Category Archive:Uncategorized

It has been a while since I have been able to post about any kind of research I am doing. Right now I am figuring out just exactly how I want to build my new rack mounted PfSense firewall to replace my USG-pro-4.  I want this machine to be fast enough to eventually handle a 10GE port and pass traffic at wire speed.  This isn’t as much of a challenge as many think as I am not going to be using Snort but Suricata for IPS.  Given enough high-speed cores I should be able to achieve the speeds I am looking for.  On top of that i am looking to build a new primary server.  It is going to replace the R610 and the R410 and combine them into one chassis.  It will have a large storage capacity with room for me to grow into.  The final piece of the puzzle will be the replacement of the FreeNAS Dell R310 with another custom rackmount server.  This machine will have an even more massive storage capacity to act as a backup target for the primary server, my one remote FreeNAS machine that replicates to the R310 and other purposes.  The main server will keep it’s Crashplan Pro cloud backup as well.  For full details about the current rack layout click here.

I have some basic requirements here:

  1. Update my server technology to something more recent.
  2. I want to at least, to maintain my current level of performance while saving a total of 15% power across the entire rack
  3. Maintain the same power draw while increasing performance
  4. I am going to custom build the firewall, primary server, and storage server.
  5. The primary CPU vendor is going to be AMD.
  6. The order of the builds will be the new PfSense firewall, primary server, and the storage server.

I have seen some serious drop in performance on Intel with the Spectre patches.  AMD is largely immune to most of these issues.  Ryzen does support ECC ram.  AMD has their Epyc 3000 series out which I would love to use but availability is problematic at this time.  The reason I want to go custom build is flexibility.  Dells are everywhere but I am running into serious restrictions in terms of drives, and in some cases, what operating system I can use on the hardware.  Getting the r310 working with 32 gigs of ram was a highly convoluted process that took tons of research.

The primary server will have 8 cores.  This will give me equivalent performance of my current R610(vs 12) while saving at least 30W of power.  The modern CPU will have more than enough performance gains over the current Intel based setup.  I will start with 32 gigs of ram for this server.  The primary storage devices will be 3.5” HDD’s while the boot array will be SSDs.  This machine will replace the R610 and the R410.

The storage server will have at least 4 cores and will be based upon FreeNAS.  This machine will start with 32 gigs of ram with the ability to go up to 64 gigs or more.  It will have the same connectivity layout as the current storage server(R310).

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Since installing this new central HVAC system back in Oct of 2015 it really has not gotten a bitterly cold winter to test the oil burner side with it. This winter…i am getting that cold test i wanted. So far the results are excellent:
The last time we had temps in the single digits with the previous furnace only system that system was an 85k BTU unit and only discharged air directly into the dining room. Warm air would work its way into the living room slowly. The kitchen got plenty of heat due to its proximity to the dining room. Keeping the house set at a temperature of 60 degrees I would go through half a tank of oil in less than three weeks with temperatures this cold. One half of the downstairs was bearable and the other half(the living room) was cold. There was not heat going directly into the upstairs bathroom nor the upstairs hallways. The bedrooms and bathroom doors wee kept shut to allow the baseboard heaters the opportunity to keep those individual rooms from getting freezing cold. Our oil bill was well north of 2.5k per season just for oil and the electricity bill would also jump to more than $300/month.
This year so far this new system has several major differences:
  1. It covers the entire house for both A/c and Heat..including the cellar.  There is at least one register in every room of the house except the upstairs bathroom(not needed if the door is open) and my network room(do not want heat going in there).  A/C is handled by a different system if required.
  2. This is a “dual-fuel” hybrid system.  It has the usual a/c capabilities but it also has a heat pump as the outdoor unit as the primary heat source.  Once the temperature gets below 35 degrees it switches to an oil furnace that is built into the indoor air handler unit.*
  3. This system now covers the entire house from the upstairs(including the hallway) to the cellar(a smaller amount is diverted there simply to prevent freezing in the winter and to aid in humidity control in the summer).
  4. The new system is rated at 105,000 BTU/hr instead of 85,000 BTU/Hr.
  5. The new system keeps the house at a programmed 64 degrees during the day vs 60 degrees for the old system.

So far this new system is saving me money all year round.  My electricity bill went up from @105/month in the summer to about @140/month.  However the entire house is at the same temperature instead of just a couple of rooms.  That rise in costs also includes the increase in power draw from the infrastructure upgrades(a constant 300Watts) i did around that same time to improve my business back-end infrastructure.

Now that wintertime has sunk its teeth into this area I am able to evaluate the heating costs.  During November more than half of the month was spent on the heat pump.  The electricity bill went up about $10/month so far due to the increased use of the hvac system in heat pump mode.  Now that i have been on a steady diet of oil for the past month I can also evaluate the oil usage.  With the old system we would go from a full tank to less than half a tank in a month.  In really frigid times that old system could not stop the house from developing a chill that would make it uncomfortably cold in the house requiring a bump to about 62.  The old system would be struggling to keep up 60 degrees much less 62.  With this new system,  the burn rate is actually less.  We are at, as i write this, just above 1/2 tank…but the system is at 64 degrees and there is not a chill in the house.  The system is also not having to run very much to maintain that temperature.  So an uprated system covering a larger area, while maintaining a higher internal temperature with higher efficiency = less cost to heat the house in the same conditions as the last system.  I will probably spent less than 1k on heating oil this year.

