CryptoParty Durham wiki snapshot

Our meeting on 21st Oct 2014 is going to be a cryptoparty. This is a snapshot of the organising wiki page, taken from on 20th.

CryptoParty on October 21st, 2014

Welcome to the organising page for the Durham CryptoParty.

Book your place now ← This will not record anything about you other than what you write in the form. You can use a pseudonym.

Please book yourself a place if you intend to be there on the night in
any capacity, so we don’t overcrowd the room. If we get fully booked
we’ll think about putting on another event for anyone who we couldnt’
fit in.

There is no charge for attendance. We have been given free use of a room
on the understanding that we will be buying drinks at the bar which is
open from 7.30PM.

What is a CryptoParty?


Attend this CryptoParty to learn and teach how to use basic cryptography tools. A CryptoParty is free, public and fun. People bring their computers, mobile devices, and a willingness to learn! CryptoParty
is a decentralized, global initiative to introduce the most basic
cryptography software and the fundamental concepts of their operation to the general public, such as the Tor anonymity network, public key
encryption (PGP/GPG), and OTR (Off The Record messaging).

CryptoParties are free to attend, public, and commercially and politically non-aligned. (see the guiding principles)

Who should come?

Anyone who wants to learn about, or share their skills about, basic
cryptographic software. That means the kind of program that can keep
your personal information private, if you use it properly. So if you
don’t like the idea of strangers looking at your personal things, and
you use a computer, this is for you.

Who is organising this?

The event has been instigated by some members of Durham Linux User
Group, however the event is open to users of all computer systems. We’re
offering this event as a service to the community, because we think
it’s important that people should be able to protect their privacy (it
is a human right, after all) and because it’s fun 🙂

We are also reaching out to some other local groups in the hope of
involving them. If you have knowledge of a non-*nix system and are able
to help people use simple encryption tools on it, please make yourself
known (use an alias if you like) in the volunteers section below.

What should I do before I come?

This website you’re reading now has loads of useful information on it. Have a look at the documentation
and see what you make of it. If you find it easy, you can come along
and help people who didn’t find it easy. We can all learn something from
each other.

Keysigning session

We will be holding a keysigning session at the cryptoparty. This helps
us to build a Web of Trust both amongst ourselves and with the wider
online community.

To take part you will need to:

  • before the signing (preferably before the party to streamline things on the night)
    • generate a private PGP/GPG key – if you do not already have one.
    • send the key fingerprint to The following GPG command outputs the information that you need to send.
      • gpg –fingerprint <Your_Key_ID>
  • At the party.
    • be prepared to identify yourself/your key.
      • Typically we suggest that you bring yourself and two forms of photo ID.
      • However some people choose to only
        prove that they have control of a key and not to tie this to a
        government recognised form of ID.
      • See the examples under Keysigning policy for what options are generally used.
    • verify the ID of others at the party. We will be using the list based method. Copies of the keysigning list will be available at the party.
  • After the party.

More GPG & keysigning reading

Now the organising section…

Nobody is in charge so dive in and make it happen. You see those little
gray words that say “Edit” to the right of this? They are talking to you
kid. Also the thing at the top left that say “Edit this page” is also
talking to you, the difference is that does the whole page at once.

Go on… if you don’t do it, maybe no one will… and if you’re not sure
just edit the Q&A section and put in a question then check back
later to see if someone answered it.

What we have

This is what we’ve got:

  • Venue: Classroom at the Durham Amateur Rowing Club
  • Time: 7.30pm to 10.30pm
  • Desk space and chairs for up to 30 people
  • Plenty of power sockets
  • wifi
  • projector with VGA input if anyone wants to show stuff to the group
  • “break out” space in the bar
  • parking for cars and bikes. and boats for that matter.
  • level access for those with mobility problems
  • Real ale

What we need

Can you help us source these?

  • Snacks
  • Signage
  • Some old, cheapo USB flash
    drives to give away TAILS on. Anyone know where we can get some, e.g.
    some promotional ones that got overproduced?
    [TAILS needs at least
    4GB, or 8GB with a persistent volume, so old drives are likely to be
    far too small. We could easily set up TAILS for anyone who brings along
    their own USB drive.]
  • Relevant campaign stickers


In advance
Role Volunteer
Make some witty, attractive promotional materials who has dem skillz please?
Add good ideas to this wiki page all
Contact interested local groups all
Make some signs (A4 should do) to direct people to the right room who has access to a printer at work?
Bake a cake #1 mark will make one
Bake a cake #2 biscuits (session cookies?) olly
Pump out social media & other links & invitations pointing to this page all
Publicity and Inivitations

All of us should be inviting people and groups, however if one of those
people gets multiple invitations it would make us look like some dodgy
spam-lords. Which we aint. So record here when you invite someone. If
you’re thinking of inviting some people, check here first to see if
they’ve already been invited.

