Friday, March 27, 2009

OS X error mounting disk images Fix!

Fix error 0xe00002c9 when mounting disk images
SecUpd2007-009Ti.dmg, burn security update to disk and install OS X. 10.4.11 OS X

After installing OS X 10.4 on a 12” iBook that was picked up as parts and rebuilt from scratch (there will be a post on that one later) I ran in to this issue where not just one .dmg file refused to open but any file I tried failed.

Google is my friend, with that in mind I started to search for help on this issue because I really did not feel like starting over with the install and re-patching the OS all over again. It was a lengthy process (not as long as an XP install and patch mind you), but I had already migrated some applications and files over and did not want to waste the time. And I think the issue arose after one of the last software updates because on the first couple of reboots all that showed up when I logged is was the spotlight icon in the upper right hand side of the screen and that was it. On the second or third reboot the system came up fine. (so not exactly sure what happened???)

A few of the posts did suggest the only viable way to get rid of this was to reinstall, but I did come across this post from LMP over at macosxhints. His suggestion was to download Security Update from Apple’s support page. Well that is great I went out to Apple and downloaded SecUpd2007-009Ti.dmg. But now what like I said previously I can not mount any .dmg files due to the fact that the system refused to mout the disk images. Also not being so familiar with Mac software just yet I was not sure if stuff-it would extract the package I needed. I did have a blank CD and Toast was loaded so I burned the disk image to a CD via the copy disk part of Toast and mounted the package from there, installed the security update rebooted and no more issues mounting .dmg files any longer. So kudos to LMP thank you very much. If you have a PC with windows, Nero, and a burner from what I can tell off of the web is that you can change the extension from .dmg to .iso and use Nero to burn the disk as well.

Here is the original post from LMP

Monday, March 2, 2009

Why? Data Destruction Personal Security

Personal information is the key to our lives, impending attacks on our identities hover over us on a daily basis. We as a population can not open a news paper, watch TV, or open a web browser with out reading or hearing “Identity Theft”. This is why it is so important for us to be diligent in protecting our own identity with all of the data that is on our own personal computers and things we send over the internet.

I am a geek, not a computer guru by any stretch of the imagination. But I have curiosity and that is what drives me to do things normal folks would not do. If I can do this any one with a computer attached to the internet and a CD burner can do this. Read on and you will find out how easy it really is.
Last week I needed to find a very inexpensive computer for a client of mine that is on a very limited budget. As a side note I have several systems in various states of disrepair that I could put back together, but that would require more of my time than I am willing to expend right at this very moment. So off to one of my favorite perusing sites CraigsList. After a few minutes of searching “Bingo” perfect system popped up a Compaq Presario
Intel Celeron 2.6 GHz (don’t like the neutered Intel chips but in my experiences Intel has been more compatible than any AMD chip I have used.)
512MB memory
40 GB UDMA IDE Hard Drive
CD-RW Optical Drive
Integrated Intel Extreme graphics (shared video memory) but that’s ok not a gamer machine
USB 2.0 this is critical for data transfer (for me it is)

I call the gentleman that listed the computer, his is selling the box, mouse and keyboard. All I need is the box. My first question is there an OS (operating system) loaded. No! Well I still want to look at it so I arrange a time to go look at it, Grab my tech tool kit Linux live CD’s and off I go.

Couple of quick checks:
BIOS F2 check the memory make sure it is showing 512MB the hard drive make sure it is reporting 40GB (not that it is good, but that it shows it is there) CD make sure it shows as well. Every thing checked out. Reboot to non-system disk (I knew there was no OS so not a big surprise) Reboot with one of my Linux Live CD’s it boots up cool, and the memory checks out. Run a quick check on the hard drive no initial errors and there is an NTFS partition for the full size of the drive. Every thing seems to be in order and has a Windows COA (Certificate of Authenticity) so I hand over 40$ and take the box.

Back to the shop in 15 minutes plugged in to the mouse, keyboard, and monitor. Here is where Data Destruction is critical (I am an honest “hacker” lol like I said not a Guru and not really a hacker either.) Trinity Rescue Kit
This is a bootable Linux Live CD with a lot of very useful tools and utilities **caution: this CD is mostly command line based and if you are using it on a computer you have data on that you need be very careful it can destroy anything you are trying to recover.**

I have already done my research and the box originally came preloaded with Windows XP home so I have an idea what I am looking for. What should be there are 2 partitions one should be an active NTFS partition taking up most of the disk and the other should be some type of FAT 32 partition in and around the 1 to 5 GB size.

Using the Trinity Rescue Kit there are a couple of utilities I am interested in using first is Gpart and Testdisk. First run is Gpart it finds the NTFS partition and shows errors that it can not deal with correctly. I mark it active and bootable reboot hoping to find something recoverable. Reboot to the hard drive still no good. Tried Testdisk first pass shows an NTFS partition of a smaller size starting at the 5 GB mark ran a more intensive test and let it go all the way through it found 2 partitions FAT 32 and the NTFS marked the 2 partitions and wrote the MBR (Master Boot Record) to the Disk as well as the boot partition for the FAT 32 partition. Rebooted and it went directly in to the Compaq recovery partition. WAHOO it works. Now there were still some issues with the geometry of the partitions that I still needed to rectify be for the system is really usable but at this time they are inconsequential. The system booted and the recovery partition is useable that is the main part I was looking for now the system can be restored to factory original settings when the first user received the machine. Now that all has nothing to do with the personal information right!

What does is the fact that now I have access to the NTFS partition that was there and is now there. I also have access to all of the previous owner’s personal files that were on the disk prior to some one deleting all of the partitions and creating one big NTFS partition. Not just personal documents, but pictures, music, and even internet browsing histories. And if a really devious person was to have this information they could go in to histories and pull password information for all online sites bank information any thing that may have ever been stored on that computer. Even with M$ password protected files, the file folder Owner may not be accessible via a windows based computer but Linux does not care about that and an Ubuntu Live CD will let you in to those folders view, move, and access all of those protected files. After another hour or two of fiddling and futzing with the machine I had recovered it back to original working order and removed any trace of the previous owner’s information. And created a recovery DVD incases of catastrophic disasters which is the only guarantee I can give is that eventually some thing will go wrong.

For this reason I would suggest **and this is only a suggestion** but if you are recycling any PC including Laptops, hard drives, or any type of memory disk or stick use a bootable CD like Ultimate Boot CD this is a menu driven bootable CD that will allow you to use tools like Darik’s Boot and Nuke or CopyWipe which will securely shred any and all personal information from a mass storage device.

Even if you are throwing your PC away, donating, or giving it to a recycle company run a utility first to shred or wipe your information. A simple delete, partition wipe, or format will not get rid of your information “Knowledge is Power” and now you have the “Power”.

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