Now it helps that I did a ton of research on various systems while also taking into account our climate in the past here and a close eye on fuel consumption, the pros and cons of various heating technologies, and the costs involved.  Luckily oil prices have been stable the past couple of years so a direct comparisons was easy to do.  Having a dual fuel system is highly advantageous in this area.

* This is one reason when I installed my new HVAC system i went with a heat pump/oil furnace hybrid. When it is above 35 degrees heat pumps work well…below that and they just run themselves to death. Below 35 degrees my system switches to the oil furnace. heat pumps cannot operate with any real efficiency below freezing…so you wind up on the electric heat coil system(which is nothing more than a huge set of electric baseboard heaters). This spikes the crap out of your electric bill. When you are in “emergency” heat mode your efficiency is 1 to 1. You get one dollar of heat for every dollar of electricity. With oil it’s much higher. A properly maintained, high-efficient oil furnace has approximately 139000 BTU’s of energy per gallon. right now oil prices are hovering at @2.95/gallon. Sure oil heat gets expensive because you see the bill immediately with each fill up. Over time though it is cheaper than electric heat. Heat pumps work according to their SEER rating. IN a highly simplified nutshell the minimum temperature for most heat pumps is 32 degrees…below that and their efficiency quickly approaches that of baseboard heat. Get them into real cold(like below 20 degrees) and they actually burn more money in power usage than heat they produce. If your heat pump is more than 10 years old I would highly advise you look into replacing your heat pump with a newer, higher seer heat pump and back it up with an oil furnace.  There are some heat pumps rated for teens and below…but their efficiency at that point is barely above electric baseboard heat. I know of a local business facing this. Their location has the split ductless systems that promise to be able to heat at temperatures as low as zero degrees. Last night, with the thermostats set at 50 degrees the heat pumps could not keep up with the temperatures here in Brunswick. Despite the fact it got to “only” 10 degrees the building was 45 degrees. The heat pumps(which is what split ductless heaters are) ran continuously from midnight onwards. Their building right now(as of 10am) is hovering around 55 degrees and slowly rising. The temperature outside my house in 16 degrees. The client called me asking if her networking equipment is ok..to which i replied, “yes your equipment and servers are loving this”.  There is monitoring software running on their servers that e-mail me every half an hour..which is how i know at least what temperatures the servers are seeing…

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The Trump Derangement Syndrome has gotten to the point that anything in the media that comes out I hold off on before I post.  I would say about 90% of the time if it is anti-conservative(not cuckservative), anti-trump it’s bullshit.

The instant this Roy Moore stuff started coming out I was highly suspicious.  Back on November 15th Karl Denniger called this story for what it was..an obvious forgery and therefore a total falsehood.  I have included Karl’s post below to make sure it doesn’t disappear due to his site expiring posts from time to time):

You Can’t Possibly Be Serious

[Comments enabled]  

Jesus, it’s that obvious and CNN ran this crap?

People need to go to ****ing prison for this.  NOW.

Yes, including Gloria Allred.  The yearbook is an obvious forgery and she peddled it on national television; that needs to be good for disbarment and prosecution.

The original tweet from CNN can still be looked at.  We’ll see how long it is before they try to take it down.  (Update: It appears one of Getty’s photographers shot the original photo; it’s been linked in the comments, and I checked it.  It’s pretty-clearly the image CNN used and it was also clearly shot in color as it includes portions of the people holding it in the picture….)

I took the image on the right side of their tweet, brought it into Photoshop and increased the size.

I will swear under oath that I did nothing to tamper with the color or tone and in fact did nothing other than increasing its zoom level to 400% because it would be impossible to tamper with the image at said greatly enhanced zoom level without causing visible artifacts in the background and periphery of the letters.  There is also a gradient in the paper caused by a B&W photo being in part of the area where the signature is, which again will cause visible artifacts if I were to try to tamper with it.  In other words I did this to add irrefutable proof that I did not in any way tamper with the image itself.  I also saved the extract from the tweet as a “PNG” which is lossless from my desktop to yours; no compression so there are no artifacts added in my process either; whatever CNN put forward, that’s what I (and you) have.

Those are clearly different inks for everything after the first name.

Was the original signature Roy or was it Ray?

Whatever it was, someone added “Moore DA”, the date and “Olde Hickory House” in a different ink color.

By the way, the claimant says that Moore knew she had a boyfriend “and offered to give her a ride home” when he assaulted her.  Was the boyfriend’s name RAY?

This must be criminally investigated right ****ing now as attempted federal election tampering.  Jeff Sessions, you claim to be “for the rule of law”, let’s see a search warrant for that yearbook to perform forensic testing of the ink, and if the latter part of the “signature” is not 40 years old indictments must issue right now for everyone involved in this crap or you are a lying, sniveling sack of ****.

A bit of truly independent, critical thinking and this is an obvious forgery..isn’t that a crime?  Where are the handcuffs?  I ask that question because now the accuser has admitted to forgery herself.  Karl Denniger on November 14th voiced suspicions about this as well.  Guess what network broke this “story”?  You guessed it..the fakenews network..CNN.

 

 

giphy

Out Of Over $200,000 Raised, This $20 Donation Speaks Louder Than Any Liberal Threat – Chicks on the Right.

