Posts Tagged ‘debian linux’

How to install / add new root certificates on Debian, Ubuntu, Mint Linux

Saturday, October 21st, 2017


How to add / Installing a root/CA Certificate on Debian, Ubuntu, Mint Linux


 Because of various auditing failures and other security issues, the CAcert root certificate set is slowly disappearing from the Ubuntu and Debian ‘ca-certificates’ package.

That's really tricky because if you're a system administrator or have a bunch of programmers whose needs is to install a new set of root certificates for their freshly develped Application or you have to make a corporate certificates added to debian rootca, then the good news is it is quite easy to install new certificates to deb based distributions.


Given a CA certificate file foo.crt, follow these steps to install it on Debian / Ubuntu:

    Create a directory for extra CA certificates in /usr/share/ca-certificates:


    debian:~# mkdir /usr/share/ca-certificates/extra-certificates


    Copy the CA .crt file to this directory:


    debian:~# cp foo.crt /usr/share/ca-certificates/extra-certificates/foo.crt


    Let Debian / Ubuntu add the .crt file's path relative to /usr/share/ca-certificates to /etc/ca-certificates.conf (the file lists certificates that you wish to use or to ignore to be installed in /etc/ssl/certs)


    debian:~# dpkg-reconfigure ca-certificates


In case you want to include a .pem file to the list of trustable certificates on Debian / Ubuntu, it must first be converted to a .crt file first, you can do that with:


    debian:~# openssl x509 -in foo.pem -inform PEM -out foo.crt


Lets say you want to add some custom Root certificate for exapmle




   debian:~# mkdir /usr/local/share/ca-certificates/
   debian:~# cd /usr/local/share/ca-certificates/
   debian:~# mkdir /usr/local/share/ca-certificates/
   debian:~# wget -P /usr/local/share/ca-certificates/




Then once again update the ca certificates bundle

   debian:~# update-ca-certificates


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How to Increase virtualbox Linux install machine VM .VDI hard disk size to free space on root partition – Move /usr to a new partition

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017


How to Increse Hard Disk size of VirtualBox Virtual Machine .VDI file to Free Space on root Partition or Howto move /usr large partition to separate new partition?

I just wondered how to increase hard disk size of Virtualbox Virtual Machine image .VDI, because for some stupid reason I've created my initial hard disk size for Linux partition to be the default 10 Gigabytes.

The problem is the packages I need to have installed on the Virtual Machine which will be a testbed for future tests of a production website applications are taking up too much space, once installed so I'm left with no space
in /var/lib/mysql for the database import. So what can I do in that case is to simply free up disk space or Merge ROOT partition with another partition.

Since merging the partition is not a trivial job and would require me to have installable CD with the Linux distro (in my case that's Debian Linux) or have a bootable USB flash drive, I preferred second approach to problem e.g. to free up disk space on ROOT partition by creating a second partition and move the /usr folder to reside there.

Before that it is of course necessery to  have extended the .VDI file using VirtualBox, so more space than the default 10GB preconfigured are available, this is easily done on Windows OS as, VBox is provided with GUI clickable option to do it, but for who knows what reason that is not the case with Linux, so Linux users only option to increase VDI file is to manually run command part of the virtualbox package, that is not a hard task really but it requires some typing and basic knowledge on how to run commands in terminal.

To .VDI resize (extend), we first go to default location where VirtualBox stores its image .VDI files (by default as of moment of writting this article – this is ~/"VrtualBox VMs"  (or home directory of logged in user dir VirtualBox VMs), the command to use is VBoxManage


root@jericho:/home/hipo# cd VirtualBox VMs/
root@jericho:/home/hipo/VirtualBox VMs# ls
Debian 6  Debian 9  Windows 10
root@jericho:/home/hipo/VirtualBox VMs# cd Debian 6/
oot@jericho:/home/hipo/VirtualBox VMs/Debian 6# ls
Debian 6.vbox  Debian 6.vbox-prev  Debian 6.vdi  Logs  NewVirtualDisk1.vdi  Snapshots

root@jericho:/home/hipo/VirtualBox VMs/Debian 6# VBoxManage modifyhd Debian 6.vdi –resize 20000
root@jericho:/home/hipo/VirtualBox VMs/Debian 6#


Above command does resize the 10GB default created partition for Linux, where I have installed Linux which was 99% full of data, because of the many packages I installed to 20GB size, to make it bigger just use the respective size, be it 30000 (for 30GB) or 100000 (for 100GB) etc.

Even though in this example VBoxManage virtual partition resize command was done for GNU / Linux Operating System, it can be done for any other Operating as well to resize the size of the Virtual .VDI file (Virtual Machine) partition, be it Windows 7 / 8 / 10 or the rest of Free Operating systems FreeBSD / OpenBSD / BSD that are installed in a VM etc.

