Posts Tagged ‘linux windows’

Scanning ports with netcat “nc” command on Linux and UNIX / Checking for firewall filtering between source and destination with nc

Friday, September 6th, 2019

scanning-ports-with-netcat-nc-command-on-Linux-and-UNIX-checking-for-firewall-filtering-between-source-destination-host-with-netcat

Netcat ( nc ) is one of that tools, that is well known in the hacker (script kiddie) communities, but little underestimated in the sysadmin world, due to the fact nmap (network mapper) – the network exploratoin and security auditing tool has become like the standard penetration testing TCP / UDP port tool
 

nc is feature-rich network debugging and investigation tool with tons of built-in capabilities for reading from and writing to network connections using TCP or UDP.

Its Plethora of features includes port listening, port scanning & Transferring files due to which it is often used by Hackers and PenTesters as Backdoor. Netcat was written by a guy we know as the Hobbit <hobbit@avian.org>.

For a start-up and middle sized companies if nmap is missing on server usually it is okay to install it without risking to open a huge security hole, however in Corporate world, due to security policies often nmap is not found on the servers but netcat (nc) is present on the servers so you have to learn, if you haven't so to use netcat for the usual IP range port scans, if you're so used to nmap.

There are different implementations of Netcat, whether historically netcat was UNIX (BSD) program with a latest release of March 1996. The Linux version of NC is GNU Netcat (official source here) and is POSIX compatible. The other netcat in Free Software OS-es is OpenBSD's netcat whose ported version is also used in FreeBSD. Mac OS X also comes with default prebundled netcat on its Mac OS X from OS X version (10.13) onwards, on older OS X-es it is installable via MacPorts package repo, even FreeDOS has a port of it called NTOOL.

The (Swiss Army Knife of Embedded Linux) busybox includes a default leightweight version of netcat and Solaris has the OpenBSD netcat version bundled.

A cryptography enabled version fork exists that supports that supports integrated transport encryption capabilities called Cryptcat.

The Nmap suite also has included rewritten version of GNU Netcat named Ncat, featuring new possibilities such as "Connection Brokering", TCP/UDP Redirection, SOCKS4 client and server support, ability to "Chain" Ncat processes, HTTP CONNECT proxying (and proxy chaining), SSL connect/listen support and IP address/connection filtering. Just like Nmap, Ncat is cross-platform.

In this small article I'll very briefly explain on basic netcat – known as the TCP Army knife tool port scanning for an IP range of UDP / TCP ports.

 

1. Scanning for TCP opened / filtered ports remote Linux / Windows server

 

Everyone knows scanning of a port is possible with a simple telnet request towards the host, e.g.:

telnet SMTP.EMAIL-HOST.COM 25

 

The most basic netcat use that does the same is achiavable with:

 

$ nc SMTP.EMAIL-HOST.COM 25
220 jeremiah ESMTP Exim 4.92 Thu, 05 Sep 2019 20:39:41 +0300


Beside scanning the remote port, using netcat interactively as pointing in above example, if connecting to HTTP Web services, you can request remote side to return a webpage by sending a false referer, source host and headers, this is also easy doable with curl / wget and lynx but doing it with netcat just like with telnet could be fun, here is for example how to request an INDEX page with spoofed HTTP headers.
 

nc Web-Host.COM 25
GET / HTTP/1.1
Host: spoofedhost.com
Referrer: mypage.com
User-Agent: my-spoofed-browser

 

2. Performing a standard HTTP request with netcat

 

To do so just pype the content with a standard bash integrated printf function with the included end of line (the unix one is \n but to be OS independent it is better to use r\n  – the end of line complition character for Windows.

 

printf "GET /index.html HTTP/1.0\r\nHost: www.pc-freak.net\r\n\r\n" | nc www.pc-freak.net 80

 

3. Scanning a range of opened / filtered UDP ports

 

To scan for lets say opened remote system services on the very common important ports opened from UDP port 25 till, 1195 – more specifically for:

  • UDP Bind Port 53
  • Time protocol Port (37)
  • TFTP (69)
  • Kerberos (88)
  • NTP 123
  • Netbios (137,138,139)
  • SNMP (161)
  • LDAP 389
  • Microsoft-DS (Samba 445)
  • Route BGP (52)
  • LDAPS (639)
  • openvpn (1194)

 

nc -vzu 192.168.0.1 25 1195

 

UDP tests will show opened, if no some kind of firewall blocking, the -z flag is given to scan only for remote listening daemons without sending any data to them.

