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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.

Turning sites and modules on and off in Apache2

I always have to looks for the command line option to turn sites and modules on and off (really it is said to be enabled or disabled.)

The commands are as follow:

  • a2ensite -- enable one site
  • a2dissite -- disable one site
  • a2enmod -- enable one module
  • a2dismod -- disable one module

When you use one of the commands in the command line terminal without specifying which site or module to enable, then you are given a list of the sites or modules you can enable or disable. Note that the configuration files have to end with .conf for this mechanism to work as expected.

Drupal blocks all disappeared!

Today I had an interesting experience... all of a sudden, all the blocks of a given theme disappeared.

It has been working just fine for months, so I really wasn't sure what the heck it could be.

The fact was that the theme was called the same as the module (as I work for a given client, I tend to do that...)

At some point, I must have added a function with a specific name and that would influence the theme. The result being blocks going bye bye!

I checked and the block content is computed just fine, the problem is the theme('block', $block) call. Although the ...

My customer cannot edit pages?!

I created a website and handed it to a customer... without realizing that the customer could not edit the pages of his site.

He reported the problem and I was rather surprised since I had not installed any module that would protect the editing of pages based on a role... what could it be? I checked the Drupal permissions a couple times... he had the right to edit all the nodes, his own and anyone else's, hmmm...

I looked at the code to try to figure it out, and there is a call to the filter module: filter_access($node->format).

Yes! Of course! I had forgotten to add his role to the ...

Clean URL not working on my Drupal site?!

Today I finally solved a problem that was bothering me for a while. A Drupal site I installed for a friend of mine would not accept the Clean URL set. This is when the URL does not need to include the rather ugly ?q=<path>.

The more I was looking into it and the more it looked like the problem was coming from the Apache installation.

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Auto-Vacuum not working? (and solution)

Since I manage multiple computers and each run a PostgreSQL database system, I can see discrepancies between versions. (i.e. newer versions fix problems in older versions.)

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AddThis weird behaviors

I just switched my websites from one server to another and noticed that on my main company site ( I would get a # at the end of the URL. Automatically added somehow. Thinking that could be a bad guy I checked the code and could not really see anything.

Hitting "Back" once, I noticed that the # would be transformed to #atssh-digg. I don't have anything specific about digg on that page except the AddThis button. That adds Digg among some 150 different systems where you can share my pages.

Moving a website from one server to another

Moving a website to a new server

Now and again, you have to move a website from one server to another.

There are good and bad things about that, the main problem is with dynamic websites. Why is that? Simple: a dynamic website expects to access a database and if you hit the wrong server, that will go bad.

What's the best solution?

1. Install your website on the new server, make sure it loads okay (you may want to use a test sub-domain name to make sure, although that's not a rock solid proof since some things may use a fully qualified URL)

2. Change the IP address in your ...

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