Next Launch the Virtual Machine with VBox Server client Program and install there Gparted (GNU Parted), as we'll need it to create a new Hard Disk Partition:


$ VirtualBox


Inside virtualmachine's in gnome-terminal / xterm etc. depending on the graphical environment used do install with apt-get:


debian:# apt-get install –yes gparted


debian~:# gparted

Notice that gparted has to be ran as a root superuser.


Run GParted and create new EXT3 filesystem that is 10GB (the size of the new created partition).

If you have installed Debian to place all partitions under / (root directory /dev/sda1) then the fresh new partition to create should be
/dev/sda3, anyways just look closely in EXT3 and in your case if the partiition is named differently create according to proper partition /dev/ naming.

I'll not run into details on how to create the partition with GParted as the program interface is very self-explanatory, the only thing is to apply the update to create partition and the ext3 filesystem, that's being done
with a green tick:


Next step is to check with fdisk whether, we have ext3 properly created  filesystem as we've done already with GPARTED:

Once we have the partition created with EXT3 filesystem, we're ready to move /usr temporary to other folder, I use usually /root for the move but you can create anywhere a new folder for that and move to there.

To move to /root directory run again in terminal:


debian:~# mv /usr /root
debian:~# mkdir /usr




Note that during the move operations, your Desktop icons will become without (with broken) pictures and the default Debian background picture is to disappear, that's because the GUI environment will soon realize /usr/ libraries that're periodically reloaded in memory are missing and will be unable to reload them as it does in a cycle.

That should take a few minutes, so grab a coffee or if you're a smoker (hope not as smoking kills 🙂 ), in 5 / 10 minutes time depending on your computer / server configuration, it will be over, so we're ready to create new /usr dir and mount the  new partition:


debian:~# mount /dev/sda3 /usr




Now we check with mount command whether mount is fine:



Now  /dev/sda3 is mounted under /usr  and we have to move back /root/usr directory content back to the newly mounted /usr so we run command:

debian:~#  mv /root/usr/* /usr/*

Finally we need to create proper records for the new partition inside /etc/fstab (fstab –FileSystem Tab file – the file which describes instructs the Linux OS what partition to boot where, what)


Before adding anything to /etc/fstab you need to check the UUID of /dev/sda3 (or whatever the partition is called), without proper UUID, the system might fail to boot.
So here is how to check the UUID we'll need for config:


hipo@debian:~$ /sbin/blkid /dev/sda3
/dev/sda3: UUID="2273db4b-3069-4f78-90fc-e7483c0305bd" SEC_TYPE="ext2" TYPE="ext3"

hipo@debian:~$ ls -al /dev/disk/by-uuid/
total 0
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 100 Oct  6 05:16 .
drwxr-xr-x 6 root root 120 Oct  6 05:16 ..
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root  10 Oct  6 05:16 2273db4b-3069-4f78-90fc-e7483c0305bd -> ../../sda3
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root  10 Oct  6 05:16 b98d92cd-41aa-4e18-a474-9b8df445dbe5 -> ../../sda1
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root  10 Oct  6 05:16 f27f7448-f200-4983-b54f-b9e5206f77ac -> ../../sda5

As you can see our /dev/sda3 UUID is 2273db4b-3069-4f78-90fc-e7483c0305bd

Further on lets view and edit /etc/fstab you can also download a copy of my Virtual Machine fstab here


debian:~# cat /etc/fstab

# /etc/fstab: static file system information.
# Use 'blkid' to print the universally unique identifier for a
# device; this may be used with UUID= as a more robust way to name devices
# that works even if disks are added and removed. See fstab(5).
# <file system> <mount point>   <type>  <options>       <dump>  <pass>
proc            /proc           proc    defaults        0       0
# / was on /dev/sda1 during installation
UUID=b98d92cd-41aa-4e18-a474-9b8df445dbe5 /               ext3    errors=remount-ro 0       1
# swap was on /dev/sda5 during installation
UUID=f27f7448-f200-4983-b54f-b9e5206f77ac none            swap    sw              0       0
/dev/scd0       /media/cdrom0   udf,iso9660 user,noauto     0       0
/dev/scd1       /media/cdrom1   udf,iso9660 user,noauto     0       0

We need to add following line to  /etc/fstab:

UUID=2273db4b-3069-4f78-90fc-e7483c0305bd    /usr        ext3 error=remount-ro    0    1


Open the file with your favourite text editor (gedit / nano / pico / vim / joe) etc.