There’s a particular irony to be found when a “scientific expedition” full of people who are globull-warming true believers take a trip to Anarctica, in a ship, during what is supposed to be summer for that part of the world (remember, folks, the southern hemisphere has its summer in what are our winter months) and gets stuck in rapidly-expanding ice.

It would be even more-hilarious if their ship ultimately is crushed by said non-existent ice (according to their religious beliefs), taking their lives with it and perfectly-preserving their last act of hubris and true belief in a sarcophagus of their own design.

via Just A Quick Note… in [Market-Ticker].

VIDEO: Baby imitates beat-boxing uncle | Mail Online.

I miss my cats

I miss my cats
one orange and one kinda black
I miss them greeting me in the morning
I miss them looking at me saying good night
Mandaryn was the flake
and had to sneak up on her water
Majyk was the “old lady”
not to be fooled by such things
Mandaryn succumbed to failing health
Majyk to a broken heart.

I will pull though this
and keep their memories alive.
My heart is broken too…i jsut wanted them to know
Tears run down my face
as i sit here blowing my nose
I greive for both of them
both still freshly gone
my family’s hearts are all broken
we will soldier on
We miss both of these cats
more than pets were they
Integral parts of our household
have now both passed away.

Heather, Alessa, Chloe, and I
are all sad today
We all miss these cats
that have quickly passed away
We miss our cats dearly
but we know something today
our family was made better
by their presence before they passed away

We say goodbye to them now
with sorry on our faces
But we all know one thing
They are both in better places
We intend on monuments
on our property one day
To properly honor our friends
from now and every day

Thank you.

I cannot help but wonder what the standard is that triggers the martial-law response we’re seeing in New England. If these bombers had murdered three but not caused as many injuries—if the sheer terror of their crime had not reached this magnitude—would Boston look like a totalitarian state right now? What if the police needed to find a serial killer? Or what if a city was home to lots of violent crime in general?

If the suspect escapes into another city tomorrow, can the police lock down one city after another until they find him? And how long will this go on? They might catch him and it might all end and Boston could be back to normal, if we can call it that, by the end of the weekend. What if he isn’t caught for a while? What if a future suspect implicated in a gruesome and dramatic criminal act next year manages to escape justice for months? Can the police now just shut down cities, transportation, and—as they did on Monday—cell service for as long as they deem necessary? Should normal denizens really have no say of their own on whether they will risk the violent threats that might await them outside? If they have no right to walk about freely today without expecting, at a minimum, serious harassment from authorities, can the same be true on any other day?

People tolerate extreme police powers when they seem temporary. The martial law after Katrina gave way to more civilized policing, such as it is in New Orleans. But what if the emergency persists? What if the U.S. becomes home to a crime plausibly labeled terrorism every couple months—can we expect a state of constant siege? Even then, the threat to any given American would be very statistically low. Yet the gruesomeness and horror could legitimize all sorts of overreaction.

Not long ago, American law enforcement embraced the pretense that it sought to arrest suspects and bring them to trial. The advertised standard seems to have shifted. In February, the LAPD appeared to target ex-cop Chris Dorner, who allegedly murdered police and families of police, for summary liquidation. They drove around shooting at trucks they thought might contain the suspect. They surrounded him in a cabin, deployed CS gas, and the building went up in flames. Almost no one make a big deal of the fact of what had happened—everyone just assumed he was guilty and that there was no reasonable way to apprehend him alive. Or people didn’t care.

The same is true of Dzhokar Tsarnaev, the nineteen-year-old suspect who managed to escape an army of law enforcement. Everyone assumes he’s guilty, and I would surely bet that he is, but that is not supposed to be America’s standard of legal justice. We also have every reason to want him alive, to know about his motives, to learn as much as we can to guard against future threats. Yet the standards of guilt have seemed to decline in recent memory, along with the standards for the state abolishing civil liberty. And in this case, even if he’s certainly guilty, the standards for how the state tries to bring someone into custody seem to have eroded as well.

We see the danger inherent in state power. The police are conducting the most pedestrian, universally assumed valid function of government. They are going after a murderer who appears to be armed and dangerous and a continuing threat. And in this pursuit, they have turned several cities into what look like police states by any reasonable measure. This demonstrates that the core nature of the state, its monopoly on crime control, always holds the potential for a full-blown security state and a total abolition of public liberty. What matters most is a culture wary of state power in any and all manifestations.

Yes, the lockdown will eventually ratchet back, but I fear this is only a hint of what is to come. On the one hand, we can say the suspect allegedly committed a particularly insidious crime and poses an especially frightening threat, and so the police reaction is either no cause for alarm, or at least something that will pass. On the other hand, all it took was a couple people with a couple bombs made from pressure cookers, and they managed to provoke the kind of full-scale lockdown you’d expect in response to a genuine invasion by a fully armed and manned military force. Monday showed us how fragile life and social tranquility are. Today shows us how fragile liberty is.

There is nothing we can do to fully overcome the vulnerability of life, unfortunately. There is something we can do, however, to shield against the vulnerability of liberty. We can start by at least asking questions about whether what is happening in Boston is the best response even to the bloody terror of this week.

via What Is the Threshold for Martial Law? | The Beacon.

Americans for Tax Reform : $1 Trillion Obamacare Tax Hike Hitting on Jan. 1.

On Newtown, CT 12/17 by TickerGuy | Blog Talk Radio.

