Nov 22, 2013

How To Recreate mail.log in Ubuntu

While troubleshooting my greylisting issues yesterday, I went ahead and just deleted my mail.log which is located in /var/log. I wanted to start the logs from scratch to see if I can catch the right IP's that were being greylisted.

Well, after I deleted mail.log, and restarted postfix, the log didn't automatically get recreated. So I had to manually create it. Well I created a new mail.log file as root, but the permissions were wrong. So I had to change the permissions ans the file owner. Here's exactly what I did:
  • Create a new mail.log file
    sudo touch /var/log/mail.log
  • Change the owner to syslog:adm
    sudo chown syslog:adm /var/log/mail.log
  • Change the permissions to -rw-r----- on mail.log
    sudo chmod 640 mail.log

That's it, then after restarting services mail.log starting updating again!
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Nov 21, 2013

An Update on Greylisting in iRedmail

I mentioned the other day that I disabled greylisting on my email server because Cluebringer was greylisting MX Guard Dog's smtp servers. Well ever since I did that I've been getting a lot of spam again.

I figured out how I can keep greylisting enabled, and white list individual IP's.

What I did was I opened up /var/log/mail.log and searched for action=reject. I found a string similar to this:
module=Greylisting, action=reject, host=,
I copied the IP address then went into my Cluebringer administration page at https://mainserver/cluebringer. I logged in with my iRedmail admin credentials and on the left I found Greylisting Whitelist. In there I added the host IP to the white list, then set disabled to no.

After that I restarted the Cluebringer daemon by running:
service postfix-cluebringer restart
After that email started flowing correcly again, yet I get to keep the protection of greylisting enabled! Win win!
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Nov 20, 2013

How To Disable Greylisting in iRedMail v0.2.1

As I mentioned last week I started using MXGuardDog as a cloud based spam filter, and it's been working great! The problem I recently encountered though was that my mail server was greylisting MXGuardDog's smtp servers for some reason, and mailflow was affected.

I am using iRedMail for my email server and it has built in spam filtering using Amavis, but it rather sucks. Ever since I setup this mail server I've been bombarded with spam! That is why I switched to MXGuardDog, which has been doing a great job thwarting spam.

So like I said though, people started reporting bounce-backs with an error message that said:
Recipient address rejected: Greylisting in effect, sending server blacklisted
I figured since I'm using MXGuardDog I didn't really need the greylisting feature after all, so this is what I did to turn it off:
  • Edited  /etc/cluebringer/cluebringer.conf
  • Changed

    # Greylisting module


    # Greylisting module
Then I restarted the postfix-cluebringer daemon to make the change take effect!
sudo service postfix-cluebringer restart
After that mailflow worked again, and I let MXGuardJob do it's job.
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Nov 19, 2013

Tech-ssential Ingredients: Internet Security Education Program for Your Employees

The culprit behind most security breaches is not a weak firewall or the wrong antivirus software. According to Cisco Systems, the culprit is usually employee behavior. By convincing your employees why network security is critical and educating them on how to be secure, you strengthen your network security system more than you could with almost any other tool.

Utilize a Toolkit

Rather than drafting your own security seminars and making your own list of top security goals, work with a company who has experience establishing IT safety in small businesses. Companies like Sophos offer free toolkits that have been specifically designed to help small business owners who are looking for a way to train their employees in internet safety. At Sophos, you can choose the tools you need, and the options include employee handbooks, posters, emails, training videos and more. Regardless of how much you know about internet security, a tool kit can help you organize that knowledge into lessons and reminders that your employees will really embrace.

Make It Personal

Employees will endure a boring seminar about IT safety, but they may not understand its importance until you highlight how it could affect them. When focusing on data breaches, talk about their personal details that are stored in your HR computers rather than the intellectual property you are trying to safeguard. If you have a BYOD (bring your own device) program, recommends that you ensure that it will be the employees own devices rather than a company computer that will be compromised in the event of a security breach. If your employees think it is personal, they will be more likely to understand and follow your ban on risky apps, your requirement for two-factor authentication passwords, and the importance of having software that allows them to switch from personal to work mode as needed on their BYOD device.

Offer Fraud Protection

Despite your best efforts, your IT security may be compromised at some point. Whether an employee transmits data over a public WiFi connection or someone falls for a scam, you need to provide fraud protection as a response to the situation. With fraud protection in place from a provider like Lifelock, you can minimize the amount of damage that you, your company, or your employees will have to endure.

Disaster Response

In addition to having protection in place, you need to train your employees on how to deal with an issue when it occurs. Make sure that your employees know whom to call or what to do when they click on an infected attachment. Sometimes, your instructions may be as simple as shutting down the computer and waiting for help to arrive from the IT department, but regardless of your desired protocol, make sure that your employees understand it and are willing to follow it.

Constant Vigilance

Security training isn't something that should happen once per year. If you integrate it into your daily operations, your company will be safer. Set your computers to update your virus software regularly and automatically, have your internal software prompt your employees for new passwords every month, and remind your employees to change the passwords on their private accounts that often as well. By integrating these five tools, you will boost your company's safety and ultimately protect yourself personally and financially.

