Are You A SysAdmin? Keep These 10 Tools At Hand!

Original EFYTIMES article

Being a sysadmin has its share of joys, however, challenges abound in this digital world!

Thursday, April 24, 2014: A sysadmin is entrusted to constantly monitor the system. Sysadmins have to be aware of everything about the system starting from CPU load and network traffic statistics to how much free disk space is available. In addition, things go haywire from time to time, in which case it is better that the sysadmin finds out from the monitoring system than from an user. The following tools come in handy when such a case arrives.

1.Random Password Generator

This form allows you to generate random passwords. The randomness comes from atmospheric noise, which for many purposes is better than the pseudo-random number algorithms typically used in computer programs.

2.Eraser

Eraser is an advanced security tool for Windows which allows you to completely remove sensitive data from your hard drive by overwriting it several times with carefully selected patterns.

3.OWASP Mantra

Mantra is brought to you by OWASP, a free and open software security community focusing on improving the security of software. OWASP Mantra comes with a powerful set of tools. FireCAT integration makes it even more accessible.

4.Retina Network Community

Retina Community gives you powerful vulnerability management across your entire environment. For up to 256 IPs free, Retina Community identifies network vulnerabilities (including zero-day), configuration issues, and missing patches across operating systems, applications, devices, and virtual environments.

5.OpenStego

OpenStego provides two main functionalities- It can hide any data within a cover file (e.g. images), Watermarking files (e.g. images) with an invisible signature. It can be used to detect unauthorised file copying.

6.Freeraser

Destroy files and eliminate any possibility of their restoration with Portable Freeraser. This free files shredder destroys the data you choose before the deletion by filling the actual content of the file according to the predefined method.

7.OpenPuff

OpenPuff is a professional steganography tool, with unique features you won’t find among any other free or commercial software. OpenPuff is 100 per cent free and suitable for highly sensitive data covert transmission. Data is split among many carriers. Only the correct carrier sequence enables unhiding. Moreover, up to 256Mb can be hidden, if you have enough carriers at disposal. Last carrier will be filled with random bits in order to make it undistinguishable from others.

8.OpenVAS

OpenVAS is a framework of several services and tools offering a comprehensive and powerful vulnerability scanning and vulnerability management solution. The actual security scanner is accompanied with a daily updated feed of Network Vulnerability Tests (NVTs).

9.Network Security Toolkit

This bootable ISO live CD/DVD (NST Live) is based on Fedora. The toolkit was designed to provide easy access to best-of-breed Open Source Network Security Applications and should run on most x86/x86_64 platforms.

10.Security Onion

Security Onion is a Linux distro for intrusion detection, network security monitoring, and log management. It’s based on Ubuntu and contains Snort, Suricata, Bro, OSSEC, Sguil, Squert, Snorby, ELSA, Xplico, NetworkMiner, and many other security tools.

Saurabh Singh, EFYTIMES News Network

Looking To Replace Your XP? Here Are 30 Open Source Alternatives!

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Original article & links

Monday, April 21, 2014: With all the Windows XP end of life fiasco now well behind us, Linux is the preferred choice for individuals and organisations alike around the world. While Linux Mint has the same look and feel as XP, Ubuntu’s recent LTS release boasts of tremendous functionality and a seamless user interface. Likewise, the world of Linux and Open Source has a lot to offer when it comes to providing you with a good alternative to the famed XP. Here are 30 Linux Operating Systems making headlines.

1.Linux Mint

The purpose of Linux Mint is to produce a modern, elegant and comfortable operating system which is both powerful and easy to use. Started in 2006, Linux Mint is now the 4th most widely used home operating system behind Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac OS and Canonical’s Ubuntu.

2.Ubuntu

Ubuntu is a Debian-based Linux operating system, with Unity as its default desktop environment (GNOME was the previous desktop environment).

3.Zorin OS

Zorin OS is a multi-functional operating system designed specifically newcomers to Linux. It is based on Ubuntu which is the most popular desktop Linux operating system in the world.

4.MEPIS

MEPIS is a set of Linux distributions, distributed as Live CDs that can be installed onto a hard disk drive. The most popular MEPIS distribution is SimplyMEPIS, which is based primarily on Debian stable. It can either be installed onto a hard drive or used as a Live CD, which makes it externally bootable for troubleshooting and repairing many operating systems. It includes the KDE desktop environment.

