- 27 December 2017
Solid-state drives sound ideal as they have no spinning parts and are very quiet, but they have a limited lifespan as you can’t write a memory cell only an X amount of times. But how to check your SSD on Linux to see if it is still in good shape? S.M.A.R.T. has become the standard for disk health years ago and can be queried by
smartctl. So if we query for the health status and show all available attributes we get a good overview.
The most interesting attributes are 202 on how much lifetime is left, but also 5, 180, and 9 that show you the number of replaced storage cells and how many hours the disk has been running. If attributes 5 and 180 are changing it is most definitely time to replace this solid-state drive as memory cells have been worn out.
- 17 December 2017
Big sites like GitHub or GitLab are hosting a lot of projects and have numerous of releases a day. And while you as a person can watch a repository on GitHub, you can’t filter out new releases easily. At least not easily findable in the interfaces and checking all the repositories manually because they aren’t part of a build process is too much hassle and will fail in the end. So also for me with highlight.js as it has been updated from version 9.11.0 to 9.12.0 months ago.
Looking at some solutions people were writing about on StackOverflow for example was to parse the HTML and use that as a basis for actions to be executed. A quick check and grep of the output shown that we only have links to releases, but no structured data we can easily parse.
- 13 December 2017
With the creation of RFC 4408 also new a record type 99 for DNS was created to identify SPF Resource Records. It was advised to have both TXT and SPF records in DNS with the same content. RFC 4408 was obsoleted by RFC 7208 in 2014 with paragraph 3.1 stating the following:
SPF records MUST be published as a DNS TXT (type 16) Resource Record (RR) [RFC1035] only. The character content of the record is encoded as [US-ASCII]. Use of alternative DNS RR types was supported in SPF’s experimental phase but has been discontinued.
- 15 October 2017
Last month CentOS 7.4 was announced and it was time to rebuild some servers from scratch to make sure all playbooks were still correct as it is always good to know you can quickly (re)build servers when needed. For some other servers, the impact would be big due to huge amounts of data that needed to be moved around and an in-place upgrade would be sufficient.
Upgrading is very straightforward as it the same as the update option with “-obsoletes” flag set which removes obsolete packages. So let start with CentOS 7.3.
- 08 September 2017
Disk space seems endless, until you run out and/or have to pay the bill. The question is how to find tables with a high disk storage usage and with the query below it shows the table and index size, but also the size of TOAST data for PostgreSQL.
After running this query on the development schema and exporting the results to CSV, we can see that a ManyToMany table consumes a total of 39 MB. With over 330.000 entries this seems numbers seem to be fine as the table size is in line with the amount of data stored in it.
- 29 July 2017
For now the following commands increase the inotify limit to 512k of files.
- 08 May 2017
For many Secure Shell (SSH) is a magic sauce to get access to a server and transfer files between servers. But when things go wrong this magic sauce becomes a problem. Let’s start with one example of when things go wrong and how to debug them. First, we start add to option -v to our command to connect to another server to get some basic debug information about the SSH handshake and get to the point the user has to authenticate.
Just before the SSH client prompts for the user’s password two interesting debug lines are shown. The first line is about the authentication methods we can use and the next line shows our client selected method password as we don’t have any methods configured in our SSH client like public key. So we manually disable publickey authentication and set the preferred authentication methods to keyboard-interactive.
- 05 May 2017
Recently I generated kickstart files for a virtual environment where people could experiment and virtual machines could be rebuilt quickly. Sadly enough a typo slipped into the generated files that would make the anaconda installer stops. Every kickstart file could be corrected by the hand of course, but one sed command could also correct the typo in all files in one go.
The Unix toolkit is full of handy tools and options like this and it pays to get to know your environment. Especially when it is your work environment and you’re familiar with the Unix philosophy.
- 01 May 2017
Generating documents in PDF form is becoming the standard nowadays, but how to generate them easily when they’re mostly free format? One of the goals of the Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP) Certification is writing a report based on the evidence you find. This is where LaTeX comes into the picture as you can easily have multiple files with data and one or more TeX-files combining this into a proper document. The question then also comes “How to optimize this pipeline?”
The first step is to see every report as a git repository where you can store and version all data. And running rubber locally solves the problem to quickly create a PDF from your sources, but wouldn’t it be nice if this part also could be automated? Who didn’t make the last moment change and forgot to run rubber if the document would still compile into a PDF? GitLab CI can luckily also compile LaTeX into a PDF and the notification if your update broke the build process comes for free.
- 28 April 2017
During a code upgrade for a web application from Symfony 2.8 to 3.3 it also became time to do some basic tests with Zed Attack Proxy. While most findings were logical and easy to fix, but one was different and it started with the finding below.
Description: The AUTOCOMPLETE attribute is not disabled on an HTML FORM/INPUT element containing password type input. Passwords may be stored in browsers and retrieved.
- 23 April 2017
But how does it work? First, let’s calculate the SHA256 hash of JQuery version 3.2.1 hosted by Cloudflare. Also, keep in mind to verify this number with the official version offered by JQuery. In this example, we download the minimized version of JQuery with curl and run it twice through OpenSSL to generate the checksum and encode the result in base64 format.