Nov 18, 2013

Simple GUI Video Converter For Ubuntu

The other night I was trying to watch one of my new favorite shows on Plex. That show was Arrow, which is normally on The CW on Wednesday Nights, or whenever you want if you torrent with ShowRSS.

Anyway, the Arrow shows that have been coming have been in .mkv format which should stream fine on Plex, but for some reason it hasn't been streaming too well without having to transcode first. No big deal, but the other night the transcoding operation kept crashing and the show kept getting interrupted.

I decided I needed to convert the file to MP4 which seems to play natively without transcode on Plex. The tool I decided to use was Arista! Here's a screen shot:

The interface is super simple, you just select the green plus sign, and follow the wizard. That's it! In no time your video will be converted!

Installation is a snap too since it's available in the Ubuntu repositories. Just run:
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install arista
What do you use to transcode video in Linux? Why do you like it? Let us know in the comments.
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Nov 15, 2013

Free Cloud Email Spam Filter

A few months ago when the first of the Edward Snowden leaks came out I ditched my Google Apps email account and went with my own hosted email server using iRedmail. It's worked out pretty good, but the built-in Amavis spam filter isn't the greatest.

In fact, since I switched to my own email server, spam has gone up dramatically. It kind of sucks really. It almost made me want to tuck tail and go back to Google... Almost.

Well I found a possible solution. It's called MXGuardDog, and it's a cloud based junk email filter. What's more is that it's free!

From their page:
MX Guarddog offers email protection to deal with modern email challenges.

Spam and virus protection for businesses, organizations, and Internet domain name owners.

MX Guarddog will filter incoming email, forwarding only clean email to your mailboxes - for free! 
All they ask for their free service is for your to add hyper-links to their site from one or more of your sites. This in turn generates credits for you to keep using their services for free. One credit is consumed monthly for every email address defined at your domain. For example, 10 email addresses = 10 credits each month. Alternatively you can purchase credits for as little as $4 per credit.

I just set it up today, so I can't tell you how well it works, but it certainly sounds promising. I'll be sure to give you all an update after I've given it a spin for a little while!

What do you currently use for spam filtering? Let us know in the comments!
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Nov 14, 2013

Script To Automatically Connect and Reconnect VPN in Ubuntu 13.10

I mentioned the other day that I replaced Microsoft Windows on my main desktop at home with Xubuntu. I also mentioned yesterday how I had setup Deluge with RSS so I can automatically torrent TV shows. Another thing I mentioned about a month ago was that I had subscribed to TorrentPrivacy because my ISP sent me a copyright infringement warning email.

Well the torrenting is working splendidly, but for the last two days when I checked on the computer in the morning I noticed that my VPN connection to TorrentPrivacy was disconnected. I am also using the IP Blocklist in Deluge too, so I'm not too worried, but it's not fool proof like VPN. I needed something to keep me connected to VPN no matter what.

I realize that in Network Manager you can edit your network connection and select the option to automatically connect to your VPN, but that's flaky and frequently fails. If it can't connect to VPN it just fails to connect altogether.

Well I found a script to run at startup that checks to see if I am connected to VPN every 20 seconds, and if not it tries to connect. It works like a charm too!

Before you can get it to work though you need to do a couple of things.
  • Create your VPN connection in Network Manager like usual.
  • Using your favorite text editor, edit /etc/NetworkManager/system-connections/VPNName
  • Change password-flags=1 to password-flags=0
  • Also add the following at the bottom:


Be sure to change VPNName and VPNPassword to match your configuration.

Now you need to find the UUID of your VPN connection. To do that do the following:
  • Run nmcli con status from the terminal while connected to VPN
  • Alternatively you can get the UUID from /etc/NetworkManager/system-connections/VPNName
Once you have the UUID, and you've edited your VPN's config file, you need to create a text file called autovpn and save it in /etc/init.d by doing the following:
sudo nano /etc/init.d/autovpn
Paste the following and be sure to replace the UUID with the UUID for your VPN:
while [ "true" ]
    VPNCON=$(nmcli con status uuid d30df716-37e8-4e0e-8062-6340cb6f413f | grep VPN.VPN-STATE | awk '{print $2}')
    if [[ $VPNCON != "5" ]]; then
        echo "Disconnected, trying to reconnect..."
        (sleep 1s && nmcli con up uuid d30df716-37e8-4e0e-8062-6340cb6f413f)
        echo "Already connected !"
    sleep 20
Now make your script executable:
sudo chmod +x /etc/init.d/autovpn
Now we want to add autovpn as a service that starts when the computer starts, so we run:
sudo update-rc.d autovpn defaults
That's it! Now when the computer reboots, the script will launch and automatically check if it's connected to VPN every 20 seconds, and if it isn't will try to establish the connection!
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Nov 13, 2013

How To Torrent TV Shows Via RSS Using Deluge

I mentioned the other day that I preferred Ktorrent over Deluge for RSS Bittorrent downloads. Well I lied. I found Ktorrent to be way more resource intensive as Deluge, so I switched back. I also said Deluge's RSS plugin didn't work well for me. That was because I wasn't doing it right. That's where this article comes in.

