Saturday, September 28, 2013

Trying to do my lab

This week is a lab week, specifically learning cryptography with CryptTool. This is a cross-platform tool which is also available on the school lab VMs so that we don't have to install strange software on our own systems. Not being a big fan of installing strange software, I opted for using the VMs.

First off, the instructions are posted in docx files. I use Google Drive for as my office suite, interacting with docx files is irritating. Okay, head over to to get a compatible office suite. Two files, one with instructions on accessing the VPN and the other with instructions on accessing the VMs once you are on the VPN.

Next I head to the site to use their Cisco SSL VPN Service. Lots of instructions to the side, but a link in front that says "Start". Click it. First thing I notice is a checkbox by "Java Detection", then I see that Chrome is informing me that Java is required to display the page, including a helpful "Install plug-in" button. What? No. No. No, no, no!

After the attempt to use Java times out the window presents a download link followed by the message: Alternatively, retry the automatic installation. Really? Not only did you want me to have and allow Java, but you expected me to let it auto install software? Pretty sure that is exactly why I don't have Java!

Fine. I'll download the VPN client myself and run it. Once I'm connected to the VPN, I have a new site to go to. Step 1, ignore the untrusted SSL certificate. Step 2, click past the "Warning: This browser will not work with vCloud Director. The vCloud Director Console requires Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 or higher or Firefox 3 or higher" message since I'm in Chrome. Which doesn't work, the site requires a VMWare plugin that is only compatible with IE and Firefox. Uggh.

Honestly, I have not had any real complaints about IE 10 (other than I haven't given it a real chance since it is IE) so I kick that up... and get the same warning. Wait a sec, I'm not a math major (actually, I was), but I'm pretty sure 10 is higher than 7. Maybe the IE version display is showing the version number in binary? Once again I clicked past the warning and tried to continue. 0 for 2, just like the Steelers!

Fire up Firefox. Download plugin, install. Amazingly... still doesn't work. Probably not compatible with 64 bit Windows 8. Strike three, I'm out.

Time to look into putting a VM onto my Ubuntu server. The CryptTool instructions say it is available for Linux, so that will be my first attempt. Install VirtualBox, download an Ubuntu workstation iso. That download took 2 hours and just finished while I was writing this up. Since that two hours was far longer than I wanted to wait, I tried other solutions first. Set up my Ubuntu laptop to accept an ssh connection from the server. Tunnel into the laptop and make a limited, throwaway user account for running this test.

Download the Linux package of CryptTool. cat INSTALL to get instructions. Oh! Turns out I don't have cmake installed. Apt-get cmake. Try again, nope. No Qt. Right now the Qt SDK is downloading, thank you wikiHow.

Looks like the lab will get done tomorrow night. Who has two thumbs and a soon to be irritated wife once she finds out about another night dedicated to schoolwork? This guy.

UPDATE: has an online version. Time to try and just do it in Chrome.

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