Two-step authentication hacks through AT&T Messaging

A while back there was a bunch of noise on the net about single letter twitter handles getting blackmailed and how @h lost his.  Since I have a single letter twitter handle (@x) and know quite a few of the other single letter folks, I’ve noticed lots of random password reset notices and @ replies asking for my handle.

This isn’t something new, but one of the things recommended for security is to use two-step authentication.  Often this is done by having a code texted to you so when you log into a site, you use your username, password and that code to log in.  However, hackers have found it easy to hack AT&T Messaging and used that to view the text messages and thus could gain control to any accounts that might use two-factor authentication (so much for that!).

@j first had this happen and it happened to me at about the same time.  @j contacted AT&T support and didn’t have much luck getting the situation resolved and I had the same problem.  @t helped to get the word out about this vulnerability and @a had contacts at twitter that helped expedite both @j and I getting our accounts back.

For me the whole process started with some mysteriously random texts from those five digit text message return addresses reserved for notices.  They said something about AT&T Messaging, and it looked to me like they wanted me to sign up, so I just kept deleting them and thought nothing of it.  This was around May 19th, 2014 or so.

Around May 20th suddenly while I was out, when I tried checking twitter to see what was going on, it asked me to log back in and I couldn’t.  I thought it weird but didn’t do anything about it until I could check later on when I noticed my account wasn’t mine any more (screen shot below from May 20, 2014).

2014-05-20 22.08.40


Twitter was pretty responsive and I got my account back pretty quick with most of my account intact, but unfortunately @j lost all her info (although somehow she was still following me).  Contacting AT&T was much tougher and I got the runaround although they did their best to help, but the support folks didn’t really have a way to get the actual situation cleared up.  Through twitter I did get to talk to AT&T Customer Care, who provided one link that seemed to help.  Going back and forth to set up a AT&T Access ID was a pain but finally today I got ownership of the AT&T Messaging account and things seem to be back in order.

The most stressing thing about this is how easy it was for the hackers to get access to your text messages through AT&T Messaging.  This pretty much makes two-step authentication worthless and is a pretty serious security vulnerability.  At AT&T it seems that the way the accounts are set up between your actual AT&T account and the messaging account is not super well integrated either.  The fraud dept. couldn’t help me at all and their response was pretty much ‘not our department’ so luckily I was mostly able to get control back on my own.

How I got into pinball…

6363_SFPinball_0131fIn February of 2012 I went to Portland to visit a girl and happened upon the Rose City Showdown happening at a bar. I didn’t know what that was, but a friendly person asked if I wanted to join in on the tournament. Since I enjoyed playing pinball in the past, I thought, why not?

The first machine I played on was Iron Man and on my first ball I tilted before I barely even got to play it. I realized then that these machines were set differently than the ones I had played in the past at the laundry mat or bars back home in San Francisco. I had a ton of fun even though I didn’t place well, but I realize later that they were amazing players like Keith Elwin, Robert Gagno & Cayle George in the same tournament. At the time I didn’t know who they were but I do now.

When I returned to San Francisco I googled pinball and found that there was a lot of stuff going on here. Jonny O runs bunch of tournaments and he had something going on at Vitus in Oakland so I checked that out. After that I was officially hooked!  You can see my current pinball ranking here:

I started playing in my neighborhood in the Mission district a lot at places like Zeitgeist and Gestalt Haus and have been ever since. Since I’m a photographer I decided to take photos of the scene here which have been published quite a bit and that’s exciting. You can see these photos at this URL: – I’ll be continuing to add photos to this gallery so you can check back periodically to look for updates.

My first trip to The French Laundry

As posted to Yelp:

I was actually joking about if people would actually look at Yelp to consider eating at The French Laundry, but I’m mostly writing this review so I don’t have to explain my experience to everyone over and over and twitter isn’t the right place for it…

Anyhow, I went with Andrei Z., Melanie N. and Scott McV last night and it was definitely as good as expected.  It’s hard not to have expectations but they were all met.

