Making Wireguard VPN work with EE 4G in the UK

For the past couple of months I have been running a permanent VPN on my iPhone. There are a number of advantages: EE can’t log my browsing history Ad Blocking using Pi-Hole I can access my home LAN as if I were on my WiFi, wherever I am Occasionally I’ll leave the house and the Wireguard app will activate my VPN but the VPN won’t actually connect, it just sits there.

Home Assistant - Nest Thermostat

On 16th May 2019 Nest (Google) announced they will retire the Works with Nest program at the end of August. They’ve since changed their mind and now this only affects new users. Despite saying they will continue to support existing users it is still to this day impossible to sign up as a developer on the Nest developer site. I’ve wanted to integrate my Nest Thermostat with my Home Assistant instance for a while but because of these changes have been unable to do so.

Automating Alexa Guard

Amazon released a new feature for it’s Echo devices called “Alexa Guard” To get Alexa Guard working in the UK I had to reset my Echo Dot and link it to a new account registered on amazon.com (instead of .co.uk). You can set your device location, language, time zone all back to UK with the new account and Alexa Guard continues to work. Get Smart Alerts: Alexa can send you Smart Alerts, via phone notifications, if your Echo device detects the sound of smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, or glass breaking.

Sky Broadband - Transparent DNS proxy

As of April 2019 Sky Broadband have started rolling out firmware (2.09.2510.R and newer) to all their routers to add support for the “Sky Broadband Boost” add-on. Broadband Buddy – Customers can manage their family’s screen time in & out of their home via the Sky Buddy app (iOS and Android); even “*pause the internet*”. The app allows parents to monitor family online internet usage, including internet history. It also includes location tracking.

Social attack against Subscriber Identity Module (SIM cards)

A number of attacks on high profile individuals that have made the news recently are of a social nature more so than a vulnerability in a certain software’s code. Mat Honan perhaps being one of the most well known cases. In the space of one hour, my entire digital life was destroyed. Two factor authentication is being used by more as different services begin to support it, but it won’t make you entirely hack-proof.

IPv6 over IPv4 at home, today

In this article I explain how to enable IPv6 connectivity from any desktop in less than 5 minutes. I was chatting with Dan Jenkins on Twitter. He asked when will Virgin Media roll out IPv6 support? I suggested an IPv6 over IPv4 tunnel but it may be tricky to setup. I did a quick Google but to my surprise didn’t find the slew of blog posts explaining how to set this up.

Investigating the dirty world of phishing emails

The other day I was having a quick look through my Gmail spam folder and a particular email caught my eye. “Your NatWest CreditCard Online Statement is Ready Online”. Gmail warned me about the message. That they couldn’t verify it had been sent from natwestsecure.com and disabled all images and links. I was intruiged to know what would happen if I did click the link and also exactly where they were hosting this phishing site.

Have a lightning fast blog and host it for free

I recently migrated my blog from Wordpress to Silvrback to Ghost. I was very happy with Silvrback, it’s an excellent writing platform. In the end I got fed up not being able to change how my site looked (no theming), so switched to Ghost. I’m a bit of an uptime and performance freak. This website is relatively lightweight and performs well in most situations. I wanted to ensure it performed the best it ever could and sustained 100% uptime.

Organising a massive photo collection

I say massive, it’s not actually that big. It does make for a good title though. I’d like to share some of the methods I use to organise my photo collection. Most of the stuff I do is a result of reading somebody’s blog and then implementing in my own way. Organizing my photo collection has been incredibly liberating these past few days. I set out to de-duplicate, sort my photos into some sort of folder structure, shrink their file size down somewhat without affecting the quality of the images and then finally automate this for the future.

Virgin Media, why are you manipulating my traffic?

Updates 6th April: TalkTalk appear to be doing something similar 7th April: Plusnet are doing it too. The responses to my post have hightlighted that using DNSCrypt + OpenDNS doesn’t allow you to opt out of this behaviour which suggests a deal between the ISPs, Google and OpenDNS has been made. Virgin Media why does www.google.com resolve to host-62-253-8-99.not-set-yet.virginmedia.net? What a funny name for a PTR record, but seriously, why are you manipulating my traffic?