Friday, April 29, 2011

Hotmail, xbox and microsoft live have been hacked.

update: hotmail have added a my friend has been hacked button, so people can report when one of their friends accounts have been hacked. Also I got my account back after 5 days or so. I don't think any of my contacts lost any money from the scam. Other people who got their accounts hijacked have not been so lucky.



Many people have been having their hotmail accounts been broken into and stolen.

Microsoft writes about it on their security blog.

I've meet a few people over the last week who know of people who have had their accounts stolen.

The fraudsters are sending everyone in their contact list and telling people they have been robbed - and to send money. They say they are in a hotel and the hotel will not let them leave.

A friend told me about how some people call up, and someone answers pretending to be the hotel manager mentioned in the scam email.


I haven't read any media coverage of this, but have heard first hand of people who it has happened to. Could this be related to the Sony break-in the other week?


Unfortunately Microsoft do not seem to answer when contacted about accounts being used for fraud. Their account reset procedure is so slow that by the time an account is recovered the damage could very well be done.

Microsoft are also recommending people create new hotmail accounts rather than go through the verification process to recover a stolen account. Unfortunately this is a rather dangerous attitude to take, since many people have been sent emails and all of the people in the contact list could be victims of crimes.


The xbox live network uses the same authentication as hotmail and other Microsoft online properties and stores. Microsoft uses a single sign on system - so this is a very big security break down.

I have no idea how large the break-in is. However, if I hear about multiple people in real life having their accounts stolen then I think this is MASSIVE.

Sony took their system offline whilst they investigated the hackers. I'm not sure what if anything Microsoft has done.

Please spread the word, and warn others about this break-in.

Example scam email

Here is an example of one of the emails they are sending out:
Subject: My Plight!!! Help

I'm sorry for this odd request because it might get to you too urgent but it's
because of the situation of things right now, I am stuck in United Kingdom .
we were robbed at the park of the hotel where we stayed,all cash,credit card and
cell were stolen off us but luckily for us we still have our passports with us.

We've been to the embassy and the Police here but they're not helping issues at all
and our flight leaves today but we're having problems settling the hotel bills and
the hotel manager won't let us leave until we settle the bills.

I need a quick loan?? promise to refund it back once i get home.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Let's make a shit JavaScript interpreter! Part Two.



Let's make a shit javascript interpreter! Part two.

As a learning exercise, I've begun writing a JavaScript ECMAScript interpreter in python. It doesn't even really exist yet, and when it does it will run really slowly, and not support all js features.

Homework from part One - A simple tokeniser.

We ended "Let's make a shit JavaScript interpreter! Part One." by setting some homework to create a tokeniser for simple expressions like "1 + 2 * 4". Two readers sent in their versions of the tokenisers (ps, put a link to your home work results from Part One in the comments, and I'll link to it here).

Our simple tokeniser

operators = ['/', '+', '*', '-']
class ParseError(Exception):
pass
def is_operator(s):
return s in operators
def is_number(s):
return s.isdigit()

def tokenise(expression):
pos = 0
for s in expression.split():
t = {}
if is_operator(s):
t['type'] = 'operator'
t['value'] = s
elif is_number(s):
t['type'] = 'number'
t['value'] = float(s)
else:
raise ParseError(s, pos)

t.update({'from': pos, 'to': pos + len(s)})
pos += len(s) + 1
yield t

>>> pprint(list(tokenise("1 + 2 * 4")))
[{'from': 0, 'to': 1, 'type': 'number', 'value': 1.0},
{'from': 2, 'to': 3, 'type': 'operator', 'value': '+'},
{'from': 4, 'to': 5, 'type': 'number', 'value': 2.0},
{'from': 6, 'to': 7, 'type': 'operator', 'value': '*'},
{'from': 8, 'to': 9, 'type': 'number', 'value': 4.0}]

Code for shitjs.

You can follow along with the code for shit js at: After you have installed it, shitjs.part1 is the package for the part1 homework.

What next? Parsing with the tokens of our simple expression.

Since we have some tokens from the input, we can now move onto the parser. Remember that we are not making a parser for all of javascript to start with, we are starting on a simple expressions like "1 + 2 * 4". As mentioned in Part One, we are using an algorithm called "Top Down Operator precedence". Where actions are associated with tokens, and an order of operations. Here you can see the precedence rule (order of operations) with parenthesis around the (1 + 2) addition changes the result.
>>> 1 + 2 * 4
9
>>> (1 + 2) * 4
12

A number is supplied for the left, and the right of each token. These numbers are used to figure out which order the operators are applied to each other. So we take our token structure from tokenise() above, and we create some Token objects from them, and depending on their binding powers evaluate them.

