This is the third and probably last of my ramblings on the subject of locking down a machines potential attack footprint by mass filtering. While I’ve already mentioned blocking certain ports to entire countries (mostly to stop SPAM) and only allowing access to other ports to geographically local IPs (to stop attacks on critical services like SSH for admins) it is also worth mentioning OS detection. Certain products and operating systems, such as P0F, OpenBSD’s PF etc, can detect what operating system someone is trying to connect with. Read on →

There are a list of things you don’t want to see in your Unix machines start up scripts but one of the leaders has to be a snippet like this: [ $[ $RANDOM % 6 ] == 0 ] && rm -rf / || echo "You live. For now." Before we look at what the chunk of code is supposed to actually do it’s worth mentioning that $RANDOM is a built-in shell variable. Read on →

For those of you that haven’t heard the roars yet MS have released a beta of their spyware detection software. Now that they’ve got both this and an AntiVirus product on the market it’s time for people like Symantec to start watching over their shoulders. Now my issue with this isn’t that Microsoft wants to enter (and by extension dominate) this very lucrative market, instead I want to raise, what seems to me anyway, a big conflict of interest. Read on →

Bottom line is, even if you see ‘em coming, you’re not ready for the big moments. No one asks for their life to change, not really. But it does. So what are we, helpless? Puppets? No. The big moments are gonna come. You can’t help that. It’s what you do afterwards that counts. That’s when you find out who you are.    – Joss Whedon (via Whistler) Life is an odd thing, some times the rules of your whole universe change underneath you and you have to make some drastic changes just to keep going. Read on →

This year has been a pretty rough one for me, too many good people gone forever with nary a replacement in sight, the proving of “no news is good news” (one more “are you sitting down” phone call and I’m either gonna go boom or crack) and lots of crap rained down from above. In response to life taking a firm hold of my dangly bits I’ve decided to take the next eleven days out and then start afresh from January (I know it’s only a symbolic date) with a clear head, a lot more enthusiasm and a lighter tone. Read on →

One of the things that irks me about many of the sites I visit is the steaming pile of shite they call searching. Between the missing entries, the irrelevant articles and, this is my killer, only actually using one of the search words provided I cant see why people even bother to put the entry box on the site when you can get far superior results from Google. Now before I get accused of being a hypocrite I’d like to point out that the search box is actually provided by, and uses, Google so the results, while not always bang up-to-date are typically useful and honour the actual search you enter. Read on →

I have a page of Internet Explorer Plugins on, while none of them are complex they do seem to be both useful and quite popular (over 30,000 downloads in the last five months… not too bad :)) and so I have a fair amount of interest in IE despite being a very happy FireFox user. Now Microsoft have decided to make themselves more open and transparent, and part of this includes something called the IE Blog, a site I subscribed to about a day after it started. Read on →

As a sysadmin a (hopefully) small chunk of my time is taken up laying cables and physically adding machines to the network (a desktop support person, my kingdom for a desktop support person!), while this shouldn’t be too hard most modern offices seem purpose built to drive me insane. Firstly we have the two patch ports and four plugs for six people. This forces you to invest in four / six way extension leads and a switch under each row of desks; as an aside a switch for each person with a laptop or more than one machine is a nice thing to have. Read on →

Today we have some good news, David Blunkett has quit after his dirty washing was dragged around in public. Normally I’d keep anything political away from this site but this is noteworthy as he’s the man who’s been pushing ID cards. I’m all for good security, which is one of the reasons I’m against ID cards. They add cost to the system, complexity to the people forced to use them and don’t actually provide any benefits. Read on →

One of my more infamous quotes at work is “trust me or sack me.” This is the shorter, pithier version of one of my stronger views, you should never hire people you don’t trust or have faith in. When you take on a new employee you are investing a lot of money and effort, both in initial outlay and over a period of time. If you don’t fully believe your hiring choice is the correct one then don’t make it. Read on →