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Jan
27

Tips for Keeping Your Cloud Secure

Author Rai    Category Tips     Tags

Cloud computing is a new phenomenon for many people, and it is understandable that there can sometimes be security concerns. Here are a few tips that everyone should be following, to ensure that information remains secure and everyone continues to be able to use the cloud to their advantage. Firstly, organisations should make sure that the computing environments are secure, and that only authorised people have access to any confidential information that is stored on the cloud. Any passwords and sensitive information should be kept secure as well, ideally not written down in obvious places or easily accessible by just anybody.

If the organisation needs to create a public cloud computing environment, then they should make sure that it is managed and configured in a way that meets any privacy and security requirements. If the company does not want everyone to be able to access their information while at home before playing Partypoker, then they need to make sure their security is up to scratch. If any adjustments need to be made to the cloud computing environment, then these should be made with care and with attention paid to the security of the operation.

Also important for companies is to make sure that the cloud computing system is monitored properly. Data should be collected and analysed on a regular basis, so that security risks can be monitored and dealt with. Also, any updates that need to be carried out should be completed quickly and efficiently, especially with browser add-ons as these do not tend to update themselves automatically. If clients are going to be accessing the cloud, then it is even more important that these maintenance procedures are carried out and that the overall appearance of the cloud computing area is presentable and useful.

Oct
9

Tip: Add User and Generate Password Script

Hey guys!

Finally, I found time to update this lovely blog of mine. And luckily, I have one super cool simple script to share. This script will help a lot of system administrators in adding user accounts, very useful if you have about a hundred servers to login to and execute useradd and passwd again and again. This is a bash script, so no need to install packages and easy to understand.

Here goes the code.


#!/bin/bash

for USER in $(cat /tmp/users.txt) do
$(useradd $USER)
###Remove the space between 8 and )
PASSWORD=$(openssl rand -base64 8 )
###passwd [double dash] stdin
echo $PASSWORD | $(passwd –stdin $USER)
echo “$USER $PASSWORD” | mail -s “Your Account Info” $USER@company.com
sleep 3
done

Here is a quick summary of the code per line:

for USER in $(cat /tmp/users.txt) do
This line begins the for loop and /tmp/users.txt should be a text file containing the list of usernames to be added one username per line. The value of $USER

$(useradd $USER)
This line will begin by executing the command useradd. If the script fails at this point because the username already exists, it will proceed with changing the password of the username.

###Remove the space between 8 and )
###passwd [double dash] stdin
PASSWORD=$(openssl rand -base64 8 )
echo $PASSWORD | $(passwd --stdin $USER)

This line generates an 8-byte random password using openssl and pipes it to command passwd using –stdin option so the generated password can be passed.

echo "$USER $PASSWORD" | mail -s "Your Account Info" $USER@company.com
This line sends an email to the user containing the username and password, assuming that the email address is the same as the username.

This script can be further enhanced (imagination is limitless!) and feel free to share your script here.

Sep
1

Tip: Can Download Torrents But Cannot Browse

I have recently purchased a new home office router that connects two desktops and one laptop by wireless connection. Back at the store, I made my mind to purchase Linksys WRT54G over D-Link (I forgot the model) because there are a lot of good feedbacks on Linksys.

Everything was good the first two weeks we were using the router. The signal strength is good and my laptop can get decent W-Fi signal anywhere inside. Then the network became rather choppy, pings are intermittent, and worst, one desktop (particularly my desktop PC) cannot browse.

The weird thing I was able to download stuff using torrent, my Pidgin can sign in to my accounts on Yahoo and MSN Messenger and streaming video and music works. Everything works, except for the browser. I blamed the Linksys for this and contacted the support thrice, and I was given a lot of configurations that should be done in the router settings, none of which solved my problem.

Googling around got me some help and apparently, this weird symptoms are caused by the traffic from torrent downloads. To fix this, these settings must be done on the torrent client:

1. Reduce the download and upload speed of torrent client. Since I use the lightweight uTorrent Client, I can simply do this by right-clicking the uTorrent taskbar and selecting the download speed that I want. The procedure could be different depending on your client.

2. Disable DHT. DHT stands for Distributed Hash Tables and disabling this in torrent client effectively solved my problem with browsing. Again in uTorrent, this can be done by pressing CTRL+P to open the Preferences window and selecting the BitTorrent tab. Uncheck the DHT selections and click OK to save the new settings. Restarting the client helps too.

I did these two steps and this solved the issue of not being able to browse the Internet while downloading torrents.

Aug
17

Tip: Hiding Files Inside An Image in Linux

I have a previous post on how to hide files inside an image file in Windows. If you have not read or watched the video yet, it is right here.

Anyway, a comment on that post gave a tip on how to do the same thing on Linux. Of course I tried it and it worked! According to Sebastian of mathemaniac.org, the concept here is really simple. An image file like JPG is read from the beginning of the file and terminated with an ‘End of Image’ marker. An archive file like ZIP has their metadata stored at the end of the file. Put them together and the image will be read as a valid image file and the appended ZIP file will be read as an archive.

Here is how to do it in Linux:

Get an image file and an archive of the files that you want to hide. In this example, I have cat beer_and_cig.jpg and hideme.zip file. The zip file contains an MP3 song that I have stored inside the archive. To create the archive-image file, run this command:

cat beer_and_cig.jpg hideme.zip > ucantseeme.jpg

What this does is the ‘cat‘ command reads the image file first, then reads the zip file and puts them together in the file named ucantseeme.jpg.

To test the integrity of the image file, try this:

# unzip -t ucantseeme.jpg
Archive: ucantseeme.jpg
warning [ucantseeme.jpg]: 4751 extra bytes at beginning or within zipfile
(attempting to process anyway)
testing: Feist - 09 - One Two Three Four.mp3 OK
No errors detected in compressed data of ucantseeme.jpg.

Notice the warning message? The test saw that there were few bytes at the beginning, which means it saw the image file first but the archive is intact and no errors were found.

Perfect!

Aug
15

Tip: How Change Default OS in Dual Boot Ubuntu

My Acer 5570 Notebook is setup to dual boot Windows XP, for my online games and other Windows applications, and Kubuntu 7.10, my main operating system for stuff that I do most of the time like web browsing and blogging. Then my brother and I are now sharing the same notebook and he prefers Windows over Linux, not that I refuse to introduce him to Ubuntu but he had to use Microsoft Office for his office documents.

Windows and Ubuntu dual-boot systems are set boot Ubuntu first by default, so I decided to change the dual-boot order to default to Windows, since my brother will be using the notebook more.

To make Windows the default operating system in dual boot Ubuntu, follow these steps:

1. Press Alt+F2 to open the run dialog box.
2. Type in sudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst. Type in root password.
3. Edit the line that looks like this:

default 0

Change the number to the equivalent order of Windows in the operating system list in GRUB boot screen. The number 0 means that GRUB will boot the first operating system, and so on. If Windows is in the 4th line, change the number to 3.

4. Save the file and exit.
5. Reboot to check the change.

Windows should boot as default.

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