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Quiet Cooling With a Copper Foam Heatsink

TMYates Interesting Thought (163 comments)

If I understand it correctly, it works similar to materials NASA uses on the space shuttle. By increasing the surface area of the heat sink, you get a better cooling effect. I believe NASA uses a foam made of 95% air or so for the tiles that are on the outside of the space shuttle. These in turn seem to allow heat in but can remain cool to the touch at very high temperatures internally. Somewhere I saw a video of someone holding a block made of this NASA material. In this case, having a "foam" made out of copper allows it to cool very quickly. I bet it would still work better to have some sort of fan blowing and constantly moving air across the foam.

Disclaimer: I do not claim to be an expert in the physics or technology behind this, but it seems logical to me.

2 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is Running Mission-Critical Servers Without a Firewall Common?

TMYates Re:Vendors.... who needs them... (338 comments)

It depends on whether you are running tagged or untagged VLANs. You are correct for trunk ports that carry tagged VLANs, but the catch there is that you have to have a tap or sit on a trunk port that can see the same tags. Both of these cases require physical access to monitor or make changes (or remoting into a switch). If physical access is a problem, you have bigger issues on hand. VLANs are not end all security, but to completely push them aside is ludicrous. Properly done, VLANs are a great augmentation to security, but I would not rely on them as the only means.

I mainly use VLANs with layer 3 routing so I can have firewall rules at the switch level between the VLANs which I put on separate IP networks. I avoid using the same network across multiple VLANs.

2 days ago
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New SSL Server Rules Go Into Effect Nov. 1

TMYates Re:Big Problems (91 comments)

I generally haven't as well, but depending on your environment, automatically generated certificate requests may attempt to contain an internal domain. Hence why the default setup would no longer work once this rule takes effect. For instance, an environment that uses a domain.local that you cannot change because you have Exchange (Thanks Microsoft!). It is completely possible to have an internal interface and external and split the roles and certificates (this is what I do). Our internal interface has an internal CA cert and the external a public cert. The problem comes where all the service packs and cumulative updates I have applied required me to remove one of the virtual directories for things like OWA and ECP or the update would fail. The funny part is, they allow PowerShell to create those multiple directories, but the PowerShell scripts they put in the update expect only one directory. Fortunately its easy to export the config of one of the directories and recreate it later.

2 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Is Running Mission-Critical Servers Without a Firewall Common?

TMYates Vendors.... who needs them... (338 comments)

I have seen this so called "requirement" on occasion and think the company that requires it needs to go though a security audit of their own. I also think that anyone that requires Domain Admin/Root access for their software to run doesn't know a thing about security (I get this commonly too). The problem you may face will be through regulatory compliance for various things (as some here mentioned PCI already) There are other regulations you should probably try to discover if you are required to comply with especially if you will be hosting PII (Personally Identifiable Information). Not just talking HIPAA, but some e-commerce sites require a little more security for their data.

That being said, as long as there is a firewall to the internet and your server does not have critical internal only ports open, in most cases you would at least pass basic security requirements, albeit not optimally. Make sure you run a test using something like NMap! As for alternative ideas, you could set rules in the local firewall to allow unrestricted traffic between the servers involved while limiting access from all others to the default rules. You could also set up IPsec tunnels between machines to encrypt that traffic. I would at least make sure you have a path to separate as many features that require higher security as possible. For instance, PCI will require more strict rules and if that is a problem for this vendor, budget a separate server for transaction processing.

Some of those options may help find some middle ground between your requirements and theirs (after all, you are not limiting traffic of interest to them). I would push to have a Business Associates agreement signed by them saying that by not following your configuration requirements, they will hold some or all of the responsibility for a breach involving their solution. It would still hurt you in the case of a breach, but at least it puts them on edge to make sure they do everything they can to secure their solution since they now have a financial consequence for a breach.

Last but not least, make sure you put the POS system in it's own VLAN separate from all other systems. Lock down that network to only POS traffic and put no other device unrelated to the POS system on that network. This is part of the reason for recent breaches from some of the major retailers.

2 days ago
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New SSL Server Rules Go Into Effect Nov. 1

TMYates Big Problems (91 comments)

This may cause big problems for many of the existing systems out there. How do they determine internal names? Does it require a .com? Will it take into account any new top level domains that opened up? What about certificates for various systems that do not require domain names for communication (I.E. ADFS Signing/Encryption Certificates).