debian:~# vim /etc/fstab


# /etc/fstab: static file system information.
# Use 'blkid' to print the universally unique identifier for a
# device; this may be used with UUID= as a more robust way to name devices
# that works even if disks are added and removed. See fstab(5).
# <file system> <mount point>   <type>  <options>       <dump>  <pass>
proc            /proc           proc    defaults        0       0
# / was on /dev/sda1 during installation
UUID=b98d92cd-41aa-4e18-a474-9b8df445dbe5 /               ext3    errors=remount-ro 0       1
# swap was on /dev/sda5 during installation
UUID=f27f7448-f200-4983-b54f-b9e5206f77ac none            swap    sw              0       0
/dev/scd0       /media/cdrom0   udf,iso9660 user,noauto     0       0
/dev/scd1       /media/cdrom1   udf,iso9660 user,noauto     0       0

UUID=2273db4b-3069-4f78-90fc-e7483c0305bd     /usr        ext3 error=remount-ro    0    1    

Basicly it should be possible to add (for historic reasons) also instead of UUID=2273db4b-3069-4f78-90fc-e7483c0305bd  /dev/sda3
So it looks like so but, the better practice is to use UUID line given.

Well that's all folks now /usr directory will contain all your heavy root partition (disk filling) libraries and files, so you can happily use /var/lib/mysql or /var/lib/postgresql /var/www to store your web application files and import your databases.

Big thanks to Ubuntu Forums article – How do I increase the hard disk size of the Virtual Machine article for inspiring this post.

Hope that helps anyone and thanks and other comments are always welcome ! 🙂

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Howto Fix “sysstat Cannot open /var/log/sysstat/sa no such file or directory” on Debian / Ubuntu Linux

Monday, February 15th, 2016

I really love sysstat and as a console maniac I tend to install it on every server however by default there is some <b>sysstat</b> tuning once installed to make it work, for those unfamiliar with <i>sysstat</i> I warmly recommend to check, it here is in short the package description:<br /><br />

server:~# apt-cache show sysstat|grep -i desc -A 15
Description: system performance tools for Linux
 The sysstat package contains the following system performance tools:
  – sar: collects and reports system activity information;
  – iostat: reports CPU utilization and disk I/O statistics;
  – mpstat: reports global and per-processor statistics;
  – pidstat: reports statistics for Linux tasks (processes);
  – sadf: displays data collected by sar in various formats;
  – nfsiostat: reports I/O statistics for network filesystems;
  – cifsiostat: reports I/O statistics for CIFS filesystems.
 The statistics reported by sar deal with I/O transfer rates,
 paging activity, process-related activities, interrupts,
 network activity, memory and swap space utilization, CPU
 utilization, kernel activities and TTY statistics, among
 others. Both UP and SMP machines are fully supported.


If you happen to install sysstat on a Debian / Ubuntu server with:

server:~# apt-get install –yes sysstat

, and you try to get some statistics with sar command but you get some ugly error output from:


server:~# sar Cannot open /var/log/sysstat/sa20: No such file or directory

And you wonder how to resolve it and to be able to have the server log in text databases periodically the nice sar stats load avarages – %idle, %iowait, %system, %nice, %user, then to FIX that Cannot open /var/log/sysstat/sa20: No such file or directory

You need to:

server:~# vim /etc/default/sysstat

By Default value you will find out sysstat stats it is disabled, e.g.:


Switch the value to "true"


Then restart sysstat init script with:

server:~# /etc/init.d/sysstat restart

However for those who prefer to do things from menu Ncurses interfaces and are not familiar with Vi Improved, the easiest way is to run dpkg reconfigure of the sysstat:

server:~# dpkg –reconfigure



root@server:/# sar
Linux 2.6.32-5-amd64 (pcfreak) 15.02.2016 _x86_64_ (2 CPU)

0,00,01 CPU %user %nice %system %iowait %steal %idle
0,15,01 all 24,32 0,54 3,10 0,62 0,00 71,42
1,15,01 all 18,69 0,53 2,10 0,48 0,00 78,20
10,05,01 all 22,13 0,54 2,81 0,51 0,00 74,01
10,15,01 all 17,14 0,53 2,44 0,40 0,00 79,49
10,25,01 all 24,03 0,63 2,93 0,45 0,00 71,97
10,35,01 all 18,88 0,54 2,44 1,08 0,00 77,07
10,45,01 all 25,60 0,54 3,33 0,74 0,00 69,79
10,55,01 all 36,78 0,78 4,44 0,89 0,00 57,10
16,05,01 all 27,10 0,54 3,43 1,14 0,00 67,79

Well that's it now sysstat error resolved, text reporting stats data works again, Hooray! 🙂

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Adding another level of security to your shared Debian Linux webhosting server with SuPHP

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015


There are plenty of security schemes and strategies you can implement if you're a Shared Web Hosting company sysadmin however probably the most vital one is to install on Apache + PHP Webserver SuPHP module.