  • Durham Uni computer society
  • Durham Uni pro-bono lawyers
  • DU librarians
  • Durham student union activities
  • Durham Palestine Educational Trust
  • Durham Free Software Skillshare project
  • Transition Durham
  • Open Rights Group
On the night

I think the main plan is to hang loose and show each other cool stuff.
However if lots of people turn up needing a basic overview of a topic,
it would be cool to have a 5-minute presentation prepared, would it not?
There are slides already on this wiki for us to use. Could folks nominate themselves here / add your offer to the list, or take one of these:

Role Volunteer
PGP basics Olly
PGP keysigning Rich M
Simple TOR usage with TBB mark
OTR Dan + someone else? Alice and Bob?
Hard disk encryption several of us know how to use dmcrypt?
Mac go-to person Helen
Windows go-to person Rich P

Questions and Answers

please add Q/A depending on what you have

Q Will the cakes be stored in a CryptoPantry?

A No, nor will they contain keys.

Q I have a 3D printer which can dispense solder paste. Can I use it to render my key into icing on top of a cake?

A You should definitely do that. Use a clean syringe though.

Q Who should attend?

A Anyone who wants to learn or share how to use simple encryption tools

Q What should I bring?

A Bring a portable computing device if you want help to use it

March LUG – Kindling

Somewhere out over the North Sea I took off my jacket, leaned back, and sipped on my beer. My jacket has a nice big inside pocket and, if I take the cover of my kindle, it fits perfectly in the pocket. It’s a perfect fit. I mean, you wouldn’t know it was there …

A few days later I dug out my kindle and noticed the display was suffering from a split personality. The bottom half was telling me to switch it on, while the top half was still showing three little birds, outside my window, singing a sweet song. Oh dear. After a visit to the University of Google it became apparent to me that this problem is not uncommon. Weird, but not uncommon. Weird because you can run your finger across the screen and feel nothing; no cracks no blemishes. But it’s clearly broke. It may be silky smooth on the outside but it hides a shattered interior.

The forums on Amazon buzz with feel-good stories of customers phoning Amazon and getting great trade-in deals on their ‘just out of warranty’ kindles. My Kindle was not just out of warranty, it was exceedingly, comfortably and generously out of warranty, and had been for a couple of years. Still worth a try …

Well that didn’t go anywhere useful. Nice chap all the same, and together across the ether we visited the Amazon website where we discussed the nice shiny new kindles and he advised me that I could ‘buy’ one, at the price shown. Apparently bears also go to the bathroom in the woods. Ok, let’s go to ebay.

Aha … Now we’re cooking … This looks just the chap. A couple of days later a huge ball of bubble-wrap arrives at work, and somewhere inside, is a shiny new kindle screen. And there’s even a link to their Youtube video, yeah, well whatever. Why watch a youtube video when it’s NELUG night, and, well, you can run linux on a kindle can’t you? Apparently.

Durham - kindle - nelug -- Tue 19 Mar 2013 21-23-04 GMT_640x480

Richard takes the kindle to bits

That evening I turned up with a broken kindle, a new screen, and a random selection of small screwdrivers. I dumped them on the table and headed for the bar. A few minutes later I returned with my drink to find surgery was already underway. In the time it takes to say “a pint of Black Sheep please” Richard had prised open the cover, removed the battery, and was poking at various bits of the kindle’s anatomy with professional interest.

I made a perfunctory pretense of watching the instruction video on youtube but the Nelug hive mind was working quite well without it. With the new screen fitted re-assembly was, as they say, simply the reverse of disassembly. I stuck to the Black Sheep while Richard stuck to the screwdriver and, despite some frisky screws that had decided to go for a wander and wanted to live somewhere else for a while, it all ended well.

Mission Accomplished

The broken screen on the left with the repaired Kindle on the right

LUG meeting report, 18 September 2012

Much fun was had learning about the difference between BIOS and UEFI booting, with the help of a Fedora 17 live USB: booting a BIOS system with this gives you syslinux, but a UEFI laptop loaded GRUB with a broken set of configurations. A few internet searches told us this was a known problem, and we were able to fix the UEFI booting.

We also spent some time diagnosing CUPS and wireless driver problems, and discussing the implications of Google’s recent announcement that is supporting OAuth 2.0 authentication for several of its APIs.