How to trust?

I was reading the Kali Linux Revealed ebook when I started pondering, what is the best way to defend against social engineering? How do we keep ourselves safe from perpetrators from getting private information out from us? Criminals use social engineering because it is easier to get our private data from us directly than trying to hack into your computer. I say easier because we are humans, and humans are more inclined to trust and criminals take advantage of that. It is our nature as a human being to trust other people or in other word, altruistic by nature.
Now we can debate whether humans are altruistic by design or not but that is a whole different topic. Let us just say for the sake of statistics that half of the population on earth are altruistic. This means that 3.8 billion people are inclined to trust, and these people are very likely to fall victims of social engineering one way or another. Now that is a huge number of people.
But the real question is, how do we protect ourselves from social engineering? Security is all about who and what to trust. With the era of the Internet and social media like Facebook and Instagram, it would be even harder for us to know who to trust and to know if the other person is who they say they are.
Do we have to take away our very essence of being human to be safe in the world? Imagine that everyone will have to say no to every opportunity that is presented to him to feel safe. That would be a very dull life I would imagine.
I can relate this to an experience that I have encountered during my academic years when I was a very naive person. After that event, I told myself I am never going to fall for that again. That kinda made me what I am today, a doubtful and dull person. I tend to reject mostly any ideas or anybody who I am not familiar with. It would take time for me to trust someone. I would think the experience change me for the better but in a way, it also made me a firm and a steadfast person.
I think the best way to go about social engineering is to be smart at who we trust. Do not believe everything that is said to us. We can do our research with the help of Google.

Budget update: November 2017


Without realizing it, I’ve skipped last month’s Budget update which, to be honest, I’m quite disappointed about. I’m still trying to instill the habit of posting these every month because it is something that I am not accustomed to doing. So without further ado, let’s get back right into it.

November was a busy month for me which means that I had to spend more. I had to pay for a number of wedding “saman”, having to take my other half to dinner at a fancy place for her birthday. I had to pay for accommodation in Rome for next year (Yes, I’m going to travel to Europe in May). And not forgetting I’ve also added to my already increasing fixed expenses by donating to WWF. This is why there is a significant increase of 32% in expenses compared to the month of August.

I have gotten 3 samans for November alone which got me thinking November is a popular date for weddings. I love it when we Malaysians use the word “saman” when you get a wedding invitation card. It never fails to amuse me because it is true. For one of the wedding, we had to travel to Ranau and stay there for 2 nights.

I am supposed to save some money too for my trip to Europe next year which I feel I am not doing really well so far. Food prepping came to a halt which I am not quite happy about. This could be due to lack of sheer determination for preparing food on a lazy Sunday. I am hoping that I get my food prep inspiration back somehow but in the meantime, I think I will enjoy my December holidays first. This is how a procrastinator works right?


I need to note that my fixed expenses are now 42% of what I earn in a month. 42 percent is still considered okay if you are following the 50/30/20 rule. But I would like that number to be as low as possible. My fixed expenses are my car loan, medical insurance, WWF donation, and Spotify subscription. I could have avoided donating to WWF entirely but my partner insisted that it is for the greater good to save our environment especially our rainforest. Well, we all know how that ended up.

Things to Look Forward to:

  • Looking into investing in Gold or Bitcoin. Seeing how bitcoin value is skyrocketing is very tempting to invest in.
  • Christmas gift exchange party with 3 different groups. One is with my school friends and the other is with my family and lastly is with my colleagues. It would cost money to spend on presents but it would be fun.
  • Traveling to Europe next May will be exciting. I always enjoy traveling but I never had the determination to do as much traveling as I want because I wanted to save more money for myself. Yes of course, traveling would put a dent in my savings but it would be worth to see and experience the other parts of the world.

Hello 2011!

I danced and drank my way into year 2011 by celebrating with friends and family. It was crowded here at Kota Kinabalu Water Front where people from around Borneo gathered to watch the world prepare to greet 2011. The sound of whistles and the party poppers starts filling the air just half an hour before midnight as it gets louder every minute. I drowned my thirst with a bottle of Heineken as I waited for the party to begin.

And then the countdown begins. Ten… nine… eight… seven….. Goodbye 2010, Hello 2011!! Bright little objects propelled into the sky and ended with a loud bang. It lit and sparkled beautifully in the dark sky with green, red and gold which lasted about 15 minutes. When the fireworks ended, the music from the pubs and clubs nearby can be heard even clearer.

Finally a brand New Year has begun and I knew I had plenty to be grateful for last year. For one I’ve graduated with a Degree and became a CISCO certified person. Now I will begin year 2011 with a new job and hopefully everything will go well. I will try to stick with my regular exercise and to live healthily even after climbing up Mount Kinabalu by the end of January. Here’s to a fabulous 2011! Cheers…

Getting to Know Telecommunication

It has been almost 6 weeks already since my job attachment here in a mobile telecommunication company. As a CISCO certified person, I am appointed as an IT technician who troubleshoots pc and networks around Sabah region. During my stay, I started to speculate on the things they do here. How do they provide services to subscribers located around the region? What technologies do they use to provide these services? How do wireless broadband work? What is telecommunication? All these questions started to build up so I took the effort to conduct my own research on the subject.