Listen to internet radio with TickerGuy on Blog Talk Radio

Wonderful.  Facebook is now intentionally reducing the reach of everyone’s posts..unless you promote them..which is a paid thing.  I don’t mind them trying to make money but this is done in the typical sneaky Facebook way.  of course i’m not highly invested in Facebook as i see it as a fad anyway..it’ll go away in the next few years.

 

There’s a meme that has been flying around for a while since Facebook introduced the “promote” feature (where you can pay to cause your postings to show up on people’s consolidated timelines — and if you don’t, most of the time they won’t) that I’d like to address:

Many of us managing Facebook fan pages have noticed something strange over the last year: how our reach has gotten increasingly ineffective. How the messages we post seem to get fewer clicks, how each message is seen by only a fraction of our total “fans.”

It’s no conspiracy. Facebook acknowledged it as recently as last week: messages now reach, on average, just 15 percent of an account’s fans. In a wonderful coincidence, Facebook has rolled out a solution for this problem: Pay them for better access.

As their advertising head, Gokul Rajaram, explained, if you want to speak to the other 80 to 85 percent of people who signed up to hear from you, “sponsoring posts is important.”

What, did you think that you were going to get something for free forever?

Well, no.

But here’s the problem — Facebook apparently can’t make any money (so their results show) without trying to ding you on both sides.  In other words not only do they insist that a person with a page pay to reach most of the people who “like” them, they also then spam the users who like the page with their own advertising.

This is tantamount to an admission that their advertising model is a failure.

And if anything that model has only gotten more aggressive.

via Facebook’s “Promote” Blows Up In Their Own Face? in [Market-Ticker].

Instapundit » Blog Archive » RESPONDING TO MARGINAL TAX RATES: Reader Alex Clay writes: After the election, my wife and I are….

It’s about time.

 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has announced federal disaster aid is being made available to Maryland to support state and local recovery efforts in areas affected by Superstorm Sandy.

The disaster declaration by President Barack Obama announced Tuesday night makes federal funding available to state and local governments and to certain nonprofits. Funding is provided on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and repair or replacement of facilities.

The disaster declaration covers Allegany, Calvert, Caroline, Charles, Dorchester, Frederick, Garrett, Harford, Howard, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, St. Mary’s, Talbot, Washington, Wicomico and Worcester counties, as well as Baltimore City.

via Obama declares disaster for Maryland, offers funding – The Frederick News-Post Online.

General Motors Co is recalling 473,841 Chevrolet, Pontiac and Saturn sedans globally to fix a condition that could lead the cars to roll when the drivers think they are in park, the No. 1 U.S. automaker said on Friday.

GM said it was aware of four crashes that resulted from the problem, but no injuries.

The company said the recall affected Chevy Malibu, Pontiac G6 and Saturn Aura cars from model years 2007 through 2010 and equipped with four-speed automatic transmissions. GM will repair the condition in which the transmission gear position may not match the gear on the shifter.

The recall affects 426,240 in the United States, 40,029 in Canada and 7,572 in other markets.

Dealers will add a reinforcement to the shift cable end fitting to prevent that part from fracturing, GM said. Owners will be notified by letter to schedule the free repairs at dealers, and those who have had the work done already will be eligible for reimbursement.

via GM recalling almost 474,000 cars over problem with gear shift – Bottom Line.

Take a look at this thing during it’s travels across our country..wow!

 

120629-30_g13_ir_derecho_anim.gif (1280×960).

What a great piece of Satire in regards to Global Warming!

 

CRAZIEST weather report from CBS Richmond Virginia – YouTube.

Cutting the Cord on Cable TVs Pricey Monthly Bill — Savings Experiment – DailyFinance.

She has definitly served well..:)

Famed USS Enterprise Takes Its Final Voyage : NPR.

Tech News Today is on and is going to talk about SOPA http://live.twit.tv

Read the Bill.  I hate to tell you that SOPA is going to do nothing to sotp your content form being stolen off the internet.  Folks will simply find ways around it and you will actually have to stop writing anything with links since you will be instantly guilty of copyright infringement.

I’m as adamant a supporter of Web free speech as you’ll find. And there’s a lot to dislike about the Stop Online Piracy Act. But when my stories about Web free speech are stolen and posted in their entirety by “rogue” websites, my head hurts. Stealing content is a funny way to prove your anti-SOPA credentials.

Opponents of controversial anti-piracy legislation called SOPA have been gaining momentum in the past week, and on Wednesday, their show of muscle reached orgasmic proportions.  Perhaps swept up in the excitement of a protest that seems to be working, a long list of websites copied in its entirety a story I wrote about it over the weekend and placed it on their own sites. Here’s one example, viewed early Wednesday afternoon

Red Tape – Stop pirating my stories about SOPA, or I’ll have to support it.

This is a podcast with 2-4 radio engineers about various radio broadcasting topics.  They cover this EAS test very well.  They discuss it only form a technical standpoint…not the extreme precedent it sets for gov’t control over our lives.

This Week in Radio Tech 103 | TWiT.TV.

American journalism is in “grave peril,” FCC Commissioner Michael Copps says, and to bolster “traditional media,” he said the Federal Communications Commission should conduct a “public value test” of every commercial broadcast station at relicensing time.

In a speech at the Columbia University School of Journalism in New York on Thursday, Copps also said station relicensing should happen every four years instead of the current eight.

via » FCC Commissioner Wants to Test the ‘Public Value’ of Every Broadcast Station Alex Jones’ Infowars: There’s a war on for your mind!.

