A Few Options To Use Keepass Even More Safely

To use everyone’s favorite password tool Keepass more safely, enable the following options:

1) Enter master key on secure desktop. You can find this option in the security tab in the options dialog.


This option will make sure it’s very difficult for key loggers to steal your master password of your Keepass database while you enter it. Read more on it here.

2) Two-channel auto-type obfuscation. This option can be enabled only per password entry.


This option will paste parts of the password through the clipboard making almost any keylogger useless. Read more on it here.

You will receive a warning that this option won’t work with all windows.


As long as you’re using Keepass mainly for passwords for web services, you should be fine.

I recommend you look around in the options dialog to see of you can tweak some more options for your security. Let me know in the comments if you find something that everyone should use.


Playing Android Games On Your Windows PC

And now, for something completely different ūüôā

I once owned an Android phone. I didn’t only use it for making calls, I also played some games on it. When I disposed of the phone and didn’t get another Android phone, I had a problem. I still wanted to play my games.

After some searching, I found the answer: An Android emulator! You can download the BlueStacks App Player for Windows here. This App Player is free. It only asks to install some sponsored games while you use it. You don’t have to run them, but they have to be installed. Beside that, you’re totally free to install and run any app that you can find in the Play Store. You have to have a Google account, just as when using Android natively on your device.

Now just run the app…


Install your favorite game (in this screenshot, I’m updating)..


And play!


Alternatively, you can use Andy¬†to play your Android apps. It’s also free. Have fun!

My First Essay: Using Elliptic Curve Cryptography

Another assignment ūüôā I decide to combine this with the requirement of six blog post. Please post comments below or send me an e-mail.

This is my first argumentative essay, so please be gentle ūüėĬ†Mind you, this is not university level.

This has been checked by the Word 2013 dictionary and my English teacher, so it should be relatively free of typo’s.¬†Here goes!


Securing your HTTPS Apache 2.4 web server with correct parameters

Warning: Keep in mind this is an ongoing field that is quickly changing. Vulnerabilities in protocols and implementations are discovered daily. If you read this information in a few months or even weeks, things could be radically different.

The last few days I’ve been researching HTTPS connections from Apache 2.4 webservers. This research was sparked by the recent Hearthbleed bug in OpenSSL. I’ve been reading up on vulnerabilities, cipher suites, encryption and hashing methods ever since.

The general move to SSL certificates with a bitlength > 1024bit also fueled this research. Microsoft removed support for 1024bit root CA certificates from their Operating System through a patch in March 2014.

One particular website that has a lot of information is https://www.ssllabs.com. They host a nifty server test tool at https://www.ssllabs.com/ssltest/. When testing our production webservers, we got this very poor result. We got a C for supporting weak cipher suites. We were also not mitgated against the BEAST vulnerability. This was tested after we patched Hearthbleed.




As you can see in the first line, the server had no preference in cipher suite order. Why is this a problem you ask? With modern browsers you always use a newer cipher suite anyway. The point is that external parties (hackers) can force your web server to use an insecure cipher suite to communicate with them.

The most shocking to me was that we, as sysadmins, including me, never really gave much thought to this. The general idea is that you put an¬†SSL certificate on your webserver and it’s secured. As with so many security related product, this assumption is dead wrong. The default ssl_mod settings are optimized for compatibility, not security. With our web servers getting 10 millions+ hits a month and providing privacy sensitive information, there wasn’t much thought needed to see this needed some serious attention.

After some time we came to the following requirements:

  • Create a config that is as secure as possible.
  • All common browsers should be able to connect to our websites securely. The highly unsafe IE browsers on the Windows XP platform included.
  • SSL3 must be supported for older browsers/platforms.
  • We must be mitigated against all know attacks, such as BEAST, CRIME, BREACH, Lucky Thirteen, padding attacks, renegotiation, etc.

This appeared to be quite a challenge. In the case of BEAST this deserved some special attention, because mitigating against BEAST is only possible using RC4 cipher suites in TLS1.0 and SSLv3 connections. Unfortunately the research in  cracking the RC4 encryption got a serious boost in March 2013.

After days of testing, I came up with the following:

  • Use Apache 2.4.7. This version does not allow the key exchange in Diffie-Hellman cipher suites to be less then 2048bit. It will use the bitlength of the SSL certificate but will use no less then 2048bit.
  • Use an Apache binary that is compiles against a recent version (1.0.1g) of OpenSSL lib. This will ensure the serving of ECDHE and ECDHE-ECDSA cipher suites.
  • Use a 4096bit SSL certificate. This will strengthen the DHE key exchange mechanism.
  • Specifically disable SSLv2 even though it is not supported anymore with recent OpenSSL libs.
  • Force the cipher suite order in mod_ssl.conf.
  • Use a specific, custom ciphers suite to satisfy your specific needs.
  • Use¬†mod_socache_shmcb to allow session caching and session resumption.
  • Use the¬†Strict-Transport-Security parameter in your Virtual Host config to support HSTS.