5.Manjaro

Manjaro is a user-friendly Linux distribution based on the independently developed Arch operating system. Manjaro provides all the benefits of the Arch operating system combined with a focus on user-friendliness and accessibility. Available in both 32 and 64 bit versions, Manjaro is suitable for newcomers as well as experienced Linux users.

6.PCLinuxOS

PCLinuxOS is distributed as a LiveCD, and can also be installed to your computer. The LiveCD mode lets you try PCLInuxOS without making any changes to your computer. If you like it, you can install the operating system to your hard drive. Locally installed versions of PCLinuxOS utilise the Advanced Packaging Tool (or APT), a package management system (originally from the Debian distribution), together with Synaptic, a GUI frontend to APT for easy software installation.

7.Mageia

Mageia is a Linux computer operating system, distributed as free and open source software. It is forked from the Mandriva Linux distribution.

8.OpenMandriva

OpenMandriva Lx is an exciting free Desktop Operating System that aims to cater to and interest first time and advanced users alike. It has the breadth and depth of an advanced system but is designed to be simple and straightforward in use.

9.Kubuntu

Kubuntu is an operating system built by a worldwide team of expert developers. It contains all the applications you need: a web browser, an office suite, media apps, an instant messaging client and many more.

10.Netrunner

Netrunner is a KDE focused, complete OS. It comes in two variants, one is built on Kubuntu/Debian (Main/Standard Release), one is built on Manjaro/Arch (Rolling Release).

11.Point Linux

Point Linux is a GNU/Linux distribution that aims to combine the power of Debian GNU/Linux with the productivity of MATE, the Gnome 2 desktop environment fork. Point Linux provides an easy to set up and use distribution for users, looking for a fast, stable and predictable desktop.

12.Korara

Originally based on Gentoo Linux in 2005, Korora was re-born in 2010 as a Fedora Remix with tweaks and extras to make the system “just work” out of the box.

13.Sabayon

Sabayon Linux or Sabayon (formerly RR4 Linux and RR64 Linux), is a Gentoo-based Linux distribution created by Fabio Erculiani and the Sabayon development team. Sabayon follows the “out of the box” philosophy, aiming to give the user a wide number of applications ready to use and a self-configured operating system.

14.Trisquel

Trisquel (officially known as Trisquel GNU/Linux) is a Linux operating system based on the Ubuntu Linux distribution. The project aims for a fully free software system without proprietary software or firmware and uses Linux-libre – a version of the Linux kernel with the non-free code (binary blobs) removed.

15.KNOPPIX

Knoppix, or KNOPPIX is an operating system based on Debian designed to be run directly from a CD / DVD (Live CD) or a USB flash drive (Live USB), one of the first of its kind for any operating system. Knoppix was developed by Linux consultant Klaus Knopper.

16.Lubuntu

Lubuntu is a fast and lightweight operating system developed by a community of Free and Open Source enthusiasts. The core of the system is based on Linux and Ubuntu . Lubuntu uses the minimal desktop LXDE, and a selection of light applications.

17.Peppermint

Peppermint Linux OS is a cloud-centric OS based on Lubuntu, a derivative of the Ubuntu Linux operating system that uses the LXDE desktop environment.

18.Xubuntu

Xubuntu is an elegant and easy-to-use operating system. Xubuntu comes with Xfce, which is a stable, light and configurable desktop environment.

19.Elementary OS

Elementary OS is a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu. It makes use of a desktop with its own shell named Pantheon, and is deeply integrated with other elementary OS applications like Plank (a dock based on Docky), Midori (the default web browser) and Scratch (a simple text editor).

20.Puppy

Puppy Linux operating system is a lightweight Linux distribution that focuses on ease of use and minimal memory footprint. The entire system can be run from RAM with current versions generally taking up about 130 MB, allowing the boot medium to be removed after the operating system has started.

21.Bodhi Linux

Bodhi Linux is a Linux Distribution leveraging the fast, customisable, and beautiful Enlightenment Desktop. Enlightenment coupled with a minimal set of utilities such as a browser, text editor, and package management tools form the solid foundation of Bodhi Linux.

