Thursday, November 6, 2014

StartSSL - Can a free SSL cert be trusted?

During the course of renewing my SSL certs for another term, I happened upon an advertisement for a company called StartSSL who offers free SSL certificates.  My curiosity got the better of me and I had to click to find out more.

StartSSL offers several products ranging from extremely basic free certificates all the way to extended validation (EV) certs.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Three Sysadmin Rules You Can’t (And Shouldn’t) Break

Saw this posted on the local LUG mailing list, and it's a must read!  I think I may have to print this out and put a laminated copy on the wall at work.

Three Sysadmin Rules You Can’t (And Shouldn’t) Break

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Major Cyber Attack Will Cause Significant Loss of Life By 2025, Experts Predict - Defense One

Everybody get your tin foil hats ready!
Tin foil hat 2
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Major Cyber Attack Will Cause Significant Loss of Life By 2025, Experts Predict - Defense One

Somehow I get the feeling that no matter how many dire predictions of an inevitable large scale cyber attack are made, there will still be a lot of folks completely caught by surprise.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Dude, where's my A record?

I ran into something a bit odd today while setting up a couple of new CentOS 6.5 virtual machines.  The VM's were both set to receive IP addresses via Windows DHCP, which was working except for one small bit.  That particular DHCP scope is set to dynamically create both forward (A) and reverse (PTR) records when a lease is obtained.  Oddly, this was not happening.  Being a Linux admin, I immediately thought, "must be Windows!"

After digging into the Windows side of the house, I was left scratching my head.  All of the settings for both DHCP and DNS were as they should be.  I set up a packet capture and sent a few DHCP requests from the VM's which revealed the issue.  The default behavior for dhclient in CentOS now is to not pass the hostname in the request.  Adding one simple parameter in the /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0 file solved everything.  If you run into this issue, simply add the following to the file for the affected interface:
DHCP_HOSTNAME=`hostname -s`
 By including this line, you are telling dhclient to pass the hostname to the DHCP server in the request.  

Sunday, October 26, 2014

SplunkLive: Reflections from Nashville

SplunkLive recently came to Nashville, Tennessee for the first time.  Although it was somewhat of a strain to make it due to the current load at work, I was determined not to miss it.  Coming away from the day long event, I was stoked from the info presented as well as from meeting and talking with other Splunk users.  If you use Splunk, or are just considering doing so, you should definitely make it to SplunkLive if it comes your way.

I know a lot of folks may look at such an event as a day long sales pitch, but this was not the case.  Granted, Splunk sales is there should you want more info, but the whole point of SplunkLive is getting current Splunk users more bang for the buck.  Multiple breakouts are held covering different topics aimed at different users of varying experience, but all have one thing in common - making Splunk do amazing things that you never thought possible.

If you are scratching your head wondering what Splunk is, let me sum it up this way.  If you ever have the need for pulling a needle out of a haystack of logs (or any kind of machine data for that matter), you seriously need to check out Splunk.  You can even run it for free, indexing up to 500MB of data per day.

Back to SplunkLive - as I said before, if it comes to your town, GO!  You will get a lot of great info and best of all, it's free!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Ubuntu 14.10 - Much ado about nothing?

I really hate to pile on to all of the lukewarm reviews for Ubuntu 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn), but I'm going to anyway.  There has been a lot of buzz about this release, being that it is the 10th anniversary of the distributions initial release.  Unfortunately it's more of a maintenance release than anything.  While stability and security updates are a good thing, I guess we just all expected something flashy or innovative with this release.  As always, update servers are slammed, so I wouldn't worry too much if you aren't one of the first ones to upgrade.  You're not missing much.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

When MySQL joins become disjointed

I honestly don't know how I've managed to avoid this until now, but I ran into an issue today where I could not get a SQL query with a join to execute properly.  I kept getting errors saying that I had referenced an unknown column.  After rewriting the query several times and questioning my sanity, I decided to do a quick search online.  Much to my surprise, I quickly found the answer.  The way joins are handled changed ever so slightly in MySQL 5.0, such that they are now more closely aligned with ANSI SQL standards.  By tweaking the query and adding parentheses in the from clause, all worked perfectly.

Many thanks to jbrinkmann for his excellent article on the subject at