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Attack by ZmEu

Who is ZmEu?

An image showing ZmeuThe name Zmeu (no capital E) is the name of a fantastic creature of Romania. There are so many stories that there isn't a clear understanding of what it is... but it is human like, can spit fire and wants to marry young women.

If you're wondering, it is generally a bad guy.

ZmEu Attack

Today, I noticed a lot of traffic on one of my servers. Looking into what was happening, I immediately found out that an attacker was looking for a loophole in that system. That attack was being performed from China.

Gnome Keyring stopped working...

At some point in time, I upgraded Ubuntu and my Gnome Keyring stopped working. So each time I do ssh I have to enter the password at the prompt and that's a bit annoying after a while (depends how much I access the servers, obviously.)

I read many threads ZERO of them gave me an answer I want to hear. All of them speak of things that do not make sense in that situation. So I tried to install a brand new clean 14.04 server + ubuntu-desktop and guess what... Gnome Keyring is installed and everything makes me think that is is correctly installed (I get the correct SSH_AUTH_SOCK value) and ...

Lost SSH key graphical prompt and auto-add to SSH agent

At some point in the past, my system somehow lost the ability to avoid asking me for my key every time I connect to one of my servers. It generally okay, I don't do so much work on that server that I'd have to connect all the time...

However, it is annoying when, once in while, I end up doing a lot of work, back and forth.

The ssh-agent was installed and working. I could add the key manually:

ssh-add ~/.ssh/my-secret-key
ssh-add -l

The ssh-add command allows you to add and remove keys from the ssh-agent. The -l command line option lists the keys currently held by the agent.

...

Supermicro X9SCI/X9SCA, video is gone!

As I am still trying to get my computers to work with a dual seat (or multiseat), I did an attempt in using the onboard video (a relatively decent Matrox card.) So I went in the BIOS and changed the setup for the video from Offboard to Onboard. Big mistake!

The video stopped working. On reboot the computer beeped 8 times and booted the OS normally (I have SSH setup so I could access the computer, but absolutely no video on either port: on board and off board.)

I have a Supermicro X9SCI/X9SCA. Searching for "no video" or "missing video on boot"... returned nothing ...

X11 starts, but nothing appears on the screen...

Today I finally resolved a problem I had for a while on one of my computers.

When logging in using the normal lightdm X11 login screen, directly on the computer, I would get an error and absolutely no menu, no icons, no keyboard functionality, no unity, no nautilus... The only thing I had working was the background which gave me access to the settings, but nothing else. More or less, nothing useful.

I just had an idea and then I found a comment form a user on a forum who said that he just deleted his .config and .compiz directories and rebooted. After that it worked for him. It worked for me ...

How to only upgrade packages with a security requirement in Ubuntu/Debian?

Today I wanted to upgrade some packages that had security issues. Ubuntu (like Debian) provides the apt-get tool that allows you to do upgrades the easy way:

sudo apt-get upgrade

However, that upgrades all the packages present. In some cases, you may want to skip on some packages because you know they are not ready (i.e. your own packages).

In order to only upgrade security issues, you want to get a list of packages that are to be upgraded for security issues:

apt-get -s dist-upgrade | grep "^Inst" | grep -i securi

That apt-get command line lists all the packages ready for ...

xhtml2pdf generating an error under 14.04+

Working on a website I have to convert invoices to PDF so end users have the ability to print and share the invoices from the website.

In order to do that, I generate an HTML page with the invoice which also gets displayed in the website, and then convert that HTML to PDF with xhtml2pdf. I use that tool instead of whtmltopdf because it does not require X11 to work. The other tool is said to require Qt and X11 and we do not want those things on our backend servers.

So... I upgraded to 14.04 and the tool stopped working with an ugly error:

[20665]:process.cpp:396:halk: info: Running process ...

no talloc stackframe at ../source3/param/loadparm.c:4864, leaking memory

As I upgrade to 14.04, I started seeing this error in my console:

no talloc stackframe at ../source3/param/loadparm.c:4864, leaking memory

Quite cryptic if you ask me, but the "leaking memory" did sound bad.

The error would in particular appear when I used sudo for whatever reason, for example:

sudo iptables -L -nvx

So... something to do with sudo?

I found the answer on the Ubuntu forum. The solution is to turn off a feature of samba. Run the samba setup tool in your console:

sudo pam-auth-update

That opens a curses window in your console. You should then see an option ...

Update to Ubuntu 14.04, huge problems with the display!

Oka, so today I finally got the chance to upgrade to Ubuntu 14.04, hopefully soon to 14.10 too.

I have to say that in general, it looks like they've done a good job as things seem to work better...

However, the display setup got lost. My HP 2509m monitor is connected through a KVM and because of that, it does not always work as expected. That is, the nVidia card does not get to read the monitor information. It took me a while, but I found a way to fix the problem.

First of all I connected the monitor directly to my computer. That gave me the ability to change the resolution to 1920x1080 ...

Cannot connect my Host system to Cassandra running on my Guest VM

I found a different way which is to use the:
Local Network or Host-only Network on your Virtual Machine

Today I did my first full install of Snap on a VM in my Ubuntu development system that runs VirtualBox.

This took me about 1h between getting all the files ready from our own APT repository, and then finding out all the setups needed (we have a few working installations, but we added all the necessary magic with time and did not clearly document all the steps yet... argh! so much to do!)

At some point, I wanted to setup the "domains" and "websites" tables on the VM. ...

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