 

4. Port Scanning TCP listening ports with Netcat

 

As prior said using netcat to scan for remote opened HTTP Web Server on port 80 an FTP on Port 23 or a Socks Proxy or MySQL Database on 3306 / PostgreSQL DB on TCP 5432 is very rare case scenario.

Below is example to scan a Local network situated IP for TCP open ports from port 1 till 7000.

 

# nc -v -n -z -w 5 192.168.1.2 1-7000

           nc: connect to host.example.com 80 (tcp) failed: Connection refused
           nc: connect to host.example.com 20 (tcp) failed: Connection refused
           Connection to host.example.com port [tcp/ssh] succeeded!
           nc: connect to host.example.com 23 (tcp) failed: Connection refused

 

Be informed that scanning with netcat is much more slower, than nmap, so specifying smaller range of ports is always a good idea to reduce annoying waiting …


The -w flag is used to set a timeout to remote connection, usually on a local network situated machines the timeout could be low -w 1 but for machines across different Data Centers (let say one in Berlin and one in Seattle), use as a minimum -w 5.

If you expect remote service to be responsive (as it should always be), it is a nice idea to use netcat with a low timeout (-w) value of 1 below is example:
 

netcat -v -z -n -w 1 scanned-hosts 1-1023

 

5. Port scanning range of IP addresses with netcat


If you have used Nmap you know scanning for a network range is as simple as running something like nmap -sP -P0 192.168.0.* (to scan from IP range 1-255 map -sP -P0 192.168.0.1-150 (to scan from local IPs ending in 1-150) or giving the network mask of the scanned network, e.g. nmap -sF 192.168.0.1/24 – for more examples please check my previous article Checking port security on Linux with nmap (examples).

But what if nmap is not there and want to check a bunch 10 Splunk servers (software for searching, monitoring, and analyzing machine-generated big data, via a Web-style interface.), with netcat to find, whether the default Splunk connection port 9997 is opened or not:

 

for i in `seq 1 10`; do nc -z -w 5 -vv splunk0$i.server-domain.com 9997; done

 

6. Checking whether UDP port traffic is allowed to destination server

 

Assuring you have access on Source traffic (service) Host A  and Host B (remote destination server where a daemon will be set-upped to listen on UDP port and no firewall in the middle Network router or no traffic control and filtering software HUB is preventing the sent UDP proto traffic, lets say an ntpd will be running on its standard 123 port there is done so:

– On host B (the remote machine which will be running ntpd and should be listening on port 123), run netcat to listen for connections

 

# nc -l -u -p 123
Listening on [0.0.0.0] (family 2, port 123)


Make sure there is no ntpd service actively running on the server, if so stop it with /etc/init.d/ntpd stop
and run above command. The command should run as superuser as UDP port 123 is from the so called low ports from 1-1024 and binding services on such requires root privileges.

– On Host A (UDP traffic send host

 

nc -uv remote-server-host 123

 

netcat-linux-udp-connection-succeeded

If the remote port is not reachable due to some kind of network filtering, you will get "connection refused".
An important note to make is on some newer Linux distributions netcat might be silently trying to connect by default using IPV6, bringing false positives of filtered ports due to that. Thus it is generally a good idea, to make sure you're connecting to IPV6

 

$ nc -uv -4 remote-server-host 123

 

Another note to make here is netcat's UDP connection takes 2-3 seconds, so make sure you wait at least 4-8 seconds for a very distant located hosts that are accessed over a multitude of routers.
 

7. Checking whether TCP port traffic allowed to DST remote server


To listen for TCP connections on a specified location (external Internet IP or hostname), it is analogous to listening for UDP connections.

Here is for example how to bind and listen for TCP connections on all available Interface IPs (localhost, eth0, eth1, eth2 etc.)
 

nc -lv 0.0.0.0 12345

 

Then on client host test the connection with

 

nc -vv 192.168.0.103 12345
Connection to 192.168.0.103 12345 port [tcp/*] succeeded!

