Cloud outrange… again

At Gioorgi.com we are not a true cloud fan, and reality is going on to collect proofs for us…

On June 20, 2011, Dropbox had a serious security bug. It was possible to login to an account with “a wrong password”. Like to say Dropbox account system was naked, because “a small number of users[…] could have logged into an account without the correct password”!

Continue reading “Cloud outrange… again”

Why I am starting to avoid Facebook

Privacy is important: in the last days I have read the following on Slashdot:

“A Facebook employee has given a tell-all interview with some very interesting things about Facebook's internals. Especially interesting are all the things relating to Facebook privacy. Basically, you don't have any. Nearly everything you’ve ever done on the site is recorded into a database. While they fire employees for snooping, more than a few have done it. There’s an internal system to let them log into anyone’s profile, though they have to be able to defend their reason for doing so.[…]

via Slashdot: News for nerds, stuff that matters.

WebDAV versus Sshfs

At Gioorgi.com we evaluted a internet file system common gateway for connecting network resources. We compared two solutions: a webdav file system and an ssh-fs file system. The solution should be viable via MacOSX and Linux, but also Windows support will be a plus.

WebDAV

Samba and NFS are for sure more fast and reliable, but webdav offers some nice feature:

  • Webdav is easy to set up on apache web server
  • Webdav uses simple http protocol extension, so you can use it also behind web proxy
  • You can use HTTPS protocol to get SSL encryption
  • Apple uses it for its iDisk solution, so you get the ability to run it smoothly under MacOSX and Linux with minimum effort.

The problem is Windows: there is a MS-WebClient built in with WindowsXP, but it is difficult to map the URL as a simple network drive.

There is an old Novell utility called netdrive which do the trick, but it is unsupported and difficult to find.

After some work we tried NetDrive, which is a commercial solution but it is free for personal use.
For the webdav server we chosed apache 2.0, on a smooth linux box.

WebDAV userful things you can do on Mac:

  • Altrought slow, you can export photos from iPhoto to a webdav disk.
  • Some guys as found a way to  hack MobileMe-iDisk to map to a user-defined iDisk
  • We also managed to clone a mercurial repository in this hybrid way, which can avoid installation of the mercurial cgi, simpl

Limits:

  • It is tricky to map symbolic links, even if apache is configured to follow it.
  • Configuration can be a pain on Linux.

SSHFS

We have also tried sshfs, after reading this very clear blog.

The main advantage of sshfs is its simplicity: we reuse an ssh connection, via a “fuse” driver.
We tried two version: a mac port version and the google static linked version.

[Updated on May 2010] For Linux Ubuntu users try out also this detailed explanation

If you need to use it on windows, it is bit difficult. We only find this japanese port of fuse for windows.

DavFS vs Ssh-FS

We tried a “find” on an idisk, to check performance. Both ends (client and server) was linux machines, with the server exposed to the  internet.

Sshfs is easier to set up: you can reuse your ssh keys. WebDav is a bit complicated to set up on linux: the manual pages lack of examples, but this article solves our problems.

The DavFS was connected in https. It takse about 3,5 minutes to scan 2175 files, with about 0,097 seconds per file.

SSHFS takes a bit less, about 3 minutes and 24 seconds for about 0,094 seconds per file.

Then we try a disk usage (du). We have done the tests two times in sequence, to test also the overall caching provided by the two file systems.

Operation WebDav SshFS
du on 2175 files 2m33,8s

2m32,3s

3m24,6s

3m24,9s

So far, sshfs seems a bit more fast, but it is less easy to set up on windows. WebDav on the contrary uses http, which is a more compatible protocol.

On Macosx sshfs seems slower then webdav, perhaps because  webdav is developed as a kernel module, while sshfs uses macfuse driver.

TrueCrypt – Free Open-Source On-The-Fly Disk Encryption Software for Windows Vista/XP, Mac OS X and Linux

T r u e C r y p t

Free open-source disk encryption software for Windows Vista/XP, Mac OS X, and Linux

Main Features:

Creates a virtual encrypted disk within a file and mounts it as a real disk.

Encrypts an entire partition or storage device such as USB flash drive or hard drive.

Encrypts a partition or drive where Windows is installed pre-boot authentication.

Encryption is automatic, real-time on-the-fly and transparent.

Parallelization and pipelining allow data to be read and written as fast as if the drive was not encrypted.

Provides plausible deniability, in case an adversary forces you to reveal the password:

Hidden volume steganography and hidden operating system.

Encryption algorithms: AES-256, Serpent, and Twofish. Mode of operation: XTS.

Further information regarding features of the software may be found in the documentation.

What is new in TrueCrypt 6.2a released June 15, 2009

Statistics number of downloads

via TrueCrypt – Free Open-Source On-The-Fly Disk Encryption Software for Windows Vista/XP, Mac OS X and Linux.