Posts Tagged ‘network’

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 🙂

How to use wget and curl via HTTP Proxy server / How to set a HTTPS proxy server on a bash shell on Linux

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

linux-ssl-proxy-configuration-from-command-line-with-wget-and-curl-howto

I've been working a bit on a client's automation, the task is to automate process of installations of Apaches / Tomcats / JBoss and Java servers, so me and colleagues don't waste too
much time in trivial things. To complete that I've created a small repository on a Apache with a WebDav server with major versions of each general branch of Application servers and Javas.
In order to access the remote URL where the .tar.gz binaries archives reside, I had to use a proxy serve as the client runs all his network in a DMZ and all Web Port 80 and 443 HTTPS traffic inside the client network
has to pass by the network proxy.

Thus to make the downloads possible via the shell script, writting I needed to set the script to use the HTTPS proxy server. I've been using proxy earlier and I was pretty aware of the http_proxy bash shell
variable thus I tried to use this one for the Secured HTTPS proxy, however the connection was failing and thanks to colleague Anatoliy I realized the whole problem is I'm trying to use http_proxy shell variable
which has to only be used for unencrypted Proxy servers and in this case the proxy server is over SSL encrypted HTTPS protocol so instead the right variable to use is:
 

https_proxy


The https_proxy var syntax, goes like this:

proxy_url='http-proxy-url.net:8080';
export https_proxy="$proxy_url"

how-to-set-https_proxy_url-on-linux-freebsd-openbsd-bsd-and-unix-from-terminal-console

Once the https_proxy variable is set  UNIX's wget non interactive download tool starts using the proxy_url variable set proxy and the downloads in my script works.

Hence to make the different version application archives download work out, I've used wget like so:
 

 wget –no-check-certificate –timeout=5 https://full-path-to-url.net/file.rar


For other BSD / HP-UX / SunOS UNIX Servers where  shells are different from Bourne Again (Bash) Shell, the http_proxy and  https_proxy variable might not be working.
In such cases if you have curl (command line tool) is available instead of wget to script downloads you can use something like:
 

 curl -O -1 -k –proxy http-proxy-url.net:8080 https://full-path-to-url.net/file.rar

The http_proxy and https_proxy variables works perfect also on Mac OS X, default bash shell, so Mac users enjoy.
For some bash users in some kind of firewall hardened environments like in my case, its handy to permanently set a proxy to all shell activities via auto login Linux / *unix scripts .bashrc or .bash_profile that saves the inconvenience to always
set the proxy so lynx and links, elinks text console browsers does work also anytime you login to shell.

Well that's it, my script enjoys proxying traffic 🙂
 

Resume sftp / scp cancelled (interrupted) network transfer – Continue (large) partially downloaded files on Linux / Windows

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

resume-sftp-scp-cancelled-interrupted-file-transfer-download-upload-network-transfer-continue-large-partially-downloaded-file-howto-linux-windows
I've recentely have a task to transfer some huge Application server long time stored data (about 70GB) of data after being archived between an old Linux host server and a new one to where the new Tomcat Application (Linux) server will be installed to fit the increased sites accessibility (server hardware overload).

The two systems are into a a paranoid DMZ network and does not have access between each other via SSH / FTP / FTPs and even no Web Access on port (80 or SSL – 443) between the two hosts, so in order to move the data I had to use a third HOP station Windows (server) which have a huge SAN network attached storage of 150 TB (as a Mapped drive I:/).

On the Windows HOP station which is giving me access via Citrix Receiver to the DMZ-ed network I'm using mobaxterm so I have the basic UNIX commands such as sftp / scp already existing on the Windows system via it.
Thus to transfer the Chronos Tomcat application stored files .tar.gz archived I've sftp-ed into the Linux host and used get command to retrieve it, e.g.:

 

sftp UserName@Linux-server.net
Password:
Connected to Linux-server.
sftp> get Chronos_Application_23_04_2015.tar.gz

….