 

8. Proxying traffic with netcat


Another famous hackers use of Netcat is its proxying possibility, to proxy anything towards a third party application with UNIX so any content returned be printed out on the listening nc spawned daemon like process.
For example one application is traffic SMTP (Mail traffic) with netcat, below is example of how to proxy traffic from Host B -> Host C (in that case the yandex current mail server mx.yandex.ru)

linux-srv:~# nc -l 12543 | nc mx.yandex.ru 25


Now go to Host A or any host that has TCP/IP protocol access to port 12543 on proxy-host Host B (linux-srv) and connect to it on 12543 with another netcat or telnet.

to make netcat keep connecting to yandex.ru MX (Mail Exchange) server you can run it in a small never ending bash shell while loop, like so:

 

linux-srv:~# while :; do nc -l 12543 | nc mx.yandex.ru 25; done


 Below are screenshots of a connection handshake between Host B (linux-srv) proxy host and Host A (the end client connecting) and Host C (mx.yandex.ru).

host-B-running-as-a-proxy-daemon-towards-Host-C-yandex-mail-exchange-server

 

Host B netcat as a (Proxy)

Host-A-Linux-client-connection-handshake-to-proxy-server-with-netcat
that is possible in combination of UNIX and named pipes (for more on Named pipes check my previous article simple linux logging with named pipes), here is how to run a single netcat version to proxy any traffic in a similar way as the good old tinyproxy.

On Proxy host create the pipe and pass the incoming traffic towards google.com and write back any output received back in the named pipe.
 

# mkfifo backpipe
# nc -l 8080 0<backpipe | nc www.google.com 80 1>backpipe

Other useful netcat proxy set-up is to simulate a network connectivity failures.

For instance, if server:port on TCP 1080 is the normal host application would connect to, you can to set up a forward proxy from port 2080 with

    nc -L server:1080 2080

then set-up and run the application to connect to localhost:2080 (nc proxy port)

    /path/to/application_bin –server=localhost –port=2080

Now application is connected to localhost:2080, which is forwarded to server:1080 through netcat. To simulate a network connectivity failure, just kill the netcat proxy and check the logs of application_bin.

Using netcat as a bind shell (make any local program / process listen and deliver via nc)

 

netcat can be used to make any local program that can receive input and send output to a server, this use is perhaps little known by the junior sysadmin, but a favourite use of l337 h4x0rs who use it to spawn shells on remote servers or to make connect back shell. The option to do so is -e

-e – option spawns the executable with its input and output redirected via network socket.

One of the most famous use of binding a local OS program to listen and receive / send content is by
making netcat as a bind server for local /bin/bash shell.

Here is how

nc -l -p 4321 -e /bin/sh


If necessery specify the bind hostname after -l. Then from any client connect to 4321 (and if it is opened) you will gain a shell with the user with which above netcat command was run. Note that many modern distribution versions such as Debian / Fedora / SuSE Linux's netcat binary is compiled without the -e option (this works only when compiled with -DGAPING_SECURITY_HOLE), removal in this distros is because option is potentially opening a security hole on the system.

If you're interested further on few of the methods how modern hackers bind new backdoor shell or connect back shell, check out Spawning real tty shells article.

 

For more complex things you might want to check also socat (SOcket CAT) – multipurpose relay for bidirectional data transfer under Linux.
socat is a great Linux Linux / UNIX TCP port forwarder tool similar holding the same spirit and functionality of netcat plus many, many more.
 

On some of the many other UNIX operating systems that are lacking netcat or nc / netcat commands can't be invoked a similar utilitiesthat should be checked for and used instead are:

ncat, pnetcat, socat, sock, socket, sbd

To use nmap's ncat to spawn a shell for example that allows up to 3 connections and listens for connects only from 192.168.0.0/24 network on port 8081:

ncat –exec "/bin/bash" –max-conns 3 –allow 192.168.0.0/24 -l 8081 –keep-open

 

9. Copying files over network with netcat


Another good hack often used by hackers to copy files between 2 servers Server1 and Server2 who doesn't have any kind of FTP / SCP / SFTP / SSH / SVN / GIT or any kind of Web copy support service – i.e. servers only used as a Database systems that are behind a paranoid sysadmin firewall is copying files between two servers with netcat.

