Vulnerabilities in online payment gateways - Abraao M

An interesting article about someone who finds 2 very serious bugs in the mastercard hashing system that would allow you to bypass transaction values completely. You'd think he'd get a fair remuneration for his bug-finding work but it's in fact quite disappointing given the severity of the issues. Just makes you think about how many white-hat hackers eventually leave their hats at home because the dark side is much more lucrative.

Cracked your screen? Better get a whole new phone… - Abraao M

Some researchers show how easy it is to install hardware that completely hijacks your phone, from app installation, to stroke logging and camera usage. As someone who has never cracked my screen to the point of getting it repaired at a 3rd party, it has never crossed my mind how much trust we put in the corner shops to fix our phones. It might not even be malicious on their part, but it shows that even they might not know the new screen they're installing could be logging your every move into the internet.

Going deep on character encodings - Murray S

If you've written a web application running ontop of mysql chances are you'll have encountered a bunch of character encoding problems in one or more of your environments. Most frameworks do a good job these days of trying to make sure they treat everything as utf-8, but if your DB is set up to store the data as, for example latin1_swedish_ci, then things might go wrong as soon as you start introducing characters not included in ascii. This article goes deep on exactly what character encodings are, how they came about, and why treating the raw bytes as different encodings can cause problems. It finishes with a section on how to avoid the problems in php, which the author suggests you skip if you're not using php, but I found it to be useful as the problems and workarounds are pretty universal.

Track of the Week - Jack B

Nuclear War, Mass flooding, Hurricanes, Earthquakes; and now Anissa is leaving us!

R.E.M. - It's the end of the world