22.Linux Lite

Linux Lite is free for everyone to use and share, and is suitable for people who are new to Linux or for people who want a lightweight environment that is also fully functional. Linux Lite is also great for reviving that old laptop or desktop you gave up on a few years back.

23.AntiX

AntiX is a fast, lightweight and easy to install linux live CD distribution based on Debian Testing for Intel-AMD x86 compatible systems. It offers users the “antiX Magic” in an environment suitable for old computers.

24.Damn Small Linux (DSL)

DSL was originally developed as an experiment to see how many usable desktop applications can fit inside a 50MB live CD. It was at first just a personal tool/toy. But over time Damn Small Linux grew into a community project with thousands of development hours put into refinements including a fully automated remote and local application installation system and a very versatile backup and restore system which may be used with any writable media including a USB device, floppy disk, or a hard drive.

25.CrunchBang

CrunchBang is a Debian GNU/Linux based distribution offering a great blend of speed, style and substance. Using the nimble Openbox window manager, it is highly customisable and provides a modern, full-featured GNU/Linux system without sacrificing performance.

26.Fedora

Fedora is a Linux-based operating system, a collection of software that makes your computer run. You can use Fedora in addition to, or instead of, other operating systems such as Microsoft Windows or Mac OS X.

27.CentOS

The CentOS Linux distribution is a stable, predictable, manageable and reproduceable platform derived from the sources of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).

28.SUSE

SUSE is the original provider of the enterprise Linux distribution and the most interoperable platform for mission-critical computing. It’s the only Linux recommended by VMware, Microsoft and SAP. And it’s supported on more hardware and software than any other enterprise Linux distribution.

29.openSUSE

openSUSE is a general purpose operating system built on top of the Linux kernel, developed by the community-supported openSUSE Project and sponsored by SUSE and a number of other companies.

30.Edubuntu

Edubuntu, also previously known as Ubuntu Education Edition, is an official derivative of the Ubuntu operating system designed for use in classrooms inside schools, homes and communities. Edubuntu has been developed in collaboration with teachers and technologists in multiple countries. Edubuntu is built on top of the Ubuntu base, incorporates the LTSP thin client architecture and several education-specific applications, and is aimed at users aged 6 to 18.

Source: Datamation

Saurabh Singh, EFYTIMES News Network

Coming Soon: A Prosthetic Hand With A Sense Of ‘Touch’!

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Thursday, February 06, 2014: Scientists have undoubtedly made big breakthroughs in recent years in improving the dexterity of prosthetics, however, allowing the sense of touch remains a challenge, more like a ‘holy grail’ in prosthetics, only until now! European researchers have successfully created a robotic hand that lets an amputee ‘feel’ by providing a sense of touch.

The prototype is of course far from being perfect, but at the moment it is clearly the closest to ‘feeling’ like a normal hand. Under the research, doctors at Rome’s Gemelli Hospital implanted tiny electrodes inside the ulnar and median nerves in the stump of the subject’s arm. When subjected to a weak electrical signal, it was found that the nerves still could relay information. Meanwhile, doctors at Switzerland’s Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne put sensors on two fingers of a robotic hand, to detect information about what the artificial fingers touched. The experiment continued for a week, wherein the researchers basically created a loop that let the robotic hand rapidly communicate with the subject’s brain. Further, the subject wore a blindfold and headphones just to be sure he actually used touch, and didn’t cheat by looking or hearing.

It will take several years of additional research to create a first-generation artificial hand that can feel, and looks more like a traditional prosthetic, however, results indicate the say might not be far!

At some point in time wouldn’t they need to implant a chip in the brain to attain a better prosthetic?

Saurabh Singh, EFYTIMES News Network

Changing Your Password Won’t Rid You Of Heartbleed; Awareness Will!

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Good news is the open-source SSL encryption software the bug affects has already been updated with a new, secure version.
Friday, April 11, 2014: Even as the highly toxic Heartbleed bug leaves countless databases all over the globe open and exposed, you might be considering changing your password as the one clear choice for saving all that is left of the online you. However, take note, simply changing your password won’t do you any good. Shocked? Panicked? Well, don’t be! There’s a way out, it’s called keeping your eyes and ears opened!

