Category Archives: Server Admin Blacklist

Recently I was checking out the Better WP Security plugin for WordPress and noticed that the plugin comes with a cool blacklist of useragents from (btw that website seems to have a lot of great info on fixing hacked wordpress sites). Anyhow I found that after installing the plugin my .htaccess file was updated and included a new section to block malicious IPs and user agents. The list looks like this:

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AWS Control Panel Gets a CSS / Design Refresh

Amazon EC2, CloudFront, and all of the other Amazon Web Services have received a CSS / Design refresh after a few years of using the previous design. A few highlights on the new design: Dropdown Selection of all AWS Services This has been available for at least a few months. Amazon was adding so many “tabs” to the previous horizontal layout that they ran out of space. Configurable View Options Much like WordPress’s “Screen Options” Amazon has added some settings for how you view items in the toolbar: Collapsable Sidebar Amazon now gives you the option to collapse the sidebar more easily (previously you could resize it). Toggling it is a more effective way to quickly see more of the columns in the panel on the right. Quick Toggle for the Properties Panel There are now three icons in to quickly toggle sizes in the Properties Panel at the bottom There have been a few other changes to try and make the panel more “responsive” and friendlier for small screen sizes. However, I would still rather use a mobile app to manage EC2 instances on my phone.

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AWS re: Invent Day 2 Highlights & Announcements

Hello again from AWS re: Invent! The second day of AWS re: Invent in Las Vegas started off with a great talk from CTO Dr. Werner Vogels. After a brief recap of yesterday’s announcements (Amazon Redshift and the S3 price reduction), Werner discussed the role of system architecture in today’s world of unconstrained, programmatic access to processing, storage, and network resources. He emphasized that new architectures must be scalable, fault-tolerant, high-performance, and cost-effective. His talk included guest speakers from Pinterest and Animoto, along with live, dynamic demos conducted by AWS Evangelists Matt Wood and Simone Brunozzi. Werner announced a pair of new Amazon EC2 instance types, one for high storage applications and another for high memory applications. He also announced the AWS Data Pipeline. New Amazon EC2 instances Two new Amazon EC2 instance types will be made available to customers in the US East (Virginia) region in the coming weeks. High Storage Instances are a new Amazon EC2 instance optimized for customers that need high storage depth and high sequential I/O for applications like data warehousing, Hadoop and data-intensive HPC. High Storage instances will be available in a single size, High Storage Eight Extra Large (hs1.8xlarge), and have 16 virtual cores, 24 hard disk drives, 48 TB of storage capacity, 117 GiB of RAM and 10 Gigabit Ethernet networking. Cluster High Memory instances are another new Amazon EC2 cluster instance type optimized for memory-intensive analytics and scientific computing. Cluster High Memory instances will be available in a single size, … Continue reading

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AWS re: Invent Day 1 Highlights & Announcements

Greetings from Las Vegas, host city for AWS re: Invent! AWS Senior Vice President Andy Jassy kicked off AWS re: Invent with a rousing 90 minute keynote presentation in front of 6,000 attendees, with another 13,000 watching the live stream. Andy’s talk covered a lot of ground! Starting with the history and growth of AWS over the last 6.5 years, he talked about important AWS use cases including web site hosting, gaming, social media, high performance computing (HPC), media distribution and streaming, disaster recovery, and more. He noted that AWS has hundreds of thousands of customers in 190 countries. This includes over 300 government agencies and 1500 educational institutions. Andy also used this opportunity to reveal some updated statistics on the growth of AWS – over 1.3 trillion objects in Amazon S3 (accessed at a rate of over 835,000 requests per second) and 3.7 million Hadoop clusters launched on Elastic MapReduce in the past two years. During the keynote we also announced Amazon Redshift, our new data warehouse product and an Amazon S3 price reduction, drawing applause from the live audience and a similarly appreciative reaction online. Amazon Redshift Amazon Redshift is a fast and powerful, fully managed, petabyte-scale data warehouse service in the cloud. Redshift offers you fast query performance when analyzing virtually any size data set using the same SQL-based tools and business intelligence applications you use today. With a few clicks in the AWS Management Console, you can launch a Redshift cluster, starting with a few hundred … Continue reading

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Amazon RDS Webinars Available

Dear EC2 User, I work in the Business Development team for Amazon Database Services. We co-ordinate interactions between AWS customers and the product teams for DynamoDB, ElastiCache, and Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS). In case you’re not familiar with RDS, it’s a web service designed to make it easy to set up, operate, and scale a relational database in the cloud. We’re running a series of free webinars that will highlight examples and best practices used by RDS customers to help improve performance, reduce costs, and eliminate most of the effort of database administration. Details of the next event are: Save time and effort. Focus on your app with Amazon RDS Amazon RDS simplifies database administration, giving you more time to build and optimize your applications 13 September 2012, 10.00AM to 11:00AM PDT This webinar will provide detailed information on customer use cases and best practices.Topics include: performance, security, migration and data protection. I hope you can make it. Regards, David Pearson Business Development Manager

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In what order are /etc/profile /etc/profile.d ~/bashrc and ~/.profile loaded ?

