In the coming few days, I will be going through the process of setting up a HTPC in my living room using the Zotac Mag HD mini-pc. So, I have been spending a bit of time researching some of the things I wanted to do with it. I had previously just had a laptop connected to my 40″ Samsung LCD with Windows 7 installed, but this time around, I wanted to go with Ubuntu.
One of the things that bugged me the most was controlling the desktop. I have a wireless keyboard and a bluetooth mouse, but the mouse has very poor range. So, I have VNC installed to be able to control when needed. The only problem with that is that VNC is painfully slow, especially when playing videos such as flash, or in XBMC. What I want, is a method to just control the mouse on the remote system using my local mouse without actually seeing anything locally. Luckily, we can do this using a program called x2x over SSH.
Just wanted to post a quick update to welcome everyone to the new domain. CtrlV.ca was chosen due to its short length as well as the key combination of Ctrl+V being widely used as a method to “paste” what’s in the clipboard. I thought this was suitable, because essentially all this blog is is a place for me to “paste” my process and methods for reference later.
Also, later this month, I will be rebuilding the server. This will result in some downtime that hopefully should not last very long. I will have a re-direct ready for when the time comes.
And finally, I just want to welcome all new visitors. I have been noticing the traffic steadily increasing recently, so I hope that my notes, guides and tutorials are helpful to some of you. If so, take a moment and comment.
If you have administered a GNU/Linux server with SSH access within the past few years, and have regularly checked your system logs, you are no doubt familiar with SSH brute force attacks. Automated scripts running from remote, previously broken into servers, are constantly scouring the Internet looking for new SSH servers with insecure users and passwords. You can recognize the attempts by checking your log files that log authentication attempts, which on most GNU/Linux systems is the /var/log/auth.log file, and see dozens of the following originating from the same IP with different user attempts;
sshd: Invalid user test from 188.8.131.52
What the scripts are doing is trying to log in with common usernames and common passwords to see if one of them will work. The actual chances of the scripts finding a username/password combination that will work, are very slim. Still, its rather annoying to be viewing log files and even seeing them have so many attempts without reprecussion. What we will do is set up a monitor so that when we see a certain number of these attempts, we will block the IP address permanently. Continue reading SSH Brute Force Detection with APF and BFD →
I’ve never understood the purpose of these shutdown timers which you also find on Apple’s Mac OS X systems. I guess the general point is to give you time to complete what your doing before the system restarts. But, that begs the question, why did ask for a shutdown if you weren’t ready? Its understandable on a multi-user system where other users are ssh’d into it, its nice for them to have warning if the server is going down, but, Ubuntu (and OS X for that matter) are generally single-user systems, so, to have this on by default doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
To remove this countdown, you can paste the following in either a Terminal screen, or press Alt+F2 and paste it into the run dialog:
In recent years, we have seen more and more video content being added to the Internet. Sites like Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Fox, CBC, etc. now make many of their TV shows available free as an online stream. Due to rights restrictions though, the majority of websites introduce a geography-restriction where you have to be in a certain area in order to view the content. This is determined by your originating IP address, which your computer happily hands over as soon as you make a connection with the content servers.