system(if I give it sudo), it could trash my home directory, it could install spam that I could never figure out how to uninstall.

These are two sides of a coin. They are naturally at ends. There isn't really a good way of curing these problems with Linux. Most people would say they aren't problems, but rather design choices(myself included).

marketplace

Dependencies... how I miss thee

So, what's this all about? If you look on the Android Marketplace, iOS AppStore, or god forbid the Windows Store, you'll see a stark difference compared to Arch Linux's packages. And no, it's not the open source aspect.

If you want to search through a file in Linux, you'll probably use something like

cat somefile | grep 'something'

you'll use the cat utility to read the file in and pipe the contents to grep, where grep will search across the file for "something".

How do you do that on Android? Or Windows 8/RT?

Basically, you can't. At least, not in a good way. With Android, file managers is possible, and most of them include some basic searching capabilities, but you won't get the power of grep. You won't be able to do awesome shit like you can by combining the strengths of different applications.

If I wanted to write a file search utility for Android, I'd have to first build a sub-par file browser to navigate to the file, and then implement my actual search functionality.

Markets enforce master-of-none mentality

I once had a magnificent plan to port my scripting language to Android. How much work would that require?

  1. File browsing/saving/loading
  2. Text editor (syntax highlighting, searching, etc. More than just a text box)
  3. My programming language

And that's just the start. If I want to provide APIs in my language to search in files, I have to implement that. If I want network access, I have to provide that. There is no netcat, or grep that people could utilize instead of my sub-par APIs.

Why netcat doesn't exist in markets

If you wanted to implement a netcat utility in any marketplace, it'd be fairly pointless. The power of netcat comes from being able to pipe it to other places that the original authors never even dreamed of. What's that, you want to make a TCP/IP proxy?

nc -l -p 8080 | nc example.com 80

You want something that can encrypt a file and send it off somewhere?

openssl aes-256-cbc -salt -e < file-to-transfer | nc example.com 9999

How would you do this in a marketplace application? Sure, maybe you could cobble together some solution like finding a dedicated TCP proxy. And then finding a file encrypter and a TCP/IP program that can send files... but this requires that someone developed such an application beforehand.

You can't just create some general purpose utility. You must create some "multi" purpose utility where you came up with all of the interesting use cases you could and implement them. If you missed one, then there just isn't a solution to that problem. There is no way to combine your program and some other program to solve the problem. It's all or nothing.

It's not just markets

If you notice, desktop Windows does this to a certain extent as well. It's I/O redirection is downright terrible. (although I hear Powershell is nice) This is probably why you see all-in-one applications everywhere. Linux has a general "air" about it that encourages you to make things modular and enable the utilization of other tools where possible.

However, marketplaces is the only place where this is actually enforced. Windows 8 has extremely limited IPC functions. Oh, you gave me a (very limited) search API that works across every application, big whoop. Windows 8 especially enforces it. Did you know that you can't make a general purpose text editor in Windows 8? Impossible. There is no way to open every file with a single application. They enforce you to declare which file extensions you'll be allowed to edit (and no, * doesn't work).

Finally, the bugs

Have you ever encountered a bug in a walled-garden application? Of course you have. Would you say you encounter them more than on desktop application? Probably. Developers can't worry about only one thing because if they don't implement it, then their application can't do it. You get a feature request in your netcat-want-to-be for sending text on-demand instead of files. Now you have to implement some kind of text editor. Now some people want to be able to return an automated response that returns the current date and time. Yea, good luck with keeping up with the wishes of your users.

Developers can't just worry about the one thing they do good. They also have to worry about all the things people might want to combine to make your application more useful. This is why I believe that most market applications have more bugs than their counterparts in desktop operating systems.

For the picky

Yes, I know I probably have some false assumptions, but I'm not far off. I'm no pro in Android and such. It's probably possible to do some rudimentary IPC and maybe even some kind of dependency stuff... but it's not the norm, and I know it's probably not easy for you OR the end user.

Posted: 4/30/2013 4:22:51 AM

My first DDoS attack, kinda

Enter my home town: Wilburton, Oklahoma. A small town(~3000 people) you've probably never heard of, and probably won't again after this article. When you think Oklahoma you probably think back woods and redneck, not computers. You're usually correct, but I didn't quite fit that stereotype. This is how I came to be banned from using the computers at my high school for a semester.