I'm sure many of you want to download your favorite TV shows using a service like ShowRSS on Linux, but don't know how. Or you see tutorials on using Flexget and another client, and it seems too complicated. Well, you're not alone.

Using Deluge to download torrents via RSS is actually pretty easy, and here's how you do it.
  • Download the YaRSS2 Plugin
  • In Deluge Click Edit > Preferences > Plugins
  • Click Install Plugin and browse to the YaRSS2 .egg file you downloaded in the first step.
  • Check the box next to YaRSS2 in the plugins list then click Apply to activate it
  • In the left pannel you will now see YaRSS2, click on it
  • On the right click on the RSS Feeds tab
  • Click Add Feed
  • Enter a name and the URL for your feed then click Save

  • Click on the Subscription Tab
  • Click Add Subscription
  • Enter a name, select the feed you just added, and enter any filters you want
  • Click on the Options tab to change download locations
  • When you are done click Save
  • Now under the Subscriptions list, right click the subscription you just made and click Run this subscription
Now you will notice that your torrents will begin downloading. Deluge is smart enough to record the time stamp of the last download too so that it doesn't accidentally download the same file twice.

That's it! Just go through this process for any other shows you want to download, and you are good to go. No text config files to edit, nothing! Just pure Torrent RSS Downloading!
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Nov 12, 2013

Wireless Frequently Disconnecting Lenovo Ideapad Y560 (Atheros AR9285)

I've been running Ubuntu on my Lenovo Ideapad Y560 for a while now, but ever since I upgraded it to Xubuntu 13.10 the wireless has been frequently disconnecting on me.

The Lenovo Y560 uses and Atheros AR9285 wireless adapter, and apparently other users have had the same problem in previous versions of Ubuntu. Well I found a fix! Here's what you do:
  • Create a file called /etc/modprobe.d/ath9k.conf

  • sudo nano /etc/modprobe.d/ath9k.conf

  • Add the following line:

    options ath9k nohwcrypt=1
  • Disable IPv6 by running the following in the terminal:

    echo "#disable ipv6" | sudo tee -a /etc/sysctl.conf echo "net.ipv6.conf.all.disable_ipv6 = 1" | sudo tee -a /etc/sysctl.conf echo "net.ipv6.conf.default.disable_ipv6 = 1" | sudo tee -a /etc/sysctl.conf echo "net.ipv6.conf.lo.disable_ipv6 = 1" | sudo tee -a /etc/sysctl.conf
After that reboot, and you'll find that your wireless stops disconnecting... Well, at least mine did.

Did that help you out? If so, let us know in the comments!
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Nov 11, 2013

My House is Now 100% Windows Free!

For the last few weeks my home desktop computer, the last of the Windows computers on my home network kept blue-screening. There was something going on when connecting to VPN that was causing it.

I've been trying to get my wife to go 100% Ubuntu for a while now. She's let me setup her laptop with Xubuntu, and she's slowly gotten used to it, so when this BSOD issue kept creeping up I was finally able to convince her that it was time to switch it to Linux!

I did run into a few problems though with the tranisition. The main problem had to do with the wireless card I am using in the Desktop since my home network is almost 100% wireless. I am using a WMP300N card in it, and from Ubuntu 12.04 - Ubuntu 13.04 it had frequent disconnect problems apparently. No problem right? Just install Ubuntu 13.10! Not so fast Jack!

That was my second major problem, Ubiquity kept hanging up and crashing on the Xubuntu 13.10 install media. I also tried Lubuntu 13.10 and Ubuntu 13.10 with the same issue. I could only install using Xubuntu 13.04, so that's what I did.

After that I was able to perform an apt-get dist-upgrade, but it took forever because the wireless network kept disconnecting. Anyway, I finally got that done, and wireless is working fine now.

The last thing I found was that Picasa is no longer available for Ubuntu. I never use it, but my wife uses it all the time. I guess they stopped after version 3.0. Anyway, I can't find any working Linux versions for it anymore, so I had to switch to Shotwell as most people say they like it as an alternative to Picasa for Ubuntu. Plus, I hate Google because of all their NSA crap, so it worked out.

One of the things I used to do on the desktop when it was Windows was torrent TV shows using ShowRSS. I could easily do that using Utorrent, but Transmission and Deluge don't do that so well natively. Deluge has an RSS plugin, but it didn't work too well either. It seems that the best Linux Bittorrent program that has RSS and Scheduling features like Utorrent is Ktorrent.

The best thing though about finally putting Ubuntu on my home desktop is that I am finally able to put one of my FREE Powered By Ubuntu stickers on it! Check it out!

Is your house Windows free? Did you have any issues getting it that way? Let us know in the comments.
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