Protecting your Linux server from Heartbleed bug

I have got at least 20 emails from different sources about OpenSSL vulnerability, known as Heartbleed bug

It allows anyone on the Internet to read the memory of the systems protected by the vulnerable versions of the OpenSSL software. More details about this (how to reproduce and fix) can be found here.

To check if your server is vulnerable use this online tool.

heartbleed

At the end, in order to protect your server’s Linux OS you need to do this few steps:

  1. Login through SSL (you can use Putty from Windows) as root administrator
  2. Run “yum update” – this will update your OpenSSL
  3. You need now to restart restart all SSL-enabled services and the easiest way is to restart your server. Use “shutdown -r now
  4. After your server reboots itself, check if all is OK typing (use Putty again): “rpm -q –changelog openssl-1.0.1e | grep -B 1 CVE-2014-0160” and you should get something like this “Mon Apr 12 2014 Tomaž Mraz <tmraz@redhat.com> 1.0.1e-16.7

I would like to thank Michael Photakis, Eric Delorme and Stephen Chaffins from the CPanel team for their excellent support.

Happy sleeping.

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Geek weekend with Acer Iconia W700 tablet

Acer Iconia W700 is great piece of hardware for Windows type technical guys.  It can be a helpful tool when you are on the road or out of the office and need to get things done (no matter if you are a developer, system administrator or company owner).

It is basically a PC tablet with a touch screen, with i5 IvyBridge processor  (3337U at 1.8GHz) and with Toshiba 128GB SSD disk. It has 11,6″ 16:9 screen with great, full HD resolution 1920x1080px and it has great battery life – maybe 6 hours under full performance or more when you are not so demanding. And it has a fullsize keyboard which is great (not champion for long typing but acceptable). And it is quiet.

Not so good thing is that it is a quite heavy, eventhough is the size of an iPad. I think it is over 1kg. MacBookAir is great competitor but it is also more expensive.

In a full resolution, things are a little bit small on this screen, but hay, you have a big workspace to work in (in the terms of pixels). It would be better to have 8GB of RAM instead of 4GB but it is a capable machine.

It came with Windows 8 64-bit operating system which I personally does not like (as a many of other folks). It is very stable system on the other side, maybe runs even better then Windows 7 but I don’t like this hybrid mix of Start screen and standard Desktop screen and even this is a touch screen tablet I personally really don’t like these flat icons. Everything look the same to me, so distracting and that is also the main reason I didn’t switch from iOS6 to iOS 7 on my iPhone. I try to go to the desktop mode as soon as possible. There is a good completely free “Start” program that gives you Start button and put you instantly into the desktop mode after OS is loaded so you basically have more stable Windows 7. And that is a good compromise for me.

It was all nice until I upgraded to Windows 8.1 so if you didn’t do this yet (on this tablet) I suggest you not to do this. You will get leggy, buggy, not-responsive OS that will make you angry. Mouse pointer is stucking, not responsive, whole OS is so slow that it is unacceptable. Maybe it is the drivers issue, don’t know. And, there will not be possible for you to go back ro Windows 8 (if you didn’t made a full backup before).

On Friday I decided that I will restore my backup but I run into the problems because I didn’t get docking station with my Acer so I had only one USB 3.0 port.  I used Yumi multiboot USB creator to create different OS choices or backup recovery choices but booting was a problem. How to come into the BIOS of this device? Well, you need to do Shutdown first and then press and hold Windows button (in the middle, just below the screen) and while holding press Power On button and hold windows button. After initial logo you will come into the BIOS. I have changed UEFI booting option to Standard BIOS, turned off the Quick BIOS sequence and put USB Floppy in booting order at first place. This is the factory video tutorial but I don’t have portable DVD device, only an USB.

I put my created USB key with operating systems in the only port, saved the BIOS settings and I rebooted the tablet. It started to boot from USB and gave me the choice to choose operating system I want to install, but the keyboard wasn’t working and there were no more free USB ports so I was stucked. I couldn’t make any choice and after 30 second my bad Windows 8.1 OS is loaded automatically. Happily I remembered that I had somewhere an old 4-port USB hub (with “amazing” 1.0 speed) and it needed to get also the power so I used my laptop to give him that (used one USB port). In second USB I put the USB dongle for this handy small keyboard with a mouse pad, i third I put my USB disk with backup on it and the main cable of USB hub was inserted into the tablet’s USB port.

And it finally worked. Currently I am restoring my backup. It is working already for 10 hours and it will need around 10 hours more because this USB hub has really slow USB transfer. I hope it will save me, but I lost a lot of time this weekend. This is how it goes.

One image… How it looks. And this USB hub is really nice because it is also a heater so you can put a cup of your tea/coffee on it will not get cold 🙂

2014-03-02 19.56.24

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Cheapest hosting for startups that want to save money

You and your team are building the SaaS product that will have the high impact on existing market or open a new one and you want to minimize the costs of the hosting in the beginning?

First option is to find some hosting provider and pay them about 5o$/month. Question is if you need professional hosting in the beginning (during development and customer discovery).

Second option is that you already have a good internet at your home. It is very usual nowadays that you have fibre optics with symmetrical download and upload speeds, i.e. 20Mbps in both directions or even 100Mbps. You are already paying for your internet so why not use it at full capacity?

You want also to save money for electric energy bill (or maybe not in the case if you are a bitcoin miner, but let’s suppose that you are not :-)).

Good choice would be to order some mini-pc (called also as nettop) and make it as your home/work server. Zotac ID-83 is a good choice because it has Intel Core i3 3120M 2.5 GHz Dual-Core processor with built in Intel HD4000 graphics, up to 16GB RAM, SATA HDD or SSD HDD. Total power consumption is only 29W (when idle) or 65W (under load). You can buy the used one for about 300$. Notice: I do not promote Zotac brand, just happen to work with them on one project (and I am satisfied). You can get any other mini-pc.