What's new is old is new.


The "Top Down Operator precedence" paper is from the 70's. In the 70's lisp programmers loved to use three letter variable names, and therefore the algorithm and the variable names are three letter ones. They also wore flares in the 70's (which are back in this season) and I'm not wearing them, and I'm not using three letter variable names!

Sorry, I digress... So we call 'nud' prefix, and 'led' infix. We also call rbp right_binding_power, and lbp left_binding_power.

nud - prefix
led - infix
rbp - right_binding_power
lbp - left_binding_power

Prefix is to the left, and infix is to the right.

Manually stepping through the algorithm.

Let's manually step through the algorithm for the simple expression "1 + 2 * 4".

>>> pprint(list(tokenise("1 + 2 * 4")))
[{'from': 0, 'to': 1, 'type': 'number', 'value': 1.0},
{'from': 2, 'to': 3, 'type': 'operator', 'value': '+'},
{'from': 4, 'to': 5, 'type': 'number', 'value': 2.0},
{'from': 6, 'to': 7, 'type': 'operator', 'value': '*'},
{'from': 8, 'to': 9, 'type': 'number', 'value': 4.0}]


Let's give left binding powers to each of the token types.
  • number - 0
  • + operator - 10
  • * operator - 20
Ok, so first we have a number token, with the value of 1.0. This is because in our shitjs so far all numbers are floats. Here is a log obtained by stepping through the expression.
('token', Literal({'to': 1, 'type': 'number', 'value': 1.0, 'from': 0}))
('expression right_binding_power: ', 0)
('token', OperatorAdd({'to': 3, 'type': 'operator', 'value': '+', 'from': 2}))
('left from prefix of first token', 1.0)
('token', Literal({'to': 5, 'type': 'number', 'value': 2.0, 'from': 4}))
('expression right_binding_power: ', 10)
('token', OperatorMul({'to': 7, 'type': 'operator', 'value': '*', 'from': 6}))
('left from prefix of first token', 2.0)
('token', Literal({'to': 9, 'type': 'number', 'value': 4.0, 'from': 8}))
('expression right_binding_power: ', 20)
('token', End({}))
('left from prefix of first token', 4.0)
('leaving expression with left:', 4.0)
('left from previous_token.infix(left)', 8.0)
right_binding_power:10: token.left_binding_power:0:
('leaving expression with left:', 8.0)
('left from previous_token.infix(left)', 9.0)
right_binding_power:0: token.left_binding_power:0:
('leaving expression with left:', 9.0)



You can see that it is a recursive algorithm. Each indentation is where it is entering a new expression.

Also, see how it manages to use the binding powers to make sure that the multiplication of 2 and 4 is done first before the addition. Otherwise the answer might be (1 + 2) * 4 == 12! Not the correct answer 9 that it gives at the end.

The operations are ordered this way because the + operator has a lower left binding power than the * operator.

You should also be able to see from that trace that a tokens infix and prefix operators are used. The OperatorAdd for example, takes what is on the left and adds it to the expression of what is on the right with it's prefix operator.


Here is an example Operator with prefix(left) and infix(right) methods.

class OperatorAdd(Token):
left_binding_power = 10
def prefix(self):
return self.context.expression(100)
def infix(self, left):
return left + self.context.expression(self.left_binding_power)


Pretty simple right? You can see the infix method takes the value in from the left, and adds it to the expression of what comes on the right.


Exercises for next time

Make this work:

>>> evaluate("1 + 2 * 4")
9.0

(ps... if you want to cheat the code repository has my part 2 solution in it if you want to see. The code is very short).


Until next time... Further reading (for the train, or the bathtub).


Below is some further reading about parsers for JavaScript, and parsers in python. After following some of those links you may realise that we could probably make this shitjs interpreter in an easier way by reusing libraries. However if we wanted to do that, we'd just use an existing JavaScript implementation! Also our JavaScript wouldn't be shit, or from scratch.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Pyweek April 2011, this weekend.

Pyweek 12 – April 3rd-April 10th



Find out more about PyWeek
- "Invites entrants to write a game in one week from scratch either as an individual or in a team. Is intended to be challenging and fun. Will hopefully increase the public body of game tools code and expertise. Will let a lot of people actually finish a game. May inspire new projects (with ready made teams!)"