On to the blow by blow…

Our first amuse bouche looked to me like an ice cream cone scarecrow and one of the servers said it was inspired by Baskin Robbins of all places.  I forgot what it was called but like everything would be this evening, it packed flavor and texture and taste all in one tiny cone.

“Sabayon” of Pearl Tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and White Sturgeon Caviar – wow this was tiny, was my first thought to myself, but upon spooning in the first micro-spoonful into my mouth, I realized why – it’s amazingly rich and flavorful!  The tapioca was so rich and the flavors all balanced so well.  A good start for sure!

Next up we all had selected the foie gras which was paired with Von Strasser 2010 Grüner Veltliner.

MOULARD DUCK “FOIE GRAS EN TERRINE”  – “Gésiers de Canard,” Poached Cherries, Pearl Onions, Watercress and “Sauce Hydromel”

What can you say?  It was so rich and paired with some crazy salts and decadent bread from Bouchon (the Jurrasic salt we absconded with a pinch for our friend Tim V).  Just eat this! (before July 1st, 2012)

SAUTÉED FILLET OF GULF COAST RED SNAPPER:  Monterey Bay Squid, San Marzano Tomato, Fennel, Garlic, Castelvetrano Olives and Basil

This was light in texture, but nicely complimented by the garlic slice and was quickly consumed 🙂

SWEET  BUTTER-POACHED MAINE LOBSTER TAIL: Globe Artichokes, Broccolini, Spanish Capers, Parsley Shoots and Burnt Orange
– gotta say that I was really excited about this one since I love lobster.  However I’d say this was the least amazing dish of the night.  It wasn’t necessarily bad but the lobster by itself was just OK.  With the burnt orange sauce it was more enjoyable but it didn’t blow me away…

WOLFE RANCH WHITE QUAIL: “Hoe Cake,” Pickled Green Tomato, Tokyo Turnips and “Thousand Island Dressing”
– gotta say this might have been my favorite.  I mean you gotta like “hoe cake!” but really it was just so perfectly prepared.  The skin was perfectly crunchy, while the quail meat was tender and juicy.  Love this!

SNAKE RIVER FARMS “CALOTTE DE BŒUF GRILLÉE”   – Braised Brisket, “Pommes à la Florentine,” Nantes Carrots, Arrowleaf Spinach and “Sauce Bordelaise”
– I loved that our server told us this would be prepared medium rare without any other discussion.  When it came out I saw the lovely red and upon slicing in saw that it was prepared just right.  So delicious, juicy and flavor packed.  I think I ate this the slowest just to savor every bite!

The next few dishes were coming and I was getting pretty damn full.  First up was:
MEADOW CREEK DAIRY “GRAYSON” – Hobbs’ Bacon, “Lavash,” Granny Smith Apple, Savoy Cabbage and Whole Grain Mustard
followed by

RUBY RED GRAPEFRUIT SORBET – Moscato “Gelée” and Verbena “Nuage”

The sorbet was awesome and super tart which I loved but it was almost too much so.  This was a dish that you definitely had to mix up the ingredients and get a bit of each in every bite to balance it out.  I love tart and sour food so this was a nice prep for the final dessert dish…

I opted for the ” MARJOLAINE”  – Praline Mousse, “Dacquoise” and Roasted Banana Sherbet

The mousse portion was so rich and I was barely able to finish, but powered through knowing that we had ‘donuts and coffee’ coming to wrap things up.  The ‘coffee’ was more a mousse style that was incredibly rich and you could dip the ‘donuts’ in which arrived warm and doughy.  If I wasn’t so full at this point I wouldn’t have left the one extra but damn I was stuffed.

An amazing meal and experience! Aomething I’ll always remember and I definitely would love to return with my sister who would so appreciate it (not that anyone else wouldn’t).