On Server2 (the Machine on which you want to store the file)
 

nc -lp 2323 > files-archive-to-copy.tar.gz


On server1 (the Machine from where file is copied) run:
 

nc -w 5 server2.example.com 2323 < files-archive-to-copy.tar.gz

 

Note that the downside of such transfers with netcat is data transferred is unencrypted so any one with even a simple network sniffer or packet analyzier such as iptraf or tcpdump could capture the file, so make sure the file doesn't contain sensitive data such as passwords.

Copying partition images like that is perhaps best way to get disk images from a big server onto a NAS (when you can't plug the NAS into the server).
 

10. Copying piped archived directory files with netcat

 

On computer A:

export ARIBTRARY_PORT=3232
nc -l $ARBITRARY_PORT | tar vzxf –

On Computer B:

tar vzcf – files_or_directories | nc computer_a $ARBITRARY_PORT

 

11. Creating a one page webserver with netcat and ncat


As netcat could listen to port and print content of a file, it can be set-up with a bit of bash shell scripting to serve
as a one page webserver, or even combined with some perl scripting and bash to create a multi-serve page webserver if needed.

To make netact serve a page to any connected client run in a screen / tmux session following code:

 

while true; do nc -l -p 80 -q 1 < somepage.html; done

 

Another interesting fun example if you have installed ncat (is a small web server that connects current time on server on connect).
 

ncat -lkp 8080 –sh-exec 'echo -ne "HTTP/1.0 200 OK\r\n\r\nThe date is "; date;'

 

12. Cloning Hard disk partitions with netcat


rsync is a common tool used to clone hard disk partitions over network. However if rsync is not installed on a server and netcat is there you can use it instead, lets say we want to clone /dev/sdb
from Server1 to Server2 assuming (Server1 has a configured working Local or Internet connection).

 

On Server2 run:
 

nc -l -p 4321 | dd of=/dev/sdb

 

Following on Server2 to start the Partition / HDD cloning process run

 

dd if=/dev/sdb | nc 192.168.0.88 4321

 


Where 192.168.0.88 is the IP address listen configured on Server2 (in case you don't know it, check the listening IP to access with /sbin/ifconfig).

Next you have to wait for some short or long time depending on the partiiton or Hard drive, number of files / directories and allocated disk / partition size.

To clone /dev/sda (a main partiiton) from Server1 to Server2 first requirement is that it is not mounted, thus to have it unmounted on a system assuming you have physical access to the host, you can boot some LiveCD Linux distribution such as Knoppix Live CD on Server1, manually set-up networking with ifconfig or grab an IP via DHCP from the central DHCP server and repeat above example.


Happy netcating 🙂

Mount remote Linux SSHFS Filesystem harddisk on Windows Explorer SWISH SSHFS file mounter and a short evaluation on what is available to copy files to SSHFS from Windows PC

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

swish-mount-and-copy-files-from-windows-to-linux-via-sshfs-mount

I'm forced to use Windows on my workbook and I found it really irritating, that I can't easily share files in a DropBox, Google Drive, MS OneDrive, Amazon Storage or other cloud-storage free remote service. etc.
I don't want to use DropBox like non self-hosted Data storage because I want to keep my data private and therefore the only and best option for me was to make possible share my Linux harddisk storage
dir remotely to the Windows notebook.

I didn't wanted to setup some complex environment such as Samba Share Server (which used to be often a common option to share file from Linux server to Windows), neither wanted to bother with  installing FTP service and bother with FTP clients, or configuring some other complex stuff such as WebDav – which BTW is an accepted and heavily used solution across corporate clients to access read / write files on a remote Linux servers.
Hence, I made a quick research what else besides could be used to easily share files and data from Windows PC / notebook to a home brew or professional hosting Linux server.

It turned out, there are few of softwares that gives a similar possibility for a home lan small network Linux / Windows hybrid network users such, here is few of the many:

  • SyncThingSyncthing is an open-source file synchronization client/server application, written in Go, implementing its own, equally free Block Exchange Protocol. The source code's content-management repository is hosted on GitHub

     

     

     

     

     

    syncthing-logo

  • OwnCloud – ownCloud provides universal access to your files via the web, your computer or your mobile devices

     

     

     

     

