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Wifi Security : In a nutshell

Wifi Security is a vast subject and of course a tiny sub set of cyber security which of course a sub set of IT security as a whole.

Well, no system in this world is safe. Therefore it is better to employ some security over your wifi router before someone steals your expensive data bundle. The best part is, smart intruders consume, may be 10% of your quota, even you dont have a chance to notice it.

“Is that the end of the story? Who cares about data, I have enough so it is better someone uses it”…..

I know you are person with a big heart. BUT do you know what the intruder is doing? May be he gets access to deep-web, running a web site that sells drugs or running a brute force bot, manning a DoD attack bot, or simply maintain a fake FB account, who knows? By the law, you are responsible for all this traffic, because you are the owner of the router. Scared enough? Good !!

So before it is too late, use some security features to block the unwanted access. Bear in mind, something is better than nothing. A mantra in security. Fortunately we are not living in Singapore, so anyone can try accessing any wifi network (not using the traffic but there is no law refrain the attempts to access the wifi network).

I composed a list of few security measurements that can be employed in your family Wifi router. Most of them are easy to employ. Just check the list below….

Choose the SSID wisely and dont make it public

SSID – Service Set Identifier. SSID is the name of the network you see. Do not use a SSID which is easy to guess. For an example dont use your home number or your name or your pet’s name. They are easy to guess. I mean the owner of the router. Use some arbitrary SSID which is not easy to crack using social engineering techniques. Then dont make it public. As an additional feature, broadcasting the SSID can also be stopped. In that case you need to enter the SSID manually as it is not visible when wifi is turned on in your device. It facilitates invisibility of the network for those who dont know youe SSID. Ideal for your home network.

Save energy, switch the router off when you leave home

Do not keep your wifi router running 24×7. Switch it off when you dont use it. Even before you sleep. This is a good practice.

Wifi router is not an ornament

Keep the router in a safe place where the public cant reach. Ideally not the living room.

Why? I did remove the sticker which was on the router which had the password and details. So cant I keep it in the living room? so that my neighbors know I have a wifi router.”

This is good. I would do the same if I owned a wifi router in 1980’s or 1990’s. But no more. Because, if they can see your router it reveals the model of the router. It is a good info and it narrows down the effort of the intrusion.

Never keep using the routers default password

Change the password of the router as soon you start using it. Never use the default password even though it seems very strong. It is very easy to crack it if the intruder knows the model of the router you are running.

Use a strong password and change it frequently

Are you a fan of “abc123” password or “1234567890” or ……………………………….??

Well it is time for a change, use a strong password. I mean a password with a higher entropy. And change it frequently. Lets say at least once a month. Higher the frequency, it is much safer.

Use MAC Filtering

This is a standard security feature to prevent intruders (at least theoretically). If you need more info just google.

Use strong encryption 

Fan of WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy). God bless you. Less than 5 minutes the encryption can be broken. Not sure, ok try using a free tool like aircrack. Use WPA/ WPA-2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access) instead. At least it is better than WEP.

Use a firewall

Using a firewall is a good idea, go for a software firewall if you cant afford a hardware firewall. Some routers are equipped with firewalls. Check it !

Use extra layers/ tools/ hardware

This is the best security measurement, but very expensive. May be not suitable for a home but must have for the wifi network in your office.

Update firmware of the router

Keep the router’s firmware up to date as much as possible, this is very important and not that difficult too.

Be vigilant and keep monitoring

Even though the above measurements are in place, they are useless without proper monitoring. So make it a habit of checking the device history log in your router, at least. It tells you which devices has been connected to the router in past few days. If there is a suspicious device check for it.

Well this is the list I came up with. If you have anything which has not been listed here please use comments.

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AirAsia Flight QZ8501 – Replica of AirFrance 447 OR mechanical failure ?

2014 seems to be a year full of unfortunate for the Malaysian airlines industry, starting from 2014 March 8, July 17 and December 29, three aircrafts had gone down killing 543 people ( at the time of writing this article only 6 has been confirmed dead out of 162 people on board) and socking the nations.