# apt-cache show suphp-common|grep -i descrip -A 4

Description: Common files for mod suphp Suphp consists of an Apache module (mod_suphp for either Apache 1.3.x or Apache 2.x) and a setuid root binary (suphp) that is called by the Apache module to change the uid of the process executing the PHP interpreter to the owner of the php script.

So what SuPHP actuall  does is to run separate CPanel / Kloxo etc. Users with separate username and groupid permissions coinciding with the user present in /etc/passwd , /etc/shadow files existing users, thus in case if someone hacks some of the many customer sites he would be able to only write files and directories under the user with which the security breach occured.

On servers where SuPHP is not installed, all  systemusers are using the same UserID / GuID to run PHP executable scripts under separate domains Virtualhost which are coinciding with Apache (on Debian / Ubuntu  uid, gid – www-data) or on (CentOS / RHEL / Fedora etc. – user apache) so once one site is defaced  exploited by a worm all or most server websites might end up infected with a Web Virus / Worm which will be trying to exploit even more sites of a type running silently in the background.  This is very common scenarios as currently there are donezs of PHP / CSS / Javasripts / XSS vulnerability exploited on VPS and Shared hosting servers due to failure of a customer to update his own CMS  scripts / Website  (Joomla, Wordpress, Drupal etc.) and the lack of resource to regularly monitor all customer activities / websites.

Therefore installing SuPHP Apache module is essential one to install on new serverslarge hosting providers as it saves the admin a lot of headache from spreading malware across all hosted servers sites ..
Some VPS admins that are security freaks tend to also install SuPHP module together with many chrooted Apache / LiteSpeed / Nginx webservers each of which running in a separate Jailed environment.

Of course using SuPHP besides giving a improved security layer to the webserver has its downsides such as increased load for the server and making Apache PHP scripts being interpretted a little bit slower than with plain Apache + PHP but performance difference while running a site on top of SuPHP is often not so drastic so you can live it up ..

Installing SuPHP on a Debian / Ubuntu servers is a piece of cake, just run the as root superuser, usual:

# apt-get install libapache2-mod-suphp

Once installed only thing to make is to turn off default installed Apache PHP module (without SuPHP compiled support and restart Apache webserver):

# a2dismod php5 …

# /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

To test the SuPHP is properly working on the Apache Webserver go into some of many hosted server websites DocumentRoot

And create new file called test_suphp.php with below content:

# vim test_suphp.php

Then open in browser http://whatever-website/test_suphp.php assuming that system(); function is not disabled for security reasons in php.ini you should get an User ID, GroupID bigger than reserved system IDs on GNU / Linux e.g. ID > UID / GID 99

Its also a good idea to take a look into SuPHP configuration file /etc/suphp/suphp.conf and tailor options according to your liking 

If different hosted client users home directories are into /home directory, set in suphp.conf

;Path all scripts have to be in


Also usually it is a good idea to set 


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Check your Server Download / Upload Internet Speed from Console on Linux / BSD / Unix howto

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

If you've been given a new dedicated server from a New Dedicated-Server-Provider or VPS with Linux and you were told that a certain download speed to the Server is guaranteed from the server provider, in order to be sure the server's connection to the Internet told by service provider is correct it is useful to run a simple measurement console test after logging in remotely to the server via SSH.

Testing connection from Terminal is useful because as you probably know most of Linux / UNIX servers doesn't have a GUI interface and thus it is not possible to test Internet Up / Down Bandwidth through

1. Testing Download Internet Speed given by ISP / Dedi-Server Provider from Linux Console

For the download speed (internet) test the historical approach was to just try downloading the Linux kernel source code from with some text browser such as lynx or links count the seconds for which the download is completed and then multiple the kernel source archive size on the seconds to get an approximate bandwidth per second, however as nowdays internet connection speeds are much higher, thus it is better to try to download some Linux distribution iso file, you can still use kernel tar archive but it completed too fast to give you some good (adequate) statistics on Download bandwidth.

If its a fresh installed Linux server probably you will probably not have links / elinks and lynx text internet browers  installed so install them depending on deb / rpm distro with:

If on Deb Linuz distro:


root@pcfreak:/root# apt-get install –yes links elinks lynx


On RPM Based Linuz distro:


[root@fedora ~]# yum install -y lynx elinks links


Conduct Internet  Download Speed with links
root@pcfreak:/root# links


(Note that the kernel link is current latest stable Kernel source code archive in future that might change, so try with latest archive.)

You can also use non-interactive tool such as wget curl or lftp to measure internet download speed

To test Download Internet Speed with wget without saving anything to disk set output to go to /dev/null 


root@pcfreak:~# wget -O /dev/null



You see the Download speed is 104 Mbit/s this is so because I'm conducting the download from my local 100Mbit network.

