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What is this ugly site doing on the internet ???

Hello.

ashr.net has been around for a while. Currently it hosts more archived content than live ;) There has always only been a single 'author' although 'author' is should be used loosely since most of the content has been saved from other places/people. The intent and use of the site has changed through the years, but the base has stayed the same: An archive of content the author has used/created/found/researched over many years of being a developer/hacker. The software that runs this site has been written from scratch however, in that regard, I am the original author.

The site itself has been hosted on a few other domains many years ago, most notable of which was a 'gambling related' search engine 'spoofer'. Some of the ideas/functionality of that site is still in use today. (You may have noticed that you will always get a posting from this site, no matter what URL you enter as long as you use .aspx as a filename) Back in the day it was even more fun. The site used three massive dictionaries to generate content for any possible URL. Any posting that was hit would take random exerpts from the three dictionaries and generate some textual content followed by generating a multitude of links and appending them to said posting. These links would then link back to postings that follow the same pattern of generation which meant the site had huge amounts of data, but actually nothing at all. This was fun while search engines were dumb. Over the years they got smarter, thought there were still a few basic ideas that you could play with.

 

My silly little experiment called 'Who will be the next South African President' had this site listed in the top 10 Google results for said question for a great many years. See if you can still find it - it's still around, but further down. With the advent of Social Media related rankings, the fun subsided for me, though I was still interested in Social Media API's and I stil play with them a lot today.

 

The most fun I can have is related to things users don't even see. The technology that enables this site has changed a great deal over the years, but it looks and acts the same as before. The site started as ASP.Net v1, ran on shared windows hosting on IIS with a MSSQL backend. V2 became a MVC 3/ASP.Net 2 mashup, still running on shared windows hosting on IIS and MSSQL. Today what you see runs on Ubuntu LTS on dedicated servers, on both Nginx and Apache2 through mod_mono and fast_cgi and MySql and EntityFramework ORM as a backend. One of my goals has always been to get everything I code to run on linux. Today, that goal has been achieved and it feels great. (Not because I personally did the work to allow that, a geat many people had to do work to allow for this, probably most notably Miguel De Icaza and his crew)

 

So, websites are just a small bit of what I do in life. I write a lot of software, at work and at home, because I like writing software, I like figuring out how to use and/or abuse tech. This is probably how I ended up doing what I do today. Half software developer, half penetration tester/hacker/trainer.

 

Back when torrents just came out, I ported the first .Net torrent library to .Net 1.1 to run it on mono, so I could host it on a server in california and download software on a really fast connection. I could then FTP that back into South Africa on my crappy connection and eventually use it at home.

I was an avid IRC user back when IRC was the only cool social media and wrote a bot in Java and then C# using the IRC RFC. (So from scratch, not using any libraries other than built in) The bot morphed into a office management platform at one of my jobs and eventually became a fully fledged trojan that I use for demos today. Integrated into facebook, twitter, google, prelude AI engine and tor it's the baseline for a lot of my experiments. Bit as the bot is known can be dropped via, MSWord Doc, .vbs files, PDF documents, bat files. I have written converters that can create this bot in shellcode on ASP, ASPX, JSP and the shell code itself can be pure machine code or MSIL which makes it really portable and super fun to play with.

Twitter has also become a nice playground for me. Currently I host two twitter bots. One focused on sending encrypted tweets for people who need to use a public platform securely and the other a silly one which integrates with a really nice AI API that I use to test other bots on twitter.

 

Anyway, I have tons of content on harddrives that I would love to put on here, but there is always too much to do and too little time. Technology never stands still and things we learnt today might not even matter tommorow. Some of the articles and or things I wanted to say will never make it here. But that doesn't matter.