I think it should be required to not mix internal and external names in certificates, but to ban them completely is going to break many things. I know by default Exchange 2010/2013 and Lync Server require internal names in the certificate. You can split the bound IPs and use 2 different certificates, but it makes things more difficult to configure and manage. No to mention that Exchange patches really hate multiple virtual directory entries...

about a week ago
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Critroni Crypto Ransomware Seen Using Tor for Command and Control

TMYates Re:Antivirus (122 comments)

Antivirus applications would never be an end all solution in any case. There might be a chance they can catch it, but you have to be up to date on the definitions for most to be able to catch it. Some newer systems may be able to do heuristics and catch potential cases that look malicious, but can have false-positives and false-negatives. Even cases where you have the best of everything and are up to date may not completely eliminate risk. This is where Zero-Day exploits (or unpublished exploits) can find their way in and disable or bypass many of these countermeasures.

Firewalls would not be helpful for anything other than blocking known ports to command and control servers. In this case, using Tor would be an advantage for the ransomware as it would block any legitimate use you may have for Tor browsing (not that I would allow it for business use in most cases). You are most likely thinking of something like an IDS/IPS system that can sit on the network and sniff out malicious traffic. Some allow for Deep Packet Inspection with SSL decryption. Even that may not cover all cases. If they use custom protocols or a different method for encrypting traffic, it would most likely render such setup useless after an infection. It may help in the initial detection however.

In the end you can never be 100% covered for anything. I always live by the notion that it is not a matter of IF but WHEN something is going to happen. The best solutions are the simplest. Make sure you have recoverable backups (don't just set them and forget). It also helps to reduce your footprint and exposure as much as possible.

about two weeks ago
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Justice Dept. Names ZeuS Trojan Author, Seizes Control of P2P "Gameover" Botnet

TMYates Government Control (76 comments)

Just have to put this out there, but now that the government has taken control, how much do you want to bet the NSA will use this opportunity to spy? Even if they do not use Zeus long term, they could use it to install their own software on millions of PCs that are already infected.

about 2 months ago
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TrueCrypt Website Says To Switch To BitLocker

TMYates Re: Fishy (566 comments)

I may need to look into this for home use again. The USB key was the reason I stopped using it at home since it was nearly impossible to find a consumer level device without a TPM and I got tired of the USB requirement for 7. Of course it has been a few years since I bought a laptop.

I have used both TrueCrypt and BitLocker and like them both, but to be completely honest, BitLocker is the better option for a business with several computers because of the recoverability. I hated having to know our employee's TrueCrypt passwords so I could work on their systems.

Also, I may be one of the few who actually likes Windows 8-8.1.1 (*gasp*) so this would not be an issue for me.

about 2 months ago
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TrueCrypt Website Says To Switch To BitLocker

TMYates Re: Fishy (566 comments)

Correct. But there is a downside. In order to use BitLocker without one, you will require using a USB drive for unlocking the system. A big security risk with using that method in a company environment would be how many simply leave the key in the computer. That would be like leaving the key to your house in the keyhole on the outside of your house. If you have to go that route, you can also add a password with the USB drive to unlock.

Source: Experience

about 2 months ago
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Google Using YouTube Threat As Leverage For Cheaper Streaming Rights

TMYates Stand up against it (197 comments)

If I were a musician with a large following such as say Metallica (just an example). I would just look to google and say goodbye. Why should I be forced to something in another service just because I use YouTube for the music videos? Especially when anyone can currently upload to YouTube for free. I would then pull all my videos and music from the play store, YouTube, etc... and then start a campaign against this sort of thing with my cult fan-base. Considering some of the stores then revoke the music from those with subscriptions to Google Play and/or do not allow re-download if you forget to back up your local DRM (Had this happen with a couple of services) even though you paid for the service, who would be the one to suffer long term? I bet at that point, you would see a bunch of people leaving or using a service less and less.

Just my opinion anyway. Take it for what it is worth.

about 2 months ago
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Google Foresees Ads On Your Refrigerator, Thermostat, and Glasses

TMYates I can see it now (355 comments)

Think about what their thought process might mean for some Android devices:

Before we establish your call, you must watch a 30 second Ad. Only after the first 10 seconds will you be able to skip. You can skip every 20 Ads.

Just look what happened to YouTube.

about 2 months ago
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Google Foresees Ads On Your Refrigerator, Thermostat, and Glasses

TMYates Re:better question... (355 comments)

If they started playing audio for the ads, I would be pissed. That would be worse in my opinion that the stupid drive by audio bombing advertisements that seem to pop up randomly on sites. At least chrome tells you which tab it is. This is also why I turn flash off unless I know an activity I am doing requires it. Which in most cases is very little.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Communicate Security Alerts?