Cipher suites are selected on the following criteria in order of importance:

  • Prefer ECDHE-ECDSA cipher suites
  • Prefer ECDHE cipher suites
  • Prefer DHE cipher suites
  • Prefer GCM block cipher suites
  • Prefer CBC block cipher suites
  • Prefer SHA384 hashing
  • Prefer SHA256 hashing
  • Prefer SHA hashing
  • Prefer cipher suites which support Forward Secrecy
  • Prefer cipher suites with 256bit encryption
  • Prefer cipher suites with 128bit¬†encryption
  • Prefer cipher suites with 112bit¬†encryption

As you can see, encryption bit length is only a minor factor in this. Forward Secrecy preference is implicitly done by preferring the ECDHE and DHE cipher suites.

For us, this would result in the ssl_mod config:

SSLSessionCache shmcb:/var/cache/mod_ssl/scache(512000)
SSLSessionCacheTimeout 300
SSLProtocol -SSLv2 ALL
SSLHonorCipherOrder On
SSLCompression Off

And the httpd config:

<VirtualHost *:443>

Header always set Strict-Transport-Security “max-age=63072000; includeSubDomains”

Alternatively, you can choose not to support CAMELLIA en SEED ciphers with the following parameter:


It’s up for debate if¬†TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_3DES_EDE_CBC_SHA (DHE-RSA-DES-CBC3-SHA) and¬†TLS_RSA_WITH_3DES_EDE_CBC_SHA (DES-CBC3-SHA) are still wanted. These create connections with 112bit cipher strength instead of 168bit which you may think. If you require 128bit, leave them out. the DHE-RSA-DES-CBC3-SHA¬†cipher provides Forward Secrecy, so the key to decode one session, cannot be used for another session.

You might want to put¬†TLS_DHE_RSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA (DHE-RSA-AES128-SHA) before¬†TLS_DHE_RSA_WITH_3DES_EDE_CBC_SHA (DHE-RSA-DES-CBC3-SHA), but since it’s included in¬†EDH+aRSA, you’ll have to write it out.

Above settings result in an A+ rated site with BEAST mitigation, Strict Transport Security (HSTS), Forward Secrecy with all common browsers and no RC4 in vulnerable cipher suites:


ssllabs-a-plusssllabs-protocol-detailsssllabs-handshake-simulation ssllabs-protocol-details-and-cipher-suites

If you are not interested in mitigating BEAST (as most browsers are patched), you could use the following order:


Again, CAMELLIA and SEED could be left out:


And explicit denial of all RC4 encryption might be preferable:


I would also advise leaving out the 112bit TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_3DES_EDE_CBC_SHA (ECDHE-RSA-DES-CBC3-SHA) cipher suite:


This would result in all modern browsers/flatforms (IE in Vista and higher, Andriod 4.0.4 and higher, FireFox, Chrome and Safari) to use ECDHE cipher suites with 256bit encryption. The TLS_RSA_WITH_3DES_EDE_CBC_SHA (DES-CBC3-SHA) suite will be used for all exceptions. Also encryption with the potentially vulnerable RC4 cipher is prevented.


“Elliptic curve cryptography” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elliptic_curve_cryptography
“Elliptic Curve DSA” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elliptic_Curve_DSA
“Elliptic curve Diffie‚ÄďHellman” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ECDHE
“SSL/TLS Deployment Best Practices” https://www.ssllabs.com/projects/best-practices/
“Configuring Apache, Nginx, and OpenSSL for Forward Secrecy” https://community.qualys.com/blogs/securitylabs/2013/08/05/configuring-apache-nginx-and-openssl-for-forward-secrecy
“RC4 in TLS is Broken: Now What?” https://community.qualys.com/blogs/securitylabs/2013/03/19/rc4-in-tls-is-broken-now-what
“Updated SSL/TLS Deployment Best Practices Deprecate RC4” https://community.qualys.com/blogs/securitylabs/2013/09/17/updated-ssltls-deployment-best-practices-deprecate-rc4
“SSL Labs Test for the Heartbleed Attack” https://community.qualys.com/blogs/securitylabs/2014/04/08/ssl-labs-test-for-the-heartbleed-attack
“SSL Labs: Stricter Security Requirements for 2014” https://community.qualys.com/blogs/securitylabs/2014/01/21/ssl-labs-stricter-security-requirements-for-2014
“SPDY” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SPDY
“ChaCha20” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ChaCha20#ChaCha_variant
“Poly1305-AES” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poly1305
“QUIC” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QUIC
Session Resumption http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transport_Layer_Security#Session_IDs
“HTTP Strict Transport Security” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTTP_Strict_Transport_Security
“Nginx” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nginx
“Strong SSL Security on Apache2” https://raymii.org/s/tutorials/Strong_SSL_Security_On_Apache2.html
“Increasing DHE strength on Apache 2.4.x” http://blog.ivanristic.com/2013/08/increasing-dhe-strength-on-apache.html
“OpenSSL cipher suites” https://www.openssl.org/docs/apps/ciphers.html
https://www.ssllabs.com/ssltest/analyze.html?d=payload.hu. This site runs¬†Apache. It’s cipher suites are: “EECDH+ECDSA+AESGCM EECDH+aRSA+AESGCM EECDH+ECDSA+SHA384 EECDH+ECDSA+SHA256 EECDH+aRSA+SHA384 EECDH+aRSA+SHA256 EECDH+aRSA+RC4 EECDH EDH+aRSA RC4 !aNULL !eNULL !LOW !3DES !MD5 !EXP !PSK !SRP !DSS”.
https://www.ssllabs.com/ssltest/analyze.html?d=icnseo.com This server runs¬†nginx. It’s cipher suites are: ECDHE-ECDSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384:ECDHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384:ECDHE-ECDSA-AES256-SHA384:ECDHE-RSA-AES256-SHA384:ECDHE-ECDSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256:ECDHE-RSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256:ECDHE-ECDSA-AES128-SHA256:ECDHE-RSA-AES128-SHA256:ECDHE-RSA-AES256-SHA:HIGH:!aNULL:!eNULL:!LOW:!3DES:!MD5:!EXP:!CBC:!EDH:!kEDH:!PSK:!SRP:!kECDH;
https://www.ssllabs.com/ssltest/analyze.html?d=blck.io. This site uses mod_spdy voor Apache 2.4.
https://github.com/eousphoros/mod-spdy mod_spdy.
chrome://net-internals/#spdy Monitor SPDY connections in the Chrome browser

