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Security: Secure Shell, MasterPeace, “Dark Web Scan” and Reproducible Builds

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Security
  • Secure Shell: What is SSH?

    So, here is my ode to Secure Shell for those that are unaware of SSH (It will not be any kind of artistic prose.) Many outside of the technology world may not realize how oft-utilized and important SSH and, indeed, shelling is in our everyday technological lives. This article will examine SSH and shelling, in general, and go over some of the technical aspects that encompass SSH and secure shell.

  • A Columbia cyber firm’s open source project is looking to improve IoT security

    Columbia-based MasterPeace Solutions is working on an open source project to address security vulnerabilities in Internet of Things devices.

    osMUD is aimed at protecting internet-connected devices used at homes and small businesses. The project was shared with the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence, which is based in Rockville, according to MasterPeace.

    Now, the cybersecurity firm will participate in a consortium that was formed around the effort that looks to bring together bring together device manufacturers, network security companies, and network administrators. Participating organizations include Cable Labs, Cisco, CTIA, Digicert, ForeScout, Global Cyber Alliance, Patton, and Symantec. Each organization will provide code and expertise to the effort. MasterPeace is providing network security engineering and defense operations expertise. The longtime government contractor has previously shown willingness to gather the community in recent years with efforts like an in-house accelerator.

  • What is a “Dark Web Scan” and Should You Use One?

    The “dark web” consists of hidden websites that you can’t access without special software. These websites won’t appear when you use Google or another search engine, and you can’t even access them unless you go out of your way to use the appropriate tools.

    For example, the Tor software can be used for anonymous browsing of the normal web, but it also hides special sites known as “.onion sites” or “Tor hidden services.” These websites use Tor to cloak their location, and you only access them through the Tor network.

  • Reproducible Builds Joins Conservancy

    We are very excited to announce the Reproducible Builds project as our newest member project. Reproducible builds is a set of software development practices that create an independently-verifiable path from the source code to the binary code used by computers. This ensures that the builds you are installing are exactly the ones you were expecting, which is critical for freedom, security and compatibility and exposes injections of backdoors introduced by compromising build servers or coercing developers to do so via political or violent means.

    The Reproducible Builds project, which began as a project within the Debian community, joins our other adjacent work around this distribution, such as the Debian Copyright Aggregation Project. Reproducible Builds is also critical to Conservancy's own compliance work: a build that cannot be verified may contain code that triggers different license compliance responsibilities than those which the recipient is expecting. Unaccounted-for code makes it hard for anyone who distributes software to guarantee that they are doing so responsibly and with care for those who receive the software.

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Review: Alpine Linux 3.9.2

Alpine Linux is different in some important ways compared to most other distributions. It uses different libraries, it uses a different service manager (than most), it has different command line tools and a custom installer. All of this can, at first, make Alpine feel a bit unfamiliar, a bit alien. But what I found was that, after a little work had been done to get the system up and running (and after a few missteps on my part) I began to greatly appreciate the distribution. Alpine is unusually small and requires few resources. Even the larger Extended edition I was running required less than 100MB of RAM and less than a gigabyte of disk space after all my services were enabled. I also appreciated that Alpine ships with some security features, like PIE, and does not enable any services it does not need to run. I believe it is fair to say this distribution requires more work to set up. Installing Alpine is not a point-n-click experience, it's more manual and requires a bit of typing. Not as much as setting up Arch Linux, but still more work than average. Setting up services requires a little more work and, in some cases, reading too since Alpine works a little differently than mainstream Linux projects. I repeatedly found it was a good idea to refer to the project's wiki to learn which steps were different on Alpine. What I came away thinking at the end of my trial, and I probably sound old (or at least old fashioned), is Alpine Linux reminds me of what got me into running Linux in the first place, about 20 years ago. Alpine is fast, light, and transparent. It offered very few surprises and does almost nothing automatically. This results in a little more effort on our parts, but it means that Alpine does not do things unless we ask it to perform an action. It is lean, efficient and does not go around changing things or trying to guess what we want to do. These are characteristics I sometimes miss these days in the Linux ecosystem. Read more

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Linux v5.1-rc6

It's Easter Sunday here, but I don't let little things like random major religious holidays interrupt my kernel development workflow. The occasional scuba trip? Sure. But everybody sitting around eating traditional foods? No. You have to have priorities. There's only so much memma you can eat even if your wife had to make it from scratch because nobody eats that stuff in the US. Anyway, rc6 is actually larger than I would have liked, which made me go back and look at history, and for some reason that's not all that unusual. We recently had similar rc6 bumps in both 4.18 and 5.0. So I'm not going to worry about it. I think it's just random timing of pull requests, and almost certainly at least partly due to the networking pull request in here (with just over a third of the changes being networking-related, either in drivers or core networking). Read more Also: Linux 5.1-rc6 Kernel Released In Linus Torvalds' Easter Day Message

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