For the test you can use my mirrored version of Hirens BootCD

2. Testing Uplink Internet speed provided by ISP / Server Provider from Linux (SSH) Console

To test your uplink speed you will need lftp or iperf command tool.


root@pcfreak:~# apt-cache show lftp|grep -i descr -A 12
Description: Sophisticated command-line FTP/HTTP client programs
 Lftp is a file retrieving tool that supports FTP, HTTP, FISH, SFTP, HTTPS
 and FTPS protocols under both IPv4 and IPv6. Lftp has an amazing set of
 features, while preserving its interface as simple and easy as possible.
 The main two advantages over other ftp clients are reliability and ability
 to perform tasks in background. It will reconnect and reget the file being
 transferred if the connection broke. You can start a transfer in background
 and continue browsing on the ftp site. It does this all in one process. When
 you have started background jobs and feel you are done, you can just exit
 lftp and it automatically moves to nohup mode and completes the transfers.
 It has also such nice features as reput and mirror. It can also download a
 file as soon as possible by using several connections at the same time.


root@pcfreak:/root# apt-cache show iperf|grep -i desc -A 2
Description: Internet Protocol bandwidth measuring tool
 Iperf is a modern alternative for measuring TCP and UDP bandwidth performance,
 allowing the tuning of various parameters and characteristics.


To test Upload Speed to Internet connect remotely and upload any FTP file:


root@pcfreak:/root# lftp -u hipo -e 'put; bye'



On Debian Linux to install iperf:


root@pcfreak:/root# apt-get install –yes iperf


On latest CentOS 7 and Fedora (and other RPM based) Linux, you will need to add RPMForge repository and install with yum


[root@centos ~]# rpm -ivh  rpmforge-release-0.5.3-1.el7.rf.x86_64.rpm

[root@centos ~]# yum -y install iperf


Once having iperf on the server the easiest way currently to test it is to use speedtest server –  located at the Serverius datacenters, AS50673 and is running on a 10GE connection with 5GB cap.


root@pcfreak:/root# iperf -c -P 10
Client connecting to, TCP port 5001
TCP window size: 16.0 KByte (default)
[ 12] local port 54258 connected with port 5001
[  7] local port 54252 connected with port 5001
[  5] local port 54253 connected with port 5001
[  9] local port 54251 connected with port 5001
[  3] local port 54249 connected with port 5001
[  4] local port 54250 connected with port 5001
[ 10] local port 54254 connected with port 5001
[ 11] local port 54255 connected with port 5001
[  6] local port 54256 connected with port 5001
[  8] local port 54257 connected with port 5001
[ ID] Interval       Transfer     Bandwidth
[  9]  0.0-10.2 sec  4.05 MBytes  3.33 Mbits/sec
[ 10]  0.0-10.2 sec  3.39 MBytes  2.78 Mbits/sec
[ 11]  0.0-10.3 sec  3.75 MBytes  3.06 Mbits/sec
[  4]  0.0-10.3 sec  3.43 MBytes  2.78 Mbits/sec
[ 12]  0.0-10.3 sec  3.92 MBytes  3.18 Mbits/sec
[  3]  0.0-10.4 sec  4.45 MBytes  3.58 Mbits/sec
[  5]  0.0-10.5 sec  4.06 MBytes  3.24 Mbits/sec
[  6]  0.0-10.5 sec  4.30 MBytes  3.42 Mbits/sec
[  8]  0.0-10.8 sec  3.92 MBytes  3.03 Mbits/sec
[  7]  0.0-10.9 sec  4.03 MBytes  3.11 Mbits/sec
[SUM]  0.0-10.9 sec  39.3 MBytes  30.3 Mbits/sec


You see currently my home machine has an Uplink of 30.3 Mbit/s per second, that's pretty nice since I've ordered a 100Mbits from my ISP (Unguaranteed Bandwidth Connection Speed) and as you might know it is a standard practice for many Internet Proviers to give Uplink speed of 1/4 from the ISP provided overall bandwidth 1/4 would be 25Mbi/s, meaning my ISP (Bergon.NET) is doing pretty well providing me with even more than promised (ordered) bandwidth.

Iperf is probably the choice of most sysadmins who have to do regular bandwidth in local networks speed between 2 servers or test  Internet Bandwidth speed on heterogenous network with Linux / BSDs / AIX / HP-UX (UNIXes). On HP-UX and AIX and other UNIXes for which iperf doesn't have port you have to compile it yourself.