INVOCATION A login shell is one whose first character of argument zero is a -, or one started with the –login option. An interactive shell is one started without non-option arguments and without the -c option whose standard input and error are both connected to terminals (as determined by isatty(3)), or one started with the -i option. PS1 is set and $- includes i if bash is interactive, allowing a shell script or a startup file to test this state. The following paragraphs describe how bash executes its startup files. If any of the files exist but cannot be read, bash reports an error. Tildes are expanded in file names as described below under Tilde Expansion in the EXPANSION section. When bash is invoked as an interactive login shell, or as a non-interactive shell with the –login option, it first reads and executes commands from the file /etc/profile, if that file exists. After reading that file, it looks for ~/.bash_profile, ~/.bash_login, and ~/.profile, in that order, and reads and executes commands from the first one that exists and is readable. The –noprofile option may be used when the shell is started to inhibit this behavior. When a login shell exits, bash reads and executes commands from the file ~/.bash_logout, if it exists. When an interactive shell that is not a login shell is started, bash reads and executes commands from /etc/bash.bashrc and ~/.bashrc, if these files exist. This may be inhibited by using the –norc option. The –rcfile file option … Continue reading

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Does Git change file permissions?

Yes it does. Don’t go working away, for instance, putting you /etc directory in git and then switching branches. Git may change your directories to 755 and your files to 644 which will cause the system problems with security, and may even prevent booting. look at etckeeper or this tutorial for more information about keeping /etc in a git repo, but the answer to “Does Git change file permissions?” is a definitive “Yes”

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nmap scans ips and ports

A useful linux/unix tool, nmap scans ips and ports of given hosts: Nmap 5.21 ( ) Usage: nmap [Scan Type(s)] [Options] {target specification} TARGET SPECIFICATION: Can pass hostnames, IP addresses, networks, etc. Ex:,; 10.0.0-255.1-254 -iL <inputfilename>: Input from list of hosts/networks -iR <num hosts>: Choose random targets –exclude <host1 [,host2][,host3],…>: Exclude hosts/networks –excludefile <exclude_file>: Exclude list from file HOST DISCOVERY: -sL: List Scan – simply list targets to scan -sP: Ping Scan – go no further than determining if host is online -PN: Treat all hosts as online — skip host discovery -PS/PA/PU/PY[portlist]: TCP SYN/ACK, UDP or SCTP discovery to given ports -PE/PP/PM: ICMP echo, timestamp, and netmask request discovery probes -PO[protocol list]: IP Protocol Ping -n/-R: Never do DNS resolution/Always resolve [default: sometimes] –dns-servers <serv1 [,serv2],…>: Specify custom DNS servers –system-dns: Use OS’s DNS resolver –traceroute: Trace hop path to each host SCAN TECHNIQUES: -sS/sT/sA/sW/sM: TCP SYN/Connect()/ACK/Window/Maimon scans -sU: UDP Scan -sN/sF/sX: TCP Null, FIN, and Xmas scans –scanflags <flags>: Customize TCP scan flags -sI <zombie host[:probeport]>: Idle scan -sY/sZ: SCTP INIT/COOKIE-ECHO scans -sO: IP protocol scan -b <ftp relay host>: FTP bounce scan PORT SPECIFICATION AND SCAN ORDER: -p <port ranges>: Only scan specified ports Ex: -p22; -p1-65535; -p U:53,111,137,T:21-25,80,139,8080 -F: Fast mode – Scan fewer ports than the default scan -r: Scan ports consecutively – don’t randomize –top-ports <number>: Scan </number><number> most common ports –port-ratio <ratio>: Scan ports more common than </ratio><ratio> SERVICE/VERSION DETECTION: -sV: Probe open ports to determine service/version info –version-intensity <level>: … Continue reading

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Remote Desktop to Raspberry Pi from OS X w/ ssh XForwarding

Can you already ssh into your raspberry pi? In short, you will need to make sure you have a public key in the /home/pi/.ssh/authorized_keys directory. The directory should be chmod 700 and the file chmod 600. Good. If not see the notes below. You can then SSH to the box with something like: ssh [email protected] -i /path/to/private.key -X The -i option will specify your private key and -X will turn on X Forwarding. Once you’ve logged in you should be able to run lxsession to start the Lightweight Desktop (LXDE): If you can’t already SSH into your pi, fusionstrike has some notes on how to set that up. One more note: don’t try and do this as the root user. You may get some errors about A window manager is already running on screen – do it as the pi user as I mentioned above.

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AWS re: Invent Conference Details Available Now

  We are excited to share more details about AWS re: Invent, our first global customer and partner conference. Join the best and the brightest developers, hottest start-ups, and visionary technology leaders in Las Vegas, November 27-29 and be part of the largest gathering of the AWS community.   Important Details Full Conference Pass: $1099 Registration Open Date: July 25, 2012 Find the latest information on tracks, sessions, and speakers on the AWS re: Invent website. We have built the agenda around topics requested by customers. Choose from over 150 sessions led by AWS engineers and architects, product managers, AWS customers and partners, including: AWS Best Practices Compute & Networking, Databases, Storage, Content Delivery… Cloud Computing Use Case Web apps, Big data, High performance computing, Disaster recovery, Mobile, Media sharing… Enterprise IT Migrating enterprise apps to the cloud, Governance and security best practices, Customer case studies… Architecture High availability best practices, Scaling and Performance Tuning, Networking architectures… Developer Tools Using AWS SDKs for your favorite language, Architecting for cost savings, Deployment management tools from AWS and partners… AWS Resource Management Tips for lowering your bill, DevOps in the cloud, Automation and deployment best practices, Performance optimization, Testing… Security Cloud Security best practices, Building PCI and HIPAA Compliant apps, Identity and access management… New AWS Services How to get started with recently launched services like Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon CloudSearch, Amazon Simple Workflow Service… Service Team Office Hours Connect with engineers and product managers to get your technical questions answered   Mark … Continue reading

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