Archive for January, 2007

Apple Hit the Jackpot

// January 21st, 2007 // 3 Comments » // tech

During the quarter of last December Apple reported record-breaking revenues with more than 7 Billion Dollars in sales. That’s about 1 Billion in pure profits!! They sold about 21.1 million iPods over the holidays!! They also sold 1.6 million Macs, one million of them were Portable Macs.

via [Wired News]

101 Years in Prison for Phishing!!

// January 17th, 2007 // 1 Comment » // tech

A man in California faces up to 101 years in prison after he was found guilty of sending out email scams and other related crimes.

A California man faces up to 101 years in federal prison after a jury found him guilty of sending out e-mail scams as well as related crimes.

Jeffrey Brett Goodin, 45, of Azusa, was convicted Friday on multiple counts by a jury in the U.S. District Court for Central District of California in Los Angeles, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement.

Goodin, who was arrested last year, was found guilty of operating a sophisticated phishing scheme, the prosecutors said in the statement. As part of the scam, he sent e-mails posing as AOL’s billing department to trick people into giving up their credit card information, according to the statement. He then used the credit card data to make purchases, prosecutors said Tuesday.
via[cnet news]


// January 13th, 2007 // 5 Comments » // Hacks, tech

So many people in the security world have been talking for the past few weeks about cracking HD DVD. Steve Gibson from Twit‘s Security Now podcast was also talking about it last week. So I read about HD DVD and it’s Advanced Access Content System (AACS), and here’s what I got.

HD DVDs use a digital rights protection method called AACS. The group developing it includes Disney, Intel, Microsoft, Matsushita (Panasonic), Warner Brothers, IBM, Toshiba, and Sony. HD DVDs simply use AACS to protect their contents from being copied, so that you’ll only but original HD DVDs.

AACS-protected content is encrypted under one or more title keys using the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). Title keys are derived from a combination of a media key and several elements, including the volume ID of the media (e.g., a physical serial number embedded on a DVD), and a cryptographic hash of the title usage rules.

AACS protected content is encrypted using 128 bit AES!! I mean the security it provides is unbelievable. That is why it takes a regular player about a whole minute to play a HD DVD disk, because it takes so long to decrypt. AACS is very close when compared with its successor CSS (content scrambling system), which is used in DVDs. But, the main difference between them is that under CSS, all players of a given model are provisioned with the same, shared decryption key. Content is encrypted under the title-specific key, which is itself encrypted under each model’s key.


Now that you have an idea about AACS, let talk about the crack people have been talking about. But, before I begin, I just want to say that people have been making a fuss about this crack because Microsoft Vista has alot to do with it.

As we all know, to find the flaws in any system, you must first find the weakest link and thats were you should start. Last December, the 26th to be precise, someone named “muslix64″ on doom9 forums, was so upset at not being able to play his purchased movies on his monitor attached to his player that he broke the AACS protection just to be able to see his own movies.

He made a utility, and he called it BackupHDDVD, and what it basically does is that it decrypts the files on your HD DVD. Muslix read the AACS’s specs, which were posted on AACS‘s website. Then he write a simple java program to decrypt the files after you add the decryption keys to the program. The trick lies in finding the decryption keys!!

He grabbed the decryption keys and then independently decrypted the contents of the drive, which are just files stored in the standard DVD file format, the .udf format (I read somewhere that BackupHDDVD can also decrypt .evo files when give the correct tiltle keys, which is really cool).

Muslix posted a video on youtube of him decrypting an HD DVD movie. But, Warner Bros. asked youtube to remove the movie, and it was removed right away. In this video he was using windows, and a player which was able to decrypt HD DVDs, some say that he was using PowerDVD version 6.5.


To read more about Muslix’s BackupHDDVD program click here. If you read all Muslix’s posts you will be able to find the keys yourself…

To Download BackupHDDVD click here. Muslix also wrote a documentation to go with the program…

Steve Jobs Announces iPhone!!!!!!!!

// January 9th, 2007 // 10 Comments » // tech

Yes, and this time it’s true!! After two years of waiting!! Apple CEO Steve Jobs just gave a live presentation at Macworld 2007 in San Francisco on the new iPhone!! Apple stock just increased 5% 6.62% 7.00% 7.67% (I swear it’s changing as I write this post, it’s so crazy) in less than one hour and it’s still increasing!! If only I knew …. watch their stock go SKY HIGH!!

It’s unbelievable, Steve Jobs HAS DONE IT AGAIN!!!

5 minutes ago, Apple added the iPhone ad on the home page!!

What I can’t understand, is how Apple managed to keep the iPhone a secret till today?!?! Rumors were all over the internet for over two years!! and not even one photo was leaked!!


iPhone = PocketPC + iPod. We can expect it by June, 2007. the price will be $499 for the 4GB and $599 for the 8GB. I’m not sure whether it will be in Riyadh by June, but Apple products usually get here between one to two months after its launch date in the US.


What impressed me most was that it has a sensor that automatically rotates the screen when you tilt the iPhone!! Now, that’s cool…


Ok, My Pocket PC and my Zune are up for grabs as of May 30th in sha allah

I want an iPhone instead. I hate carrying a Zune in one pocket and a Pocket PC mobile in the other…

PS I’ll try to upload Steve Jobs‘s Keynote tomorrow in sha allah. Is it just me, or is this really exciting?!

New Gas Prices in Saudi Arabia…

// January 2nd, 2007 // 3 Comments » // Information, me, uncategorized

Yesterday, Gas prices hit an all time low. Now we have two kinds of gasoline:
* 95-octane : We have been using this kind for years.
* 91-octane : This kind is new, it has less features than the 95.

The 95-octane was supposed to sell at 0.75 Saudi Riyals, and the 91-octane was supposed to sell at 0.60 SR. Last week the king announced that 95-octane will remain at 0.60 SR, and 91-octane will sell at 0.45 SR.

I visited aramco’s website to see which kind suits my car. I found that almost all American cars use 91-octane.

So, now I fill up my 70 liter gas tank for only 31.50 SR, which equals 8.40 USD!!!! I know it’s unbelievable only 0.12 USD per liter!!


Here is a comparison between saudi gasoline prices compared with other countries:

* if I were in New York I would have to pay 51.71 USD, which equals 193.93 SR!!

* if I were in Vancouver I would have to pay 61.26 USD, which equals 229.75 SR!!

* if I were in Hong Kong I would have to pay 72.31 USD, which equals 271.16 SR!!

* if I were in London I would have to pay 116.38 USD, which equals 436.45 SR!!

* on the other hand if I were in Venezuela I would have to pay only 2.22 USD, which equals 8.31 SR!! So, We don’t have the cheapest prices after all.


These are all today’s gasoline prices, for gasoline prices in the US or Canada visit For hong Kong gasoline prices visit shell’s website. For gasoline prices in london visit For general gas prices around the world read CNN’s article on worldwide gas prices (it’s a year old, so prices aren’t accurate.)