The Heartbleed bug has left quite a few of your favourite websites (including Google, Flickr and Steam) running for cover, however, the bug in question is a tough cookie to crack: simply changing the password is not enough to get rid of the same. What makes it so lethal and hard to remove is the fact that Heartbleed isn’t your everyday database leak or a list of plaintext logins but a flaw in one of the web’s most prevalent security protocols. While updating your password might be ideal in all probability, until the time affected websites patch their servers to block the exploit, password changes won’t just be enough.

Good news is the open-source SSL encryption software the bug affects has already been updated with a new, secure version. Websites only need to upgrade hereon to the latest version of Open-SSL to protect their users. Companies like Google have already done the same, while others are following suite. Users must be aware of which websites were vulnerable and check them to see if they’re patched, safe and sound. It must be noted that GitHub and Mashable have compiled lists of popular websites, services and social networks, much to the relief of the users, noting if they were affected and in some cases, even if they’ve been patched.

The newly discovered Heartbleed Bug affects some older versions of common internet encryption software. Upon infection, the Bug could lets hackers get hold of both a website’s secure content as well as the encryption keys that protect that content. An attacker could both obtain your private and supposed secure information from a given website in the aftermath as also impersonate the same. The Bug has been in the wild for almost two years now, claim researchers. Therefore, the probability that some of the online data is already at risk cannot be negated. Although an updated software has been built to counter the Bug, many believe the scale of it could leave significant amount of data open to theft for a long time to come before full recovery.

Saurabh Singh, EFYTIMES News Network

The Heartbleed Hit List

The Heartbleed Hit List: The Passwords You Need to Change Right Now

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An encryption flaw called the Heartbleed bug is already being called one of the biggest security threats the Internet has ever seen. The bug has affected many popular websites and services — ones you might use every day, like Gmail and Facebook — and could have quietly exposed your sensitive account information (such as passwords and credit card numbers) over the past two years.

But it hasn’t always been clear which sites have been affected. Mashable reached out some of the most popular social, email, banking and commerce sites on the web. We’ve rounded up their responses below.

SEE ALSO: How to Protect Yourself From the Heartbleed Bug

Some Internet companies that were vulnerable to the bug have already updated their servers with a security patch to fix the issue. This means you’ll need to go in and change your passwords immediately for these sites. Even that is no guarantee that your information wasn’t already compromised, but there’s also no indication that hackers knew about the exploit before this week. The companies that are advising customers to change their passwords are doing so as a precautionary measure.

Although changing your password regularly is always good practice, if a site or service hasn’t yet patched the problem, your information will still be vulnerable.

Also, if you reused the same password on multiple sites, and one of those sites was vulnerable, you’ll need to change the password everywhere. It’s not a good idea to use the same password across multiple sites, anyway.

We’ll keep updating the list as new information comes in.

Social Networks Affected

India Reported The Most Valid Bugs @Facebook Bug Bounty 2013

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Facebook received a total of 14,763 submissions in 2013, up 246 per cent from the previous year.

Saturday, April 05, 2014: Social networking giant, Facebook has revealed some statistics about its bug bounty program 2013, and it has come to light that India reported the largest number of bugs under the program last year. India accounts for roughly over 93 million Facebook users and successfully reported the most valid bugs, 136, with payouts averaging $1,353.

Facebook received a total of 14,763 submissions in 2013, up 246 per cent from the previous year, of which 687 bugs were found to be valid and eligible to receive rewards. Every submission was reviewed individually by a security engineer. Of the bugs reported, nearly 6 percent were categorised as high-severity. “India contributed the largest number of valid bugs at 136, with an average reward of $1,353 (Rs 80,000 approximately). The US reported 92 issues and averaged $2,272 (approximately Rs 1,35,000) in rewards,” Facebook quoted in a post.

Meanwhile, researchers in Russia earned the highest average amount per report in 2013, $3,961. It reported a total of 38 bugs. “We’ve paid over $2 million since we got started in 2011, and in 2013 we paid out $1.5 million to 330 researchers across the globe.” said Facebook. Most of the bugs reported were those discovered in non-core properties. “2014 is looking good so far. The volume of high-severity issues is down, and we’re hearing from researchers that it’s tougher to find good bugs,” Facebook added.

Original Article