TMYates Net Send / MSG (84 comments)

For the most part that was restricted or disabled since the XP days (after one of the updates. Cannot remember which). You reminded me of the old school spam I used to get...

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Communicate Security Alerts?

TMYates RE: Fix "normal" (84 comments)

And the previous comment that this was in reply to is now gone....

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Communicate Security Alerts?

TMYates Fix "normal" (84 comments)

So you can be the one responsible to fix other vendor's software and web sites when they fail to run on other browsers. Have fun with that. Not everyone can switch and still function. It may not be the fault of the company using IE. Also, you have to look at organizations like Hospitals that are under regulations that may make it impossible or expensive to recertify equipment. A good example is the FDA regulating product certification systems. Changing out a system design can cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to recertify a design.

I have my fun with Linux and use it in various ways, but it isn't always the easiest thing to just swap out in a workstation setting. You apparently have very limited knowledge of the various industries and exist in a world where your way is the only correct way. You can go have fun with your copy of Linux, but don't assume it fixes everyone's issue without understanding what they do. If they can switch and still function, great. For purely desktop/laptop environments, Microsoft still has ~90% market share.

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Communicate Security Alerts?

TMYates Re:Misleading Summary (84 comments)

I saw it show up on my WSUS server today for XP on up.

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Communicate Security Alerts?

TMYates Re:My thoughts. (84 comments)

This response was supposed to be a general "what should I do" not "what can I do" type of question. I used the browser topic as a sample, but yes they have released the patch. If a vulnerability was published today, you cannot just assume tomorrow they will have a patch ready to ship and hence why the question was asked how to handle a situation of such.

It depends on the size of the shop and the IT staff. As a one man IT shop, I would be the one creating, testing, and implementing. Not saying everyone is bad at that, but I happen to know my scripts and GPO objects. In the workaround, they clearly gave instructions for running the fix at a command line. That part would not be difficult to do and if it were serious enough for a large organization, they would most likely already have a rapid test process in place for a vulnerability like this. You would still have to educate the users on a new browser should you push one out, but at least you can reduce the time needed for IT to go to every computer and manually install the software. You wouldn't have to instantly switch it to default.

As for the GPOs to manage the other browsers, it depends on how they store files. But to prove you wrong on Chrome not having them, here: https://support.google.com/chr...

EMET should have been a 3rd option, but I wouldn't recommend every shop immediately go out there and implement it without understanding it. There are many complicated things that it helps mitigate and improperly implemented could cause more headaches to the help desk. That being said, I have started to research it for other reasons so I won't knock it being a worthwhile investment.

Also, you better hope you are on the latest version of EMET, because 4.1 has been bypassed and it is only a matter of time for newer versions: http://bromiumlabs.files.wordp...

Now go back into your hole since you are too afraid to stand behind anything other than AC for your post name.

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Communicate Security Alerts?

TMYates My thoughts. (84 comments)

In the case of the browser, there are a couple of things I would have done:

1) IT should have selected a viable alternative. Whether it is Chrome, FireFox, etc... IT should be deciding on one to use. You are right in not wanting to bog down the help desk with these calls. By selecting one you can send a message out to your users stating that to improve security, reliability, and performance of your system, we will begin rolling out a new web browser for everyone to use. Be sure to include time for a quick training session. There are various methods for pushing software out behind the scenes as well to install it without bothering many of the workers.

2) Used something like Group Policy to push out the workaround and disable the DLL in question. This could have easily been done using a login script or GPO. Then you could sit tight waiting on a patch for your existing browser. You may still want to remind everyone to be on the lookout for anything suspicious and report it should something happen.

The sad fact is that nothing is bulletproof. It could just as easily be Chrome or Safari next week. Don't forget Safari had a nasty SSL flaw not too long ago too. You are right in not wanting to scare your users, but that is where I say you need to put effort into education on the basics of security. Let them know you have their back. And above all, be creative.

about 3 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: System Administrator Vs Change Advisory Board

TMYates WSUS or SCCM (Configuration Manager) (294 comments)

I would recommend the use of either Windows Software Update Services (WSUS) or in combination with System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM). WSUS allows you to approve/unapprove all the updates you want to allow in your network. You can group specific computers to a specific set of approved updates if you would like. You can also use SCCM to manage the change control, what was approved, and what was installed. SCCM can also be used to deploy updates in certain circumstances.

Of both of the options, WSUS is free and can be installed on Windows 2k3 or newer. SCCM is now licensed through the System Center package which may or may not be worth looking into if you want to look at the other built in components to it.

about 3 months ago

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