How I got here

I figured out what programming was around 13 (7th grade). Instantly fell in love with it. So much so that I'd stay up til 3 AM on school nights learning more about it, leading to failing grades until some parental intervention stepped in.

So, I knew my way around a computer. I was young. Just the right kind of person to be a bit dangerous. Luckily I never enjoyed the hacking scene and never crossed over to the script kiddie stuff, but I knew the basics of vulnerabilities.

The day the internet broke

I was a junior the year this happened. It was sometime in the first semester. There is usually an inherit trait among programmers: curiosity. A yearning for wanting to know the consequences of a previously untried action. My lunch periods usually consisted of boredom. Recently the blocks at the school had been relaxed, so flash games could be played in the library. Hence, that was where me and my friends went to during our free time. Someone mentioned something about the command line and hacking. I don't quite remember what led up to it, but I ended up typing something like this:

ping -n 10000 -l 10000 1.2.3.4

The IP(1.2.3.4 is just a placeholder)) I used was the particular IP returned when content was blocked. They did block some content, but it wasn't horrible yet(at some point my own website got blocked for flash games. Ruthless!)

For the non-technical people reading: This is a command which basically says "send this huge message to a server and tell it to send back a huge reply". This command took me a tiny bit of research (using ping /?) to even know. I wasn't a black-hat by any means.

So, the technically minded out there are thinking "there is no way this would break anything"... Well, it didn't.. but then I ran it from 4 other consoles on the computer. At this point I started to hear "hey is the internet slow for you?" asked around the room. This is where I made the naive mistake of running with it. So, I opened like 10 command lines on this computer running this crude flood ping. Then, I went to the free computer beside me and did the same thing there. I think I did it on a total of 4 computers.

And then everything stopped working

I did not expect what came next. I had expected for there to be fairly strict controls on bandwidth. I thought I just maxed out the router in the library. Like the young naive teenager I was though, I left it running... on all 4 computers.

I was in 5th period when I started to realize what I had actually done. The teacher tried to load something on the internet and it wasn't working. "Connection timed out". I would later find out that I had brought the networks of the high school, middle school, elementary, and portions of the college to a stand still; as well as inflicting some damage on the IP address I used

About 30 minutes later it started working... another 5 minutes later, just before class was over, the principal knocks on the class' door. "I need to speak with Jordan".

"Ah shit."

So, we meet in the principal's office. My friend Joe is also there, and the IT guy. He starts saying that someone maliciously attacked the school network and their upstream provider for censorship. My friend Joe stares blankly and says "I have no idea what you're talking about." At this point, I know there is no point in not confessing, so I do. "Yea, he didn't have anything to do with it. I did it".

I can't remember of what follows but I was scared out of my mind. Not of police being called or whatever punishment they were going to arrange. The only thing on my mind was how much trouble I would be in when I got home. I got in-school-suspension before for some stupid thing. I was assigned 3 days of it... That was the worst month of my life though at home.

Anyway, so he sends me back to class and says he'll decide my punishment. Later he calls me back in and hands me my sentence "You can not touch a computer for the rest of the semester". Luckily, I didn't have a programming or typing course. I had both the next year.

Somehow, I manage to never have to tell my parents. They didn't find out until I was moved out.

It's hilarious looking back on it, but man was it scary when it was happening.

Unforeseen Consequences

This lead to interesting situations. The IT guy was usually not on premises, so I would literally get called out of classes to fix some teachers' computers. During this time, I had to walk them through what to do, since I couldn't touch the keyboard or mouse. That was annoying, at best.

The most awesome part of this story is that I landed my first programming job literally, without a doubt because of my fame from crashing the network. My first boss had a son who was a grade below me. He was complaining about how he can't find anyone who knows anything about computers in this small town. His son popped off that I do. This conversation took place in the drive through of McDonald's. I happened to be working drive through. So, I say "that'll be ..." and he proceeds to ask "Hey what programming languages do you know". Completely caught off guard I start saying the last language I used. "C++". He gave me his business card and we exchanged numbers. About 2 months later I graduated from high school and began working there gaining vital experience right out of the gate.

I had quite a bit of fun with other stuff in high school as well.

