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Server Masking - First Line of Defense

Posted on March 15th, 2011 by Victoria Pal in Tech
Protect your serverThere are various ways to protect a web server. Web servers often become victims of DDoS attacks and it is not uncommon for exploits to be used to gain access or break a web server. Protection comes in different forms and levels, the costs vary, but sometimes there are simple solutions. This one you can implement today. You can mask your server. When looked up, the server can say anything. I mean it, anything. It is probably a good practice to not make up something like “WSP Unbreakable Server 1.3.5”, but to instead choose one from the existing web server platforms.

There are two ways to go about this. You can make your server identify as a completely different server or just to say it is an older version of the server you run. When you choose to make your Lighttpd server identify as Apache, you take a great portion of amateur attacks and direct them in a completely wrong direction. On the other hand, if you decide to simply identify as an older version, 3rd parties who try anything funny will probably try to exploit your server with outdated tactics. It can still be useful. What actually works best is to change the name and version of the server. This should take care of at least some malevolent eyes.

Server mask
Many sites use this. Torrent trackers are one good example. Most of these sites do not use Apache as trackers usually go for Lighttpd or Nginx. From the example above you can see that the web server powering the site is Apache 1.3.29. This is actually quite old now. The latest stable release is Apache 2.2.17.

There is actually a bit more to it than just masking your server’s name. If you are running a Windows server (secure enough, but it can use some tweaks), there is a commercial software solution. It takes care of more than just server name change. It’s called ServerMask. Like with most commercial software there is a free trial for you to try. A great solution for Apache is Mod_Security.


Cheap NAS Server

Posted on March 10th, 2011 by Victoria Pal in Tech
NAS servers are a great way to store information a network. They work great for office and home use. NAS devices provide many benefits. Small offices can use them for work collaboration and file sharing in general. Decent NAS devices can hold up several hard drives and operate in different modes. You can install multiple hard drives and enjoy the full capacity, or you can install them to work in RAID 1 and even RAID 5. In this way you will have a copy of your data to one or more hard drives. When one goes down, the others continue to work and no data is lost. That is extremely useful to small office environments, web & graphic design agencies and small business in general. 

Home NAS serverEnthusiasts running a NAS server at home, usually have them for multimedia purposes. They truly are a great way to share information on a home network. Home use is generally more concerned with space, rather than backup and security. A decent Netgear device currently costs just a little under 250$. It is a good finish to your home network, but then again do you really need one?

If you want to try out some basic NAS experience before you go for the expensive solution, you can try NAS adapters. You can currently find cheap ones on Amazon for around 45-60$. You can connect it to your network and plug in a large USB stick or USB HDD. If you have an external drive lying around, try it out. If you are about to buy one, you can get 1TB of external storage for about 70-80$. Setting up Network Attached Storage can cost you half of what you will pay and the storage space is the same. If scalability is not a problem for you, you will get your very own 1TB of network storage for around 120$.


What Is The 100% Network Uptime Guarantee?

Posted on March 1st, 2011 by Victoria Pal in Tech

100% uptimeAgain and again we see companies offering 100% uptime. In a previous post I have ranted about how inaccurate uptime is perceived. Here I would like to have another go at the never-failing servers and indestructible network infrastructures.

100% Network Uptime Guarantee – It sounds tempting and nice. Actually, a lot of hosting providers are advertising this on their sites. When you read “100% uptime”, you instantly get the idea that they found some miraculous way to keep the network availability and servers running with no interruption. The other way to think about it is to consider it a scam.


What Is That Clicking Sound?

Posted on February 25th, 2011 by Victoria Pal in Tech

Nothing lasts forever. Server systems don’t last forever. While monitoring can prevent major problems, alert about possible issues and help troubleshoot a system it won’t save your hardware from giving up at point. Fortunately, everything is replaceable. Except you data, that is.

Server data recovery


Reduce Your Power Consumption

Posted on February 24th, 2011 by Victoria Pal in Tech


Go green
How can you run a server and still feel good about your energy bill and the environment? That is a hard one, because no matter whether you are running a server for business purposes, or a personal project, the power company bill arrives at the same time every month. Here are a couple of things anyone can do to improve the situation. These are applicable to both home users and people running one or more servers.

Modest hardware updates


Find out if you can do reasonably-priced upgrades. If you are able to buy a CPU, which uses less power, but provides the same performance – do so. New CPUs pop up all the time. One good preemptive action against fast changing technologies is to purchase a good board. Spend more on it and it will pay off with better CPU support. One example is the Phenom II x4. Mid-range priced AM3 motherboards supported all x4 processors. Currently the same motherboards support x6 CPUs. You might spend a bit more on the x6 CPU, but second hand prices for x4 are still very good, so here are another 2 core out of nothing.