So, you are talking about saving the money and now I need to invest something in advance?

Ok, this is the initial investment, but this mini-pc can serve you also in other ways at your home – you can have it as media center PC also, it can be central sharing storage and file server for all your computers and devices at home and it can be also your working machine whenever you are outside your home. For example, you can have an iPad and then use Remote Desktop Connection app to connect to your Zotac mini-pc and work on the stuff you need to do urgently.

I am not talking here about the professional server with high redundancy and scalability, but for initial startup development and early customer discovery cycles (according to the lean startup methodology) this is just a perfect thing for you. You can even go with this powerful i7 processor version.

Install OS on your mini-pc

First you need to install your operating system (Linux, Windows). In the case of Windows you can go with cheap option and use Windows 7 Professional or Windows 8 Professional.

Setup Power Options

Option 1 (make it run always)

You want your server to operate always (not to go to sleep) so make it work always by setting the power options (this case is for Windows OS).

Go to the “Control Panel > Power Options”

power-options

Choose your plan and customize it by clicking on “Change plan settings”. Note: You will not see battery option because this is from a laptop settings.

power-options-2

Click now on “Change advanced power settings” and make your HDD work always and also other things to have maximum performance. If you feel comfortable you can also disable “Require password on wakeup”.

power-options-3

After this your PC will work always after you turn it on.

Option 2 (let it go to sleep mode)

According to a lot of articles (this is just one with solution) Windows 8 and 8.1 have problems with “Wake-on-LAN” from “Sleep” mode. They recommend to always put your PC to hibernation instead of sleep and to disable (uncheck) “Turn on fast startup” (do it under “Control Panel > Power Options > Choose what the power buttons to (on the left) > “Change settings that are currently unavailable”)

power-options

Check also your Ethernet adapter at “Control Panel > Network and Sharing Center > Properties > Change adapter settings (on the left) > double click on your Ethernet connection > Properties > Configure > Power management” and set parameters like this

ethernet

Set up Wake-on-LAN in your BIOS

Wake on LAN (WOL) can boot your system from a completely shutdown state and also it can wake up your system from sleep or hibernated state. f you’re working in Windows, you may need to tweak your BIOS settings. On booting sequence press the key (often “DEL”) to  go to BIOS settings and enable “Wake-on-LAN” in Your BIOS. Save everything and exit.

Set UP Wake-on-LAN in your OS

For Windows OS go to “Control Panel > Network and Sharing Center” and choose your Ethernet adapter. Note: in order to use WOL function your mini-pc must be connected with your network and Internet via Ethernet cable (you can not use WI-FI).

Click on “Configure” button

network-1

Find “Wake on Settings” or “Wake on Shutdown” (Windows 8) and choose “Magic Packet”. Click “OK” to save this.

network-2

Set static IP address for your mini-pc

In that way you will be sure what is his local IP address and it will be easier  to set everything on your home router.

Change this to “Use the following IP address” and “Use the following DNS server addresses” and type for example (regarding your local network)

IP address: 192.168.1.200

Subnet mask: 255.255.255.0

Default gateway: 192.168.1.0

Prefered and Alternate DNS: get this from your Internet provider

network-3

Set up your Firewall

You need to allow port 9 throw your Firewall settings. To do this go to “Control Panel > Windows Firewall > Advanced Settings (on the left) > Inbound rules > New Rule… (on the right)”

firewall-1

When you click on “New Rule…” choose “Port”

firewall-2

Now enter “9” as your WOL port (choose UDP for port type)

firewall-3

Name your Firewall rule and save everything (on next screen).

Set up you Router to enable Wake-on-LAN

You need to allow port “9” for you mini-pc on your router. This is usual under “Ports and forwarding” and enter the IP of your mini-pc and set “9” for both ports (external and internal)

router

Get a program to wake up your computer

For Windows OS get the free program here: https://magicpacket.free.fr/

After you start it you will get this:

magic-packet

MAC address is hardware address of your Ethernet network card. You can get it by typing in DOS prompt: ipconfig /all (just find the right one, not WI-FI adapter) or go to “Control Panel > Network and Sharing Center > Change Adapter Settings > choose your Ethernet adapter > double click with mouse on it > Details”. You will see it under “Physical Address”

mac-address

Other option (better) is to wake up you mini-pc from your router but you will need custom firmware such as DD-WRT or Tomato and you will need to enable SSH access to your router so you can set it up from anywhere. For “Tomato” click on “Tools > WOL > enter your mini-pc MAC address and you are done”

wol-tomato

Happy and successful startup!

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Copy-Paste Stopped Working on Remote Desktop Connection

This happened few times and is annoying when you can not Copy-Paste among Remote Server and your Local Machine

How to fix when clipboard stops working at RDP?

  1. Open RDP to your server and login
  2. Open Task Manager (right click Taskbar and select Task Manager)
  3. Go to the Processes Tab
  4. Find rdpclip.exe
  5. Click End Process
  6. Go to the Application Tab
  7. Click New Process
  8. Type rdpclip
  9. Click Ok

After that, Copy and Paste should work normally again.

How do you fix this permanently?

There is no cure for permanent fix but you can make it easier if it happens too often.

  1. Create a new bat file and call it whatever you want say, clipboard.bat.
  2. Write the following two commands on separate lines in the new bat file
    • Taskkill.exe /im rdpclip.exe
    • Rdpclip.exe
    • Save the bat file and put it somewhere on Desktop or Quick Launch.
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