"Indonesia AirAsia Airbus A320-216; PK-AXC@SIN;07.08.2011 617eo (6068918367)" by Aero Icarus from Zürich, Switzerland - Indonesia AirAsia Airbus A320-216; PK-AXC@SIN;07.08.2011/617eoUploaded by russavia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Indonesia_AirAsia_Airbus_A320-216;_PK-AXC@SIN;07.08.2011_617eo_(6068918367).jpg#mediaviewer/File:Indonesia_AirAsia_Airbus_A320-216;_PK-AXC@SIN;07.08.2011_617eo_(6068918367).jpg

Photo of Flight QZ8501, taken in 2011 
Image Courtesy : Wikipedia.org

Flight QZ8501/AWQ8501, an Airbus A320 which was a routing flight from Surabaya, Indonesia to Singapore disappeared on 28 Dec 2014, recently Indonesian officials has confirmed that the wreckage has been found at sea near Borneo. Even though the cause for the accident is yet to be revealed, many suspect the cause would be the bad weather.

AirAsia owns clear good safety records with no crashes until 28th December. It should be noted that there is a restriction for AirAsia flights in Europe Union according to their latest update on December 2014. Nevertheless AirAsia Indonesia was exempted from that restriction, that suggests their flights are on good fit to fly.

How ever it is questionable that a flight having such sophisticated technology can bring down just because of the bad weather. In the history, AirFrance flight 447, an Airbus A330-203 was one of the flights which went through some similar sequence of incidents which was flying through the equator, crashed due to pilot error. Though surprisingly the cause for the crash was lead by the bad weather.

Airbus flights are equipped with  top notched sophisticated technology from decades and they lead the innovation on civil aviation from the time of their introduction of Fly-By-Wire technology for commercial aviation in 1980s. Airbus safety records are clearly showing that it is one of the safest air planes on the earth. In such a background, it is quite unbelievable that the cause for the flight QZ8501 crash is just alone the bad weather. Thanks to nose radar in each and every commercial airplane, storms, weather effects can be identified and avoided. On the other hand strong storms are common near the equator and the flight was in experienced pilots hands.

According to the records the flight was out of the radar contact after 5 minutes of the pilots communication. Even the bad weather did damage the flight and fulled down, there should be enough time for the pilots to issue a “MayDay” call, unless the flight was caught on very disturbing turbulence which plunged the flight down rapidly. However it was not reported that the weather was such disturbing in that time in the area since there were few flights on the area of nearly 2000 ft of vertical separation.  The aircraft was flying an altitude of 32,000 ft and hit the sea around in nearly 6 minutes (radar contacts were lost at 2317 GMT and the pilots made the last communication at 2312 GMT). Air crash investigations time to time have been revealed that such rapid descends can be due to damages to fuselage, lose/ lock/ malfunction of rudder or vertical/horizontal stabilator or deliberate nose down maneuver which can be temporarily ruled out according to the evidence so far. The only assumption based on the prevailing facts could be that the tail or the vertical stabilizers were damaged or ripped off from the flight due to turbulence or a lightning strike or both which results in plunging the flight down which was highly unlikely to be happened but for some extend there is a possibility for such sequence. There is no clear explanation other than that for the high descend of the flight. The rate of descend can be accurately calculated if the air traffic controllers do have the flights’ transponders data of the flight height or if the radar data provides the altitude data. It can help the investigators to get a clear picture of the scene before it hits the sea level.

A similar incident in the history which caused the rudder issue to plunged an aircraft down was American Airlines Flight 587 in 2001 which was an Airbus A300B4. Airbus was not that popular for rudder issues than Boeing does but the threat cannot be simply ruled out.

Taking data, as the flight was at altitude of 32,000 ft and time taken to lose radar contact was 6 minutes, the rate of descend for a minute would be  nearly 5,000 ft, which creates high g-forces that ripped the aircraft into pieces before it hit the sea water (this can be verified by analyzing the spread of debris on the sea bed unless that the waves change their initial location). Assuming that the flight hit the sea at the time it disappeared from the radar but the rate should be higher since the radar coverage ends in some feet above the sea level. It should be noted that such a rate of descend is highly impossible, should due to a reason as noted above. According to the above developed hypothesis, there is a high possibility of being the cause for the accident would be poor maintenance.

Due to bad weather, a flight may experiences fatal situations due to lightening, structural damages to the fuselage/ wings, ice formation on wings, engine flame-outs and etc. Though modern aircraft are designed to withstand such situations. Even in highly extreme situations flights have been survived. Moreover some sequence of incidents may lead to a disaster and the bad weather could be the catalyst or the initiator of those fatal incidents.

Hopefully, all the questions can be answered once the black boxes (Flight Data Recorder and Cockpit Voice Records) of the flight has been rescued. It is rather very important to figure out the cause while A320 was one of the widely used aircrafts over the world and how it reacts to bad weather would be a lesson yet to be learnt.



Legal Note : The author is NOT an aviation expert and only the authors purview of the incident based on the public information is noted. The real cause could be far different from what is noted here.

