Windoz haz OpenSSH!

O’ most awesome of awesomeness!

After years of wishing, in the Fall Creator’s Update, OpenSSH was added to Windows 10! That is right – cross server inter-operability using normal tools and secure keys without needing to mess around with obtuse VPN setups or 3rd party programs!

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/powershell/2017/12/15/using-the-openssh-beta-in-windows-10-fall-creators-update-and-windows-server-1709/

GO START -> Setup -> Apps -> Apps and Features -> Manage optional features -> Add a feature and select SSH. Copy your Linux keys to a folder named .ssh in your home folder (c:\Users\yourlogin\.ssh), just as is the default in Linux.

You must restrict access to your private key(s) just as in Linux. In Microsoft this is done by browsing to the key file, right click, Properties, Security  then remove everyone / objects, add yourself (only), and give yourself Full Control.

Read more at the link above concerning generating keys and protecting them with a key manager program.

I am still exploring the possibility of using File Explorer to browse via ssh, just as the file manager can be used in Linux. More later…


Liberty means responsibility

Old photo of the Statue of Liberty in Construction

The Statue of Liberty in Construction

At the deepest levels, the real difference between Conservatives and Socialist Liberals is the concept of Individual Liberty. The people who formed the United States were fed up with Europe and it’s Socialist system: they wanted a place where government served the people, not owned them!

They rejected the concept of royalty and nobles and peons, and wrote “We Hold These truths to be Self Evident” meaning that any honest and rational person would have to agree with the statements to follow:

“that All Men Are CREATED EQUAL, that they are endowed BY THEIR CREATOR with certain UNALIENABLE RIGHTS” God exists, did the creating, and these rights come from God, not human government, and as such human government lacks any power or authority to limit of restrict any of these absolute, God-given, human rights:

“that among these rights are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”.

The concept of INDIVIDUAL Liberty – an absolute right to and responsibility for self determination for each individual human – is fundamental to American Law, and opposite of Socialist law as socialism teaches the people have no rights except those the royalty decides to grant and may retract at any time. In American thinking each individual is absolutely sovereign and limited only by the mandate that they not deny any other human the same right of absolute sovereignty.

This is why Socialists are constantly demanding other people’s rights be denied: it is what the old serfs did to get what they wanted from the royals. This is also why Americans reject this philosophy: when you ask someone else to grant you special rights you are admitting that person is greater than yourself: otherwise you would have no need of their consent: American citizens are not European subjects and as such they are sovereign in and of themselves and need not ask government for any thing.


From Russia with Love? Your Home Firewall may be spying on you.

There was a concern when electric meters were modernized to allow remote reading that the meters were really being modified by insidious dark forces to  spy on homeowners. There was even a joke that went something like:

My wife asked me why I was carrying my gun around the house. I told her “Decepticons”. She laughed. I laughed. The toaster laughed. I shot the toaster. Good times.

There is a lot of truth in humor: sometimes more than we want to admit.

The router brands that almost everyone uses to connect to their Internet utility could now be part of a widespread hacked Internet of Things (IoT) network known as VPNFilter. For now it is thought to be targeting Ukraine but there are over half a million hijacked routers so far. The hack installs itself and cannot be removed by rebooting the router. This is a VERY GOOD REASON to change your old LinkSys router to use the (free) OpenWrt Project instead of the factory supplied LinkSys OS and deny access to control the router from outside your LAN. At the least, you can read up on the OpenWRT project web site to understand more about how software is installed in your router, and how to restore your router to its factory original state.

People install OpenWrt because they believe it works better than the stock firmware from their vendor. They find it is more stable, offers more features, is more secure and has better support.

This just in email from DarkReading.com

More than 500K home/SOHO routers and storage devices worldwide commandeered in potential nation-state attack weapon

So far, the infected devices that make up the backbone of VPNFilter include Linksys, MikroTik, NETGEAR, and TP-Link home routers and QNAP network-attached storage (NAS) devices.

Cisco stopped short of naming Russian state-sponsored hackers as the attackers behind VPNFilter, but also didn’t rule it out, especially with the BlackEnergy connection and Ukraine-specific attack network. “The code overlap we saw was an exact copy, including even an error,” Williams says.

The entire article can be found at https://www.darkreading.com/threat-intelligence/destructive-vpnfilter-attack-network-uncovered/d/d-id/1331886


IRS issues notice on state and local tax deductions

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service issued a notice today stating that proposed regulations will be issued addressing the deductibility of state and local tax payments for federal income tax purposes. Notice 2018-54 also informs taxpayers that federal law controls the characterization of the payments for federal income tax purposes regardless of the characterization of the payments under state law.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) limited the amount of state and local taxes an individual can deduct in a calendar year to $10,000. In response to this new limitation, some state legislatures have adopted or are considering legislative proposals allowing taxpayers to make payments to specified entities in exchange for a tax credit against state and local taxes owed.

The upcoming proposed regulations, to be issued in the near future, will help taxpayers understand the relationship between federal charitable contribution deductions and the new statutory limitation on the deduction of state and local taxes.

Taxpayers should also be aware the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service are continuing to monitor other legislative proposals being considered to ensure that federal law controls the characterization of deductions for federal income tax filings.

The limitation imposed by the TCJA applies to taxable years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017 and before Jan. 1, 2026.

Updates on the implementation of the TCJA can be found on the Tax Reform page of IRS.gov.