Monthly Archives: August 2008

Ban SSHD attempts with fail2ban

I have servers hosted at, have had them for several years now.  While I am working or sleeping I rarely ever have an issue.  But that doesn’t mean something isn’t happening with them.  In fact, beyond the normal traffic I would expect them to get, I often get attacks via port scans, sshd login attempts, etc.

I take what some would consider above average security precautions.  I’ve been called anal in the past by friends because I wouldn’t expose FTP or unnecessary protocols blindly.  Instead I tell them to get an SSH tunnel client and use any service they want to through the secure pipe.  Its easy enough to do even for customers from their desktops.

Besides the public SMTP/POP/IMAP and WEB, the only other major service I may expose to the WWW is SSH.  Which ends up resulting in someone who doesn’t belong on my server, trying to get on it.  Oh yes, I see every attempt as I use logcheck to drop me occasional emails throughout the day informing me of what is going on.  To be honest, I’ve had this email log checker being sent to me for years.  And I often think of the day that I will turn it off…but then the what if scenarios pop into my head, and I don’t do it.

Well I had enough with the failed sshd login attempts.

Security Events
Aug 27 16:32:00 smallbox sshd[20823]: Failed password for root from port 44533 ssh2
Aug 27 16:32:03 smallbox sshd[20825]: Failed password for root from port 44789 ssh2
Aug 27 16:32:06 smallbox sshd[20827]: Failed password for root from port 44974 ssh2
Aug 27 16:32:10 smallbox sshd[20829]: Failed password for root from port 45191 ssh2
Aug 27 16:32:14 smallbox sshd[20831]: Failed password for root from port 45456 ssh2
Aug 27 16:32:17 smallbox sshd[20833]: Failed password for root from port 45698 ssh2
Aug 27 16:32:20 smallbox sshd[20835]: Failed password for root from port 45919 ssh2
Aug 27 16:32:23 smallbox sshd[20837]: Failed password for root from port 46153 ssh2
Aug 27 16:32:26 smallbox sshd[20839]: Failed password for root from port 46379 ssh2
Aug 27 16:32:30 smallbox sshd[20843]: Failed password for root from port 46619 ssh2

Before you say….but wait you listed their IP here! Do you really think I care? 🙂  BTW…it came from Amsterdam.

Adding fail2ban into the mix…

What is fail2ban?

fail2ban will monitor events (in my case log files from auth), mark IP’s as bad for a configurable time (minutes, days) and release the jailed IP after that configurable time. Continue reading


Apple iPhone Development Program

I thought I’d share some of my initial experiences with the Apple iPhone Development Program.  A lot of people are complaining about the Fucking NDA.  I don’t know if even my feedback is subject to breaking the agreement I accepted with Apple. :-/

Initially, I heard it cost $99 to register and become a iPhone developer.  This is not the entire truth.  Upon jumping on my new MacBook, I downloaded and installed XCode with the iPhone SDK.  This is completely free to do and requires nothing for you to spend.  You have access to the documentation, code samples, etc.

So here is where I thought perhaps the $99 was only when I was ready to distribute an application?!? Wrong again.  Once I had began downloading code samples, and writing some of my own.  I found the virtual iPhone to be a great tool, but not so great when you want to play with the accelerometer.  I had considered shaking my MacBook! Apple typically does think of everything. 🙂 Continue reading

Whitewater Rafting

I went Whitewater Rafting at High Country Adventures today with my wife and some friends.  It was a lot of fun! Was it what I expected? Not exactly…I expected more rapids and less breaks in between them.  Will I go again? Yes! Recommend High Country? Yes…they were a great company, and our guide did a great job keeping us in and out of the right areas. Continue reading

XBOX 360 E74 Error Message

Eleven months after buying the Xbox 360 for my son on his birthday, today the Xbox 360 stopped working displaying RED error lights on the front.  The screen has E 74 at the bottom of the page.