If you don't have root /admin permissions on server and there is python language enterpreter installed you can use script to test internet throughput connectivity
speedtest_cli uses to test server up / down link just in case if script is lost in future I've made ownload mirror of is here

Quickest way to test net speed with


$ lynx -dump >
$ chmod +x


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Create SSH Tunnel to MySQL server to access remote filtered MySQL port 3306 host through localhost port 3308

Friday, February 27th, 2015

On our Debian / CentOS / Ubuntu Linux and Windows servers we're running multiple MySQL servers and our customers sometimes need to access this servers.
This is usually problem because MySQL Db  servers are running in a DMZ Zone with a strong firewall and besides that for security reasons SQLs are configured to only listen for connections coming from localhost, I mean in config files across our Debian Linux servers and CentOS / RHEL Linux machines the /etc/mysql/my.cnf and /etc/my.cnf the setting for bind-address is

[root@centos ~]# grep -i bind-address /etc/my.cnf 
bind-address            =
##bind-address  =

For source code developers which are accessing development SQL servers only through a VPN secured DMZ Network there are few MySQL servers witha allowed access remotely from all hosts, e.g. on those I have configured:

[root@ubuntu-dev ~]# grep -i bind-address /etc/my.cnf 

bind-address  =

However though clients insisted to have remote access to their MySQL Databases but since this is pretty unsecure, we decided not to configure MySQLs to listen to all available IP addresses / network interfaces. 
MySQl acess is allowed only through PhpMyAdmin accessible via Cleint's Web interface which on some servers is CPanel  and on other Kloxo (This is open source CPanel like very nice webhosting platform).

For some stubborn clients which wanted to have a mysql CLI and MySQL Desktop clients access to be able to easily analyze their databases with Desktop clients such as MySQL WorkBench there is a "hackers" like work around to create and use a MySQL Tunnel to SQL server from their local Windows PCs using standard OpenSSH Linux Client from Cygwin,  MobaXterm which already comes with the SSH client pre-installed and has easy GUI interface to create SSH tunnels or eventually use Putty's Plink (Command Line Interface) to create the tunnel

Anyways the preferred and recommended (easiest) way to achieve a tunnel between MySQL and local PC (nomatter whether Windows or Linux client system) is to use standard ssh client and below command:

ssh -o ServerAliveInterval=10 -M -T -M -N -L 3308:localhost:3306

By default SSH tunnel will keep opened for 3 minutes and if not used it will automatically close to get around this issue, you might want to raise it to (lets say 15 minutes). To do so in home directory user has to add in:


ServerAliveInterval 15
ServerAliveCountMax 4

Note that sometimes it is possible ven though ssh tunnel timeout value is raised to not take affect if there is some NAT (Network Adress Translation) with low timeout setting on a firewall level. If you face constant SSH Tunnel timeouts you can use below bash few lines code to auto-respawn SSH tunnel connection (for Windows users use MobaXterm or install in advance bash shell cygwin package):

while true
ssh -o ServerAliveInterval=10 -M -T -M -N -L 3308:localhost:3306
  sleep 15

Below is MySQLBench screenshot connected through server where this blog is located after establishing ssh tunnel to remote mysql server on port 3308 on localhost


There is also another alternative way to access remote firewall filtered mysql servers without running complex commands to Run a tunnel which we recommend for clients (sql developers / sql designers) by using HeidiSQL (which is a useful tool for webdevelopers who has to deal with MySQL and MSSQL hosted Dbs).


To connect to remote MySQL server through a Tunnel using Heidi:



In the ‘Settings’ tab

1. In the dropdown list of ‘Network type’, please select SSH tunnel

2. Hostname/IP: localhost (even you are connecting remotely)

3. Username & Password: your mysql user and password

Next, in the tab SSH Tunnel:

1. specify plink.exe or you need to download it and specify where it’s located

2. Host + port: the remote IP of your SSH server(should be MySQL server as well), port 22 if you don’t change anything

3. Username & password: SSH username (not MySQL user)



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Play Dune2 on Debian Linux with dosbox – Dune 2 Mother of all Real Time Strategy games

Saturday, March 1st, 2014


Dune II: The Building of a Dynasty (known also as Dune II: Battle for Arrakis in Europe is a game that my generation will never forget. Dune 2 is the "first" computer Real Time Strategy (RTE) game of the genre of the Warcraft I and Warcraft II / III and later Command and Conquer – Red Aleart, Age of Empires I / II and Starcraft …


I've grown up with Dune2 and the little computer geek community in my school was absolutely crazy about playing it. Though not historically being the first Real Time Strategy game, this Lucas Inc. 
game give standards that for the whole RTE genre for years and will stay in history of Computer Games as one of best games of all times.

