The first shortcut is your choice of hardware. I chose to build my own from scratch at a stage when I knew nothing of RC or how to fly – this was a mistake. So do yourself a favour and buy the ArduPilot 2.5 control board, wire up your copter, learn RC, and how to fly, and then come back here. The board is essentially just an Arduino with some sensors connected which we will program in this article with our own software – by using it you have everything connected you’ll need to get flying – you’ll also be able to play with the excellent ArduCopter software.
The Tor network is an anonymising network that allows people to browse the web and access other services without being traced. As part of this network, there is the so called ‘darknet’, servers only accessible through Tor which host a variety of services from forums to e-mail. Whilst many of these services are innocent and aimed at those concerned about Human Rights abuses, the anonymity naturally attracts those with criminal intent such as the distribution of child pornography. It’s then very difficult for law enforcement agencies to trace the original IP address.
In 2013, a piece of malware was found embedded in Freedom Hosting’s darknet server that would exploit a security hole in a particular web browser and execute code on the user’s computer. This code gathered some information about the user and sent it to a server in Virginia and then crashed – it had no obvious malicious intent that is so characteristic of malware. It was therefore theorised that the FBI, who have offices in Virginia, and who have ‘form’ for writing malware, may have authored it – this now appears to be true. UPDATE: Confirmed authored by FBI with codename EgotisticalGiraffe.
GCHQ released a recruitment challenge on www.canyoucrackit.co.uk in November 2011. The challenge involved a series of reverse engineering puzzles.
I cracked the challenge in a few days and published the videos of how to solve it online. The puzzle was broken into three stages which took around six to eight hours to solve. The videos received widespread media attention and are included here as step-by-step guides to completing them (spoiler alert obviously).