Uh, I totally forgot to blog about a funny thing that happened almost a year ago which I just mentioned slightly *blush*. So you probably know this Internet thing and if you’re one of the chosen and carefully gifted ones, you confused it with the Web. And if you’re very special you do this Twitter thing and expose yourself and your communications pattern to some dodgy American company. By now, all of the following stuff isn’t of much interest anymore, so you might as well quit reading.

It all happenend while being at There was a contest run by Nokia which asked us to write some cool application for the N900. So I did. I packaged loads of programs and libraries to be able to put the wireless card into monitor mode. Then I wiretapped (haha) the wireless and sniffed for Twitter traffic. Once there was a Twitter session going on, I sniffed the necessary authentication information was extracted and a message was posted on the poor user’s behalf. I coined that Pwnitter, because it would pwn you via Twitter.

That said, we had great fun at, where nearly everybodies Twitter sessions got hijacked 😉 Eventually, people stopped using plain HTTP and moved to end to end encrypted sessions via TLS.

Anyway, my program didn’t win anything because as it turned out, Nokia wanted to promote QML and hence we were supposed to write something that makes use of that. My program barely has a UI… It is made up of one giant button…

Despite not getting lucky with Nokia, the community apparently received the thing very well.

So there is an obvious big elephant standing in the room asking why would you want to “hack” Twitter. I’d say it’s rather easy to answer. The main point being that you should use end to end encryption when doing communication. And the punchline comes now: Don’t use a service that doesn’t offer you that by default. Technically, it wouldn’t be much of a problem to give you an encrypted link to send your messages. However, companies tend to be cheap and let you suffer with a plain text connection which can be easily tapped or worse: manipulated. Think about it. If the company is too frugal to protect your communication from pimpled 13yr olds with a wifi card, why would you want to use their services?

By now Twitter (actually since March 2011, making it more than 6 month ago AFAIK) have SSL enabled by default as far as I can tell. So let’s not slash Twitter for not offering an encrypted link for more than 5 years (since they were founded back in 2006). But there are loads of other services that suffer from the very same basic problem. Including Facebook. And it would be easy to adapt the existing solution stuff like Facebook, flickr, whatnot.

A noteable exception is Google though. As far as I can see, they offer encryption by default except for the search. If there is an unencrypted link, I invite you to grab the sources of Pwnitter and build your hack.

If you do so, let me give you an advise as I was going nuts over a weird problem with my Pwnitter application for Maemo. It’s written in Python and when building the package with setuptools the hashbang would automatically be changed to “#!/scratchbox/tools/bin/python“, instead of, say, “/usr/bin/python“.

I tried tons of things for many hours until I realised, that scratchbox redirects some binary paths.

However, that did not help me to fix the issue. As it turned out, my problem was that I didn’t depend on a python-runtime during build time. Hence the build server picked scratchbox’s python which was located in /scratchbox/bin.

The beauty of a free (Maemo) handset

During GUADEC, I of course wanted to use my N900. But since the PR1.2 update, the Jabber client wouldn’t connect to the server anymore, because OpenSSL doesn’t honor imported CAs. So the only option to make it connect is to ignore SSL errors. But as I’m naturally paranoid, I didn’t dare to connect… It’s a nerdy conference with a lot of hackers after all.

Fortunately, I had all those nice Collaborans next to me and I could ask loads of (stupid?) questions. Turns out, that the Jabber client (telepathy-gabble) on the N900 is a bit old and uses loudmouth and not wocky.

So I brought my SDK back to life (jeez, it’s very inconvenient to do stuff with that scratchbox setup 🙁 ) and I was surprised that apt-get source libloudmouth1-0 was sufficient to get the code. And apt-get build-dep libloudmouth1-0 && dpkg-buildpackage -rfakeroot built the package. Almost easy (I had to fix loads of dependency issue but it then worked out).

As neither I nor the Collaborans knew how to integrate with the Certificate Manager, I just wanted to make OpenSSL aware of the root CA which I intended to drop somewhere in ~/.certs or so.

After a couple of busy conference days I found out that code which implements the desired functionality already exists but was commented out. So I adapted that and now loudmouth imports certificates from /home/user/.config/telepathy/trusted-cas.pem or /home/user/.config/telepathy/certs /home/user/.maemosec-certs/ssl-ca before it connects. The former is just a file with all root CAs being PEM encoded. The latter is a directory where you have to put PEM or DER encoded certs into and then run c_rehash . in it the certificate manager puts the certificates in after you’ve imported it. Because just loading any .pem or .der file would have been to easy to work with. It was hard for me to understand OpenSSL’s API. This article helped me a bit though, so you might find it useful, too.

So if you want your jabber client on the N900 to connect to a SSL/TLS secured server that uses a root CA that is not in the built in certificate store, grab the .deb here. You can, of course, get the source as well.

Turns out, that there is a workaround mentioned in bug 9355 hence you might consider it to be easier to modify system files yourself instead of letting the package manager do it.

Bottom line being that it’s wonderful to be allowed to study the code. It’s wonderful to be allowed fix stuff. And it’s wonderful to be allowed to redistribute the software. Even with my own modifications. And that it will be that way for the lifetime of that piece of software. I do love Free Software.

Got a N900 *yay*

A while back, during, I participated at a Maemo “hacking” contents. The goal was to produce something valuable for Maemo and get a N900 in return. I basically ported Gajim to the N900 and, drumroll, I won! *yay*

Unfortunately, it took them a while to ship that thing so that I received it half a year later or so. But then it was amazingly fast. I received a parcel from Helsinki (2031km far away) which was sent 20hrs earlier. The parcel thus was traveling at ~100km/h. Great service, DHL! Thanks a million Nokia, Thanks Maemo Bangalore!

I really like the N900 because it’s a Linux based device. Well, there is Android, right? But Nokia actually does send it’s patches upstream and they invite you to get root on the device you own. Plus everything is pretty much standard. There is D-Bus, there GTK+, there is Python, there is Linux, … Hence, building and running stuff is pretty easy. I am looking forward to run my DNS Tunnel and DOOM and play around with the USB.

I am now busy playing with my new N900.

Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported
This work by Muelli is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.