Research shows several tips on how to temporarily fix it.  I wanted to find out how much it was going to cost to have it fixed properly by the company who engineered and sold it to me.  It seems that the XBOX 360 is under warranty for about one more month and the fix will be for free including all shipping to/from the service center. Continue reading

Free iTune Apps reviewed

Well after spending countless hours the last couple days on iTunes being slow after backing up my iPhone.  Apple released an update to the iPhone 2.0.1.  Things were responding nicely..sync was on par, so why not check out some more free applications.  I mean … worst I can do is slow things back down again, right? 🙂

CrazyLighter – this is by far one of the most useless apps, but one I will never attend another music venue in the evening without.  And the great news? I won’t be nursing my burnt fingers the day after as the iPhone hasn’t yet burnt me or anyone else I know of!

PegJump – Cracker Barrel peg toy on table.  I will say no more…even kept the kids entertained.  For some reason they keep beating me…I don’t know why.  Maybe because my parents taught me collecting more pieces in the end shows the winner.  My kids just rolled their eyes at that one…

Compass – I can’t really test this one out, as its pitch black out at night.  Tomorrow I’ll check it out.  Maybe the developer will think of moon light on the next version. 🙂

Hangman – Good, fun game.  I’d like the keyboard to be bigger.  Drop the space between the letters and/or reuse the iPhone keyboard, no? The graphics are not bad, but upon loading the program, I thought of a stickman with attitude (Animator vs Animated).  No attitude on this one, he was already dead before I hung him. 🙂

iPhunny – catchy app name.  Very simple….amusing jokes.  Hint….to change to the next joke…swipe your finger sideways like scrolling through your pictures.  It only took a few seconds of shaking and finger swiping to move it along.

Magic8Ball – This one rocks.  Shake your iPhone (holding it firmly in your hand) and it vibrates and makes sounds…stop the shaking to get your fate…

Earth 3D – I like it…awesome looking, but was bored quickly.  It would be good for a lesson on….oh the earth is round…and we do revolve around the sun, etc.  Honestly, I’m not sure how to really use this…or come up with a reason to keep it around.

Whip – Nice!! Just like iSaber, but with the sound of a whip coming from your iPhone.  I have some useful ways to use this tomorrow…Get your room clean….hang on…oh damn dead battery…ok…just pick up your socks…please!?!

Stress Toy – uhh…not what I had in mind.  It made me more stressed out…honest!  I deleted this one immediately.

Carrie’s Dots – a connect the dots, make a box, color it in game.  I’m going to try this out with the kids tomorrow.  I remember playing this in school as a young boy….when we didn’t have computers to make games for us…. :-p  I did change the names from Carrie/Dad to You/Me.

SpeedTest – Check the download/upload speed of your connection.  Nice utility to keep around.

Save Benjis – Look up the price of just about anything to compare while standing in your favorite store.  What’s even cooler is you’ll look like you know what your doing in a place like Fry’s! Those in Walmart will probably not even have a clue.  The search gets pretty involved, letting you specify the barcode, mfg., etc.

Nearby – Show’s POI or points of interest near your position, without having to register or log into anything.  There are other application similar to this, but I like the fact I don’t have to register for yet another social site! The downside is it uses Microsoft Virtual Earth, which I find to be more clunky to use than Google Maps.  May just be this application, but zooming in/out is not as simple and downloading the new maps to redraw the screen take longer than Google’s over same connection.

TapTap – I haven’t owned any of the Guitar Hero or Band type games as of yet.  After playing this for a few minutes, I may consider it.  I mean everyone has a little bit of Rockstar in them, don’t they? 🙂

Labyrinth Lite Edition – Not bad…get the ball traveling past the holes to its goal.  Yah right…this is a fun game, but not easy…well I did better just sitting it on the flat table and watching the ball barely move around.  Some of the maps did seem glitchy…the ball would bounce off a wall hard while slowly moving along.

And….I almost forgot…

1Password – I like its concept.  I don’t know how much I trust it at the moment.  I’m not putting anything super secret in here…that goes in my safe.  But its good at keeping things semi-private, well…private!  Saves logins for you on common websites…like Taco Mac…so you can log into their WIFI.  Don and I (at work) were looking for similar app to log into our WIFI at work.  I may just have to test this out and see how it does.  I hate having to log in each time, but it would be slightly better if I didn’t have to type anything in.