Other "hacks"

CD_Opener

I wrote a program called CD_Opener. It was my first real program to use threading and the Win32 API at the same time. It was a simple and stupid program. It did nothing but open a pop-up window with just an "OK" button. In one thread it would keep your CD drive open no matter what, in the other it told a story through these popup windows you clicked through. There were two versions, titled "ending" and "nonending" The nonending version told the story so that it fell into an infinite recursion along the lines of "and a dialog box opened on my comptuer... and do you know what it said?". There was no way to kill it other than to use task manager. The ending version was more polite and eventually the story did come to an end

After showing my friends this program(and how to run it), it was not uncommon to come in to the library to see 6 computers with their CD drives stuck open and a familiar popup dialog.

Getting around censors

At one point I built a small PHP script to dumbly download whatever files I told it to and give me a link to it hosted by my server. This was only effective though for flash games and other single-file things.

The unfinished senior prank

I found an absolutely brilliant vulnerability in the high school network my senior year. Basically, all the computers used a common "student" account. The student account was of course just a template. When a student logged in, it copied over the template. Changes in this way didn't persist.

However, the huge flaw with this design was that I found I way to put my own files into the template student account. I tested it with a small batch file and logged in with another computer and indeed, it did run on startup. I then proceeded to delete the batch file. I thought long and hard about writing a senior prank program that would run on almost every computer on the school at a certain time of day. Nothing harmful or distasteful, but not something one would forget either.

I ended up writing a stub program, but never finished it and as far as I can remember never exploited this vulnerability. I vaguely remember leaving a text file in some obscure folder, but I probably ended up deleting it after a while.

Many more vulnerabilities lie here, but I won't go into them here. Our IT guy didn't have the best knowledge of basic security.

Conclusion/Disclaimer

If you're under 18 and reading this, Please don't try to break your school's network. There are many more positive ways to get a reputation. My school was easy on me. I have read(as an adult) about similar (trivial) cases of such things where the school involves the police and the kid receives a record that'll stay with him for life.

Posted: 4/18/2013 3:45:49 AM

SD cards on Mbed

So, I don't understand why, but apparently hooking up SD cards to an Mbed isn't just "plug in these wires and import this library"

The official library OR something in my circuitry seems to have a bug. So that I won't forget how it all works though here is my quick write up:

First off, I'm using the new Sparkfun SD card breakout board, so I've "translated" the pinouts between SPI and SD formats:

**NEW** SparkFun SD Breakout Board
MicroSD Breakout    mbed
   D3  o-------------o 20    (DigitalOut cs)
   CMD  o-------------o 11    (SPI mosi)
   VCC o-------------o VOUT
   CLK o-------------o 13    (SPI sclk)
   GND o-------------o GND  
   D0  o-------------o 12    (SPI miso)
   CD  o
   D1  o
   D2  o

Then, for some reason, the SD card library for mbed would never work the first time I ran it. So, I had to fork it and make it so that "if initialization fails, try one more time, just in case". It's delightfully horrible, but I'm tired of trying to find the correct solution to the problem

That forked repo is located at SDFileSystem_tryagain

After doing all this, it finally "just works"

Notes about my setup:

  • The try again bit could be caused by noise. the SD card is about 2-3 inches from the mbed and requires long lines
  • I'm using a 4G SDHC card produced by SanDisk
  • I have no idea what I'm doing with hardware :)

Hopefully this helps some helpless soul searching on google. I know I had a ton of problems finding any reference to this problem, even though people have told me that it does happen

Posted: 4/16/2013 5:37:39 AM

Networking Terms In Plain English

Extremely simplified. Do not assume these are perfect definitions. This is what I would use to describe a network to my parents or someone else that is only concerned about consumer use.

The goal of this is so that I can explain something to you, and you can at least get the gist of what I'm saying without me having to explain each and every technical term.

ISP

Internet Service Provider. AT&T, Comcast, etc. Usually provided by

  • DSL
  • Cable
  • Dial-up
  • Satellite
  • Cell towers(3G/4G/LTE)
  • Fiber

Infrastructure

This usually refers to your ISP's infrastructure from a location they own to your home. If you have DSL and a phone line got cut on the way to your house, you could say that's an infrastructure problem, kinda.

Public IP Address

This is basically your network's "address" to the world. Most ISPs provide you with one IP address for your network, though it's possible to have more than one.