     

    owncloud-logo

  • Seafile – Seafile is a file hosting software system. Files are stored on a central server and can be synchronized with personal computers and mobile devices via the Seafile client. Files can also be accessed via the server's web interface


seafile-client-in-browser

I've checked all of them and give a quick try of Syncthing which is really easy to start, just download the binary launch it and configure it under https://Localhost:8385 URL from a browser on the Linux server.
Syncthing seemed to be nice and easy to configure solution to be able to Sync files between Server A (Windows) and Server B(Linux) and guess many would enjoy it, if you want to give it a try you can follow this short install syncthing article.
However what I didsliked in both SyncThing and OwnCloud and Seafile and all of the other Sync file solutions was, they only supported synchronization via web and didn't seemed to have a Windows Explorer integration and did required
the server to run more services, posing another security hole in the system as such third party softwares are not easily to update and maintain.

Because of that finally after rethinking about some other ways to copy files to a locally mounted Sync directory from the Linux server, I've decided to give SSHFS a try. Mounting SSHFS between two Linux / UNIX hosts is
quite easy task with SSHFS tool

In Windows however the only way I know to transfer files to Linux via SSHFS was with WinSCP client and other SCP clients as well as the experimental:

As well as few others such as ExpandDrive, Netdrive, Dokan SSHFS (mirrored for download here)
I should say that I first decided to try copying few dozen of Gigabyte movies, text, books etc. using WinSCP direct connection, but after getting a couple of timeouts I was tired of WinSCP and decided to look for better way to copy to remote Linux SSHFS.
However the best solution I found after a bit of extensive turned to be:

SWISH – Easy SFTP for Windows

Swish is very straight forward to configure compared to all of them you download the .exe which as of time of writting is at version 0.8.0 install on the PC and right in My Computer you will get a New Device called Swish next to your local and remote drives C:/ D:/ , USBs etc.

swish-new-device-to-appear-in-my-computer-to-mount-sshfs

As you see in below screenshot two new non-standard buttons will Appear in Windows Explorer that lets you configure SWISH

windows-mount-sshfs-swish-add-sftp-connection-button-screenshot

Next and final step before you have the SSHFS remote Linux filesystem visible on Windows Xp / 7 / 8 / 10 is to fill in remote Linux hostname address (or even better fill in IP to get rid of possible DNS issues), UserName (UserID) and Direcory to mount.

swish-new-fill-in-dialog-to-make-new-linux-sshfs-mount-directory-possible-on-windows

Then you will see the SSHFS moutned:

swish-sshfs-mounted-on-windows

You will be asked to accept the SSH host-key as it used to be unknown so far

swish-mount-sshfs-partition-on-windows-from-remote-linux-accept-key

That's it now you will see straight into Windows Explorer the remote Linux SSHFS mounted:

remote-sshfs-linux-filesystem-mounted-in-windows-explorer-with-swish

Once setupped a Swish connection to copy files directly to it you can use the Send to Embedded Windows dialog, as in below screenshot

swish-send-to-files-windows-screenshot

The only 3 problem with SWISH are:

1. It doesn't support Save password, so on every Windows PC reboot when you want to connect to remote Linux SSHFS, you will have to retype remote login user pass.
Fron security stand point this is not such a bad thing, but it is a bit irritating to everytime type the password without an option to save permanently.
The good thing here is you can use Launch Key Agent
as visible in above screenshot and set in Putty Key Agent your remote host SSH key so the passwordless login will work without any authentication at
all however, this might open a security hole if your Win PC gets infected by virus, which might delete something on remote mounted SSHFS filesystem so I personally prefer to retype password on every boot.

2. it is a bit slow so if you're planning to Transfer large amounts of Data as hundreds of megabytes, expect a very slow transfer rate, even in a Local  10Mbit Network to transfer 20 – 30 GB of data, it took me about 2-3 hours or so.
SWISH is not actively supported and it doesn't have new release since 20th of June 2013, but for the general work I need it is just perfect, as I don't tent to be Synchronizing Dozens of Gigabytes all the time between my notebook PC and the Linux server.

3. If you don't use the established mounted connection for a while or your computer goes to sleep mode after recovering your connection to remote Linux HDD if opened in Windows File Explorer will probably be dead and you will have to re-enable it.

For Mac OS X users who want to mount / attach remote directory from a Linux partitions should look in fuguA Mac OS X SFTP, SCP and SSH Frontend

I'll be glad to hear from people on other good ways to achieve same results as with SWISH but have a better copy speed while using SSHFS.

