Visa, MasterCard Ban VPN Providers

I read an article the other day that was posted on TorrentFreak, regarding Visa and MasterCard “Banning VPN Providers”:

“Following the introduction of restrictions against file-sharing services, Mastercard and Visa have now started to take action against VPN providers. This week, Swedish payment provider Payson cut access to anonymizing services after being ordered to do so by the credit card companies. VPN provider iPredator is one of the affected customers and founder Peter Sunde says that they are considering legal action to get the service unblocked”

In my opinion, thanks to Visa and MasterCard, VPN providers and customers alike will start to look at anonimity and security from a different perspective.

Here’s why:

The primary buyer TA is usually the more technically inclined individual. Now that Visa and MasterCard are banishing VPN subscription providers, users will revert to deploying a VPS with their own VPN software, such as OpenVPN and Poptop PPTP. This means users have more granularity and control over their VPN, e.g.

  • Control over log files
  • Choose their preferred VPN location and VPS provider
  • Set their own security standards
  • Choose their own VPN software (OpenVPN, PPTP etc)

Additionally, VPN providers will now be inclined to offer alternative payment methods to their customers (consider Bitcoin) to further preserve anonominity.

30 Second SSH Public Key Authentication on Linux / CentOS

Create the Private Key / Public Key Combinations on your Local Machine

ssh-keygen -t rsa

This will create two files in the following directory:


The private key is titled ‘id_rsa’, and, the public key which will reside on your server is called ‘’:


Remember, you will always require the private key in order to authenticate yourself against the public key residing on your server.

If you’re having trouble understanding this, remember this analogy:

Think of a keyhole as the public key which resides on your server, anyone can attempt to open the door (server) by putting their key in the keyhole, however, only the correct key (private key) will open the door.

Create the SSH Folder on Your Server

SSH into your server and create a folder called ‘.ssh’ in your home directory:

mkdir ~/.ssh

Transfer the Public Key from Local Machine to Your Server

Next, we will transfer the public key you created locally in step 1 to your server using SCP.

scp ~/.ssh/

Login using Your Public Key

You’re finished! You can now login to your CentOS server using public key authentication via any of the methods below:

Login using a Config File

It’s really easy to login when you use config files.

Simply create a ‘config’ file on your local machine as follows:

touch ~/.ssh/config

Once created, just edit the file using nano and specify your private key, username and hostname:

Host myserver
   User root
   IdentityFile ~/.ssh/id_rsa

Now, you simply login via SSH by issuing the following:

ssh myserver

Login with Specified Private Key

You can alternatively SSH into your server by specifying the private key we created earlier, simply use the -i flag to achieve this:

ssh -i id_rsa root@

That’s all there is to it!

Fixing permission errors in Homebrew

When trying to install packages or linking packages with Homebrew on Mac OSX, you might encounter the following error:

"/usr/local/bin is not writable. You should change its permissions."

This occurs when your current user does not have permissions to symlink files in the/usr/local/bin directory.

To fix this, simply change the ownership of these files so you can modify them:

chown -R yourname:admin /usr/local/bin

Running brew link <package> or brew install <package> should now work without any issues.

Adding Your Hostname to the ZSH Prompt (with oh-my-zsh)

Adding your server hostname to the ZSH prompt (with oh-my-zsh installed) is super helpful if you work with multiple SSH sessions. Follow the steps below to get started!

Assuming oh-my-zsh is installed, navigate to your themes directory. This is typically in your home systems folder:

cd ~/.oh-my.zsh/themes

Duplicate the default robbyrussell.zsh-theme theme to create your own custom theme:

cp robbyrussell.zsh-theme mytheme.zsh-theme

Modify the new theme mytheme.zsh-theme with your desired prompt. Here’s what mine looks like:

PROMPT='%{$fg_bold[white]%}%M %{$fg_bold[red]%}➜ %{$fg_bold[green]%}%p %{$fg[cyan]%}%c %{$fg_bold[blue]%}$(git_prompt_info)%{$fg_bold[blue]%} % %{$reset_color%}'

This will add the hostname (in bold white) before the leading right-arrow. The important part here is %{$fg_bold[white]%}%M.

Save the file with your new changes, and then change your default ZSH theme in the ~/.zshrcfile. You will notice a parameter called “ZSH_THEME” which is where you will update your ZSH theme:


All you need to do now is reload your ZSH shell, this can be done by running the command below:

source ~/.zshrc

Your prompt should now resemble the following:

hostname.local ➜  ~

IMAP Settings for

Today I needed to connect to an email account with IMAP, however my email client couldn’t detect the correct configuration.

After some searching, the configuration details below seem to work without any issues, wether you have an address or a custom domain with

Incoming IMAP

  • Incoming Server:
  • Port: 993
  • Encryption: SSL
  • Username:
  • Password: ********

Outgoing SMTP

  • Outgoing Server:
  • Port: 587
  • Encryption: TLS
  • Username:
  • Password: ********

Note: It’s important to change the default SMTP port to 587 or 465, otherwise connecting to Outlooks outgoing mail server will fail.

Convert Hex, Binary to Decimal

Converting HEX to Decimal

Hex 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
Decimal 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Convert HEX 1ADEF to decimal

HEX F = 15 15 * 160 = 15
HEX E = 14 14 * 161 = 224
HEX D = 13 13 * 162 = 3328
HEX A = 10 10 * 163 = 40960
HEX 1 = 1 1 * 164 = 65536

Therefore, HEX 1ADEF = (15 + 224 + 3328 + 40960 + 65536) = 110063

Converting Decimal to HEX

When converting decimal to hex, we simply take the remainder and match it to a HEX character.

Convert 10253 to HEX

Calculation Remainder HEX
10253/16 13 D
640/16 0 0
40/16 8 8
2/16 2 2

Therefore, decimal 10253 = HEX 280D

To get the remainder of a number without a modulo function, e.g. 374 / 8, do the following:

374 / 8 = 46.75 0.75 * 8 = 6 Remainder is 6.

Convert Decimal to Binary

Convert 278 to binary

Explanation: Assign a 0 to whole numbers, else assign 1. Continue dividing the whole number by 2.

278 / 2 = 139 0
139 / 2 = 69.5 1
69 / 2 = 34.5 1
34 / 2 = 17 0
17 / 2 = 8.5 1
8 / 2 = 4 0
4 / 2 = 2 0
2 / 2 = 1 0
1 / 2 = 0.5 1

Therefore, 278 = Binary 100010110

Convert Binary to Decimal

Convert 10111 to decimal

Index Calculation Binary
4 (2^4) * 1 = 16 1
3 (2^3) * 0 = 0 0
2 (2^2) * 1 = 4 1
1 (2^1) * 1 = 2 1
0 (2^0) * 1 = 1 1

Therefore, 10111 = (16 + 4 + 2 + 1) = 23