Sony utility disables UAC

Sony Hotkeys Utilities (SOAOTH-606A0000-0042.exe) disables User Account Control (UAC) on my Windows 7 machine.

After re-installing Windows 7 on my Sony laptop I wanted to make my hotkeys (like volume) work again so I installed the Hotkeys utility by Sony. A few weeks later I got suspicious when several programs I opened had “Administrator:” in the title when I hadn’t approved any UAC. I checked my logs and the last program to ask for privilege elevation was the Hotkey utility.

I re-enabled UAC dialogs and re-booted the machine. I re-downloaded the utility from Sony, installed it, and was asked to approve a UAC dialog (so UAC was definitely enabled). Sony software asked that I reboot the machine to “finish installation.”  Immediately after the Sony dialog appeared a balloon in the bottom right appeared with the following text: “You must restart your computer to turn off User Account Control.” Sony’s software was the only thing running and I hadn’t opened any User Account Control settings since restarting the computer.



I let the software reboot the computer. After the reboot Sony software continued to install itself. I opened the User Account Control settings panel and verified that UAC was disabled.


Sony’s software finished installing itself, theoretically requiring UAC to do so, and asks to reboot a second time. I allowed it to reboot the machine and after the second reboot I pulled up the UAC settings again to verify that they were still disabled. As can be seen below the settings stayed with UAC disabled after two reboots.


Turning off UAC dialogs without user notification is a very dangerous thing to do. My computer spent several weeks in a state where any program that wanted to install could just do so without my approval. My programs were running with “Administrator” in the title because they were running with Administrator privileges (I manually verified this for PowerShell). No well behaved software should ever change security settings on a computer without notifying the user.

A couple of limitations to consider

  • This is one personal computer, it is possible that the Sony utility is reacting badly with my computer’s setup.
  • I tried the above steps three separate times, this is repeatable (at least on my machine).


Graph of attacks in real time

A map of the world showing the source of attacks and statistics about past attack rates.

Windows Event Viewer scam

Article from ARSTechnica detailing a phone scam where the caller uses the errors and warning messages shown in Windows Event Viewer to demonstrate the existance of “viruses” on the computer.

Certificate authority network

Researchers at Berkeley created a map of Certificate Authorities.

The EFF SSL Observatory also tracks Certificate Authorities and has a downloadable MySQL table of them.

Also ICIS Certificate Notary system by Berkely

Open source eye tracker

Open source code and open source construction directions for building an eye tracker.

Importing and exporting csv files in MySQL

To import/output csv you need some permissions. As root on mysql run the following code:

> grant all privileges
to 'YOUR_USER'@'localhost'
identified by 'your_password';
> GRANT FILE ON *.* TO 'YOUR_USER'@'localhost';
> flush privileges;

Exporting CSV from MySQL

For security reasons mysql can only export files to a limited number of directories, this is especially true with Ubuntu which now uses AppArmor. You can change permissions to get around the security restrictions, but it is a major headache. It is much easier to export the file to /tmp and then move it.

To export into the /tmp directory use the following MySQL command. Make sure to replace “database.table_name” with your database and table name.

select * into outfile '/tmp/outfile.csv' FIELDS TERMINATED BY ',' ENCLOSED BY '"' ESCAPED BY '\\' LINES TERMINATED BY '\n' from database.table_name;

Now move the file from /tmp to your favorite directory:

cp /tmp/outfile.csv /home/kami/data/

Unfortunately there is no way to remove /tmp/outfile.csv without using sudo.

Importing a csv file into MySQL

For security reasons the ability to load files from the local directory is disabled by default. To temporarily override this restriction use the “–local-infile=1” parameter when starting MySQL.

mysql --local-infile=1 -u USERNAME -p DATABASE

Lets say my csv file out.csv looked like the following:


The MySQL table I want to load the file into is called my_table and has columns a,b,c,d. I would use the following MySQL command.

LOAD DATA local INFILE '/home/kami/outfile.csv'
INTO TABLE my_table

This command will load the csv file ‘/home/kami/outfile.csv’ into the columns a, b and c in table my_table. It will also ignore the first row.

Further Reading


Digital Bill Of Rights

Privacy is a major point of contention between online consumers and companies. Advertising agencies track us across the web in order to build profiles about us so they can more accurately market products to us. Individual websites track us as we move our mice or scroll down the page so they can better design the sites both for content and advertisement placement. But what rights do we have in all this? Shouldn’t we be able to limit, view, or correct data stored about us?

Our Digital Rights tries to answer that question with a proposed set of rights people should have over data about them.

The digital self should be afforded equal standing as the physical self before the law and society.

Verifying certificate fingerprint

When opening pidgin on Ubuntu Linux I received the following warning dialogue with the message “Accept certificate for”. Clicking on “View Certificate” showed the second dialogue.

So how do you verify this?

To start with get the actual certificate from gmail and put it in a file

> openssl s_client -connect >

The file contents should look something like this:

 depth=1 C = ZA, O = Thawte Consulting (Pty) Ltd., CN = Thawte SGC CA
 verify error:num=20:unable to get local issuer certificate
 verify return:0
 Certificate chain
  0 s:/C=US/ST=California/L=Mountain View/O=Google Inc/
    i:/C=ZA/O=Thawte Consulting (Pty) Ltd./CN=Thawte SGC CA
  1 s:/C=ZA/O=Thawte Consulting (Pty) Ltd./CN=Thawte SGC CA
    i:/C=US/O=VeriSign, Inc./OU=Class 3 Public Primary Certification Authority
 Server certificate
 subject=/C=US/ST=California/L=Mountain View/O=Google Inc/
 issuer=/C=ZA/O=Thawte Consulting (Pty) Ltd./CN=Thawte SGC CA
 No client certificate CA names sent
 SSL handshake has read 2005 bytes and written 285 bytes
 New, TLSv1/SSLv3, Cipher is ECDHE-RSA-RC4-SHA
 Server public key is 1024 bit
 Secure Renegotiation IS supported
 Compression: NONE
 Expansion: NONE
     Protocol  : SSLv3
     Cipher    : ECDHE-RSA-RC4-SHA
     Session-ID: 45F9A9FA76661A382878C54AD89EB033C1D8CABB1840F6C154B32F406EC05D75
     Master-Key: 11FA086DFD76443E656F2C487A52B4BCF83A3F7B65C390A15FC2D876EE64E1EBF9FD1B9E8A22E5980D77CD86A11B2BE8
     Key-Arg   : None
     PSK identity: None
     PSK identity hint: None
     Start Time: 1331313945
     Timeout   : 7200 (sec)
     Verify return code: 20 (unable to get local issuer certificate)

Then calculate the fingerprint.

> openssl x509 -noout -fingerprint -in
SHA1 Fingerprint=59:29:78:A7:2A:90:61:F7:0A:D7:C4:4C:4D:44:9D:CF:25:8C:D5:34

The above fingerprint is different than the one Pidgin was warning me about. In this case I rejected the certificate, told pidgin to re-connect and on the second attempt got a valid certificate.

Places-Players-Perils: Privacy Framework

Jim Adler writes about a new framework, or way to think about the privacy concerning practices of companies. His Places-Players-Perils framework is designed to help decide whether a company’s data practices are creepy and why we might perceive them to be so.

Journalist fired over a photo of her at Occupy Wall Street

Excellent article by a journalist who participated in Occupy Wall Street, had a photograph of her taken while holding a sign, and was subsequently fired because she had “violated every ethic of journalism.”