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

Friday, February 27th, 2015

create_ssh_tunnel_to-mysql_server-to-access-remote-filtered-mysql-on-port-3306-secure_ssh_traffic
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 127.0.0.1:
 

[root@centos ~]# grep -i bind-address /etc/my.cnf 
bind-address            = 127.0.0.1
##bind-address  = 0.0.0.0


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  = 0.0.0.0


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 your-server.your-domain.com


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:
 

~/.ssh/config

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
do
 
ssh -o ServerAliveInterval=10 -M -T -M -N -L 3308:localhost:3306 your-server.your-domain.com
  sleep 15
done


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

mysql-workbench-database-analysis-and-management-gui-tool-convenient-for-data-migratin-and-queries-screenshot-

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).

heidisql-show-host_processlist-screenshot

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

mysql_connection_configuration-heidi-mysql-gui-connect-tool

 

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)

 

heidi-connection_ssh_tunnel_configuration-heidi-sql-tool-screenshot
 

Linux: basic system CPU, Disk and Network resource monitoring via phpsysinfo lightweight script

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

phpsysinfo-logo-simple-way-to-web-monitor-windows-linux-server-cpu-disk-network-resources

There are plenty of GNU / Linux softwares to monitor server performance (hard disk space, network and CPU load) and general hardware health both text based for SSH console) and from web.

Just to name a few for console precious tools, such are:

And for web based Linux / Windows server monitoring my favourite tools are:

phpsysinfo is yet another web based Linux monitoring software for small companies or home router use it is perfect for people who don't want to spend time learning how to configure complicated and robust multiple server monitoring software like Nagios or Icanga.

phpsysinfo is quick and dirty way to monitor system uptime, network, disk and memory usage, get information on CPU model, attached IDEs, SCSI devices and PCIs from the web and is perfect for Linux servers already running Apache and PHP.

1. Installing PHPSysInfo on Debian, Ubuntu and deb derivative Linux-es

PHPSysInfo is very convenient and could be prefered instead of above tools for the reason it is available by default in Debian and Ubuntu package repositories and installable via apt-get and it doesn't require any further configuration, to roll it you install you place a config and you forget it.
 

 # apt-cache show phpsysinfo |grep -i desc -A 2

Description: PHP based host information
 phpSysInfo is a PHP script that displays information about the
 host being accessed.

 

Installation is a piece of cake:

# apt-get install --yes phpsysinfo

Add phpsysinfo directives to /etc/apache2/conf.d/phpsysinfo.conf to make it accessible via default set Apache vhost domain under /phpsysinfo

Paste in root console:
 

cat > /etc/apache2/conf.d/phpsysinfo.conf <<-EOF
Alias /phpsysinfo /usr/share/phpsysinfo
<Location /phpsysinfo>
 Options None
 Order deny,allow
 Deny from all
 #Allow from localhost
 #Allow from 192.168.56.2
 Allow from all
</Location>
EOF

 

Above config will allow access to /phpsysinfo from any IP on the Internet, this could be a security hole, thus it is always better to either protect it with access .htaccess password login or allow it only from certain IPs, from which you will access it with something like:

Allow from 192.168.2.100

Then restart Apache server:

# /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

 

To access phpsysinfo monitoring gathered statistics, access it in a browser http://defaultdomain.com/phpsysinfo/

phpsysinfo_on_debian_ubuntu_linux-screenshot-quick-and-dirty-web-monitoring-for-windows-and-linux-os

2. Installing PHPSysinfo on CentOS, Fedora and RHEL Linux
 

Download and untar

# cd /var/www/html
# wget https://github.com/phpsysinfo/phpsysinfo/archive/v3.1.13.tar.gz
# tar -zxvf phpsysinfo-3.1.13.tar.gz
# ln -sf phpsysinfo-3.1.13 phpsysinfo
# mv phpsysinfo.ini.new phpsysinfo.ini

 

Install php php-xml and php-mbstring RPM packages
 

yum -y install php php-xml php-mbstring
...