The Secured DMZ Network seemed to have a network shaper limiting my get / Secured SCP download to be at 2.5MBytes / sec, thus the overall file transfer seemed to require a lot of time about 08:30 hours to complete. As it was the middle of day about 13:00 and my work day ends at 18:00 (this meant I would be able to keep the file retrieval session for a maximum of 5 hrs) and thus file transfer would cancel when I logout of the HOP station (after 18:00). However I've already left the file transfer to continue for 2hrs and thus about 23% of file were retrieved, thus I wondered whether SCP / SFTP Protocol file downloads could be resumed. I've checked thoroughfully all the options within sftp (interactive SCP client) and the scp command manual itself however none of it doesn't have a way to do a resume option. Then I thought for a while what I can use to continue the interrupted download and I remembered good old rsync (versatile remote and local file copying tool) which I often use to create customer backup stragies has the ability to resume partially downloaded files I wondered whether this partially downloaded file resume could be done only if file transfer was only initiated through rsync itself and luckily rsync is able to continue interrupted file transfers no matter what kind of HTTP / HTTPS / SCP / FTP program was used to start file retrievalrsync is able to continue cancelled / failed transfer due to network problems or user interaction activity), that turned even pretty easy to continue failed file transfer download from where it was interrupted I had to change to directory where file is located:
 

cd /path/to/interrupted_file/


and issue command:
 

rsync -av –partial username@Linux-server.net:/path/to/file .


the –partial option is the one that does the file resume trick, -a option stands for –archive and turns on the archive mode; equals -rlptgoD (no -H,-A,-X) arguments and -v option shows a file transfer percantage status line and an avarage estimated time for transfer to complete, an easier to remember rsync resume is like so:
 

rsync -avP username@Linux-server.net:/path/to/file .
Password:
receiving incremental file list
chronos_application_23_04_2015.tar.gz
  4364009472   8%    2.41MB/s    5:37:34

To continue a failed file upload with rsync (e.g. if you used sftp put command and the upload transfer failed or have been cancalled:
 

rsync -avP chronos_application_23_04_2015.tar.gz username@Linux-server.net:/path/where_to/upload


Of course for the rsync resume to work remote Linux system had installed rsync (package), if rsync was not available on remote system this would have not work, so before using this method make sure remote Linux / Windows server has rsync installed. There is an rsync port also for Windows so to resume large Giga or Terabyte file archive downloads easily between two Windows hosts use cwRsync.

Top AIX UNIX Performance tracking commands every Linux admin / user should know

Monday, March 16th, 2015

IBM_AIX_UNIX-Performance-Tracking-every-commands-Linux-sysadmin-and-user-should-know-AIX_logo

Though IBM AIX is basicly UNIX OS and many of the standard Linux commands are same or similar to AIX's if you happen to be a Linux sysadmin and you've been given some 100 AIX servers,  you will have to invest some time to read on AIX, however as a starter you should be aware to at least be able to do performance tracking on system to prevent system overloads. If that's the case I advise you check thoroughfully below commands documentation.

fcstat – Displays statistics gathered by the specified Fibre Channel device driver

filemon – Performance statistics for files, logical/physical volumes and virtual memory segments

fileplace – Displays the placement of file blocks within logical or physical volumes.

entstat – Displays the statistics gathered by the specified Ethernet device driver

iostat – Statistics for ttys, disks and cpu ipcs – Status of interprocess communication facilities

lsps – Statistics about paging space

netstat – Shows network status

netpmon – Performance statistics for CPU usage, network device-driver I/O, socket calls & NFS

nfsstat – Displays information about NFS and RPC calls

pagesize – Displays system page size ps – Display status of current processes

pstat – Statistics about system attributes

sar – System Activity Recorder

svmon – Captures a snapshot of the current contents of both real and virtual memory

traceroute – intended for use in network testing, measurement, and management.

tprof – Detailed profile of CPU usage by an application vmstat – Statistics about virtual memory and cpu/hard disk usage

topas – AIX euqivalent of Linux top command

Here are also useful examples use of above AIX performance tracking commands

To display the statistics for Fiber Channel device driver fcs0, enter:

fcstat fcs0

To monitor the activity at all file system levels and write a verbose report to the fmon.out file, enter:

filemon -v -o fmon.out -O all

To display all information about the placement of a file on its physical volumes, enter:

fileplace -piv data1

To display a continuous disk report at two second intervals for the disk with the logical name disk1, enter the following command:

iostat -d disk1 2

To display extended drive report for all disks, enter the following command:

iostat -D

To list the characteristics of all paging spaces, enter:

lsps -a

List All Ports (both listening and non listening ports)

netstat -a | more

The netpmon command uses the trace facility to obtain a detailed picture of network activity during a time interval.

