Aug 30

Raspberry PI: using read-only root partition

Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes

Two years ago I wrote an article discussing how to set up OpenWRT filesystem configuration for controlling writes in the flash card: Raspberry PI and OpenWRT flash partition proposal and rescue boot support for embedded systems.

This current article is mainly for referencing a very good article about how to work with Raspbian with a read-only filesystem and share a fast and dirty cookbook about how to play with that. First of all the reference to: Protect your Raspberry PI SD card, use Read-Only filesystem.

My cookbook about how to get the essence of that article is simple, locate in your /etc/fstab file the line:

/dev/mmcblk0p2  /               ext4    defaults,noatime  0       1

and modify that line with:

/dev/mmcblk0p2  /               ext4    defaults,noatime,ro  0       1

After rebooting your system is going to work in read-only mode. I don’t remember if I modified anything else of the booting process but I don’t thing so.
Because sometimes I have to modify anything in the flash card, I added the next two lines in the ~/.bashrc file:

alias rw='sudo mount -o remount,rw / ; sudo mount -o remount,rw /boot'
alias ro='sudo mount -o remount,ro / ; sudo mount -o remount,ro /boot'

Now just with the command rw it’s really easy to get the root filesystem in the write mode, and when I finish my updates just typing ro it’s go back to read-only mode.

I hope it’s useful for you.

Aug 22

Cryptomator: create a secure vault for your files

Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes

Yesterday I found a tool called Cryptomator, this is a client-side encryption for your files. You can use it with Dropbox, or any other cloud filesystem or you can use it in your local filesystem. Anyway, this open-source piece of software is really simple to install and is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux. Once this is installed, using the UI the only thing we have to do is create, or select, a folder where the secure vault is going to be created. It uses a symmetric password for cyphering and when the vault is unlocked a new removable drive appear in your system. So, at the end, the vault is like a pendrive and there is no complexity on add, rename, remove, create folders, etc. inside the new drive. Once the vault is locked, the removable drive is unmounted and if you go to the location where the vault is created a tree structure with cyphered files is the only thing that you can see. Cryptomator works cyphering each file, not the complete vault as a package.

So far I installed the tool on my Windows computer for securing some sensitive files that I have on my laptop. But if it works like I expect I’m going to extend the usage with the rest of my computers. As I said it’s not required any cloud filesystem, by the way, I use Cryptomator in conjunction with Resilio Sync.

May 05

Spark Post: Mail relay host for mailings

Reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

This is going to be a very short post entry, I just want to refer a very interesting mail relay (smart host) which define itself like:

Email delivery services built for developers, by developers
Combined with your language of choice, using the power of our robust cloud API couldn’t be easier.

Open a SparkPost account today and send up to 100.000 emails per month for free. The best is you can do using SMTP or using a REST API; really nice easy to use an powerful control dashboard simplify externally keys management, statistics, templates for mailings, and many more features.

Personally I love the service because is extremely useful to be configured on SSMTP service of Linux as a default relay host, for personal and professional use. Another use could be to check end-to-end mail services.

Personally I love the service, and if you want to send really big mailings theirs costs are very competitive. 

Apr 28

Upgrading Redmine in a nutshell

Reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

I use Redmine to track my personal projects, and every time that I have to update I have to re-read the full upgrading page which is long and full of exceptions. So I decided to write my own reduced cookbook to solve that. FYI I’m using Ubuntu 16.04, Apache2, MySQL and Passenger for running Redmine. 

Being root user run:

  • backup MySQL database
  • download new redmine package and unpack in /var/www
  • change ‘redmine’ soft link to new folder
  • copy old files and directories overwriting the new ones:
    config/database.yml
    config/configuration.yml
    files/
    plugins/
  • locating work directory on new redmine folder, run:
    bundle install --without development test
    bundle exec rake generate_secret_token
    bundle exec rake db:migrate RAILS_ENV=production
    bundle exec rake redmine:plugins:migrate RAILS_ENV=production
    bundle exec rake tmp:cache:clear tmp:sessions:clear RAILS_ENV=production
  • restart apache server
Apr 25

ncdu: Analyze disk usage in Linux

Reading time: < 1 minute Some time ago I found a ncurses based tool very small easy and useful to get a very fast and easy way to analyze disk usage in linux. This entry is just to remember the name of that tool because I always forget its name.

Ncdu is a disk usage analyzer with an ncurses interface. It is designed to find space hogs on a remote server where you don’t have an entire graphical setup available, but it is a useful tool even on regular desktop systems. Ncdu aims to be fast, simple and easy to use, and should be able to run in any minimal POSIX-like environment with ncurses installed.