Flaming Lips + Impossible Project film + beer = my housewarming

After well over a year of being in my place I finally had a housewarming party and it turned out pretty nicely thanks to all my cool friends.  I socialize with a lot of different types of people so it was nice to mash them up together and see how things played out.  I had four film cameras lying around for people to use to take photos with – wait five, actually – so I let people take pix during the evening.  Two film cameras (Yashica Mat 124G and Olympus OM-2S Program) were probably used the least, but the three Polaroids were a hit.  I had Impossible Project PX600 in one body, and PX70 Color Shade in one of the SX-70s.  The other SX-70 actually had that in it too, come to think of it.

Myleen came up with the great idea for us to try and do The Flaming Lips’  Two Blobs Fucking through 12 iPhones all synced to start at the same time and we tried it out.  This slideshow I made includes audio recorded of our attempt, coupled with photos folks took at the party.  Most are scans of the Polaroids, but a few iPhone pix are mixed in there too.  I think it works best full screen and with headphones…

One of the best things about the evening was seeing everyone but the beer was a close second.  My friend @a brought several beers for us to enjoy including a nice session beer that probably saved me from a hangover.  I also was gifted some ice cream, Templeton Rye, and lots of other treats – many of which were consumed that evening.  Good times and I’m thankful for such awesome friends!

Fri Dec 31, 2010: In-N-Out Burger #52 – Double Double genex style (correctly made) – Millbrae, CA

Fri Dec 31, 2010: In-N-Out Burger #52 – Double Double genex style (correctly made) – Millbrae, CA

My final meal of 2010 was, of course, In-n-Out Burger.  I had been planning this meal since I was flying into SFO after visiting the family in Auburn and knew I’d be starving.  Since I had to grab a cab anyways (because of me being on crutches), it totally made sense to take a lil’ detour to exit 420 and hit up the Millbrae In-N-Out Burger.  Since I was in the cab, I had to eat it in the dark cab, which was interesting to do when you can’t really see what you are doing but it didn’t really matter since I was famished and it tasted damn good! Goodbye 2010!  The final stats were 52 burgers eaten – so an average of one per week – not bad!  Now to get my cholesterol checked!

Continue reading Fri Dec 31, 2010: In-N-Out Burger #52 – Double Double genex style (correctly made) – Millbrae, CA

Tue Dec 21, 2010: In-N-Out Burger #51 – Double Double genex style (correctly made) – San Francisco, CA

Tue Dec 21, 2010: In-N-Out Burger #51 – Double Double genex style (correctly made) – San Francisco, CA

Being on the crutches from my accident has been a limiting factor in getting to In-n-Out since I can’t rent cars to drive and mostly I need to be with someone who can carry my food/drinks/etc., but I’ve learned some tricks on the crutches and since I was going to be in the neighborhood, I couldn’t resist a trip!

I knew that I was going to a Holiday Ales party after so a little insulation was perfect – yum!

Continue reading Tue Dec 21, 2010: In-N-Out Burger #51 – Double Double genex style (correctly made) – San Francisco, CA

Mon Dec 13, 2010: In-N-Out Burger #50 – Double Double genex style (correctly made) – Millbrae, CA

Mon Dec 13, 2010: In-N-Out Burger #50 – Double Double genex style (correctly made) – Millbrae, CA

Oh In-n-Out, how long has it been?  Too long!

After shooting down at the Sofitel, Zoe and I were driving back up to SF and I knew we’d be stopping at In-n-Out Burger from the day I accepted the assignment.  Since I’ve been hobbled on crutches even making it to the In-n-Out at Fisherman’s Wharf is a huge pain in the ass so I hadn’t had my fix for a while.

Luckily since it was off hours there was no line and plenty of seating so we even got to sit at the handicap table and take advantage of my crippled-ness.

Continue reading Mon Dec 13, 2010: In-N-Out Burger #50 – Double Double genex style (correctly made) – Millbrae, CA