netpmon -o /tmp/netpmon.log -O all;

netpfmon is very much like AIX Linux equivalent of tcpdump To print all of the supported page size with an alphabetical suffix, enter:

pagesize -af

To display the i-nodes of the system dump saved in the dumpfile core file

pstat -i dumpfile

To report current tty activity for each 2 seconds for the next 40 seconds, enter the following command:

sar -y -r 2 20

To watch system unit for 10 minutes and sort data, enter the following command:

sar -o temp 60 10

To report processor activity for the first two processors, enter the following command:

sar -u -P 0,1

To display global statistics for virtual memory in a one line format every minute for 30 minutes, enter the following command:

svmon -G -O summary=longreal -i 60 30

The traceroute command is intended for use in network testing, measurement, and management. While the ping command confirms IP network reachability, you cannot pinpoint and improve some isolated problems

traceroute aix1

Basic global program and thread-level summary / Reports processor usage

prof -x sleep 10

Single process level profiling

tprof -u -p workload -x workload

Reports virtual memory statistics

vmstat 10 10

To display fork statistics, enter the following command:

vmstat -f

To display the count of various events, enter the following command: vmstat -s To display the count of various events, enter the following command:

vmstat -s

To display time-stamp next to each column of output of vmstat, enter the following command:

vmstat -t

To display the I/O oriented view with an alternative set of columns, enter the following command:

vmstat -I

To display all the VMM statistics available, enter the following command:

vmstat -vs


If you already have some experience with some BSD (OpenBSD or FreeBSD) you will feel much more confortable with AIX as both operating system share common ancestor OS (UNIX System V), actually IBM AIX is U. System V with 4.3 BSD compatible extensions. As AIX was the first OS to introduce file system journalling, journalling capabilities on AIX are superb. AIX was and is still widely used by IBM for their mainframes, on IBM RS/6000 series (in 1990s), nowdays it runs fine on PowerPC-based systems and IA-64 systems.
For GUI loving users which end up on AIX try out SMIT (System Management Interface tool for AIX). AIX was using bash shell in prior versions up to AIX 3 but in recent releases default shell is Korn Shell (ksh88).
Nowdays AIX just like HP-UX and rest of commercial UNICes are loosing ground as most of functionalities is provided by commercial Linux distributions like RHEL so most of clients including Banks and big business clients are migrating to Linux.


Happy AIX-ing ! 🙂

How to share your Windows local drives via Remote Desktop (RDP) – Safe file copy with RDP protocol

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

remote-desktop-connection-options-button-screenshot

Just had a task to install Tomcat 7, Java JRE 1.7 and .NET Framework 3.5 and MS Visual C++ x86 on a Windows 2008 RC2 system situated behind a firewalled network NAT. To do the installation I had to use a special jump host (which was also a MS Windows system). The end system where installation had to occur did not have access to the Internet was in special DMZ-ed network so to install above 3 software packages I had to transfer them from my notebook to install host.
To depic what had to happen, I had to:

Transfer files from (host A – my notebook) -> via host (B – jump host) to host (C – the end install host).

Default Windows RDP Client command (mstsc.exe) supports transferring files between host A and RDP-ed host B via standard file copy / paste, so I tried transferring files between my work Windows PC to (jump host B), by copy pasting the files, but as the DotNetFx35Client.exe file was 261 Megabytes and the network between host A and B has some shapings and network firewalls the file transfer timed out. Copy / Paste method via RDP Protocol by default, doesn’t support Transfer Resume thus in order to transfer the 261 MB file, I tried Sharing C:Temp Folder and transfer that way, but unfortunately I didn’t have the permissions in that Windows Domain to create sharings (even though on the remote system I was already logged in with admin accounts). I’ve consulted a colleague on advise on how to transfer the files and I was told about a Win RDP client option to share drives.

