A Weird Imagination

Custom Bullshit Sans

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So, you saw Sans Bullshit Sans (which I previously blogged about) and thought that Sans Bullshit Sans font is cool, but its word list doesn't really match up with my field's bullshit?

As mentioned in that previous post, Sans Bullshit Sans is open-source and comes with a detailed blog post explaining how it was made. Which means we can follow those instructions to modify the word list.

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Better fonts through ligatures

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Typographic ligatures

Typographic ligatures are a feature of a font where multiple characters are combined as one to improve readability. For example, if you look closely at the ffi and fl in the following, you'll notice they look slightly different with ligatures (normal):

office, float

and without ligatures:1

of‌f‌i‌c‌e, f‌l‌o‌a‌t

You can in fact create a font that declares any sequence of characters to be a ligature to be rendered differently. Because the difference is only at the font rendering level, copy and paste still work as expected. This allows us to choose sequences of characters that really act like single characters in a given programming language and render them as such.

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Generate and download file in TypeScript

The goal

Generate a file and offer it for download using only client-side JavaScript that is valid TypeScript.

The solution

var fileContents = "Hello world!";
var filename = "hello.txt";
var filetype = "text/plain";

var a = document.createElement("a");
dataURI = "data:" + filetype +
    ";base64," + btoa(fileContents);
a.href = dataURI;
a['download'] = filename;
var e = document.createEvent("MouseEvents");
// Use of deprecated function to satisfy TypeScript.
e.initMouseEvent("click", true, false,
    document.defaultView, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0,
    false, false, false, false, 0, null);
a.dispatchEvent(e);
a.removeNode();

This code offers a download of a file named hello.txt with the Internet media type text/plain containing the string Hello world!.

Warning: This uses the deprecated initMouseEvent() as a workaround to this TypeScript bug. While presently functional in Chrome and Firefox, this code may stop working in future versions of those browsers.

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Secure HTTPS without DANE

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DANE isn't a solution

Yesterday, I described how to setup DANE in order to verify HTTPS keys through DNSSEC. I also noted a very important caveat: no one supports it and both Mozilla and Google are unlikely to ever support it. So we can't expect any security gain from implementing DANE in the real world.

Let's be fair: DNSSEC is no panacea. Browser vendors aren't ignoring it out of spite. They are choosing to not implement it for solid technical and social reasons.

Wait, what's the problem, again?

Let's take a step back and look at why we wanted to use DANE in the first place. The problem is that the HTTPS security model is based on certificate authorities. Your browser has a list of certificate authorities that it trusts and to run a HTTPS site, you ask one (or more) of them to sign your server's public key asserting that your server really is the right one for your domain(s). The catch is that any certificate authority can make assertions about any domain and there's a lot of certificate authorities, many of which are suspected to be under the influence of various governments. This means that you are not just relying on the security of the certificate authority that you choose: you are relying on the security of every single certificate authority in the world. In short, the HTTPS security model is broken.

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DNSSEC on hosted DNS

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DNS is the system that provides information on hostnames like the IP address of aweirdimagination.net so your browser can connect to this website. DNSSEC is an extension which uses cryptographic signatures in order to verify that information is actually correct, preventing certain classes of attacks which could cause you to believe you are connecting to one server while actually connecting to a computer under the attacker's control. Additionally, since DNSSEC verifies information obtained through DNS has not been tampered with, it allows for DNS to be used for certificates, so servers can be authenticated for encrypted protocols without the need for relying on certificate authorities.

The problem

Unfortunately, DNSSEC support is not widespread in clients or servers. Particularly, I did not want to run my own DNS server and have to worry about keeping it updated and being aware of any security vulnerabilities. I wanted to be able to, for a reasonable price, have a domain with full DNSSEC support and use it for securely advertising the https certificate for this website and the ssh server key for the web server. (Admittedly, I am trusting the DNS host more than strictly necessary, but realistically, they are also my registrar so they could simply publish their own keys for my domain if they wanted to take it over.)

The solution

I settled on using easyDNS, since they were the only DNS hosting provider I could find that offered what I wanted; specifically, they very recently added support for TLSA and SSHFP records (for https and ssh keys, respectively). I later found mentions of RAGE4, which also looks like it should work.

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