Not meant as a complete in depth guide but certainly enough to point you in the right direction here’s my list of the most commonly seen (from my point of view) HPE Aruba (e.g. the 2540, 2930F, 5400R series) fibre optics and their respective part numbers:

The format is effectively <Speed> <Fibre Type> <Maximum Range> – <Part Code>

1Gbit Multi Mode 500m – J4858D

1Gbit Single Mode 10km – J4859D

10Gbit Multi Mode 300m – J9150D

10Gbit Single Mode 10km – J9151E

Data from: https://support.hpe.com/hpesc/public/docDisplay?docId=a00028947en_us

In configuring the Microsoft Intune Certificate Connector and attempting to issue certificates to your client via Intune you might run into the error message below.

IssuePfx – COMException: System.Runtime.InteropServices.COMException (0x80094800): The requested certificate template is not supported by this CA. (Exception from HRESULT: 0x80094800)at CERTENROLLLib.IX509CertificateRequestPkcs10V2.InitializeFromTemplateName (X509CertificateEnrollmentContext Context, String strTemplateName)
at Microsoft.Management.Services.NdesConnector.MicrosoftCA.GetCertificate (PfxRequestDataStorage pfxRequestData, String& certificate, String& password)

Failed to issue Pfx certificate for Device ID 24c2445e-6cd2-4629-a942-081bdaca9b12 :

In short when configuring the certificate name to be used you’ve probably entered the ‘Template display name’ instead of the ‘Template name’ – note the difference in the screenshot where the template name doesn’t include any spaces.

Given the complexity of this feature I’ve found the guide at this link really handy in setting it up in the past:

https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/intune-customer-success/support-tip-configuring-and-troubleshooting-pfx-pkcs/ba-p/516450

The default graph options in PRTG (Setup > System Administration > User Interface) for extended periods of time (e.g. over 10 days) will display the average over a set period (e.g. 1 hour) – while this may be ideal for some data on occasion you may want to display the maximum or minimum value for the data over that period.

The example below shows just how much this can change the graphical representation of the data with the ‘max’ value when averaged as 48% while this climbs all the way to 53% when the graph purely displays the maximum values.

It's the same data but the top graph shows a 1 hour average whereas the bottom graph shows the 1 hour maximum.

It’s the same data but the top graph shows a 1 hour average whereas the bottom graph shows the 1 hour maximum.

To change this display of data hop into the channel settings for the sensor and follow the screenshot guide below:

In looking to keep occupied with the current pandemic going on I’ve taken my Microelectronics projects to a new level and have over the past few weeks kicked out a series of soil moisture sensors which are powered by battery (18650) with a small solar panel keeping them topped up.

As the battery charges/discharges the voltage changes and moves outside of the acceptable ranges for the little ESP32 MCU, here a load drop out voltage regulator like the Microchip MCP1700 comes into play by ensuring that the controller is fed the right voltage all the time. In researching this project I’ve come across a fair few articles which mention the regulator is only ‘stable’ or ‘the supply is smoothed out’ with a set of capacitors in line. Just to test that out I hooked my multimeter up to the MCP1700 without the capacitors and lone behold the wrong voltage is being kicked out. Put the capacitors in line and everything works as expected.

Without capacitors

Image 1 of 2

Without the capacitors in line the voltage hangs around 2.6-2.8V

The article I followed when putting my final projects together is at these links:

There does appear to be a discrepancy (1uF vs 100nF) between the capacity of the capacitors in the datasheet and the article (and indeed I’m having occasional issues with controllers resetting due to what appears to be a power problem) but for now things are working well enough.

So after realising that my desktop PC has been running in BIOS mode (how 1970s and probably the result of multiple clones from HDD to 10k HDD, to 10k HDD in RAID0 to SSD and to another SSD) and with a free weekend I thought it was time to have a look at the MBR2GPT tool.

However in running the validate phase I was getting the error message:

Disk layout validation failed for disk 0

After following through a few red herrings on the internet I had a bit more of a dig into what the tool was up to and it appears that one of the first steps is to shrink the OS partition.

It appears that the fix is actually to preempt this and shrink the OS partition yourself (I reduced it by about 1GB – which made sense as one of the new partitions goes right in at the end of the disk), given these kinds of steps should only be performed by a person who knows what they are doing and understands the implications I won’t go into any detail as to how to do this other than providing the screenshot below.


Today we have the answer to the question – Without SSL decryption how many threats/attempted vulnerability exploits/other bad stuff will I miss that are coming from the internet at my internally hosted (externally published) web sites and services?
To run some simple tests (which will be detected as malicious attacks) I’m going to be running the Nessus scanner against a website behind a Palo Alto Networks Next Generation Firewall, while we won’t get the same results that might be seen from a ‘determined attacker’ we will get an idea of how things look from the standpoint of a ‘casual attacker’.

