Archive for the ‘security’ Category

Setting up VPN Connection with gnome Network Manager

Friday, December 5th, 2008

Recently for a project I’ve been working on at the office I had to set up a VPN connection to gain access to the client’s network. They already had vpn set up on their end (thankfully) however, oddly enough I didn’t have a vpn client. I noticed that the gnome Network Manager had a tab for VPN, however the add button was disabled. After a quick google, I found out that you just have to install the packages ‘network-manager-pptp’ and ‘pptp-linux’ to enable it.

sudo apt-get install network-manager-pptp pptp-linux
Network Manager Window

Did the trick and now it was just a matter of entering the server information, username, password. At this point I was still unable to connect to the network. I double and triple checked my info and it was all right. It turned out I had to enable Point to Point Encryption (makes sense) in the advanced section.

Use Point to Point encryption

Now, I have a nice little ‘locked’ icon on my network status bar.

VPN Connection in Network Manager

VPN Connection in Network Manager

Who knew it would be that easy?

Password Security

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

So, everything requires a password these days right? Whether you’re setting up a new email account, signing up for twitter, or creating a new bank account. How in the world do you remember all of these passwords? Well, I’ve seen the old sticky note on the monitor (in the drawer, under the keyboard, you name it) all too often, and we all know that we shouldn’t use the same password everywhere right? That leaves two options: have an amazing memory (ask my wife, I don’t) or find a way to securely manage your passwords.

Thankfully KeePass (or KeepassX on Linux or Mac OS-X) can help out where my memory lacks. KeePass will provide you with a secure place to store all of you passwords in an encrypted format. From the screenshot you can get a rough idea as to what the interface looks like. When you highlight any of the entries, you can just Ctrl+C to copy the password and paste it into whatever application is asking for it. For websites, there’s even an ‘auto-type’ feature. To use this, you first go to the site you want to log in to, click in the username box, and then open KeePass and click on the entry for the site. Then press Ctrl+V and it will type in your username / password for you. Slick eh?

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Creating SSH Keys

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

If you need to manage multiple remote servers, you’ve probably had the joy of needing to remember numerous passwords. With ssh keys, you can eliminate the need of typing in a password each time you log into a server via ssh. As an added bonus, the key that will be used will be much (much) longer than any password you would sanely type in.

To utilize ssh keys, you will need to generate a private / public key pair on your local machine. To do this, type:

ssh-keygen -t rsa

to generate a RSA encrypted keyset. When you do this, it will ask you where to save it, just hit enter to use the defaults. The next question will be what passphrase you would like to use. This can be an effective way to double up your security. If you set this, you will need both the key that will be generated, as well as this passphrase to log into the remote server. If you are going for a secure setup, this is most likely the way to go.

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