Buy your Nickel™ with MVola, Orange or Paypal

A new Nickel website

At Nickel, we continuously improve things. One the recent change is our brand new website : https://nickel.mg.

The full catalog is now available and you can actually purchase one Nickel Dish Soap or any Nickel product from you sofa.

Online payments actually work for buying Nickel products

We also make it more user friendly by allowing all mobile payments available in Madagascar. You can pay your product with MVola, Orange Money and soon Airtel Money. Obviously Paypal and Ariary.net work as well.

Your Nickel products are delivered free of charge

Finally, to encourage people to buy Nickel products online, the delivery is offered for Antananarivo as soon your order reaches 6,000 Ar.

So, don’t wait, every week, at least one Nickel product is on Sale on Nickel.mg, get yours now!

Resolving version conflicts on MsBuild projects with dep.exe

I’ve recently came accross a surprisingly painful task which were about removing a warning.
One of them were the famous “MSB3247: Found conflicts between different version of same dependent assembly”.

After hours of manual troubleshooting I finally created a command line tool called dep.exe to dump the nested dependencies of every assemblies inside a directory to easily

  • Know which assemblies are referenced (directly or indirectly) with more than one version
  • Understand the dependency chain which pulled those assemblies in your bin folder

Everything is explained on the README of dep.exe.
dep.exe output sample
If you happen to have any question or suggestions, just post them in the comment section.

How to Create a Virtual Machine with Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid and VMBuilder?

The need of a Virtual Machine

I recently decided to migrate my dedicated server from Online to OVH and realized that installing a server is extremely painful.
Then I realized that one way to avoid this mess again could be to setup a Virtual Machine so that I could just move that VM to another host later.

How to do it with the command line?

There are plenty of tutorials which explain how to do so. But it looks like the options change every six months. So after hours of experimentation here is what worked for me:

mkdir /var/vms
vmbuilder kvm ubuntu \
	--cpus 2 --arch amd64 \
	--rootsize 65536 \
	--mem 4096 \
	--hostname vm01 \
	--ip 192.168.122.101 --net 192.168.122.0 --mask 255.255.255.0 --gw 192.168.122.1 --bcast 192.168.122.255 --dns 192.168.122.1 \
	--user [USER] --name [YOUR NAME] --pass [PASSWORD] \
	--suite trusty --flavour virtual \
	--addpkg acpid --addpkg linux-image-generic --addpkg vim \
	--mirror "ftp://ubuntu.mirrors.ovh.net/ftp.ubuntu.com/ubuntu" --components main,universe \
	--libvirt qemu:///system \
	--destdir /var/vms/vm01
virsh start vm01
virsh autostart vm01
  • a VM with Ubuntu Trusty as Guest OS run by KVM and controllable with virsh later
  • a NATed network with static IPs
    (the doc doesn’t mention that you need to specify –net and –mask for –ip to be taken into account)
    Note that 192.168.122.0/24 is the default IP range available so you kind of have to choose an IP in that range
  • An automatic startup

Brute force on a .p12 password with c#

It started with a VPN problem

The other day, I had an issue with my VPN and someone from the IT service remotely connected to my machine to put a certificate on it. While he manipulated the certificate manager, he exported a certificate and typed a password of 4 characters that I couldn’t see (characters were obfuscated). Just after that he requested me to use another wifi connection to test the VPN so we had to stop the chat and the remote session. Unfortunatly for me it didn’t work and the guy went to lunch.

So now, I was stuck with no VPN and a certificate which were not working! I decided to delete all the personal certificates having my name from my computer and to re-import the p12 file that the IT guy left on my desktop. I tried to do so but then I was requested to type the password – remember? it was only 4 chars. I tried all the stupid 4 letters password I got in mind (“test”, “1234”, “0000”, “aaaa”, “azer”, “qwert” …) but none of them worked.

Let’s brute force that weak p12 password

So here is the interesting part. I decided to try that very famous thing called “brute force” a password. I was saying in my mind “With my years of programming experience, it should take me 10 minutes to code it and few second to run”.
But actually it took me up to one hour to make the stuff to actually work without obvious bug in C#:

private IEnumerable<string> EnumerateOptions(IList<char> options, int minLength, int maxLength)
{
    var number = new List<int>(maxLength);
    for (int i = 0; i < minLength; i++)
        number.Add(0);

    while (number.Count <= maxLength)
    {
        yield return Stringify(number, options);

        bool overflowed = true;
        for (int numberPart = number.Count - 1; numberPart >= 0 && overflowed; numberPart--)
        {
            number[numberPart]++;
            if (number[numberPart] >= options.Count)
            {
                number[numberPart] = number[numberPart] % options.Count;
            }
            else
            {
                overflowed = false;
            }
        }
        if (overflowed)
            number.Insert(0, 0);
    }
}

private string Stringify(IList<int> number, IList<char> options)
{
    return string.Join("", number.Select(n => options[n]));
}

The result

The app was testing 2k passwords per seconds and found the password in less than 3 minutes 🙂 !

p12-brute-force

The conclusions are

  • don’t use a 4 letters password, obviously, especially on your p12 files which can used to act on your behalf
  • coding simple things can take more time than we expect (think hiring interview questions)
  • The method I’m using to check the password (X509Certificate2Collection.Import) throws an exception when the password is wrong. This makes the process extremelly slow (15x). When you happen to completely ignore the exception (catch(Exception) with a variable), it becomes reasonably faster if you activate the code optimization (Release mode)

That’s it, the code is on Github.  If you happen to spot obvious bugs in the enumerator of passwords, don’t hesitate to let me know with a comment.