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Year: 2007

I Got Haxx0r3d

My dedicated Linux server was hacked a few days ago. Specifically, someone managed to compromise Apache by way of an outdated PHP-based application that a hosting client of mine had installed. The hacker planted a script that tied up the system doing nefarious things such as portscans of other machines. My hosting provider shut down the server, but neglected to tell me what had happened.

After punching a hole through the illiterate frontline support technicians, I finally got through to someone who told me what was up. I was able to clean up the mess and uninstall the vulnerable application. I have also contracted some security experts to harden the machine for me and help prevent this sort of thing from happening again.

I will also be keeping a closer eye on scripts that get installed on the server, making sure they are all patched with the latest updates of everything.

I am glad this wasn’t worse. It could have turned into a defacement or total crippling of the server. Not that I don’t have backups, but it would have been much more time consuming to fix.

In order to maintain communication with my clients during the downtime, I moved this site to a different server quickly, and took the liberty of setting up the latest version of WordPress, along with a spiffy new theme.


Linux Is Here To Stay

You may have read here before about my ventures with Linux on the home pc, where things must work for the whole family, not just me the Linux Geek.

Back in March or so, I grew tired of Windows XP on my home desktop. I was sick of having to keep up with WGA cracks (ahem), sick of bloated crapware, and not interested whatsoever in Vista.

So, I installed RedHat Linux (Fedora Core 6 to be exact). This was highly tolerable for a couple of months since I was used to using it at work all the time, and I am well versed in RedHat operating systems. However, it caused issues for Alicia because it just wasn’t intuitive enough, and it didn’t just work. There was always some fingling needed to be done in a terminal window.

I decided a few weeks ago that I would install Ubuntu 7.4 Fiesty Fawn, and I haven’t looked back since. When I learned that Dell was shipping PC’s with Ubuntu instead of Linux, I knew it must be time. The installation was fast, and it was insanely simple to do. The Ubuntu developers have thought of everything, and it seems like they are driven to make something with mass appeal that is better than Windows. In my opinion, they have.

It just works. Plugged in my iPod, it worked. Plugged in my old NTFS data drive, it worked. Plugged in my USB card reader, it worked. All of it works. Needed a codec to watch some video clip, and Ubuntu went and found it easily, letting me start watching within seconds.

The final test of Ubuntu’s readiness for the masses was how well my wife handled it. So far, the only complaint is that she cannot listen to music she bought from iTunes (until I work around that). So all in all, Ubuntu passes with flying colors.


Some random goodness to fill up your Sunday afternoon.

Ever wondered what this RSS stuff is all about? Venture over to Mashable’s “Ultimate RSS Toolbox“, then learn how to keep tabs on just about anything on the Internet as it happens.

And speaking of getting organized, I’ve been toying with Essential PIM the last week or so, and have found it working itself into my daily workflow. Even the free version is very robust, but I’m considering a purchase of the version that will let me run it off a USB drive.

I was pleased to find out that Sitescore thinks relatively well of this web site. Plug in your URL to see what might be keeping you from reaching as many people as possible.

If you find yourself with a nagging itch to play video games, then you must visit 100 of the Best Legal Free Full Version Games You Can Download Online.

Simple Spark is a nicely organized catalog of online web applications, ranging from free to subscription. It is easy to find an application to help you do anything from word processing to accounting to chatting with friends. Pretty slick in and of itself, and it leads you to all the fresh Web2.0 goodness (or crappiness, depending on your point of view).



Been at the beach this week, heading home tomorrow. Gray went fishing, kayaking, and crabbing for the first time. Dax collected little crabs and in an upside-down frisbee, undeterred by their little claws. Alicia and I got a little too much sun.

Links and News

According to W3Counter, which maintains a pretty good cross sampling of web site users (from what I’ve hear, anyway), the use of Firefox for web surfing has risen to an impressive 25%. That is so great to hear, as Internet Explorer is and continues to be the bane of web developers and designers everywhere. Good riddence, another 10% of IE users!

I have long been a scavenger for the best deals on items I am seeking to purchase. I was pleased to find one tool that encompasses many of the bargain-hunter sites I am used to visiting. Before you buy anything online, be sure to stop at!

I discovered an excellent streaming radio station at They play a delectible sampling of alternative and indie music. If you are into that sort of thing, then check it out.

More to come…