Here is how to share your PC drive letters C: D: E: etc. via Remote Desktop Protocol


1. Run mstsc.exe

2. Click the Options button

remote-desktop-connection-options-button-screenshot

3. Click Local Resources tab

4. Click More button

remote-desktop-connection-more-options-button-screenshot

5. Click on Drives

remote-desktop-connection-share-windows-disk-drives-option-screenshot

Then after connecting to the Remote RDP host, all your local PC drive partitions C: D: E: will be visible as (attached) ones in mounted in My Computer / MS Explorer with assigned new drive letters

Once, I transferred the .NET Framework 3.5 while using the installer I was notified that .NET Framework 3.5 is by default included in Windows 8 and I need only to enable it.

To enable .NET Framework 3.5 in Windows 8 from Control Panel

Choose Programs, and then choose Turn Windows features on or off.

Select the .NET Framework 3.5 (includes .NET 2.0 and 3.0) check box.
enable-dot-net-framework-windows-8-windows-8.1-add-feature-screenshot

Create local network between virtual machines in Virtualbox VM – Add local LAN between Linux Virtual Machines

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

add-virtualbox-virtual-machines-inside-local-network-create-internal-LAN-local-net-linux-windows

I want to do test MySQL Cluster following MySQL Cluster Install Guide for that purpose, I've installed 2 version of CentOS 6.5 inside Virtualbox and I wanted to make the 2 Linux hosts reachable inside a local LAN network, I consulted some colleagues who adviced me to configure two Linux hosts to use Bridget Adapter Virtualbox networking (Network configuration in Virtualbox is done on a Virtual Machine basis from):
 

Devices -> Network Settings

(Attached to: Bridged Adapter)

Note!: that by default Cable Connected (tick) is not selected so when imposing changes on Network – tick should be set)
After Specifying Attached to be Bridged Adapter to make CentOS linux refresh network settings run in gnome-terminal:

[root@centos ~]# dhclient eth0

However CentOS failed to grab itself DHCP IP address.
Thus I tried to assign manually IP addresses with ifconfig, hoping that at least this would work, e.g.:

on CentOS VM 1:

/sbin/ifconfig eth0 192.168.10.1 netmask 255.255.255.0

on CentOS VM 2:

/sbin/ifconfig eth1 192.168.10.2 netmask 255.255.255.0

To test whether there is connection between the 2 VM hosts tried ping-ing 192.168.10.2 (from 192.168.10.1) and tested with telnet if I can access remotely SSH (protocol), from CentOS VM2 1 to CentOS VM2 and vice versa, i.e.:

[root@centos ~]# telnet 192.168.10.2 22

 

Trying 192.168.10.2…
telnet: connect to address 192.168.10.2: No route to host

Then after checking other options and already knowing by using VBox NAT network option I had access to the internet, I tried to attach a standard local IP addresses to both Linux-es as Virtual interfaces (e.g eth0:1), .e.g:

On Linux VM 1:

/sbin/ifconfig eth0:0 192.168.10.1 netmask 255.255.255.0

On Linux VM 2:

/sbin/ifconfig eth1:0 192.168.10.2 netmask 255.255.255.0

Then to test again used telnet

[root@centos ~]# telnet 192.168.10.2 22

Then I found Virtualbox has a special Internal Networking support

to choose in Attached to drop down menu. According to Internal Networking Virtualbox instructions to put two Virtual Machine hosts inside an Internal network they should be both set in Internal network with identical name.
P. S. It is explicitly stated that using Internal Network will enable access between Guest Virtual Machines OS, but hosts will not have access to the Internet (which in my case doesn't really mattered as I needed the two Linux VMs just as a testbed)

virtualbox-create-internal-local-network-between-guest-host-Linux-Windows1

I tried this option but it doesn't work for me for some reason, after some time of research online on how to create local LAN network between 2 Virtual Machines luckily I decided to test all available Virtualbox Networking choices and noticed Host-only adapter.

Selecting Host-only Adapter and using terminal to re-fetch IP address over dhcp:

virtualbox-connect-in-local-lan-network-linux-and-windows-servers-hosts-only-adapter

On CentOS VM1

dhclient eht0

On CentOS VM2

dhclient eth1

assigned me two adjoining IPs – (192.168.56.101 and 192.168.56.102).

Connection between the 2 IPs 192.168.56.101 and 192.168.56.102 on TCP and UDP and ICMP protocol works, now all left is to install MySQL cluster on both nodes.