I've spend big part of my teenager years with my best friends playing Dune2 and the possibility nowadays to resurrect the memories of these young careless years is a blessing.  Younger computer enthusiasts and gamers probably never heard of Dune 2 and this is why I decided to place a little post here about this legendary game.

dune-2-tank-vehicle - one of best games computer games ever

Its worthy out of curiosity or for fun to play Dune 2 on modern OS be it Windows or Linux. Since Dune is DOS game, it is necessary to play it via DOS emulator i.e. – (DosBox). 
Here is how I run dune2 on my Debian Linux:

1. Install dosbox DOS emulator

apt-get install --yes dosbox

2. Download Dune2 game executable

You can download my mirror of dune2 here

Note that you will need unzip to uanrchive it, if you don't have it installed do so:

apt-get install --yes unzip

cd ~/Downloads/

3.  Unzip archive and create directory to mount it emulating 'C:\' drive

mkdir -p ~/.dos/Dune2
cd ~/.dos/Dune2

unzip ~/Downloads/

4. Start dosbox and create permanent config for C: drive auto mount


To make C:\ virtual drive automatically mounted you have to write a dosbox config from inside dbox console

config -writeconf /home/hipo/.dosbox.conf

My home dir is in /home/hipo, change this with your username /home/username

Then exit dosbox console with 'exit' command

To make dune2 game automatically mapped on Virtual C: drive:

echo "mount c /home/hipo/.dos" >> ~/.dosbox.conf

Further to make dosbox start each time with ~/.dosbox.conf add alias to your ~/.bashrc 

vim ~/.bashrc
echo "alias dosbox='dosbox -conf /home/hipo/.dosbox.conf'" >> ~/.bashrc
source ~/.bashrc

Then to run DUNE2 launch dosbox:


and inside console type:

cd Dune2


For the lazy ones who would like to test dune you can play dune 2 online on this website

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Installation and Configuration of Clamav antivirus on Debian GNU / Linux

Monday, September 9th, 2013

Clamav logo installing Clamav antivirus to scan periodically Debian server websites for viruses

Clamav Antivirus is one of must have packages installed on a new Debian Linux server. It is not only necessary whether configuring a new Mail server be it Qmail or Postfix but is good to have to always check files on a Webserver. Until few years infecting of Sites with Viruses / Installing WebShells or Backdooring for further access using Perl or PHP vulnerable PHP code was not so common, However nowadays with increase of complexity of languages and increase of not security minded programmers this possibility dramatically increaed. Thus nowadays, whether I configure a new Apache + PHP + CGI support server I always install Clamav AV. Some might argue that Clamav Virus definitions are still too little compared to proprietary solutions like BitDefender / AVG or Avast but since my experience with this under Linux is not so bright as well as Clamav captures essential Viruses and Backdoors I still prefer to keep on with Clamav.  Even on home Desktops with Linux clamav is of use as there are plenty of free-ware software for Linux which come only distributed only in a binary form and hence its good to check them with clamav before use whether they don't contain some well known Rootkit or Virus. Over the years Clamav has done great job for me whether I had to clean up "hacked" hosts containing  script kiddie exploit scanners or Virus infected ELF binaries
1. Installing ClamAV in Debian Wheezy Linux

Before time there was a separate Debian repository called Volatille providing latest version release of Clamav, since Debian Squeeze Volatille project is discontinued, thus installing on Wheezy as a deb package is only available via standard Debian repositories.

apt-get update && apt-get --yes upgrade

apt-get install --yes clamav clamav-daemon

As package dependencies you get installed:

clamav clamav-base clamav-freshclam libbz2-1.0 libclamav1 libcurl3 libidn11 ucf

Clamav-Daemon will launch immediately after packages are installed and is available as process name /usr/sbin/clamd

# ps ax |grep -i clam
 2641 ?        Ssl    6:39 /usr/sbin/clamd
 2791 ?        Ss    12:04 /usr/bin/freshclam -d --quiet
12300 pts/0    S+     0:00 grep -i clam

2. Updating Clamav Antivirus Definitions

Its worthy say few words on clamav-freshclam as it is part of ClamAV which is used to update Clamav Virus definitions. Update of ClamAV vir definitions are updating automatically through /usr/bin/freshclam daemon which is started automatically by Debian postconfiguration scripts right after Clamav install.

Manual update of AV definitions can be done also with freshclam.

