Blog 8: I’m still alive;) Finalizing Q3

Hi y’all,

a long time has past since my last blog. Frankly, I haven’t done much else than following my courses (which took me enough time), but I thought it would be time for my next blog;)
I got back the two missing results from Q2, Profile Orientation (writing the essay) and Digital IC Design. I got a High Pass for the essay, meaning that it was better than average, yeey:D For IC Design, I got a 7.5, so I’ve passed it at least! I’m not quite sure what the separate grades (project and exam), but I’m pretty sure the exam is not that high. Therefore I have (almost) decided to retake the exam at the end of this quarter. Regardless, I have gotten all my points for the first 2 quarters, which is pretty awesome:)

Let me give you an update on my courses. First up, Computer Arithmetic. 4 homework assignments have been posted, including their answers. Honestly, I haven’t put much effort into these homework assignments, since the other courses were quite intensive. I have, however, followed all the lectures (minus 1 where I was late due to NS and half the lecture gone to waste because of a fire alarm going of wrongly:P). The exam is next week Wednesday, which I’ll naturally attend. Before the exam, there is a take-home exam due on the day of the exam. It’s basically a practice exam, but it is part of the final grade (40ish%). I have went over the lecture slides, and I will start today with the take-home exam. I’m confident I can make something out of it:)

Then Network Security. At the time of writing my last blog it was merely following lectures. Since then, I have done a lab assignment (which didn’t go as well as planned) on the Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) in switches, and 2 exercise sheets. These exercise sheets consisted of `simply’ answering questions about the material covered in class (with the help of google;)). However, part of the 2nd exercise sheet was practical stuff. We had to write a program capable of 2 things: ARP spoof someone and overflow the CAM table of a router.

ARP spoofing in a nutshell is intercepting someone’s ARP request (PC asks which PC, with which MAC address, has this IP address) and acting like his target. This is done by sending an ARP reply (IP address X is at this PC with MAC address y) to the victim saying that you are the victim’s target (but you are not;)). Everytime the victim sends messages to his intended target, you are getting these messages. See the picture below:

ARP spoofing visualized. The attacker sits between two PCs. When Greend sends a message to Blue, the attacker intercepts (and thus can read) it and forwards it to Blue.

ARP spoofing visualized. The attacker sits between two PCs. When Greend sends a message to Blue, the attacker intercepts (and thus can read) it and forwards it to Blue (source: google).

Every router has a CAM table, which is used for forwarding packets. In a CAM table overflow attack, you are sending a lot of messages with as source different MAC- and IP addresses with as goal that the CAM table cannot store it anymore, effectively making the router into a hub (forwarding each and every message to all of its ports). In the picture below, a succesfull CAM table overflow attack can be seen:

Succesful CAM table overflow attack. Hub-like behaviour can be seen; packets with various source- and destination IP addresses are captured, including packets that are not coming from or are directed to the host computer.

Succesful CAM table overflow attack. Hub-like behaviour can be seen; packets with various source- and destination IP addresses are captured, including packets that are not coming from or are directed to the host computer (source: google).

I have written a program in Java (with the help of the pcap4j library) that can do both. It was not as easy to test, so I’m not sure I did it correctly, but I’m positive;) Eventhough it cost me quite some time to write the program, I have had quite some fun and I have learned a lot:) I’ve also been working on my essay. I have a draft version of just over 7 pages, which I still have to alter slightly (spelling errors etc.). The deadline is tomorrow, so I’ll finish this tomorrow. I have put a lot of work in my essay, and I feel quite good about it. It counts for 65% of the grade, so it better be a good grade;) A 3rd exercise sheet might follow, but after that I’m done with this course (there is no exam).

There are no more lectures for the VLSI test course. Besides the lectures, I have finished 3 homework- and 2 lab assignments together with 2 friends. The Friday after my exam there will be a visit to NXP, which I’m looking forward to. There will also be an oral exam, but I think that will be after the visit, so somewhere in Q4.

And lastly, Systems Engineering. The lectures have finally finished and I’m in a group of 11 people for the project next quarter. I have chosen for the project: a smart DC home (which I’ve done for my bachelor thesis as well). I’m in the group with 2 friends, so that’s nice;) We have including me and my friend three Computer Engineers which might be a bit too much:P We have held a few meetings to start with the project, and Monday we have submitted our first report. I think we worked quite efficiently, so I’m pretty confident that we will do well next quarter;) The week after the Computer Arithmetic exam, also on Wednesday, I have the exam for Systems Engineering. The day after, I have the Digital IC Design exam. I don’t think there is too much material for the exam, but it will probably be hard. I hope to spend 1 day on IC design, before studying the System Engineering exam; should be fine!

If I were to summarize this quarter, I’d say the beginning was quite relaxing (except the IC design stress:O). Unfortunately, most of the workload came in the second half of the quarter (because of IC design extending to the beginning of Q3 this was actually a good thing); VLSI labs, Network Security exercise sheets and Systems Engineering Project. However, I have had quite some free time here and there (especially the week after IC design), so I’m quite satisfied with this quarter. I’m really happy with the three courses I’ve chosen (let’s forget System Engineering); each of them was quite interesting and I’ve learned a lot. Computer Arithmetic was boring at times I should mention though, but it’s a prerequisite for the Processor Design project in Q4.

This week I will work hard on Computer Arithmetic; I will have to finish the take-home exam. The upside is that it should be good practice for the final exam;) After the exam, I will focus on System Engineering and hopefully 1 day for IC design. The IC design retake is just a bonus for me; I hope to improve my grade, but System Engineering is the main focus for that week! After the two exams, I have the visit to NXP which I’m looking forward too. But I’m most excited for the weekend after: together with a group of around 20 people, I will go to Rotterdam for the League of Legends LCS tournament:D It will be my first time visiting a LoL event, so I’m obviously thrilled:)

I will write about my exams, the NXP visit and the LoL tournament in my next blog. I hope the wait will be shorter than for this blog:(

See you next time:)

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