 

What is IPMI (IPKVM), ILO and IDRAC – Remote management interfaces to server / PC on BIOS level

Friday, May 30th, 2014

IPMI-Block-Diagram-ILO-IPKVM-how-it-works
IPMI
Intelligent Platform Management Interface is a standardized computer interface also accessible remotely via Java applet allowing remote management and monitoring access to PC BIOS. IPMI is a way to manage a computer that may be powered off or otherwise unresponsive by using a network connection to the hardware rather than to an operating system or a keyboard physical / screen login shell. The IPMI server standard was introduced by Intel and nowadays supported by more than 200 computer vendors i.e. – Super Micro, Hewlett Packard, Cisco, Dell etc.

Intelligent Platform Management Interface is an open, industry-standard interface that was designed for the management of server systems over network. IPMI interfaces by various vendors have also Virtual Media support (i.e. – Operating System  ISO files could be mounted remotely to a Virtual CD / DVD rom and you can approach installing a bare-metal server without physical presense to it). Just like Power Off / Restart, BIOS Entrance and Virtual Media access is done directly through a web-browser interface over the network or the internet.

HP_IPMI_ILO-screenshot-remote-management-server-console

ILO – stands for Integrated Lights-Out and is  HP Proliant servers remote console to PC / server physical screen. ILO is server integrated chip on HP servers and doesn't need further installations. It gives you a web console using Java showing you server screen just like there is a Monitor connected to the server it is precious for remote system administration purposes as often when there is no SSH  or Remote Desktop to server you can see directly whether the server has completed hanged and try to recover or see a failing hardware notification on the screen to a server with a partially accessible services. Using ILO console access to an HP server one can have a BIOS access remotely to machines already colocated in data canters. In other words ILO is HP's variation of IPMI remote interface also known under business buzz word IPKVM.

DRAC-Dell-Remote-Acccess-console-IPMI-tools-remote-management-bios-interface

DRAC (iDRAC)- Dell's Remote Access Controller is interface card from Dell Inc. offering remote access (out-of-band) management facilities – i.e. DRAC is Dell's variant of HP's ILO – an implementation of Intel's IPMI out-of-band standard. DRAC is also giving you remote way to access no other means accessible server on a software level. Interesting and nice things is Dell provides their DRAC source code, so if you're a developer you can learn how DRAC technology works on a lower level.

ILO, iDRAC (Dell's new generation DRAC for Blade servers) and ILO's remote management interfaces's (IPMI tools) most valuable features is it allows remote system Power On / Shutdown and Remote Restart while monitoring the server screen (hardware output) messages and allowing you see critical hardware issue messages on pre-OS boot time, failure with memory, hard disks etc. and remote interface to do BIOS tuning.

MobaXTerm: A good gnome-terminal like tabbed SSH client for Windows / Windows Putty Tabs Alternative

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Mobaxterm ssh client putty MS Windows alternative with tabs suitable for ex linux users

mobaxterm with tabbed ssh connections screenshot best putty windows ssh client alternative now

Last 10+ years I worked on GNU / Linux as Desktop. Last 7 years most of my SSH connections were managed from GNOME and I'm quite used to gnome-terminal ssh tabbing. In my new Employee Hewlett Packard. I'm forced to work on Microsoft Windows 7 and thus I used for a month or so Putty and Kitty fork from version 0.63 of PuTTY advertising itself as the best telnet / SSH client in the world. Both of the two lack tabbing and have interface which is pretty unfamiliar to me. As I'm so used to using native UNIX terminal. Fortunately a colleague of mine Ivelin was using an SSH client called MobaXTerm which very much did emulation similar to my favourite gnome-terminal. MobaXterm is not free software / open source app but this doesn't matter so much to me as anyways I'm running a non-free Win OS on my desktop. What makes MobaXterm so attractive is its rich functionality (cosmic years infront of Putty).

Here is website description of MobaXterm quoted from its website:

MobaXterm is an enhanced terminal for Windows with an X11 server, a tabbed SSH client and several other network tools for remote computing (VNC, RDP, telnet, rlogin). MobaXterm brings all the essential Unix commands to Windows desktop, in a single portable exe file which works out of the box.

