Posted in Netflix

TCP-IP headers filter what you’re seeing on Netflix

We are increasingly concerned about our privacy and why others can not know our hobbies, tastes, and interests through the Internet. However, it is increasingly difficult to maintain our privacy in the network, both due to the advanced tracking systems implemented in most web pages and, in many cases, due to the protocols used that unknowingly expose certain information that should not be exposed, as it has happened to Netflix.

Recently, a security expert from the United States Military Academy has been analyzing the HTTPS connections that Netflix implements through which it communicates with users in a secure manner. In this study, the security expert has been able to demonstrate that, although the connections are secure and do not endanger personal data or the security of users, if we look at the TCP / IP headers, they are 99.5% of the tracking fingerprint.

It is true that HTTPS is designed to preserve privacy, and Netflix is not committing any negligence in this aspect, since it does not send in plain text the titles of the movies or series in these headers, but instead sends the variable bit rate (VBR), a rate that can be predictable and associated with a certain series or film.

This security expert has created a small database with 42,000 Netflix videos, each represented by more than 7 fingerprints. In this way, simply getting one of the traces of any user of the platform will be able to know what content is playing without much difficulty.

The algorithm created by this expert is able to automatically recognize any movie in a maximum time of 3 minutes and 55 seconds, although most videos are identified before two and a half minutes. While this technique works for almost the entire Netflix library, there are two concrete films that involve a greater work to have long periods entirely in black: 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Gospel Way: A Story of Jesus.

All the research of this security expert, his algorithm and the tools used are available on GitHub.

It is up to Netflix to solve this problem or not

At the moment, Netflix has not commented on this security failure that may expose the tastes of its users. However, this researcher says that solving it should not be too complicated and offers a couple of ideas on how to do it.

On the one hand, the browser could make the average of several segments and send the corresponding HTTP GET with that average size instead of the size of each frame, and it could even be made to randomly combine segments and send the data of the segments combined, avoiding in the same way that you can identify what is being seen through this simple technique.

For the moment, we can only wait to see if Netflix, a company that, truthfully, is committed to transparency and security, remedies this.

Are you worried that others may know what you see or do not see through Netflix?

Posted in Travelling

How to bargain during a trip

The one who came to read my point of view on bargaining will think that I am very against this practical traveler. While I detest the way in which some people want to buy a souvenir paying almost nothing or nothing, it is also true that tourists must deal with sellers often. That is why I want to give you some tips on how to haggle during a trip.

There are travelers who pay double or even triple the cost of an object that they could acquire for less money, and all for lack of knowledge of how to ask for a reduction in this scenario.

The reality is that jumping to haggle without having the slightest idea of the real price is very difficult, and more if the seller is not very honest to say. What complicates things a little more is that the rules of the game vary in each country. In Morocco and China, haggling is almost mandatory, while in Guatemala or Ecuador doing so would be an economic detriment to indigenous sellers.

In any case, and for the purposes of this article, I want to give the following ideas to those who feel that curiosity about bargaining and not knowing where to start. I do not want to consider myself an expert in this field, but I think I know what is necessary to guide who is interested in knowing, so here we go:

1- Do not buy in the first place you see

Before deciding to buy something, take your time and go from store to store. If you have had the opportunity to go to a craft market, you will have noticed how you find the same product in several stalls. After you have seen the cost of the merchandise that catches your attention, visit the other stores and find out the price so that you can get an idea of how much you can lower a price by bargaining.

How to bargain during a trip

2- Maintain a polite, positive and smiling attitude

They say that the smile opens doors, and is not the exception when bargaining. Instead of going shopping and thinking that those who come to serve you will only do it to get money in a dishonest way, go with a mentality that radiates joy, confidence and brings out the best in you.

3- Remember that both you and the seller must win

What do I mean by this? That you would be happy to get something without feeling that you are paying others, but it is not about the seller losing out. That’s why I believe that haggling should be done with the best of intentions, without taking advantage of the humble people who need a good sale to feel better economically at the end of the day.

4- Do not show too much interest

A rule so simple and simple that is forgotten. It happens when we see that desired object and we get so excited that happiness overflows through the pores. Act as if the merchandise you want to buy does not steal your peace in the least. Otherwise, the merchant can take advantage of your emotion and will want to charge you for others.

5- Always pay with the local currency

This advice goes more for people who come from countries with strong currencies in the market (dollar and euro). You can count on a known currency and even accepted unofficially in almost all stores, but the most sensible thing would be to pay in local currency. Otherwise, I doubt that they will charge you a fair price.

6- Use the famous tactics of withdrawal

At first, I thought that this technique was something absurd, and I still remember how some travelers talked to me about how they put it into practice during their trips while listening to them with something of disbelief. Only when I traveled to 8 things that you should know about the Dominican Republic could I realize how great it is when it is executed. Is to leave the place if you feel that you are giving a price more expensive than usual. Almost always the seller will end up going after you to offer you a lower value of the original. If you do not run around, you better look elsewhere where you can buy cheaper.

7- Avoid looking wealthy

I know that some travelers are so clueless that they forget it and it is normal, but they must be very aware that if they want to succeed in haggling, they do not show that iPhone or HD video camera in front of the seller. Do it and I promise you that you will not receive any kind of rebate.

8- Try to take small denomination bills

Unless you want to complicate when paying, nothing better than carrying loose and low denomination tickets. I recommend it, first of all, because you save time by paying once, unlike doing it with a high ticket and you wait for the return to come, whether the seller has cash or not.

The second (and this is rather a ruse) is that, by having small bills, you can afford to say ” but this is all I have with me “, which will make salespeople think you do not have much money and If they are very desperate they will prefer that you buy them with what you have.

It is worth mentioning that these tips can be put into practice not only to buy a product but also to take a taxi or search for a tour. I consider bargaining more like a healthy pastime, and seeing it in this way will help you not to get mad if things do not turn out as you expected.

Any other advice that you think is missing from the list?