A screenshot is always useful:

Sep 19

Restricted user for SSH port forwarding

Reading time: 2 – 2 minutes

I love “ssh -R” reverse SSH is really useful when you have to get access to a Linux machine behind a NAT or firewall. One of the most powerful scenarios to get that running is use a third machine with a public IP address. The idea will be run reverse SSH command in target Linux and publish a forward port at the third server, so you only have to connect to a published port in that third server and you’ll get the target Linux thanks to the reverse SSH connection open between them.

reverse-ssh-schema

A long time ago I talked about that in my podcast “2×04 SSH avançat“.

With this scenario we have a security challenge with the SSH user account on the “third server”, we want a secure user:

  • without shell and sftp access
  • secure enough to only allow port forwarding features
  • access only allowed with authorized keys

I’m not going to give precise Linux instructions on that limited user, but for user you’re not going to have problems to get that:

/etc/passwd(-):

limited-user:x:1001:1001::/home/limited-user:

/etc/shadow(-):

limited-user:!:17037:0:99999:7:::

/etc/ssh/sshd_config:

Match User limited-user
    GatewayPorts yes
    ForceCommand echo 'This account can only be used for maintenance purposes'

Of course, you’ll have your own UID, GID and use your own username. And at “/home/limite-user/.ssh/authorized_ssh” you’ll have to pub public key of the clients that want to use the service.

I’ve got my inspiration to get that from: How to create a restricted SSH user for port forwarding?. Thank you askubnutu.com.

Sep 12

Ubuntu server as wifi AP and Mikrotik as a DHCP server

Reading time: 2 – 3 minutes

It’s important to have a very clear picture about the scenario that we’re going to configure in that case because it’s a little bit particular. This is an evolution of the previous post: Ubuntu server as wifi AP and Mikrotik as a DHCP server

schema

There is a server running Ubuntu 16.04 and offering wifi service as an AP. The wifi interface is in bridge mode with the ethernet port and send all traffic to the Mikrotik gateway where there is a DHCP server in charge to serve IP address to wifi clients.

Start by configuring the bridge in the Ubuntu server. File “/etc/network/interfaces”:

source /etc/network/interfaces.d/*

auto lo br0
iface lo inet loopback

#ethernet interface
allow-hotplug enp2s0
iface enp2s0 inet manual

#wifi interface
allow-hotplug wlp3s0
iface wlp3s0 inet manual

# Setup bridge
iface br0 inet static
    bridge_ports enp2s0 
    address 192.168.2.2
    netmask 255.255.255.0
    network 192.168.2.0

Pay attention on “bridge_ports” the wifi interface is not added on the list, this is because until the hostapd is running it doesn’t make sense to do that. You’ll see “bridge=br0” option on hostapd.conf which will fix that misbehavior.

Wifi AP configuration, “/etc/default/hostapd”:

DAEMON_CONF="/etc/hostapd/hostapd.conf"

and “/etc/hostapd/hostapd.conf”:

bridge=br0                # bridge interface
interface=wlp3s0          # wifi interface name
driver=nl80211
ssid=the_ssid_name        # name of your network
hw_mode=g
channel=1
macaddr_acl=0
auth_algs=1
ignore_broadcast_ssid=0
wpa=3
wpa_passphrase=the_secret_key   # secret key to joing with the wifi network
wpa_key_mgmt=WPA-PSK
wpa_pairwise=TKIP
rsn_pairwise=CCMP
logger_syslog=-1
logger_syslog_level=3
logger_stdout=-1
logger_stdout_level=1

DHCP server configuration on Mikrotik:

# setting the interface address, in my case ether4
/ip address
add address=192.168.2.1/24 interface=ether4 network=192.168.2.0

# setting up DHCP on interface 4 of the mikrotik device
/ip dhcp-server
add address-pool=dhcp-pool disabled=no interface=ether4 name=dhcp-pool

# network of the DHCP server
/ip dhcp-server network
add address=192.168.2.1.0/24 dns-server=8.8.8.8 domain=your_network.local gateway=192.168.2.1 netmask=24

# IP pool used by the DHCP server
/ip pool
add name=dhcp-pool ranges=192.168.2.65-192.168.2.70
Sep 05

Cookbook: set-up a TFTP server on Ubuntu

Reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

Sometimes TFTP is the only protocol available to exchange files with an embedded system. So, it’s very easy to have that supported in our workstation or any other place to exchange files with those systems.

Set up steps:

apt-get install tftpd-hpa

modify file “/etc/default/tftpd-hpa”:

TFTP_OPTIONS="--secure --create"

–secure: Change root directory on startup. This means the remote host does not need to pass along the directory as part of the transfer, and may add security. When –secure is specified, exactly one directory should be specified on the command line. The use of this option is recommended for security as well as compatibility with some boot ROMs which cannot be easily made to include a directory name in its request.

–create Allow new files to be created. By default, tftpd will only allow upload of files that already exist. Files are created with default permissions allowing anyone to read or write them, unless the –permissive or –umask options are specified.