This article can be republished under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs CC BY-ND

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GSoC 2015 Introduction event in University of Peradeniya

For the first time in the history, the GSoC program 2015 has been announced much early, in 2014, before more than 6 months prior to the commencement of the program. Association of Computer Engineering Students (ACES), a student society of University of Peradeniya has organized a GSoC awareness program in their faculty on 2014 November 8th.

I was invited to deliver an introductory session on GSoC program to the students. Lali Devamanthri, a past mentor for the Fedora project and a past GSoC student, addressed the students.

It was a successful and well organized event, where students showed much interest towards the program and much details of the program. Event concluded with a panel discussion.

Note : GSoC Awareness Program in 2013 in the University of Peradeniya

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5 reasons – why you should invite partners of the members of the bride’s party, to your wedding reception

Recently, I was not invited for a wedding where my fiancée was the maid of honor. Therefore it gave me a chance to think of “5 reasons – why you should invite partners of the members of the bride’s party, to your wedding reception”. If you are planning for a wedding this would definitely help for a healthy friendship.

  1. May be their partners wasted time sacrificing their free time when there were fit-on sessions, rehearsals and etc, driving his fiancée to the place and then waiting till such things get over .
  2. May be their partners agreed to share the free time supporting the maids to practice and compose their speeches and practice their dances.
  3. Most of the time you selected your best friends to the brides’ party so your best friends’ husband-to-be is also one of the best friends of your new family too. So you want to skip one of the besties?
  4. Further their partners’ presence would make them really comfortable throughout the event which indirectly earns you an/ few extra helping hand.
  5. Finally, recall the day you invited your selected friends to become a part of the brides’ party in your best day in the life. If they needed to get the ‘OK’ from their partners, of course they stand beside you, holding the bouquets, because their partners said ‘OK’, so here is the time to say “Thank you !”

List goes on, but I decided to stick to the title, so do not hesitate to invite them, it will save your friendship and earn some advantages too.

Otherwise it sounds like “I don’t care, you servant, get my work done !!!” OR “I cant control me when I see your fiancé in this special day, he is insanely sexy” OR ……



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CMB to SIN air fares in July and August.

Recently I checked air fares for Singapore from Colombo and found out following for bookings on July and August, the average low prices in the OneWorld alliance.

Sri Lankan Airlines

  • July – LKR 33,505.00
  • August – > LKR 55,000.00

Malaysian Airlines

  • July & August – LKR 29,265.00

Cathay Pacifi

  • July & August – LKR 30,093.00

However surprisingly I could able to find lowest fare at findmyfare.com LKR 28,050.00 with Malaysian Airlines. If you are HSBC cardholder you can get further 10% saving. therefore the final price would be LKR 25,245.00

If you go with Cathey Pacific with finemyfare.com still the price would come around LKR 30,100.00 and with the discount it comes around LKR 27,000.00 which is a good price I believe.

However the transit via Kuala Lumpur, if you select Malaysian Airlines where other airlines have direct connections to CMB -> SIN.

Therefore if you are interested in lowest fare just check findmyfare.com

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10 Things Every Man Should Have in their backpack

I recently went through a blog article reading “10 Things Every Woman Should Have in Her Purse” (link included at the bottom), and instantly I started thinking as men, what should we keep with us in our backpacks. I used to carry my backpack almost everywhere as much as possible and I have few things inside which really save my days, few times. For your info I am listing few most important and must have items in your backpack.

  1. Some Notes (Money) – It is good to keep some cash ready in the bag so that in an emergency it can be used. When it is used do not forget to refill.
  2. Some wet tissues – It is good to have some wet tissues to wipe out
  3. A Knife – Swiss knife is ideal, otherwise a small knife with a cover, can be used to cut papers, any fruit, a bag and list grows. However be extra careful when carrying it and entering to high security zones.
  4. Apirin, Paracetamol or Pain Killer – You never know when you need it, for headache it would be the relief.
  5. A pen – This is very important and serve you well, so keep a pen with you in all time.
  6. Emergency contact info card – With proper info it is good to have an emergency contact card, so that others can use it to contact your family members in case you are in such a position.
  7. Hand sanitizer – Handy thing to have a bottle of liquid sanitizer so that you can be “bacteria free”
  8. A Lighter – Disregard whether you smoke or not. If you are smoking it is obvious that you need to carry it. anyway if you are not it is good to have one so that it can be used in any emergency or in a need. Matches are not an option since they get wet and become unusable in few days.
  9. Some business cards – You will meet many people on the way, good to have some cards so that you can expand your network easily rather than making others memorizing your details.
  10. Some chocolates/ snacks – I hate being in hunger specially when travelling, good to have some snack to enjoy when you are hungry. i usually keep some chocolates and a snack. Because chocolate gives you instant strength if needed.