Overall list of features MobaXterm offers are;

  •     multitab terminal with embedded Unix commands (ls, cd, cat, sed, grep, awk, rsync, wget, …)

  •     embedded X11 server for easily exporting your Unix/Linux display

  •     a session manager with several network utilities: SSH, RDP, VNC, Telnet, Rlogin, FTP, SFTP and XDMCP

  •     passwords management for SSH, RDP, VNC, SFTP (on demand password saving)

  •     easy graphical file transfer using drag and drop during SSH sessions

  •     advanced SSH tunnels creation tool (graphical port forwarding builder)

  •     tasks automation using scripts or macros

Mobaxterm is portable just like Putty so its useful to use on HOP stations to servers like used in big companies like HP. Featured embedded Unix commands (e.g., ls, cd, cat, sed, grep, awk, rsync, wget) gives a feeling like you're working on pure Linux console making people addicted to Linux / BSD quite confortable. Some other very useful terminal emulator functions are support for anti-aliasing session manager (save / remember passwords for ssh sessions in Crypted format so much missing in Putty) and it even supports basic macros.
Basic UNIX commands embedded in MobaXterm are taken and ported from Cygwin projectLinux-like environment for Windows making it possible to port software running on POSIX systems (such as Linux, BSD, and Unix systems) to Windows. A very cool think is also MobaXterm gives you a Linux like feel of console navigation in between basic files installed from Cygwin. Some downside I found is program menus which look at first glimpse a bit confusing especially for people used to simplicity of gnome-terminal. Once logged in to remote host via ssh command the program offers you to log you in also via SFTP protocol listing in parallel small window with possibility to navigate / copy / move etc. between server files in SFTP session which at times is pretty useful as it saves you time to use some external SFTP connector tools like  WinSCP.

From Tools configuration menu, there are few precious tools as well;
         – embedded text editor MobaTextEditor
         – MobaFoldersDiff (Able to show diffeernces between directories)
         – AsciiTable (Complete List of Ascii table with respective codes and characters)
         – Embedded simple Calculator
         – List open network ports – GUI Tool to list all open ports on Windows localhost
         – Network packets capture – A Gui tool showing basic info like from UNIX's tcpdump!
         – Ability to start quickly on local machine (TFTP, FTP, SFTP / SSH server, Telnet server, NFS server, VNC Server and even simple implementation of HTTP server)

Mobaxterm list of tools various stuff

         Mobaxterm run various services quickly on Windows servers management screenshot

Below are few screenshots to get you also idea about what kind of configuration MobaXterm supports
  mobaxterm terminal configuration settings screenshot

mobaxterm better putty alternative x11 configuration tab screenshot

mobaxterm windows ssh client for linux users configuration ssh tab screenshot

mobaxterm-putty-alternative-for-windows-configuration-display-screenshot
MobaXTerm Microsoft Windows ssh client configuration misc menu screenshot
To configure and use Telnet, RSH, RDP, VNC, FTP etc. Sessions use the Sessions tab on top menu.

One very handy thing is MobaXterm supports export of remote UNIX display with no requirement to install special Xserver like already a bit obsolete Xming – X server for Windows.
The X Display Manager Control Protocol (XCMCP) is a key feature of the X11 architecture. Together with XDMCP, the X network protocol allows distributed operation of the X server and X display manager. The requesting X server runs on the client (usually as an X terminal), thus providing a login service, that why the X server ported to MobaXterm from Cygwin also supports XDMCP. If, for example, you want to start a VNC session with a remote VNC server, all you have to do is enter the remote VNC server’s IP address in the VNC area; the default VNC port is already registered.

Accessing the remote Windows server via RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) is also a piece of cake. Once you establish a session to RDP or other Proto it is possible to save this session so later you just choose between session to access. The infamous (X11 Port Forwarding) or creation of SSH encrypted tunnels between hosts to transfer data securily or hide your hostname is also there.

MobaXterm is undoubtedly a very useful and versatile tool. Functionally, the software is well mannered, and Windows users who want to sniff a little Linux/Unix air can get a good idea of how Linux works. A closer look reveals that anything you can do with MobaXterm can be achieved directly with freely available tools (Cygwin) and Unix tools ported from Cygwin. However, although Cygwin provides a non-Posix environment for Windows, it doesn’t offer a decent terminal, which is one thing Moba-Xterm has going for it.