Although telecommunication is a totally different field from my IT/networking background, there are still some similarities. For one which is the most obvious, the company I’m at uses CISCO devices for their interconnection too. This is because they also provide data transmission services other than voice transmission. So I am going to spend some time here to explain briefly what I have researched so far. Good stuff…

Today telecommunication is all about providing wireless connection to wide range of areas around the globe with great transmission speeds. Although fixed lines are still widely used, mobile communication has grown rapidly that led to the significant decline in fixed network subscriptions. This leads me to believe that being in the mobile industry is and will be secure for a very long time. But nevertheless, both fixed lines and mobile communication are both extension to the word telecommunication; transmission of messages over significant distances for the purpose of communication. So how did it all began?

Earlier signs of telecommunication started when the electrical telegraph was invented in the 1840s. A telegraph is used to communicate over long distance by using Morse code. Then came the conventional telephone in 1876 which is now in use worldwide. The invention of radio in the late 19th century and television in the early 20th century has played an important role in wireless communication. At that time, only voice was transmitted through the transmission medium. Now in the digital age, we have packet switching (transmission of data packets) which then made the Internet possible.

Mobile Telecommunication Company for example Maxis, Celcom and Digi provide communication services to mobile devices which may move around freely unlike Telekom who provides fixed line network. These services include wireless telephony and broadband internet services. To be able to provides these services, wireless standards have to be used. These standards are like GSM, CDMA, UMTS and WiMAX. More on these technologies in my next post.

Looking for a mobile-phone

For the past year or so, I’ve been wanting to buy myself a new mobile-phone. I have always been a fan of Sony-Ericsson’s product which I have been using for the past 5 years now. Now it is time to stop being a fan boy and search beyond the bounds of one manufacturer for a potential device I can have with me all the time.

One of the things about Sony-Ericsson’s product that gets me pulling my hair of my head is the Graphical User Interface. Most of their mobile-phones OS have more or less the same GUI which is starting to irritate me. GUI plays an important role for me since it shows how well I interact with the device. That is why I have taken special interest in smartphones with touchscreen capabilities.

For me, Operating System comes first before hardware but not to overlook the hardware capabilities since it will be useless to have a good working OS that runs extremely slow on a device. There are two OS that interest me; IPhone OS and Android. Everyone knows IPhone is one of the best smartphones in market yet. Android (not a mobile device) on the other hand gets less attention from the public most likely because it is still new and only limited mobile devices has Android as the OS. But Android seems to grow with its community and the release of Google’s new smartphone, Nexus One. Android is fully open source unlike IPhone (half open source) which makes it easier for developers to create new application on it.

For now, I am siding with Android since I love open source and Google. Until Apple comes up with a new jaw dropping device, I will stick with Android.

Football Manager 2009

I have to say that I’m really anticipating the release of the Football Manager 2009 later this year. It is said that the release date is on the 14th November. The video show you almost all the changes there have been made for Football Manager 2009. You can check out the website for more news and updates on Football Manager 2009. There would also be a demo available for download just a week before the official release. And so they say…

My Ubuntu experience

I have installed Linux: Ubuntu a month back on my laptop and to my astonishment, the open source operating system is astounding. It is something I have been wanting to do for the past decade but never had the guts to do so. I am a person who is constantly haunted by the hunger to try something new which most of the time ends up in a terrible disaster. I get bored easily and that is why I always need to seek something fresh to fulfill my satisfaction. So I got confident enough to take it one step further into the typical dual-boot setup.

Installing Linux on my system was a breeze. I’ve downloaded the Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn ISO file and burned it on a CD. It took around 40 minutes for Ubuntu to be fully installed but I am guessing that it would take even less if it was installed on a faster computer. Ubuntu 7.04 starts up with a login screen which I am required to insert my username and password. After getting through the login screen, I am presented with the GNOME desktop environment. GNOME is the graphical user interface which sits on top of a computer operating system. Most of Linux distribution are based on the GNOME.

The user interface is pretty similar to the one of Window’s, not that I know of any other operating systems other than Windows. Like Microsoft Windows, GNOME also have horizontal menu bars. But instead of just one horizontal bar at the bottom, GNOME has two. One at the top and one at the bottom of the desktop. The top menu bar shows the different application and function that you can interact with just like Microsoft Windows Start button. The date and time is also displayed on the top right menu bar. The bottom menu bar shows currently active programs which when clicked will maximize onto the desktop. The trash can is also displayed on the bottom right corner of the menu bar. I find It rather easy to navigate through the applications from the menu.

Although at first I had some difficulties with connecting to the internet, I still managed to solve the problem with a little bit of googling and configuring. I even managed to install the latest driver for my ATI graphic card by using Envy. Envy is an application that detects the model of your graphic card (only ATI and Nvidia cards are supported) and install the appropriate driver. After successfully installing the driver, I am able to add extra visual effects to my working environment using Compiz Fusion. The extra visual effects gives a wobble effect to windows when they are dragged. A really slick effect for a desktop environment I would say. I can actually have more effects on Ubuntu desktop by installing the Advance Desktop Effect such as the Desktop Cube, Viewport Switcher, ADD Helper and Motion Blur.

To play my mp3s I need to use the Rhythmbox Music Player. I had to install the appropriate codex package first so that I can play most of the common music formats. With the default installation of Ubuntu, I would not be able to play music with .mp3 file extension or play movies with .avi file extension because they are restricted formats. So I need to install the w32codecs package to play them.

Updating Ubuntu is also very easy as I can do it over the network. All I need to do is go to Systems -> Administration -> Update Manager and click install update. I can also Upgrade to the latest version of Ubuntu. For example I want to upgrade my Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn to Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon. All of that can be done in Update Manager.

Ubuntu is a new experience for me but I am starting to love every part of it. For a Ubuntu beginner, I would say that I am very pleased with it. Very easy installation and updates and user friendly. And the best part of all Ubuntu is FREE.