Posts

Building a period-accurate replica Soviet microcomputer

Published February 4, 2019
The final product
The final product

For my 11th grade history class, our final assignment was an open-ended research project, where both the topic and the medium of presentation was up to us. Having recently watched a YouTube video about Tetris, a game invented in the Soviet Union, I instantly knew I wanted to look into computer technology in the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

However, as I begun my research, I realized that the components used at the time were still available from sites like eBay. So, I decided, instead of writing a paper, to buy some of these components and try to build a replica computer, staying as period-accurate as I reasonably could.

This post is going to talk about the more technical and electrical side of things; if you want to learn more about the historical aspects of the project, you can read the written component that I submitted with the project.

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How a malicious seed generation website stole $4 million

Published January 28, 2018

Update 1/29/2018: the QR code is generated by a Web Worker rather than a Service Worker as initially stated (thanks to foodblogger on Hacker News for catching this!), the publish date was corrected, and as suggested on Reddit, the article was updated to clarify how the created seeds were varied for different users, but still known to the operator of the website. You can see the original version here.

Recently, Ars Technica posted an article describing how a malicious seed generator, iotaseed.io (now offline), was able to steal almost $4 million (!) worth of IOTA from its users’ wallets. The way they describe this is that the website “stored data about each seed generated along with information about the wallet it was associated with, allowing whoever was running the site (or whoever hijacked it) to simply wait until wallets were filled and then cash them out.” This made me curious, so I decided to look into the technical details of how the scam was pulled off.

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