Admittedly, in pure vanilla Cygwin, you can start an X server automatically and then use xterm, but xterm lacks good-quality fonts, whereas MobaXterm conveniently lets you integrate a font server.

How a Ponzi Scheme works – Ponzi the most famous fraudulent network

Monday, March 4th, 2013

Classic_Ponzi_Scheme_ad_650

Those who are living in ex-communist countries who have been through the so called "Perestroika" – Pre-structuring of economy and in the so called privatization process which is selling factories, land and whateve in a country to a private sector business investors have already experienced the so called "Pyramidal" structure businesses which at the end collapse and left after itself a tens of thousands of cheated "investors" without their capital money. In my homeland Bulgaria, during this pre-structuring which in practice was "destructioning" there was thousands of companies for a very long period of time who somehow used this pyramidal structures to steal people investments which already melted in times because of the severe inflation that invaded the country. Near my city in Dobrich. There was a company called Yugoagent started by a "serbian Pharaoh – a charlatan CEO" whose company was promising extraordinary profit interest for people who invested money in Yugoagent as well as big reduction of prices of all investors to purchase "white technigue" home equipment from Yugoagent stores. What happened was maybe between 10 000 to 30 000 of people because "investors" to Yugoagent led only by the blind faith and personal desire to earn. The interest offered by Yugoagent was more than 10% to money put in, I believe he was offering 30% of interest or so and people easily get into the trap of his pre-determined to collapse company. What happened after was Mirolub Gaich's company survived for few years while some of the "investors" ripped benefits, where the multitude just lost their money because of epochal bankruptcy of YUGOAGENT.… I know even some of my relatives has been fooled into the obvious fraudulent business, because our society in Bulgaria lived in communism and was not prepared to face the sad reality of money only centered economy – the so loudly proclaimed as "just" democracy.

Today there are plenty of companies around the world still opened and operated under the same fraudulent model leaving after their bankruptcy their makers with millions in banks smartly stolen and claimed as company losses right before the collosal company collapse. A friend of mine Zlati, took the time to invest some time to research more into how this fraudulent Scheme works and found some references to wikipedia which explains the Scheme in details. Thus I also red a bit and thought my dear readers might be interested to know also how the scheme works. I believe it is a must for anyone who has the intention to be in business. It is good to know to escape the trap, cause even in Pro and High profit businesses there are companies operating under the same hood. Today there are plenty of online based companies today who are somehow involved into Offshore business or even do some kind of money laundry frauds, while offering beneficial investments in a booming companies. It is useful for even ordinary people to get to know the fraudulent scheme to escape from it. With the worsening crisis, the fraudulent activities and companies that does some kind of fraud to make profit increased dramatically and thus the old but well known fraudulent model is blooming.


 

How Ponzi scheme works explained in 5 minutes

To know a bit more about the Ponzi scheme as well as the so called "Pyramid" based fraudulent business check in Wikipedia Ponzi scheme

For those lazy to read in Wikipedia, here is extract from it explaining the Ponzi fraudulent Scheme in short

A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to its investors from their own money or the money paid by subsequent investors, rather than from profit earned by the individual or organization running the operation.
The Ponzi scheme usually entices new investors by offering higher returns than other investments, in the form of short-term returns that are either abnormally high or unusually consistent. Perpetuation of the high returns requires an ever-increasing flow of money from new investors to keep the scheme going The system is destined to collapse because the earnings, if any, are less than the payments to investors. Usually, the scheme is interrupted by legal authorities before it collapses because a Ponzi scheme is suspected or because the promoter is selling unregistered securities. As more investors become involved, the likelihood of the scheme coming to the attention of authorities increases. The scheme is named after Charles Ponzi, who became notorious for using the technique in 1920.
Ponzi did not invent the scheme (for example, Charles Dickens' 1844 novel Martin Chuzzlewit and 1857 novel Little Dorrit each described such a scheme),[ but his operation took in so much money that it was the first to become known throughout the United States. Ponzi's original scheme was based on the arbitrage of international reply coupons for postage stamps; however, he soon diverted investors' money to make payments to earlier investors and himself.