In short the answer is you’ll miss a lot – without decryption of traffic coming at your own web servers it’s pretty much impossible to detect attacks (with some minor exceptions) that are hiding inside HTTPS, either way let’s see how it’s done…

Kit list for this testing:

  • An ‘internal’ web service, in this case the web console for PRTG Network Monitor (running on Windows Server)
  • A Palo Alto Networks Next Generation Firewall – a PA-850 running PAN-OS 8.1 with a full suite of licences
  • The Nessus vulnerability scanner

Both the firewall and the web service have been configured to run TLS1.2 with the private key for the certificate on both (which allows the firewall to decrypt the traffic without breaking connections) and the latest firmware/security updates have been applied across the board. Continue reading

In this (long overdue) edition of from around the web we have a really simple (and largely free) tool to forward Windows logs, a guide on configuring Office 365 with some cool email security features and a super simple (barebones) digital signage package for the Raspberry Pi.

NXLog: Capture logs from Windows systems (in a nice way!)

With the centralised collection of event logs becoming a hot topic NXLog is certainly worth a mention as a tool that can (at the very least) capture Windows Event data and ship them up to a service like Graylog (even better NXLog can use the GELF format allowing the logs to be easily parsed by the server).

Options for Windows Server DNS logging and DHCP logging are also included with it’s feature set making for a very useful tool.

Configure Office 365 (without ATP) to do SPF, DKIM and DMARC

SFP, DKIM and DMARC (described in a little more depth here) are handy technologies to prevent the use of your own email domain by spammers/suchlike. This guide walks you through how to configure these technologies with direct reference to Office 365.

Screenly Open Source Edition: Barebones digital signage

Oddly included in the NOOBS package for the Raspberry Pi but not something I’ve come across in the past. The Screenly OSE (Open Source Edition) gives you a really easy way to display web pages and other content on a schedule from a simple web based management console. Given it’s simplicity I really find it handy when configuring PRTG Maps for large format displays.

Graylog is a brilliant (and Open Source) tool to easily capture logs from a variety of systems including good old fashioned syslog.

In the screenshot guide below you will learn how to use a set of extractors I constructed to parse out useful information from PAN NGFW syslog.

The link to the source files mentioned is: https://github.com/jamesfed/PANOSGraylogExtractor

For some time there have been plenty of examples of backing up Palo Alto Firewalls with curl commands (extracting the files using the XML API) however that may not sit well with some Windows administrators who want to use PowerShell. As such I’ve put together the BackupPANNGFWConfig repo on GitHub which contains the scripts to get ahold of the API keys needed and then to perform the backups for a series of firewalls.

To get the scripts drop by the link below and for the configuration see the screenshot sequences in this post. You will need a basic understanding of Palo Alto Firewalls, PowerShell and Windows Server to work through these steps.

Super important note, this script is configured to use a TLS1.2 connection to the firewall as well as only allow connections to a firewall with a trusted security certificate – if you jump on the web management interface of the firewalls from the server that you are running the script from you should see the ‘secure’ padlock icon in the address bar.

https://github.com/jamesfed/BackupPANNGFWConfig

With the scripts all configured you will then want to configure a scheduled task on the server to take these backup files on a regular basis.

For this weeks ‘from around the web’ we are looking at some very cool screens that I’ve just started working with for an Arduino project, some advice from the National Cyber Security Centre and a brilliant set of resources to build a plan to secure an IT environment.

Nextion displays for Raspberry Pi/Arduino
For a little while now I’ve been working on various little Arduino based projects (of note soil and general environment sensors); in looking to branch out to some more areas I’ve decided to build a ‘sensor array’ for my car and naturally will need some way to display all the data being captured. For this I came across the Nextion displays which come in a variety of sizes, have an easy to use application to design how the screen looks/works and only needs power + serial connectivity to work.

Hopefully pretty soon I’ll get some more detailed examples of this ‘sensor array’ on here.

Three random words or #thinkrandom
For a basic but handy document about how cyber criminals breach passwords and for advice on how to make better passwords look no further than this link from the National Cyber Security Centre.

CIS Cyber Security Best Practices
Sometimes organisations are just bombarded with advice on ‘where to start’ with Cyber Security, some might say start with logging, others perhaps just having an inventory of what you have or maybe having the very best firewall you can afford (pro tip it’s the second one!). To get some real answers that are sized appropriately for any organisation the Centre for Internet Security is the place to start.