Start Apache web service

[root@ephraim html]# /etc/init.d/httpd restart

[root@ephraim html]# ps ax |grep -i http
 8816 ?        Ss     0:00 /usr/sbin/httpd
 8819 ?        S      0:00 /usr/sbin/httpd

phpsysinfo-install-on-centos-rhel-fedora-linux-simple-monitoring

As PhpSysInfo is written in PHP it is also possible to install phpsysinfo on Windows.

phpsysinfo is not the only available simple monitoring server performance remotely tool, if you're looking for a little bit extended information and a better visualization interface alternative to phpsysinfo take a look at linux-dash.

In context of web monitoring other 2 web PHP script tools useful in remote server monitoring are:

OpenStatus – A simple and effective resource and status monitoring script for multiple servers.
LookingGlass – User-friendly PHP Looking Glass (Web interface to use Host (Nslookup), Ping, Mtr – Matt Traceroute)

Restart hung Mac OS application – How to kill programs in Mac OS – alternative of Windows CTRL + ALT + DEL

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

mac-kill-hung-application-killing-freezed-application-on-mac-osx
If you happen to have the rare case of having a hung MAC OS X application and you're coming from a Linux / Windows background you will be certainly wonderhing how to kill Mac OS X hung application.
In Mac OS the 3 golden buttons to kill crashed application are:

 

COMMAND + OPTION + ESCAPE

Command + Option + Escape

while pressed simultaneously is the Mac Computer equivalent of Windows CTRL + ALT + DEL

mac-os-force-kill-hung-application-force-program-exit-mac-OSX

Holding together COMMAND  + OPTION + ESCAPE on MAC OS brings up the Force Quit Window showing and letting you choose between the list of open applications. To close freezed MAC application, choose it and Press the Force Quit Button this will kill immediately that application.  

To directly end application without invoking the choose Force Quit Window menu, to force a hanging app quit right click on its icon in Dock (CTRL + Click) and choose "Force Quit” from context menu.

A little bit more on why applications hung in MAC OS. Each application in MAC OS has its event queue. Event queue is created on initial application launch, event queue is buffer that accepts input from system (could be user input from kbd or mouse, messages passed from other programs etc.). Program is hanging when system detects queued events are not being used.

macOSX-EventQueue-reason-for-application-hung-in-macs
Other reasons for Mac OS hanging program is whether you're attaching detaching new hardware peripherals (i.e. problems caused by improper mount / unmounts), same hang issues are often observed on BSD and Linux. Sometimes just re-connecting (mouse, external hdd etc.) resolves it.
Program hungs due to buggy software are much rarer in Macs just like in IPhones and Ipads due to fact mac applications are very well tested until published in appstore.

Issues with program hungs in Mac sometimes happen after "sleep mode" during "system wake" function – closing, opening macbook. If a crashed program is of critical importance and you don't want to "Force Quit" with COMMAND + OPTION + ESC. Try send PC to sleep mode for a minute or 2 by pressing together OPTION + COMMAND + EJECT.

An alternative approach to solve hanging app issue is to Force-quit Finder and Dock to try that, launch Terminal

And type there:

# killall Dock

Other useful to know Mac OS keyboard combination is COMMAND + OPTION + POWERHold together Command and Option and after a while press Power – This is a shortcut to instruct your Mac PC to reboot.

SL Animated console train for your Linux – useless commans to cheer you up when you mistype ls

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

sl-cool-program-to-cheer-you-up-when-you-make-a-mistake-on-linux-console

Some time ago I blogged about how to make your sysadmin more enjoyable with figlet and toilet console ASCII art text generators
Besides toilet and figlet another cool entertainment proggie is cowsay. On my home Linux router I use cowsay together with a tiny shell script to generate me a random Cow Ascii Art fun picture each time I login to my Linux. cowrand is set to run for my user through ~/.bashrc.

cowsay print cheerful pictures on your linux console / terminal login how to

In the spirit of ascii art fun arts today I've stumbled on another cool  and uselesss few kilobytes program called "SL". SL is very simple all it does is it cheers up you by displaying a an animated train going through the screen once you type by mistake "sl" instead of ls (list command).
To enjoy it on debian based distributions install it with apt:

# apt-get install --yes sl

SL 's name is a playful joke itself as well it stands for Steam Locomotive.

To get some more ASCII art fun, try telnetting to  towel.blinkenlights.nl – There is a synthesised ASCII Art text version video of Star Wars – Episode IV

# telnet towel.blinkenlights.nl

watch all star_wars episode 1 in ascii art video

If you know other cool ASCII art animation scripts / ASCII art games or anything related to ASCII art for Linux / Windows, please drop me a comment.
 