Apart from above I always keep my keys inside in a safe place and bank tokens. Apart from that if possible I usually carry my diary so that I can write down anything important and since my check book is attached to the diary it gives me extra advantage.

More importantly the list has no order, I think everything is much important, and required when you are in a situation.

In womens’ listing it includes lipsticks, sanitation towels, baby wipe, mace spray apart from the above. Ladies, you may read it at http://en.amerikanki.com/things-every-woman-should-have-in-her-purse


Some interesting proposals – Fedora Summer Coding

GSoC 2014, already started students proposal filtering. While going through submitted proposals, I found following are quite interesting and well drafted. For reference purposes I though of including few URLs, in future if anyone wants to refer to some GSoC proposals towards the Fedora project.

Isitfedoraruby by Axilleas – http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/GSOC_2014/Student_Application_Axilleas/Isitfedoraruby

Free Media Project by Dulanja – http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/GSOC_2014/Student_Application_Dulanja/FreeMedia


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The Fedora Project is featuring on GSoC 2014

As GSoC program announced yesterday, The Fedora Project has been selected for Google Summer of Code 2014 program. Students’ application will be open from March 10th, which is less than 2 weeks time. We are looking forward to welcome students towards the program. Interested students may refer to the GSoC portal[0] in Fedora wiki.

[0] – www.fedoraproject.org/wiki/GSOC_2014

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Marking maps with Google Visualization

If you ever wonder an easiest way to mark places, countries, regions etc on a map for presentations or web content, it can be easily achieved by using Geo-charts in Google Visualization API.

Find more information on https://developers.google.com/chart/interactive/docs/gallery/geochart

For example I wanted to mark some countries on a map and then use it on my presentation (web), following gave me a good result with 2-3 minutes of work.

<script type=’text/javascript’ src=’https://www.google.com/jsapi’></script&gt;
<script type=’text/javascript’>
google.load(‘visualization’, ‘1’, {‘packages’: [‘geochart’]});

function drawRegionsMap() {
var data = google.visualization.arrayToDataTable([

var options = {
magnifyingGlass: {enable: true, zoomFactor: 5.0}

var chart = new google.visualization.GeoChart(document.getElementById
chart.draw(data, options);
<div id=”chart_div” style=”width: 600px; height: 600px;”></div>

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Role of Students, Mentors and Org Admins in GSoC

GSoC 2014 will be happening for the 10th time in few weeks. Mainly a mentoring organizations may seek to earn promising contributors towards the project and/or trying to get implemented things that are critical to their projects. More or less each and every organization tries to get both the benefits. In idea situation, at the end of the program the required project/ or a part of the project/ or a enhancement has been implemented and completed while the student becomes a proven contributor to the organisation.

When selecting students for a proposed project the organisations may try their best to pick the best students among the pool of applications. They may try their best to evaluate the students’ knowledge towards completing the project which we can identify as the students capacity of the knowledge required. And at the same time they may try to evaluate how reliable they are. According to what I believe there is no use of a student who is capable of completing the project but will not be contributing or remaining as a contributor with the organisation in long term, unless the implementation or enhancement is really critical for the well being of the organisation. In the other hand if the student is reliable but not having enough skills to complete the project, again it is useless. Therefore organisations should be willing to try their best to evaluate the both ends and find the suitable students. This may sounds easy but in practice which is really hard to measure and evaluate. This depends on the experience of the organisation administrators and mentors. They should have a strategy to filter out and evaluate them with pre-identified criteria.

Mentoring organisations invest quite significant effort for this program which could have been used for any other development with in the project. Therefore it is really important to meet the goals and expectations. I think everything is depending on the student who are getting selected for the program. The main focus and the assets for this program.

There are instances some GSoC students became proven contributors and shape the organizations being active contributors. Most probably behind them, the secret of the success if their mentors. Mentors should guide them students not only to achieve the goals of the project but to play an active role to get them familiarized with the community. This process should go in parallel to the development/ coding.

The Org Administrators should be the central point of managing everything mentioned above. Building right strategy, setting practical goals, identifying the things to be achieved and maintain the quality should be some of their focuses. In short the Org Admins should play the role of HR management and as well as Project Management.

In ideal situation both entities get together and perform their role best so that the out come form the program would be optimal.




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