SSLv3 and securing against Poodle

If you are using SSL in your web server, you probably want to read this.

Google recently published details about an attack that targets SSLv3.

The exploit first allows attackers to initiate a “downgrade dance” that tells the client that the server doesn’t support the more secure TLS (Transport Layer Security) protocol and forces it to connect via SSL 3.0. From there a man-in-the-middle attack can decrypt secure HTTP cookies. Google calls this the POODLE (Padding Oracle On Downgraded Legacy Encryption) attack. [...] In other words, your data is no longer encrypted.

The default configuration for most web servers still allows SSLv3 and often also SSLv2. And other potentially weak ciphers. However it is easy to fix, Continue reading

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Getting Started with Docker

Docker logoWritten by Andrew Colin Kissa

Introduction
We’re happy to announce the availability of Docker support on our VPS installations.
In this blog post, we aim to introduce you to Docker one of
the most exciting and powerful open-source projects that has sprung up in the recent
years.

In a nutshell, Docker offers you the tools to package everything that forms an
application, allowing you to deploy the application effortless across systems and
machines both virtual and physical.

Just as Java was write once run anywhere, Docker allows you to setup once and
deploy anywhere. Continue reading

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Centos 7 Release – Whats New

centos_logoHot on the heels of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 release the Centos team have put out Centos 7 and now we are happy to offer a Centos 7 VM image on our control panel.  You can select it on new installs and also on re-installs.

This has been a long awaited update due to a few new features, and changes which we have wanted/needed.

Here are a few of the changes in the new distro and what they will mean to you. Continue reading

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Connecting to MySQL from external sources + IPTables

MySQLBy default, MySQL only allows local connections. This is due to security, and for the most part works just fine for most people. Ideally you can use things like PHPMyAdmin for things like this, or even command line.

Occasionally people need to connect from externally, either from a web front end, or some other PC, and this also opens things up for anyone else to connect and potentially exploit weak users/passwords, so this is how we do it.

Continue reading

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Sync live sites to in-house dev servers

One of our customer found it tedious to sync his live websites to his dev servers, it involved using FTP (since he had no version control) as well as the database.
The files were over 2GB by themselves, so it could be a time consuming task. As a result he asked us for a solution, and we were able to provide the following script to help him out.
Continue reading

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Two Factor Authentication

authenticator-tokenWe have just added optional two factor authentication to the RimuHosting control panel.

You can enable it at http://rimuhosting.com/cp/twofactor.jsp

It uses Time-based One Time Password (TOTP) so you will need an application like Google Authenticator or Authy.

To enable 2FA scan the QR code to your TOTP application then enter the 6 digit token your TOTP application presents.

The next time you log in you will be asked to enter your confirmation code.

This setup means that even if someone obtains your password they will still require something you have (e.g. your smartphone with the TOTP application) in order to log in.

login-step

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Preventing brute force WordPress login attacks

wordpress-logo-notext-rgbOver the last month or two we have seen an increase in WordPress brute force login attacks.

The symptom is typically higher CPU usage on your server (often resulting in slower page load times). It can be particularly painful on servers running php through fast CGI (like Plesk server setups).

For a good summary of the issue see: http://codex.wordpress.org/Brute_Force_Attacks

If you have good, strong passwords set then this will likely not be a security threat to you.  But the CPU usage on those login attempts can be very high and result in lower performance.

You can check if you are affected by taking a peek at your apache logs. e.g. looks for lots of these kinds or requests: Continue reading

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NTP servers and DoS Attacks

NTP servers have been in the news over the New Year, as security sites and social media talk about potential attacks. This is important because many linux servers run ntpd to help keep their clock time correct.

One of the first reports and some solutions are clearly described on litnet ...

In LITNET we recently observed a very interesting NTP attack following the mentioned pattern during which enormous amounts of data was being sent from our stratum 1/2 NTP servers [...] it turned out that it was utilizing 'monlist' query which is a built-in monitoring function providing a history of recent NTP clients. [...] After upgrading our NTP servers the attacks stopped.

There is another really great post here which explains in more detail how such attacks are carried out... Continue reading

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Linux.conf.au – LCA2014 Perth visit (Part 2)

This page is a continuation of Page 1

One thing i will say about perth, it gets fairly hot! The first Monday was about 36C outside, which is pretty bad when you are walking long distance between buildings with a laptop on your back (or in my case, a large 17" laprock!)

Luckily for us, all the rooms were air conditioned. In fact, since im on the subject of the Location, if you are ever in Perth, go down and take a look at The University of Western Australia Continue reading

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Linux.conf.au – LCA2014 Perth visit (Part 1)

Recently i started talking to an amazing bunch of people, who had proposed, and been accepted to host the next Linux.conf.au in Auckland, New Zealand. I immediately requested to help, and be a part since i really love this sort of thing, and i want to give back.

Since the whole idea was still very Secret Squirrel and had not been publicly known, we had to keep hush until it was formally announced. The Announcement was going to be at Linux.conf.au in 2014 Perth.
With that in mind, i harassed my boss into providing funds to get me over (which he did of course), allowing me to learn the ropes of how an LCA was run. Continue reading

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