Daily Archives: 22 May 2006

SUSE 10.1 Round 2

I tried installing SUSE 10.1 again over the weekend. This time, I took the default install options
and just let it go and that seemed to go better than my first try.

I should note that yes, SUSE does do a reboot after installing the contents of the first of five
CDs. So if you start the install and come back to a black screen it’s
probably because SUSE rebooted while you were away. No harm done but it
surprised me that the install didn’t seem to say that would occur.

In any case, the package that was corrupted is not part of the default install so things went find
all the way to the end.

However, that’s not to say everything went well. SUSE failed to detect my plug and play monitor
and also did not detect the motherboard’s built in sound card.

It surprised me that when I went to configure the monitor, the particular model I have (an old Mag
DX17F) wasn’t on the list. Both Mepis and Xandros did have my model so
I have to wonder why these distributions have it but not SUSE.

For the sound, the configuration wizard didn’t detect it during installation but did fine
when I ran it manually. Why that would be I don’t know.

For things that did work, I like the package update application that automatically checks for
security updates (of which there were two already). I like a
distribution that takes security updates seriously (Xandros does maybe
one security update every six months, unless it’s a commercial
application that does their own updates).

I recently signed up for the
Debian security list and, over the last two weeks, I’ve received notice
of at least a dozen Linux applications (including the 2.4.x kernel)
that have been updated to patch
critical security vulnerabilities.
In a world of zero day exploits, it
is important to patch your system as soon as possible. Yes, I know,
some patches can close one hole while opening another (or breaking
something else). But we don’t live in a perfect world and I, for one,
would install the patches.

Other than that, my first
overall impression is that SUSE seems to run slightly slower than the
Mepis or Xandros distributions. But since I have not run any
benchmarks, this could be just my imagination. I haven’t used SUSE for
very long so I don’t have anything else to report. More when I know
more.

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Ohio University Servers Hacked

This time it’s Ohio University
that has discovered that hackers have remotely operated at least three
of their servers for as much as a year or longer.

c|net
news is reporting
said servers
held the Social Security numbers of 137,000 people and
that the university was unaware of the intrusion until the FBI
notified them (the article does not say how the FBI detected the
intrusion but thank goodness someone was on the job).

As the university says,
functionality must be balanced with security.
However, this does not mean you don’t have any
auditing applications in place to detect intrusions (as seems to be
the case here).

It’s about balance. Absolute
security means absolutely no remote access. This extreme doesn’t work
for most people because the purpose of the server is usually to allow
access to information. If no one can access it, the
server serves no purpose (pun not intended). But. That does not mean
you go to the other extreme and have no security.

In my opinion, there is no
excuse for administrators who do not institute intrusion applications
because these applications, for the most part, do not
impede functionality. They don’t prohibit access by hackers either but
they can detect such access.

It bothers me that
administrators at this university (and others) don’t do the minimum
required to ensure the security of their servers. We have already seen
the transformation of hacking from a teenager trying to get into a
server just for bragging rights to organized crime making it part of
their lucrative
business plan.

It is long past time that
administrators took this change seriously.

Aloha!