Beck explained that in every previous instance where the EAS system was tested, broadcasters were in control of whether or not to flip the switch, although they did face losing their broadcast license if they failed to partake. However, for the very first time, the federal government will have complete control over the broadcast frequency and will be able to override all radio and television stations.

Next month’s test also marks the first time that the alert has been conducted nationwide.

“The nationwide test may last up to three and a half minutes. The public will hear a message indicating that “This is a test.” The audio message will be the same for radio, television and cable,” states a FEMA press release.

Beck warned that the first of its kind test gave the government the pretext to take over all civilian communication outlets under the guise of a national emergency.

“If the state wants to take control…they can just take it and there is nothing I can do about it,” Beck stated, adding that the process “seizes control of the broadcast frequency.”

via » Beck: EAS Test Allows Feds to ‘Seize Control’ of Communications Alex Jones’ Infowars: There’s a war on for your mind!.

News-Post Staff Advertisement Several Frederick County volunteer fire companies plan to host open house events through October during Fire Prevention Month.The National Fire Protection Association’s theme this year is “Protect Your Family From Fire.” Firefighters will be on hand to discuss developing a home escape plan, practicing a home fire drill and checking smoke alarms.Admission to the events is free. Each event includes station tours, fire safety activities, informational handouts and demonstrations of emergency equipment, according to a Division of Fire and Rescue Services news release.The open houses will take place at the following locations:Oct. 8From 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., Woodsboro Volunteer Fire Co. — Station 16, 2 S. Third St., Woodsboro. 301-898-5100.From 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Independent Hose Co. — Station 1, 310 Baughman’s Lane, Frederick. 301-600-1720.Oct. 9From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Carroll Manor Volunteer Fire Co. — Station 14, 2795 Adams St., Adamstown. 301-874-5111.Oct. 13From 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Vigilant Hose Co. — Station 6, 25 W. Main St., Emmitsburg. 301-447-2728.Oct. 16From noon to 4 p.m., Urbana Volunteer Fire/Rescue Co. — Station 23, 3602 Urbana Pike, Frederick. 301-663-3822.— Nicholas C. Stern

via Fire companies plan open houses – The Frederick News-Post Online.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remember if you deactivate your account everything is still there..you can still log in and everything is still there.  The ONLY way to remove your stuff from facebook is to delete your acocunt entirely.

 

 

How do I permanently delete my account? – Facebook Help Center (5).

At Least in Internet Fees.  don’t think that Comcast, Verizon, or anyone else can give you 10 megabits at 50/month and be profitable.  They can’t.  I am expecting a new model in pricing much like you do on water or electricity.  You pay for every bit of data.  You already pay per gallon of water..twice.  You pay for each kilowatt hour of electricity.  Europe already has per bit billing.  I would fully expect that to come here.  Tale a close look at the filings of Comcast, ATT, and Verizon.  they are drowning in debt.  They aren’t going to be able to flat pricing much longer.  Either they are going to have to lower their speeds coming to us or significantly raise the flat rates or go to a metered billing system.

Virus Bulletin : News – A third of anti-malware products fail to secure Vista Business Edition, Virus Bulletin reveals.

If you look at the linked graphic you’ll see AVG proudly near the top with Symantec and Macafee much lower.  Microsoft Security Essentials isn’t high on the chart either..wow.  So if you really want an anti-something i would go with AVG for both home and business use at this point.  If you head here you can see that Macafee actually failed this test.  Symantec passed however i can tell you from personal experience I wouldn’t run it as i have had to clean up many machines with Symantec installed..:)

It’s a long time issue in non internet applications but it was thought the latency of internet communications would protect users from this issue.  While I’m not sure this is either a large issue now or even if it’s going to be one it is one I will be tracking to see if it becomes a large scale problem.

Security flaw can leave popular websites vulnerable – The Inquirer.

If you are running xp 64 bit you are stuck at sp2 and your installation expires in less than a week.  Time for a move to 7.

You have less than one week to update Windows XP. Here’s how! – Microsoft SMB Community Blog – By Eric Ligman – Site Home – MSDN Blogs.

I logged into a client’s machine today and saw this one sharepoint file was over 7 gigs in size. I am thinking this is one reason sharepoint has been pokey as of late. Some googling showed me that by default MS basically has the database in debug(which means every little thing is logged no matter what). That’s good for diagnostics but it makes the database get bloated to the point it kills performance. I found this MS page about the issue.

here are the instructions as noted in the article:

To reduce the size of the log file, use the following steps. A full server backup is recommended first.

1. Open notepad and Copy and paste the following text into notepad. Save the file as c:\logshrink.sql

declare @ConfigDB varchar(255);
declare @ConfigDBLog varchar(255);
declare @ConfigDBCmd varchar(255);
select @ConfigDB = name from sys.databases where name like ‘SharePoint_Config_%’;
set @ConfigDBCmd = ‘BACKUP database [‘ + RTRIM(@ConfigDB) + ‘] to disk=”C:\windows\temp\before.bkf”’;
execute(@ConfigDBCmd);
set @ConfigDBCmd = ‘use [‘ + RTRIM(@COnfigDB) + ‘]’;
execute(@ConfigDBCmd);
set @ConfigDBCmd = ‘BACKUP LOG [‘ + RTRIM(@ConfigDB) + ‘] WITH TRUNCATE_ONLY’;
execute(@ConfigDBCmd);
set @ConfigDBCmd = ‘use [‘ + RTRIM(@COnfigDB) + ‘]’;
execute(@ConfigDBCmd);
select @ConfigDBLog = name from sys.database_files where name like ‘SharePoint_Config%_log’;
set @ConfigDBCmd = ‘use [‘ + RTRIM(@ConfigDB) + ‘] DBCC SHRINKFILE([‘ + RTRIM(@ConfigDB) + ‘_log],1)’;
execute(@ConfigDBCmd);
set @ConfigDBCmd = ‘BACKUP database [‘ + RTRIM(@ConfigDB) + ‘] to disk=”C:\windows\temp\after.bkf”’;
execute(@ConfigDBCmd);
go