TCP/IP/UDP Ports

A port is basically a "channel" that communications happen between two IP addresses. If your IP address is your "Address" on the internet, the port number they use is the "PO Box".

LAN

Local Area Network. This is your local network. The public internet can not see this network unless you explicitly share it with them.

WAN

Wide Area Network. This is the internet. A "WAN port" is a port which connects directly to the internet (ie, to your ISP's routers and other equipment)

Modem

A modem is a device which takes an encoded connection from an upstream provider(your ISP) and decodes it so you can easily communicate with it from your standard ethernet network. Most modern modems have built in routers so that you can have an "all-in-one" device that creates a usable network.

Router

A router is a lot of thing. It's primary purpose is to share your public IP address among more than one device with a method called NAT. Most routers also have a built in switch so that you can easily hook up more than one computer to the router, though technically a router could function with just a WAN and a LAN port. Routers usually handle NAT and firewalls.

NAT

NAT stands for Network Address Translation. This is the process used by routers to take your 1 public IP address and let as many computers as you want to use the internet behind it. Without NAT, you'd be limited to one device using the internet at a time without paying for more public IP addresses

Switch/Hub

A switch is basically the same as a hub, as far as you are probably concerned. A switch works as a "repeater" so that you can connect multiple devices to a single router. Without switches, your router could only connect to 1 computer. A switch is not a router. A router handles NAT and firewalls to allow you to share a single connection among different computers. A switch just makes it so that multiple computers can "connect" to that single core connection

Firewall

A firewall WILL NOT protect your computer from viruses, at least not with modern networks. A firewall prevents the internet from touching your private network(LAN). With NAT, a firewall is required because of how NAT works.

Port forwarding

Port forwarding is the process by which you selectively allow a certain device on your network to be reached from the internet. This is basically making a "pinhole" in your Firewall to allow the internet to go to a certain device using a certain port.

Wifi

This is a wireless technology which can replace traditional ethernet cables. If you have a modem and router(without wifi), to enable wifi on your network you must buy a wireless switch. It's just like a switch(lets multiple computers connect to your single connection), except for it's wireless instead of wired

802.11b

This is the early verion of Wifi. It's slow, but not usually slower than your internet connection. (it's usually not the bottleneck)

802.11g

This is not the newest version of Wifi, but it's not bad. It's fairly fast and it will be fairly rare that it is slower than your internet connection.

802.11n

This is the newest standard and is blazing fast. If you have an internet connection that is faster than this protocol allows, you probably don't need to be taught these terms

Wireless Speeds

This isn't a term, but wireless speed usually is limited by either your connecting device(ie, smartphone, laptop, etc) or your wireless modem/router/switch. If your have an 802.11n wireless switch, but your smartphone only supports 802.11g, they can still talk to each other, but it won't be at 802.11n speeds.

NAS

Network Attached Storage. This is a device such as a harddrive that is connected to your private network(LAN). This allows you to access this harddrive from any device on your network. These make great backup systems. If you have one of these and use Wifi, you'll want to use 802.11n when possible

DNS Server

Domain Name System Server. This is the server which looks up "names" on the internet. For instance, you type "google.com" in your browser, the internet doesn't know where "google.com" is, it only understands IP addresses. So, it asks a DNS server "who the hell is google.com?" and the DNS server replies with "here's google's IP address"

IPv4

This is the "old" IP address system. There are less than 4 billion addresses available, and we are approaching that limit. As such, IP addresses are getting scarce.

IPv6

This is a huge topic, but basically all you need to know is it's the "new" IP address system. We are currently running out of IPv4 addresses because there are less than 4 billion available for use. We obviously are approaching that many devices on the internet and as such, they are becoming scarce. IPv6 increases this number so that you can have multiple public IP addresses to your network. IPv6 and IPv4 can't really "talk" to each other though. If you have an IPv6-only device, it can't talk to a website served using only IPv4.

It's the future, but it's not here yet, so it's best to have both IPv4 and IPv6 support at this point.

Internet Backbone

This is the "core" of the internet and consists of very high capacity routers owned by powerful companies. The backbone of the internet is provided by (for the most part) very fast fiber

Hopefully, you know enough to keep up moderately (get the "gist" of) when someone explains something about your network/internet now.

Posted: 4/12/2013 2:43:43 AM