No, fingerprints are not secure

Authentication is the process by which a system determines whether a particular user is allowed to access it. There are three widely agreed-upon methods to authenticate a user: Something you have. Something you know. Something you are. When you use your key to unlock your front door, you are authenticating yourself using something you have. In information security, passwords are the most popular method of authentication; they are something you know. Authentication by something you are (i.e., biometrics) has historically been only a niche practice, but in recent years it has caught on in the realm of consumer electronics. When Apple announced Touch ID in late 2013, security experts immediately voiced their concern. The authentication mechanism was quickly compromised, and there is still very little that Apple can do about it. Why, you ask? Because fingerprints are inherently insecure.

Time clocking at the command line

I often feel inclined to start new projects to avoid working on old ones. In a particularly ironic display of procrastination, I have written a productivity-oriented application in order to avoid actual productivity. The app is called InSTiL, and its goal is to make it easy to log how much time you spend working on various projects. The source is available on Github, and the Readme provides a succinct overview of InSTiL’s functionality.

A C++ encapsulation of the Linux inotify API

The inotify API allows you to monitor a file or directory for various events such as file creation, modification, and deletion. It is part of the Linux kernel and the glibc userspace library, however its C API can be cumbersome to use in a C++ application. A C++ binding of inotify does exist, but it still requires the application developer to write an unsightly wait-and-handle loop. My goal for this project was to create an asynchronous event-driven API through which filesystem events can be processed.

RIOT OS ported to TI Tiva C Connected Launchpad

My current project is porting RIOT OS to the EK-TM4C1294XL evaluation board. RIOT is an embedded operating system aimed at the Internet of Things, developed primarily by Free University of Berlin. The EK-TM4C1294XL is a pretty powerful board, featuring an ARM Cortex M4 MCU and built-in Ethernet MAC. So far, I have implemented only the most basic support for the CPU - just timers and UART. However, I’m currently working on the Ethernet drivers (almost done) and my next focus will be drivers for an XBee add-in.

Roll your own dynamic DNS (Ubuntu)

Dynamic DNS, or DDNS, is a type of DNS configuration which allows hosts with dynamic IP addresses to automatically update their DNS records. Often users will rely on services such as DynDNS or No-IP to manage this type of setup, but it is actually relatively easy to run your own DDNS server. Of course, this requires that you have your own domain name and access to at least one host with a static IP (to use as the DNS server).