2. Open an elevated command prompt and run the following command:sqlcmd -S \\.\pipe\mssql$microsoft##ssee\sql\query -E -i c:\logshrink.sql

I had to run it twice to get the file back down to a reasonable size.

Report: Facebook caught sharing secret data with advertisers.

Especially with Mark Zukerberg(CEO of Facebook) calling his users obscene names and now being accused of securities fraud, this revelation isn’t surprising.  Right after the first series of Zuckerberg rants the company tried to do some damage control. That obviously is out the window with subsequent privacy issues and of course the potential securities issue. Honestly the fact that Myspace and other social networking sites are doing it as well isn’t shocking either.  If you want to have good corporate security you need to have strict policies that are enforced on  what data you put on these sites both publicly and “privately”.  If Mark believes in being so open..why aren’t his companies internal documents on the website?  I don’t see the business plans, corporate charter, daily operational reports, full listings and detailed bios on everyone there.  Nice try but I’m not buying it.

AP IMPACT: Framed for child porn — by a PC virus by AP: Yahoo! Tech.

Anti-virus isn’t enough.  I have posted before on the security flaws inherent to IE, ActiveX and by extension Windows.  Why it may not be a valid defense for all in many cases it purely is a valid defense especially considering the abilities of modern malware to leverage the basic design flaws of Activex that allow them to go right by any anti-malware suite and be undetectable to said suites.

AP IMPACT: Framed for child porn — by a PC virus

  • By JORDAN ROBERTSON, AP Technology Writer – Sun Nov 8, 2009 12:17PM EST
Of all the sinister things that Internet viruses do, this might be the worst: They can make you an unsuspecting collector of child pornography.

Heinous pictures and videos can be deposited on computers by viruses — the malicious programs better known for swiping your credit card numbers. In this twist, it’s your reputation that’s stolen.

Pedophiles can exploit virus-infected PCs to remotely store and view their stash without fear they’ll get caught. Pranksters or someone trying to frame you can tap viruses to make it appear that you surf illegal Web sites.

Whatever the motivation, you get child porn on your computer — and might not realize it until police knock at your door.

An Associated Press investigation found cases in which innocent people have been branded as pedophiles after their co-workers or loved ones stumbled upon child porn placed on a PC through a virus. It can cost victims hundreds of thousands of dollars to prove their innocence.

Their situations are complicated by the fact that actual pedophiles often blame viruses — a defense rightfully viewed with skepticism by law enforcement.

“It’s an example of the old `dog ate my homework’ excuse,” says Phil Malone, director of the Cyberlaw Clinic at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society. “The problem is, sometimes the dog does eat your homework.”

The AP’s investigation included interviewing people who had been found with child porn on their computers. The AP reviewed court records and spoke to prosecutors, police and computer examiners.

One case involved Michael Fiola, a former investigator with the Massachusetts agency that oversees workers’ compensation.

In 2007, Fiola’s bosses became suspicious after the Internet bill for his state-issued laptop showed that he used 4 1/2 times more data than his colleagues. A technician found child porn in the PC folder that stores images viewed online.

Fiola was fired and charged with possession of child pornography, which carries up to five years in prison. He endured death threats, his car tires were slashed and he was shunned by friends.

Fiola and his wife fought the case, spending $250,000 on legal fees. They liquidated their savings, took a second mortgage and sold their car.

An inspection for his defense revealed the laptop was severely infected. It was programmed to visit as many as 40 child porn sites per minute — an inhuman feat. While Fiola and his wife were out to dinner one night, someone logged on to the computer and porn flowed in for an hour and a half.

Prosecutors performed another test and confirmed the defense findings. The charge was dropped — 11 months after it was filed.

The Fiolas say they have health problems from the stress of the case. They say they’ve talked to dozens of lawyers but can’t get one to sue the state, because of a cap on the amount they can recover.

“It ruined my life, my wife’s life and my family’s life,” he says.

The Massachusetts attorney general’s office, which charged Fiola, declined interview requests.

At any moment, about 20 million of the estimated 1 billion Internet-connected PCs worldwide are infected with viruses that could give hackers full control, according to security software maker F-Secure Corp. Computers often get infected when people open e-mail attachments from unknown sources or visit a malicious Web page.

Pedophiles can tap viruses in several ways. The simplest is to force someone else’s computer to surf child porn sites, collecting images along the way. Or a computer can be made into a warehouse for pictures and videos that can be viewed remotely when the PC is online.

“They’re kind of like locusts that descend on a cornfield: They eat up everything in sight and they move on to the next cornfield,” says Eric Goldman, academic director of the High Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University. Goldman has represented Web companies that discovered child pornographers were abusing their legitimate services.

