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Creation Date: 2002-02-17
Today's picture doesn't seem like much of a lesson, but boy oh boy, you get a good one today. If you're a struggling artist and fame looks like it's an inch away, you might want to take note. If you are a terrible artist like me, it might be a cheap thrill. My friend and neighbor Jay asked me if there's any way to protect his work on the internet. I think he wanted to test my methods. You see, I'm putting all this work into the web and all someone has to do is spider my site and put it up on their server to make all my work as their own. He seemed genuinely worried that people who do good work will not get paid. Well, there's a few ways to get paid. First off, make a good product. People are always happy to pay money for a good product. Secondly, ask politely for money. Thirdly, give something in return for money. EditPlus is my favorite tool of all history. They ask me to register so finally I did. What did I get in return? A stop to that nasty splash screen. Of course, I lost the Registration key during a reformat, but you get the idea. Then, if you are worried about actual artists stealing your work and getting it published, you can r0x0r them. When I say r0x0r, I mean h4X0r style. It's not exactly hacking, but rather the opposite: the securing of information. But hacking works both ways. Keeping yourself on top of the game is all that matters in hacking. My method today is steganography. This image is invisibly boobytrapped (watermarked) with my company logo. If a publisher were to ask me to prove that their client is stealing my work, I give the publisher the software and type in the password. There out of nowhere we see MY COMPANY LOGO encoded into his image! Let's see here... Hmmm... Ya... Explain that one, stealer of other people's work! ^_^ Now we know who, what, and why, how about where and how. The answer to "Doko?" is: this cryptography website and their steganography page. The one called S-Tools4 is the one you want. The answer to "Wie?" is: just drag and drop. First you drag the bmp or wav onto the program. It'll open up. Then you drag the file to be encoded on top of it. It asks you for a password and an encryption method. A good password is helpful. If you put 1111 in there, it'll be desteged in a few seconds. I've only done IDEA encryption, but I hear that is good. And the results are astounding. Or actually the opposite. I can't tell a difference at all. But wait, then you compress it to PNG. You can't change anything or you lose the watermark. Lossy compression (JPGs, squising, conversion to fewer bits, etc) will destroy the watermark, so beware. So then you have your image. But wait, check this out: the png with the watermark is larger than the png without. Why? Because S-Tools does stegging and compressing with the zlib algorithm. So your png size is almost exactly the same as the png of the pic without watermark plus the png of the watermark. Funky, huh? Also, note that if you watermark ever single work with the same password and you tell people that you do, then people will break out their brute force password breakers and break your password, take the steg out and steal it. However, I don't remember there being a desteg program. Oooh, interesting. The case of the un-dewatermarkable image.

But what am I worried about? No one is going to steal JF stuff. It's not worth anything. I'd be happy if someone mirrored me. In fact, I'll need a mirror sometime soon... But on to fun things. Hmmm... I was also looking into PGP. I like the idea. What would a person need to do to read your mail? A really good decoder on a really fast computer? Naw... A quantum computer? Naw... A trojan virus? Bingo! One trojan will give you control of their computer. Then you search their cpu for the key and then you got it. Then you have to grab a router on the path of the two e-mails (or even the e-mail server itself) and save the full text of the message. But that's the hard way. I say that there is an easier way. What is that? Capture it as it's being written. Anyone who uses hotmail or the like on an insecure channel can be easily ownz0red. What about other ways? Well, let's take Outlook Express. If they write their e-mail in Outlook Express, an undetectable virus can burrow in and steal the drafts folder contents. You send them spam promising pr0n and they click. They don't have the latest IE6 patch. Instead of kiddie pr0n, you give them mature pr0n and an undetectable virus that doesn't send "I love you" to everyone. Instead it opens up port 44321 and sends the contents of your drafts folder to your ASP webserver (which saves it to XML).

Next, check out this page. Looks the same, right? Check the source. Ah, you don't see it? Hehe. TEA encryption thanks to HTMLCrypt v1.011 Beta by Cedium Software Inc. I like TEA encryption. The T stands for Tiny. It's really secure and it's fast as the dickens. I'm pretty certain now that I'm going to use this for anything I publish in a final draft form (JF Anime in 3d Medium and JF Final in 3d medium via AS3D Manga Reader). That way no one can take the actual JF models without my approval.

