Articles of Interest

5 Things To Know About CISA

Despite criticism from privacy advocates, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act passed through the Senate yesterday.
Yesterday, S. 754, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) passed through the Senate, despite protests from privacy advocates and many information security and technology companies. A related bill passed through the House earlier this year; now CISA will go through a conference stage before heading to the President.

It’s not a law yet, but here are a few things to know about CISA, going forward.

SSD Pricing Vs. HDD Costs

Any way you cut it, solid-state drives are becoming a better bargain than hard disk drives.
In some ways, the solid-state drive/flash market is a clear example of irrational behavior. We have a product that supercharges systems and reduces overall costs by large factors, but buying that product often seems to hinge on the price of the device itself.

Wireshark: Editing A Packet

In this video, Tony Fortunato shows how a new feature in the Wireshark network analysis tool allows you to sanitize the information in a trace file before sharing it.
There are many situations where you wish you could share a trace file with a vendor, but you can’t because the packets may contain sensitive data such as corporate identifying information, IP addresses, and passwords.


Restoring BIOS Real Time Clock Alarm Power Up


Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) allows dynamic control of power to various computer components for use (as an example) in reducing power use when the computer is idle, or allow the computer to be automatically started just before the business day begins, or to turn on the computer and run maintenance tasks at night. There used to be a common Basic Input Output System (BIOS) setting where one could specify the day(s) of the week and time at which power should be turned on so the computer would boot, however this functionality has generally disappeared in main boards manufactured after the year 2000 and the “RTC Alarm” must be set programatically using an Operating System (OS). Readmore..

Backup using rsync with non-standard ssh port

locked-computer-cartoon*nix systems have rsync to back up or synchronize (mirror) their files to a backup computer. For example I can back up the files on my home computer to my office computer. rsync does not copy files that have not changed. The syntax is something like

rsync -avzhe ssh /home/mydir/ 

The -a is archive, same as for cp. -v is verbose so you can see each file in process and how long until it is finished. the -e lets you specify an alternate communications protocol, in my case ssh.

Note: SSH must be working on both systems for rsync to work using SSH. Also note OpenSSH can be unreasonable and inobvious about permits — the target login directory (example: /home/mylogin) must NOT be writable by group or other. Mostly this will not be a problem — chmod 06755 /home/mylogin will work. BUT also note the /home/mylogin/.ssh folder MUST be 0700 (or possibly 0744) and the /home/mylogin/.ssh/authorized_keys file must be 0700. Otherwise SSH simply returns “Permission denied (publickey).” and refuses to connect. Yeah, someone didn’t think that one through all the way.
Note: you can pull / push files around a few at a time without checking dates and such by using scp. It is like the copy command, cp, but works through ssh. Format example:

scp mylogin@mycomain:/myfilename .

I had a couple problems when I tried rsync initially:

  1. It wiped out my ssh credentials (2048 bit key in /home/mydir/.ssh/authorized_keys) on the remote system by copying the .ssh/authorized_keys in my local system right over the top of it — probably not a good idea to copy your hidden folders up to the remote system.
  2. I use non-standard port numbers for ssh to make hacking me a little more interesting and I found nothing obvious in the docs about how to do it.

I solved these problems in the little script below and also email myself a report when it is done. Note the app I used to send the email is “sendemail” with an “e” in the middle, not “sendmail”: I removed mailutils because I do not run mail servers at this time and that makes it a bit more interesting to hijack my systems for spamming since there is no app to send the spam — remove all programs you don’t need to reduce vulnerabilities. The sendemail program can be installed from the repositories.

NOW=$(date +"%Y%m%d-%H%M%S")

if [ -d "$LOGDIR" ]
echo "Log folder located at $LOGDIR"
echo "Creating log folder at $LOGDIR"
mkdir $LOGDIR

echo ===
echo $HOSTNAME batch job nightly mirror to my backup server $NOW
echo ===

rsync -avzhe 'ssh -p2222' --progress --exclude='\.*' /home/mydir/ >$LOGME

sendemail \
-f $ \
-t \
-u "$HOSTNAME Nightly Mirroring Report" \
-s \
-xu "" \
-xp "my-password" \
-o message-file=$LOGME

Windows 10 Boot Record Repair

locked-computer-cartoonI botched my boot record and windows 10 home said it couldn’t boot. I tried inserting the Windows Enterprise LTSB installation disk from work and running Repair your computer but it said it couldn’t fix the problem. Since Microsoft automagically updated my Windows 7 Home to Windows 10 Home there is no Windows 10 Home DVD to re-install Windows.

Here is what I did that worked. Start at the command line in the Advanced area after booting the Windows install disk and clicking Repair my computer. Readmore..

GRUB Re-Install after Windows

Fix for the various instances in which the GRUB boot loader on a multi-boot system gets trashed, by way of example but not by way of limitation, when installing Windows. A different process that inspired these steps I found here Being a basic old, grouchy, lazy IT guy, I did it this way instead. Notes below.

  1. Boot from the Memory Stick into MINT, Ubuntu, or whatever
  2. Open terminal
  3. Readmore..