But pedophiles need not be involved: Child porn can land on a computer in a sick prank or an attempt to frame the PC’s owner.

In the first publicly known cases of individuals being victimized, two men in the United Kingdom were cleared in 2003 after viruses were shown to have been responsible for the child porn on their PCs.

In one case, an infected e-mail or pop-up ad poisoned a defense contractor‘s PC and downloaded the offensive pictures.

In the other, a virus changed the home page on a man’s Web browser to display child porn, a discovery made by his 7-year-old daughter. The man spent more than a week in jail and three months in a halfway house, and lost custody of his daughter.

Chris Watts, a computer examiner in Britain, says he helped clear a hotel manager whose co-workers found child porn on the PC they shared with him.

Watts found that while surfing the Internet for ways to play computer games without paying for them, the manager had visited a site for pirated software. It redirected visitors to child porn sites if they were inactive for a certain period.

In all these cases, the central evidence wasn’t in dispute: Pornography was on a computer. But proving how it got there was difficult.

Tami Loehrs, who inspected Fiola’s computer, recalls a case in Arizona in which a computer was so “extensively infected” that it would be “virtually impossible” to prove what an indictment alleged: that a 16-year-old who used the PC had uploaded child pornography to a Yahoo group.

Prosecutors dropped the charge and let the boy plead guilty to a separate crime that kept him out of jail, though they say they did it only because of his age and lack of a criminal record.

Many prosecutors say blaming a computer virus for child porn is a new version of an old ploy.

“We call it the SODDI defense: Some Other Dude Did It,” says James Anderson, a federal prosecutor in Wyoming.

However, forensic examiners say it would be hard for a pedophile to get away with his crime by using a bogus virus defense.

“I personally would feel more comfortable investing my retirement in the lottery before trying to defend myself with that,” says forensics specialist Jeff Fischbach.

Even careful child porn collectors tend to leave incriminating e-mails, DVDs or other clues. Virus defenses are no match for such evidence, says Damon King, trial attorney for the U.S. Justice Department’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section.

But while the virus defense does not appear to be letting real pedophiles out of trouble, there have been cases in which forensic examiners insist that legitimate claims did not get completely aired.

Loehrs points to Ned Solon of Casper, Wyo., who is serving six years for child porn found in a folder used by a file-sharing program on his computer.

Solon admits he used the program to download video games and adult porn — but not child porn. So what could explain that material?

Loehrs testified that Solon’s antivirus software wasn’t working properly and appeared to have shut off for long stretches, a sign of an infection. She found no evidence the five child porn videos on Solon’s computer had been viewed or downloaded fully. The porn was in a folder the file-sharing program labeled as “incomplete” because the downloads were canceled or generated an error.

This defense was curtailed, however, when Loehrs ended her investigation in a dispute with the judge over her fees. Computer exams can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Defendants can ask the courts to pay, but sometimes judges balk at the price. Although Loehrs stopped working for Solon, she argues he is innocent.

“I don’t think it was him, I really don’t,” Loehrs says. “There was too much evidence that it wasn’t him.”

The prosecution’s forensics expert, Randy Huff, maintains that Solon’s antivirus software was working properly. And he says he ran other antivirus programs on the computer and didn’t find an infection — although security experts say antivirus scans frequently miss things.

“He actually had a very clean computer compared to some of the other cases I do,” Huff says.

The jury took two hours to convict Solon.

“Everybody feels they’re innocent in prison. Nobody believes me because that’s what everybody says,” says Solon, whose case is being appealed. “All I know is I did not do it. I never put the stuff on there. I never saw the stuff on there. I can only hope that someday the truth will come out.”

But can it? It can be impossible to tell with certainty how a file got onto a PC.

“Computers are not to be trusted,” says Jeremiah Grossman, founder of WhiteHat Security Inc. He describes it as “painfully simple” to get a computer to download something the owner doesn’t want — whether it’s a program that displays ads or one that stores illegal pictures.

It’s possible, Grossman says, that more illicit material is waiting to be discovered.

“Just because it’s there doesn’t mean the person intended for it to be there — whatever it is, child porn included.”

A user on the smallbizserver.net forums had an sbs server crash and had to restore it.  Instead of reinstalling then manually installing(like i did in an earlier post) he leveraged the VHD’s to restore directly form the backups(something sbs seems to have a hard time doing).  Here is the text:

Symptoms:
1) No concrete errors from WSB eventlog.
2) When trying the repair option from the SBS2008DVD, Unknown on Unknown device, Windows 2008 may appear at the Select OS to repair dialog box. Or it could be blank for the new drive.
3) When attempting complete PC Restore, operation will fail despite having enough HD space with error:
“The Volume ID could not be found. (0x80070495)”

