Getting Email Headers From Outlook

Tuesday, 31. January 2023

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Signs of a failing Hard Drive

Thursday, 10. July 2014

Signs of a failing Hard Drive.

Do you know what piece of computer hardware is the most likely component to fail? If you answered the hard drive, you’re absolutely correct! Why? It’s one of the few moving parts left in a computer. With a hard drive, it’s not if it will fail, it’s when!

So, we know it’s going to fail. What can we do to:

  • Protect our data from loss.
  • Predict when a hard drive will fail.
  • Recover from a failure.

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Samba 4 as an Active Directory Server.

Wednesday, 17. April 2013

Samba 4 as an Active Directory Server – Can it dance the dance?

Two weeks ago I thought to myself ‘Gee, now that Samba 4 has a real release out, wouldn’t it be fun to test it out and see how it holds up?‘ And so my adventure began. Now mind you, I’m not a novice to Samba, or to Active Directory, so I figured this would be a simple setup and test. How hard could it be?

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Millions of LinkedIn Passwords Compromised

Wednesday, 13. June 2012

Millions of LinkedIn, E-Harmony, and Last.fm password hashes posted on message board.

Well, if we have learned anything from the past, if it can go wrong, it will… Although this has been downplayed by the companies involved,  there is no doubt in my mind that many people will be effected by this compromise. Once again, public networking sites storing user data on the internet, have failed to protect that data, and worse, have tried to hide the importance of this compromise. This is sad, but certainly is nothing new. We can take some comfort in the fact that these companies at least used sha1 hashing when storing the password data. Thing is, we don’t know what other information was compromised besides the passwords.

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Logical Repair Practices

Tuesday, 29. May 2012

My God, can it all be the same?

Seems like most of my job now a days is looking at large systems and isolating problem areas. Things like performance problems, data corruption, or even failure analysis. Many of these systems have several independently managed processes, all tied together in a single forward facing application. Over the years, I’ve developed some methods of approaching system failures and problems that gives me a better chance of quickly evaluating and repairing the issues that plague these systems. I used to believe that these methods were only valid on larger system models, then, one day, a colleague of mine and I were sitting in a small coffee house discussing a problem they were having with one of the desktops they manage. While we exchanged ideas, I suddenly realized that I was using the same mental process on this little desktop as I did with the large cluster systems.

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The end of an Era…

Friday, 18. November 2011

The end of an Era…

Back in 1999, My company, ACT USA leased a small storefront in Thousand Oaks, CA. At the time, we did just about everything related to business computing. Not only did we service desktops back then, but we also served as a Corporate ISP to many of our customers, with T1s and Frame Relay connections terminating directly to that little facility.

A few months back, the CFO and I started to review our costs, and came to the conclusion, that we no longer needed to host any services locally, and that we could save a fair amount of money relocating to a business / industrial park. So, the hunt was on for a new facility. We managed to locate a new office only five miles from our old storefront that was perfect for our use.

Needless to say, these are exciting times for all of us at ACT USA. New bigger office in a beautiful complex, with a large shop area and room for a classroom! This move however, set into motion the dismantling of our NOC in that office.

See, the only way the move really made sense, was to completely eliminate all outward facing services from the Thousand Oaks NOC. This idea was nothing new, I had started this process almost 5 years ago, but found a few services / customers to be difficult and expensive to move, so I procrastinated. Well, that procrastination ended with the signing of a new lease, and all of a sudden I was faced with unraveling a location that I had personally kept operational 24/7 the last 12 years.

Today, November 18th, 2011, without fan fair or even a whimper… Yes, today, the NOC in Thousand Oaks fell silent. As I reached over and turned off the last router (border1), the sound of absolute silence over whelmed me. I had spent the last 12 years making sure this room stayed noisy, keeping this equipment running. Yes, the last 12 years… Responding to power failures and carrier issues all times of day and night. And now… Silence… How strange… How strange…

Thousand Oaks NOC

Brought On-Line: November 1, 1999

Decommissioned: November 18, 2011

— Stu

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Open Source Groupware – SOGo

Monday, 1. August 2011

Open Source Groupware – The Clear Leader is SOGo:

Some of the early groups of articles I penned on this blog, were comparisons of Open Source Groupware projects. At that time, the only one I could really recommend was eGroupware. Although I still believe eGroupware is a valid contender for your Groupware server, I have discovered a project, that in my opinion is leaps and bounds ahead of the pack. The project is called SOGo.

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Amazon Brute Force SIP Attacks – Dave Michels Interviews Me

Monday, 19. April 2010

Amazon Brute Force SIP Attacks – Dave Michels Interviews Me.

Shortly After my “SIP Brute Force Attack Originating From Amazon EC2 Hosts” post, Dave Michels interviewed me for an article Dark Side of the Cloud. This is that interview:

Dave:   What do you believe the intent was of the attacks? Free long distance?

Stu: Certainly free long distance would be one reason… But there are many other reasons to hijack a SIP account. I’m sure that organized crime would pay for a block of active SIP logins. They could use them to circumvent surveillance, or possibly use them for fraudulent boiler room calls about extended warranties and such.

Remember, most folks still believe that the Telephone System is secure… They tend to believe someone who is calling them.

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SIP Brute Force Attack Originating From Amazon EC2 Hosts

Sunday, 11. April 2010

SIP Brute Force Attack Originating From Amazon EC2 Hosts.

I woke up Saturday morning to find strangely high network activity on some of our inbound connections. After a quick review, it turned out that most of the traffic was going into several of our hosted PBX systems. After a little more digging, I discovered that several systems on the Amazon EC2 network were preforming brute force attacks, against our VoIP servers. They were attempting to guess user names and passwords for our SIP clients. I immediately blocked all traffic from the attacking IPs and examined the logs. Thankfully, I found that non of the attacks had succeeded in guessing passwords.

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The Technology of SCALE8x – A Post Event Review. PART – 2

Friday, 12. March 2010

The Technology of SCALE8x – A Post Event Review. PART – 2

This is the second installment all about the technologies used for SCALE8x. The first installment dealt with the services that the technology group has setup and maintains for the event year round. This installment will cover the pre-show setup that went into the technologies that were used at the show.

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