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The Book of Names: Storie ...

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From the author of Sistina, Alone in the Light, and World Hunger   The Book of Names is Brian Kenneth Swain’s first collection of short fiction. The ...

Counting the Drops in a W ...

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So, this title has been sitting on my desk for about eight years now, and I still haven’t yet come up with a poem to go with it.   It’s just that I ...

Lynette Aleman – In The ...

One of the great things about the two-plus years I’ve spent writing these interview articles for The Dominion magazine is getting to meet the many interesting folks who call the Dominion home. Some of you will know Lynette Aleman as an occasional arts writer for this very magazine, as well as the author of Girl About Town, whose musings on local culture and events adorn these pages from time to time. One thing you learn very quickly from talking with Lynette is that she is the artsy type, though by no means are her creative efforts limited to writing, as we will see shortly. She recalls growing up on the southeast side of the city during its period of rapid growth. It was there that she and her future husband Anthony met in high school ...

Man in the Middle Attack

The Threat Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) mobile attacks can be accomplished in a wide range of technical ways, but the high level effect is the same in every scenario. An individual manages to insert himself between a call originator and recipient, and manages, as well, to fool each party into believing they are communicating directly with the other desired party, when, in fact, they are each communicating with the attacker. Having thus convinced each party that they are taking part in a legitimate and secure conversation, the attacker then has access to both parties’ IMSI numbers, physical locations, and all of the contents of their conversation, which can, in turn, be eavesdropped on or recorded for other nefarious purposes. How Does It ...

Malware/Spyware Attack

The Threat There exist many types of malware targeting mobile devices. And with the proliferation of mobile phones over the past decade, malware developers have dramatically ramped up their efforts to create and distribute malicious software to the cell phone community. Unsurprisingly perhaps, financial attacks are the single largest category of malware. According to a recent article by Ori Bach at SecurityIntelligence.com, about 30% of all extant malware is built for the purpose of stealing financial information. Other popular categories include stealing personal information, keystroke logging, deploying cryptographic ransomware, or opening the phone up to remote control of cameras, microphones, or call eavesdropping.   How’s It ...

Hacking the CCS7 Network

The Threat The CCS7 network was developed in the mid seventies to control the routing of phone calls using out-of-band signaling. The data packets transmitted on the network control not only the initiation and completion of calls, but also numerous billing functions and the activation of advanced features that are today taken for granted (call forwarding, call waiting, etc.). Because the data packets transmitted via CCS7 are unencrypted, it has become relatively easy to gain access to this network and to use it to perform numerous nefarious activities, most notable of which are locating a cell phone with an accuracy of a few meters and intercepting and eavesdropping on calls. The weaknesses of the CCS7 network came to the fore in mid 2014 ...

Baseband Attack

The Threat The baseband processor in a mobile phone is the system that communicates via radio waves with the cell tower in order to complete cellular calls. Because your mobile phone communicates via cell towers, in order to intercept the radio signal from a cell phone, the hacker must first set up a fake cell tower and convince a nearby phone (the target) to connect to it. The hacker can then download malicious code that will attack vulnerabilities in the GSM/3GPP stacks of the phone’s baseband processor, typically Qualcomm or Infineon chip sets. While this attack type is limited to those individuals or entities with the resources and technical know-how to set up their own bogus cell towers, the cost of setting one up has fallen ...

Captain Ordinary

(a somewhat less than epic poem)   Captain Ordinary arrives, as if from out of nowhere, in those moments when something unusual seems about to happen.   He is not summoned by the glow of a signal in the sky, for that would be extraordinary, not his thing at all. Just a simple phone call or text message.   Nor does he swoop down from on high or fly in, defying the laws of physics. He arrives in a beige Prius with a small dent on the front right bumper and fast food wrappers crumpled in the backseat.   He does not crash through windows or knock down front doors. Captain Ordinary courteously rings the doorbell and waits there, humming the last tune from the radio, shifting his weight from one foot to the ...

The Deal of a Lifetime

Rick was supposed to be writing, damn it. He had a contract and a deadline and he’d already long-since spent the meager advance. He had done the math and it was driving him mad. The publisher expected a four hundred pager, due in seven months time, which was, of course, insane, seeing as how the first book had taken nearly five years to research and write. Four hundred pages, about a hundred and fifty thousand words, of which he currently had maybe ten thousand. To make the deadline meant cranking out about ten thousand more words every week for the remainder of the time until the deadline. Who the hell could do that? Nobody, that’s who. Maybe Stephen King, but that was about it. The book would presumably be based on the topic already ...

The House on Old Bath Road

This is the first in a series of descriptive essays I mean to undertake, not for the purpose of storytelling per se, or even necessarily being of interest to anyone other than myself and the siblings and close friends with whom I shared my upbringing. Rather, I am doing this as a way to remind myself of some formative aspects of my childhood, against the day when I become doddering and need an occasional reminder of things past. This first piece is about the house in which I grew up in Brunswick, Maine. *          *          * The house on Old Bath Road was quite ordinary by the standards of Maine in the 1960’s, at least in terms of layout. It was, though, in far less than ideal condition, seeing as how no significant ...

The Challenge

“So you believe there is no point to life if you don’t die at the end of it,” MacDonald says, punctuating the statement with a sip from his bourbon. Ice cubes tinkle in the highball glass as he sets it down on the end table. Henderson, his companion in the chair opposite, sits for a long, silent moment, letting the statement hang, a legally concise distillation of his own more nuanced philosophical assertions of the past few moments. The only other sounds in the library are periodic crackles from the fireplace and the quickening breaths of a cold front just now arriving outside the big front window. MacDonald’s statement is neither rhetorical nor a mere exercise in eschatological musing, though the pair, fast friends since their ...

Those Who Speak, Ch. 1 – ...

June 20, 1955   1955 was barely half over and already it had been a year of auspicious beginnings and hopeful changes. President Eisenhower had, in February, sent the first handful of advisors to an obscure country in Southeast Asia called Vietnam, assuring Americans that it was strictly a training assignment and that the men would be home before year’s end. In March a dashing young guy with jet-black hair and a pretty good singing voice had made his first television appearance—guy named Elvis something or other. And up in Illinois an ambitious and entrepreneurial businessman named Ray Kroc had opened a little hamburger stand known as McDonald’s, bragging that he was offering something new he called “fast food,” like anybody ...