When I ended up doing:
1) Find a Server 2008 machine. I need WSB that to access the backup image from the backup drive. Logon with admin rights.
2) Attached the drive containing the backup to the Server 2008 machine. The drive will be automatically assigned a letter but the user may not have access to the backup drive’s content (yet).
3) Launch WSB.
4) Attempt some recovery operation with WSB. For eg, restore some directories from the backup image onto a temp location. This gives the system access to the backup drive contents.
5) At this point, open up a windows explorer, and look for the backup VHDs on the backup drive via the drive letter. Copy them out to a separate directory. The VHDs will be named with GUIDs, rename them to shorter filenames.
6) Find a WS2008R2 or Windows 7 machine. They have native VHD mounting capabilities.
7) Mount the VHDs via disk managements.
8) Use HDD cloning applications to clone the different VHDs to other hard disks. I used Norton Ghost14 on my W7 machine. Make sure to clone the system drive (C:) with options to set bootable(active) and copy MBR.
9) Move the cloned disk(s) back to the original server. And reset BIOS to boot from the correct disk with the restored system partition.
10) Try booting. If everything is ok, you will get an error regarding something about ntloader.exe.
11) Boot with the SBS2008DVD again. Choose repair. Go into a command prompt.
12) CD into C:\windows\system32. This should be your restored system drive.
13) fire up bcdedit. Output will probably show unknown in several entries.
14) Reset the unknown entries with commands like bcdedit /set {default} device partition=C:

At this point, reboot. I was able to successfully recover the server this way. Definitely a real hassle. How the BCD on the backup images got corrupted, I have no idea. And this shouldn’t be so difficult to fix as all the underlying data is fine……..

It looks like you have to use wpa2 now with AES.  TKIP was cracked a while ago and it continues to show issues.  Also remember that your passwords need to be a minimum of 16 randomized characters or they are subject to a brute force attack.

WPA data is gone in 60 seconds

Without any car chase

By Nick Farrell

Thursday, 27 August 2009, 10:23

JAPANESE BOFFINS took time out from fighting giant moths to work out how to break the WPA encryption system used in wireless routers in just sixty seconds.

Toshihiro Ohigashi of Hiroshima University and Masakatu Morii of Kobe University plan to tell the world plus dog how to do it at a technical conference set for September 25 in Hiroshima.

The attack gives hackers a way to read encrypted traffic sent between computers and certain types of routers that use the WPA or WiFi Protected Access encryption system.

It has been known that WPA could be broken for some months now, but these researchers have come up with a theoretical attack and made it practical.

An earlier attack technique, developed by researchers Martin Beck and Erik Tews, worked on a smaller range of WPA devices and took between 12 and 15 minutes.

Both attacks work on WPA systems that use the Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) algorithm.

To be fair the WPA standard is a bit long in the tooth. It was designed as an interim encryption method as WiFi security was developing and has long since been superseded by WPA2. However there is still a fair bit of WPA with TKIP kit out there since 2006.

Newer WPA2 devices that use the stronger Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) algorithm remain safe for now. µ

via Wpa data is gone in 60 seconds – The Inquirer.

Black Hat ® Technical Security Conference: USA 2009 // Archives.

This is a huge annual security conference by folks who know a ton more about security than i do..:)

If you read my earlier carbonite post it started because i had my server decide it would corrupt itself.  I did not catch it for a copule of days which meant my backup had corrupted OS files on it.  It turns out you can only restore the entire volume, disk, or server.  How idiotic.  So this means if your server craps out your only option is to restore the crapped out operating system files.  Since carbonite is useless in terms of restore what good is that backup?

After many hours of googling I think i found a solution:  The backup files are stored in MS virtual mahcine format.  I am going to try to manually extract the files i need after i reload SBS from scratch, manually rebuilt it…and then load up virtualserver 2005 and try to mount that drive.  I got this idea from David Moisan’s Blog.  Once i get the machine running again i’ll give this a wirl and let everyone know.

New to the botnet scene is Conficker, a botnet that exploits a critical security vulnerability Microsoft actually patched in late October. It may be time for Microsoft to begin forcing critical security updates upon home users.

via Time for forced updates? Conficker botnet makes us wonder – Ars Technica.

this is totally bogus..guess what?  It’s mainly in eastern Asia and southern America where the priacy rates are really really high AND businesses which are typcially slow to patch anyway…most home users have automatic updates turned on and also the us infection rate is 1%.  It’s not the home users this time..it’s the businesses..however NOBODY should have upodates forced upon them.

I mean really, don’t these computer “geniuses” (also known as hackers) have anything better to do with their time. Imagine if they wrote productive software!

via SeanDaniel.com – Small Business Server and Other Technology: Has Downadup, Conficker, or Kido got you?.

I mean really, don’t the geniuses, (also known as Microsoft programmers) have anything better to do with their time?  Imagine if they wrote truly secure software instead of foisting patched, resues, and vulnerable software on the general marketplace?  Go get your worm shot by running microsoft update.

Wow.  I just got done talking with the guys at darkfiles and found out how much i have yet to learn..:)  It’s the kind of stuff one of my best friends named Erik talks about all of the time.  It’s nice to see I have a new area of network security knowledge to explore.  They were very gracious to allow me to talk with them and i am looking orward to more conversations.

Smart Host using Port 587.

I found after some searching and asking at other forums that doing this from the gui console is not really possible.  Here’s one of many areas powershell comes into play:

Open Exchange Management Shell and start by checking your Send Connector(s) :
Get-SendConnector
You should get the name of your send connector(s) “ like “Default Send Connector”.
If you haven’t messed up with the port configuration of the connector yet, it should be using the default port -25. It is a good idea to confirm this with the command:
Get-SendConnector | fl port

Then change the port with the command:
Set-SendConnector –Identity “Your Send Connector Name” -Port 587

If you have only one Send Connector you can use that command too:
Get-SendConnector | Set-SendConnector -Port 587

Of course, it is a good idea to check the final result again with:
Get-SendConnector | fl port

Or even take a look at the full listing for the send connector:
Get-SendConnector | fl