What I guess I'm getting at here is that no password is too hard for a hacker. If the hacker wants the info bad enough, they will have it. What you can do is lower their want and raise your defenses. If you have a firewall that is effective to the 10^15, you'll do okay against the last threat, but not the second threat. The first threat can be solved by not keeping your key on your computer. Not keep it on your computer? Are you supposed to memorize it?! They're frigging huge! Perhaps put it on a floppy. Then delete the beginning and end and encrypt it with TEA and a good password. Then all you need is your disk and a good password. Then you type up your document on your second computer that isn't hooked up to the internet or the network. You do the encryption on that machine, put it on a floppy disk then send it on your internet computer. Flawless? No. But remember that hackers don't care if you have a secret crush on your neighbor or if you secretly hate the government. If you're going to do something really bad, encrypt it well. *chuckle* But btw in case you didn't understand, you can't win. Not even the good guys can win, what makes you think that you of bad intentions can prevail? Who am I talking to? I'm talking to anyone with bad intentions. Attack, murder, collateral damage, greed, and destruction are some type of cosmic oxymoron that ensures failure. (A bad failure would be an oxymoron right?) Desty Nova of Battle Angel Alita explains this as a person trying to meet and defeat their karma in reference to Zapan and his karma, aka Alita (Gally). One of the many awesome quotes from Battle Angel Alita is after Desty Nova's assistant asks, "Do you think he [Zapan] was able to conquer his karma?" and Desty Nova answers, "Probably not... The sad reality is, people have a hard enough time just surviving. But we live on... Repeating the same mistakes time and time again -- that's our life story, our history. And how we comprehend and cope with that truth is the basis of my lifelong research!"

By the way, the ending to that book is quite amazing also. Zapan is sitting up in his bed next to his sleeping wife, Sarah. She asks him, "What's wrong Zapan?" He replies, "Just a horrible nightmare... That's all. I-I killed you accidentally... Then I went insane... Became a monster bent on revenge against everything... ...Killing so many people... Terrible... Nightmare... With no hope at all!" She answers, "Don't worry yourself... It's just a dream. You would never do such a thing." He tells her, "Sara, I'm so uncertain... It scares me... If I ever lose you... What will I do...? Please tell me." And then she gives him the best advice: "No matter what happens, even if it's a terrible thing... You have to accept it. Don't blame anyone else... Just take it on yourself... as your own. Even if you feel that you've failed... Or that you've lost... ...Accept it as part of yourself. Your worth, your value is not whether you win or lose... ...I know that only too well, Zapan..."

Last night was a bit crazy. I loaded up this CD from way back. Back when I was 12 years old, 1994. Goodness! What it had was more than I could comprehend. It's a best 2000 Shareware CD. Everything on the CD was made for my 486 or a 386. What was the best thing that I found? A full 4-bit RPG, Lemmings, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, a DOS FLC movie player, templates for the most embarrassing business letters that a person could have to write (layoffs, dinner invitation decline, etc), a whole bunch of GIFs, Wolfenstein 3d, a picture of the tron tank? I gotta admit that all of those are the highlight of 20th century, but there's another lesson for someone who has read this far. Remember your roots. Remember that 486 that you kicked major ass on. Remember that 5 hour long 4-bit color RPG in that kicked your ass with less than a megabyte. The excellent Prince of Persia Demo is only 337KB! The silly Monkey Island Demo is 366 KB. Remember that beauty is not measured in kills, bonuses, or lives left but rather lives lived. Textures used is not as important as textures used well. A game that does a thousand calculations per rendered frame is not necessarily better than one that does three. If modern developers could make games as good as the ones in 1993 but with better graphics, I'd be utterly amazed! Omikron, Urban Chaos, and System Shock 2 are the closest to my expectations. I wouldn't mind wasting some of my computer cycles on bad graphics in trade for remarkable story as long as I can quench my thirst for beauty with another program. But what would be cool is the mix of the two. A beautiful game world, a very nice interface, and an overwhelmingly wonderful story.
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