# freshclam
ClamAV update process started at Sun Sep  8 17:48:36 2013
main.cvd is up to date (version: 54, sigs: 1044387, f-level: 60, builder: sven)
daily.cvd is up to date (version: 17830, sigs: 1696886, f-level: 63, builder: neo)
bytecode.cld is up to date (version: 225, sigs: 42, f-level: 63, builder: dgoddard)

To keep an eye on definition auto-updates (useful to check where something fails), check out in /var/log/clamav/freshclam.log

A sure indication that Anvirus updates are conducting fine should be log records like:

Sun Sep  8 16:27:44 2013 -> ————————————–
Sun Sep  8 17:27:44 2013 -> Received signal: wake up
Sun Sep  8 17:27:44 2013 -> ClamAV update process started at Sun Sep  8 17:27:44 2013
Sun Sep  8 17:27:44 2013 -> main.cvd is up to date (version: 54, sigs: 1044387, f-level: 60, builder: sven)
Sun Sep  8 17:27:44 2013 -> daily.cld is up to date (version: 17830, sigs: 1696886, f-level: 63, builder: neo)
Sun Sep  8 17:27:44 2013 -> bytecode.cld is up to date (version: 225, sigs: 42, f-level: 63, builder: dgoddard)
Sun Sep  8 17:27:47 2013 -> ————————————–

3. Configuring ClamAV

For Desktop use clamav default config is pretty good. However for servers its good to raise  2 up MaxThreads:

By default MaxThreads is 12

MaxThreads 12

Change to from 30 to 80 depending on how powerful machine ClamAV runs, even on some servers more Clamav threads might be necessary

MaxThreads 30

Other value I like changing is SelfCheck 3600 is too long time for clamav Virus definitions integrity I prefer to set it to 600, i.e.

SelfCheck 600

By default ClamAV is also configured to scan archive files as well. However for this to work you will have to have previously installed unzip and unrar on system. If still you don't have them installed run:

# apt-get install --yes unrar unzip

Note that you will need to have non-free part of Debian deb repositories to /etc/apt/sources.list

Here is one of my sources.list

deb squeeze main contrib non-free
deb squeeze/updates main contrib non-free
deb-src squeeze/updates main contrib non-free

deb squeeze main contrib non-free
deb-src stable main contrib non-free

deb squeeze/updates main contrib non-free
deb-src squeeze/updates main contrib non-free

3. Scanning with ClamAV

# clamscan -r /tmp/
./dos- OK
./dos- OK
./dos- OK
./dos- OK
./dos- OK
./dos- OK
./dos- OK
./dos- OK

----------- SCAN SUMMARY -----------
Known viruses: 2735887
Engine version: 0.97.8
Scanned directories: 1
Scanned files: 129
Infected files: 0
Data scanned: 0.00 MB
Data read: 0.00 MB (ratio 0.00:1)
Time: 4.769 sec (0 m 4 s)

-r flag stands for recursive scan – e.g. scan all sub-directories in directory and its content

To not flood your console / ssh connection one very useful option is -i (print only whetherinfected files are matched). Here is one more sample case:

# clamscan -r -i /var/tmp/
----------- SCAN SUMMARY -----------
Known viruses: 2735887
Engine version: 0.97.8
Scanned directories: 1
Scanned files: 2
Infected files: 0
Data scanned: 0.26 MB
Data read: 0.13 MB (ratio 1.97:1)
Time: 4.824 sec (0 m 4 s)

Whether you're on a physical server console and it has pc speaker or sound blaster use –bell option to ring a bell every time a Virus infection is found, for exmpl.

# clamscan -r -i --bell /var/www/

4. Scanning periodically and reporting with ClamAV directories with websites

A very common use of ClamAV is to just setup a scheduled cronjob once a month to scan, whether server folder containing a bunch of websites in separate Virtualhosts contain some viruses or malicious stuff. Then as administrator check those logs once a month to make sure server site or group of sites does not become banned in search engine (blocked by Google Chrome and Firefox as Virus hotbed) …
# crontab -u root -e
00 02 01 * * clamscan -r /var/www -l /var/log/websites-scan.log

Then once a month check out /var/log/websites-scan.log

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Linux PHP Disable chmod() and chown() functions for better Apache server security

Monday, July 15th, 2013

I have to administer few inherited Linux servers with Ubuntu and Debian Linux. The servers hosts mainly websites with regularly un-updated Joomlas and some custom developed websites which were developed pretty unsecure. To mitigate hacked websites I already disabled some of most insecure functions like system(); eval etc. – I followed literally my previous tutorial PHP Webhosting security disable exec();, system();, open(); and eval();
Still in logs I see shits like:

[error] [client] PHP Warning:  mkdir(): No such file or directory in /var/www/site/plugins/system/jfdatabase/intercept.jdatabasemysql.php on line 161

Hence to prevent PHP mkdir(); and chown(); functiosn being active, I had to turn on in /etc/php5/apache2/php.ini – safe_mode . For some reason whoever configured Apache leave it off.

safe_mode = on

Hopefully by disabling this functions will keep cracker bot scripts to not create some weird directory structures on HDD or use it as mean to DoS overflow servers filesystem.

Hope this help others stabilize their servers too. Enjoy ! 🙂

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