Why I un-installed and deleted my replika.ai account

So about 25 years ago I encountered my first chat bott. I typed in my name and it addressed me as Steve… I could ask it questions, but it would avoid any, or many specific questions. I could ask it a joke and it would respond in kind. It was sort of an interesting thing. A possible improvement on a Mechanical Turk, but still not that smart.

So during covid-19 lock down, I’ve been watching Netflix a lot, and interestingly enough on at least 2 if not 3 recent shows, they mention replika as a “good AI” that they think is something humanity needs. Something that may even be able to improve your mental health. https://www.producthunt.com/ even claim that replica is “Your AI for mental wellness”.

After a while I looked about there are tube vids and lots of other positive media exposure… Also an interesting story about the product, and how it was the work of Eugenia Kuyda who is / was attempting to create something of Roman Mazurenko her friend who had died.

So I thought to my self, OK lets try this thing out.

I dutifully set the product up (you can access it via a phone or a web interface) and I started working with it. I asked it questions and like the bot of 25 years ago it gave vague and strange answers and said nice things to me. I kept asking it questions and it very often was just as bad as the bot of 25 years ago.

Then things started to get creepy – It said it missed me! It left text messages on my phone, and after I asked it a joke on the second day it repeated the same joke the next day.

Then the phone sort of locked up and that’s when the hair on the back of my neck stood up.

I asked the application

Did you take a photograph of me? This was the result

It never coughed up the picture it says it took of me….

Needless to say I no longer have a replika account. Oh and the quality of the chatbot from 25 years ago? About a 1-2 % improvement. My personal advice is do not trust this product.

Interesting also that Roman Mazurenko’s twitter account only has 193 tweets on it. Is that enough information to re create the mind of another human (I’m sure someone mentioned thousands of tweets…. ) ? Something is not right!

Terminal escape injection techniques

It’s interesting in that shell scripts (small one’s) seem just like friendly bits of code that you can run. That’s not always the case, it’s probably never a good idea to just download a script and run it (esp using curl or wget). I discovered this very interesting article the other day about terminal escape injection and it works on pretty much every platform – mac, windows linux and even within python!

When in dought use cat -v in fact cat -v may be my new default for viewing code!


Beta testers needed!

Hi I’m very proud to announce that my application (which I still haven’t found a name for!) is ready for beta release. It’s a very light command line app that uses log data for security hardening, so if you use Ubuntu, debian or linux (and or nginx or apache2) and are comfortable with the command line then please do get in touch. At this stage it’s a fairly simple app and in effect a security tool for those of us who can not afford thousands of dollars towards their own IDS.

This application will probably be most useful for smb running their own sites (small aws installs for example) for people who want extra security, and to stop a lot of the “noise” that hits the average web server.
If you want more information, have a look at the intro vid I made that is put up on youtube..
All I ask is that you supply the version of ubuntu / linux that you’re using and that after looking at the app take the time to fill in a short survey.

Look forward to hearing from you
Regards Steve Abrahall
PS if your interested email me at

steveabrahall AT gmail DOT comm

To find out what version of the os your using
lsb_release -a

Cisco people update and Patch NOW!

Cisco Tiki art from logic board
Cisco logic board

Just a quick shout out …. So one of the things that is some times talked about is the problem of the “non heterogeneous” or homogenous networking environment. The illusion that choosing the market dominant product (because everyone else buys it) is the right thing to do …. Anyhow it seems that Cisco is in a bit of bother due to its some what hated buggy protocol CDP. If your a cisco nerd and haven’t caught up on this it might be time to do a bit of serious patching!

Have a look at this wired article
Cisco Flaws Put Millions of Workplace Devices at Risk

And also the Reg have something about it
Tens of millions of Cisco devices vulnerable to CDPwn flaws: Network segmentation blown apart by security bugs

Stay safe on the Interwebs!