Needed to allow uploads in that directory:

chown -R tftp /var/lib/tftpboot

Restart and check if the service is running:

service tftpd-hpa restart
service tftpd-hpa status
netstat -a | grep tftp
Sep 01

New home server working as a wifi AP and DHCP server

Reading time: 2 – 3 minutes

At the beginning of August I’ve received a new home server, I decided to stop my old HP ML110 G5 and substitute that by a new silent and low power server also based on Intel technologies in this case it’s al i5 with 8G of RAM and 128GB of SSD for less than 300€ including custom costs I think it’s a very good investment.

fmp03-geekbuing

 

I installed Ubuntu 16.04 LTS server, I don’t tried de Win10 pre-installed. I happy to see a very new and powerful BIOS with tons of options. But in this blog entry I want to explain how to set-up the wifi card as a wifi AP. I didn’t have to do anything to configure the card. It worked by default.

Ralink corp. RT3090 Wireless 802.11n 1T/1R PCIe

The first thing is check if the wifi network is compatible with the AP mode.

iw list
...
Supported interface modes:
         * IBSS
         * managed
         * AP
         * AP/VLAN
         * monitor
         * mesh point
...

Next thing is install the “hostapd” which is going to take care to set-up the AP. The configuration file have to be something like that “/etc/hostapd/hostpad.conf

interface=wlan0   # change that with the wifi interface name
driver=nl80211
ssid=test         # your wifi network name
hw_mode=g
channel=1         # look up for a free channel
macaddr_acl=0
auth_algs=1
ignore_broadcast_ssid=0
wpa=3
wpa_passphrase=1234567890   # passwor to join the wifi network
wpa_key_mgmt=WPA-PSK
wpa_pairwise=TKIP
rsn_pairwise=CCMP

Modify “/etc/default/hostapd” and put that:

DAEMON_CONF="/etc/hostapd/hostapd.conf"

Start the hostapd service:

sudo service hostapd start

Now the AP is running but a DHCP service giving IPs it’s need, I used “isc-dhcp-server”. First thing to configure is “/etc/default/isc-dhcp-server” with the wireless network name:

INTERFACES="wlan0"

Next file to be configured is “/etc/dhcp/dhcpd.conf”:

ddns-update-style none;
log-facility local7;

subnet 192.168.1.0 netmask 255.255.255.0 {
    range 192.168.1.128 192.168.1.253;
    option domain-name-servers 192.168.1.1;
    option routers 192.168.1.1;
}

Don’t forget to start the service:

sudo service isc-dhcp-server start

If it’s needed remember to create the proper iptables rules and enable “ip_forward” in /proc filesystem. I’m not going to describe that because in my case it’s not going to be useful.

This is not a specially interesting post entry but useful as a reference, when you have to use a fast and easy cookbook to setup a wifi AP.

Aug 22

OpenVPN between pfSense and Mikrotik

Reading time: 3 – 5 minutes

vpn-pfsense-mikrotik-schemaAssuming previous scenario I’m going to describe the required configurations on pfSense and Mikrotik. Certifcate creation is not part of the scope of this document, if you are not familiar about how to do that it’s a good idea to use the pfSense certificate manager to do it. My last advice is take care with certificates 90% of problems that I found in my life when I was working on VPNs are because of that. Take your time to check it before spend your time playing with other configurations.

In that scenario pfSense will play the role of the VPN server and Mikrotik will be the client, so I’m going to start describing pfSense configurations.

Create OpenVPN server on proper section:

pfsense-openvpn-server

 

Important things to take in account when you set up the parameters are socket has to be a TCP socket in my case I decided to use port 1201:

pfsense-openvpn-server-configNext settings on the same place are about local network and tunnel IP addresses, this is required to create proper routing rules on the server and the client.

pfsense-openvpn-server-config2

 

Last part to configure on this sections is extremly simple, only take care to unmark everything and check “address pool” setting.

pfsense-openvpn-server-config3

 

Remember to open that port on Firewall rules.

pfsense-firewall-rules

 

A VPN user is required to authenticate the process, just go to “User Management” inside the “System” menu:

pfsense-user-manager-oriol

 

pfSense is configured, now it’s time to set-up the OpenVPN client on Mikrotik using Winbox. Remember to import the certificates:

certificates-mikrotik

 

Click on “PPP” this on the left menu:

ppp-mikrotik

 

Add an OVPN Client connection using the “+” button, the parameters for that connection are:

ppp-interface

 

Another required thing to define on “PPP” is the profile, click on the tab “Profile” and using the button with symbol “+” create a new profile like that:

ppp-profile

 

Everything is ready, now it’s time to check if the connection is OK. First go to the OVPN client on Mikrotik, remember this is on “PPP” menu option and inside tab “Interfaces”. Clicking on the interface you’ll see the status details. If it’s disconnect going to pfSense or Mikrotik logs you can see the negotiation details.

Remember usually the problem is with your certificates, but first of all you have to ensure that the negotiation tries to start.

Enjoy it and good luck.