Develop your children intellect with Gcompris high quality educational software on GNU / Linux, Windows and Mac OS X

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Gcompris Main entry Screen

Gcompris is a great piece of software to educate children in the age interval of 2 to 10 years old.
Gcompris is a tool of educative and funny interactive computer applications many of which has a form of games.

Gcompris strategy games

Gcompris is teaching the children on the following fields of knowledge:
 

  • understand the computer – keyboard, mouse etc.
  • Algebra – Summing up numbers, enumarations, table memory, mirror image etc.
  • Science – The Canal lock, the water cycle, how a submarine works, elementary electric simulation
  • Geography – Find out about country locations, Place the country on the map
  • Games – Learn how to play chess, improve memory and memorization, sudoku etc.
  • Reading – Learning to read fluent, reading practice
  • Learn to proerply tell time, solve puzzle games and learn famous paintings, basic cartoon making, vector drawing

Gcompris reading activities

All the funny activities Gcompris educative kid tool offers 100+. Gcompris is in active development so with time more and more activities gets added.
Gcompris is a Free Software and among with its native GNU / Linux support it has ports for Windows and Mac OS X

The Free Software nature of Gcompris gives possibility to be easily adapted and further developed! Its really funny not only for kids, but even for adults. If you had a stressy day and you want to relax in a childish way and feel like a kid again, give it a try and you will be amazed how much light and happiness this computer program can bless you with 😉

Many of Gcompris activities has a little cute penguins and in general its capable of introducing the kids to the nice concept of the free software.

As a free software Gcompris is really great as among the rest of the so popular free software freedoms: to distribute and modify the software it comes absolutely free of charge (in money terms). This is great news for parents who are growing their kids in the “developing world”, the so called 2nd and 3rd world as well is a good alternative to the many available paid costly application and games aiming at kids brain development.
Gcompris puzzle games

The name Gcompris is also known in free software realm under the name I GOT IT .Gcompris has currently Sound and text support for 33 Country Languages, here is a completele list of languages currently supported:

Arabic, Asturian, Bulgarian, Breton, Czech, Danish, German, Greek, English, Esperanto, Spanish, Basque, Finnish, French, Hebrew, Indian, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Indian, Norwegian, Dutch, Norwegian, Punjabi, Portuguese, Portuguese, Russian, Somali, Serbian, Swedish, Turkish, Urdu, Chinese

Some of the languages supported still does not have a 100% translation but partially translated as its a question of time that enough translators are found to make the translations for all available major languages. The only 100% completed trasnlation as of time of writting is in French, Slovenian and Spanish

Gcompris is already included in almost all available moderm GNU / Linux distributions. A packaged version of it is part of Fedora, Debian and Ubuntu.

Gcompris Mathematics

For all those parents who wish to educate their children on Fedora Linux install it with the GUI installer or yum with cmd:

[root@fedora ~]# yum install gcompris
...

On Debian and Ubuntu Gcompris is installable via apt from repos:

debian:~# apt-get install gcompris
...

To add a text and sound translation to Gcompris its also necessery to install the relevant gcompris-sound distribution package, for example to add the sound translations for my native Bulgarian language I had to install the package gcompris-sound-bg, e.g.:

debian:~# apt-get install gcompris-sound-bg
...

Gcompris is developed to use the Gnome’s GTK and is a perfect match for Linux users who already run a Gnome Desktop on their PCs.

Most of Gcompris versions should run without much hassle on Mac OS X and Windows so all mommies and daddies on Windows or Mac can install it and use it to educate their kids 😉

Here are few more screenshots of Gcompris

Gcompris children intellect develop Experimental activities

Gcompris educational kids develop intellect Discovery activities
Gcompris various games for develop your kid intellect
Gcompris also fits well with  Tux for Kids Linux / Windows ready games also suitable for kids development. Gcompris and Tux for Kids makes Linux and  free software more “children mature” and is a perfect to be used on kids educational computers in kindergartens or any educational institutions aiming at children development. 

To sum it up, if you want to make your children smarter or you’re bored to death and you need to have some rest by going back to your childhood years give gcompris a try 😉