Where No Google Buses Go

Where No Google Buses Go.

Interesting piece about inequality in the San Francisco Bay area by Darwin BondGraham.

2013 in review. Thank you readers and followers!

Time for statistics!

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 120,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 5 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Starting your programs with different credentials using a Powershell script

I always start the same programs at work. Because I login with a normal user account, I start most of them with my admin credentials. This took me too much time to do at each startup, also because of the hard to type password. So I wrote a Powershell script ūüôā Maybe it can be of some use to you.

I got some trouble starting MMC modules, but got it to work eventually. Using 8dot3 paths to bypass space-in-path problems.

# —————————————————————————–
# Script: Start-Processes.ps1
# Author: Yuri de Jager, https://yuridejager.wordpress.com
# Date: 2013-11-27
# Keywords: Scripting Techniques, Processes, MMC modules
# comments: Start tools with admin account.
# Start-Process, Get-Content
# YdJ – 2013-11-27
# —————————————————————————–
# First save password in password file. Run only when password changes
# $credentials = Get-Credential
# $credentials.Password | ConvertFrom-SecureString | Set-Content [path to]passwd.txt

$password = Get-Content [path to]passwd.txt | ConvertTo-SecureString
$user = [admin user]
$creds = New-Object System.Management.Automation.PSCredential $user,$password

$systemroot = $env:SystemRoot
$progs = $env:ProgramFiles
$progsx86 = “${Env:ProgramFiles(x86)}”

Start-Process $systemroot\system32\mmc.exe -ArgumentList $systemroot\system32\dsa.msc -Credential $creds -windowstyle Maximized
Start-Process $systemroot\system32\mmc.exe -ArgumentList $systemroot\system32\dfsmgmt.msc -Credential $creds -windowstyle Maximized
Start-Process $systemroot\system32\mmc.exe -ArgumentList $systemroot\system32\dhcpmgmt.msc -Credential $creds -windowstyle Maximized
Start-Process $systemroot\system32\mmc.exe -ArgumentList $systemroot\system32\dnsmgmt.msc -Credential $creds -windowstyle Maximized
Start-Process $systemroot\system32\mmc.exe -ArgumentList $systemroot\system32\Cluadmin.msc -Credential $creds -windowstyle Maximized
Start-Process $systemroot\system32\mmc.exe -ArgumentList C:\Progra~1\UPDATE~1\ADMINI~1\wsus.msc -Credential $creds -windowstyle Maximized
Start-Process $systemroot\system32\mmc.exe -ArgumentList C:\Progra~1\MICROS~3\EXCHAN~1\V14\Bin\EXCHAN~1.MSC -Credential $creds -windowstyle Maximized
Start-Process -FilePath “$progs\ConEmu\ConEmu64.exe” -Credential $creds
Start-Process -FilePath “$progsx86\RobWare\RVTools\RVTools.exe” -Credential $creds
Start-Process -FilePath “$progsx86\Remote Desktop Connection Manager\RDCman.exe” -windowstyle Maximized
Start-Process -FilePath “$progsx86\VMware\Infrastructure\Virtual Infrastructure Client\Launcher\VpxClient.exe”
Start-Process -FilePath “$progsx86\MICROS~2\Office14\OUTLOOK.EXE” -windowstyle Maximized
Start-Process $systemroot\system32\cmd.exe

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 110,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

VMware vMA resxtop error: Login failed, reason: Success

Working with resxtop in the vMA today and mistyping a servername created this funny error:

[root@vmware-vma vi-admin]# resxtop –server blabla.lan –username root
root@blabla.lan’ password:
Login failed, reason: Success
[root@vmware-vma vi-admin]#


I just wanted to share this with you =)

Enable SNMP on your ESXi 4.0/4.1/5.0 hosts from the vMA

To enable SNMP:

vicfg-snmp –server [ESXi host FQDN] -c public -p 161 -t [SNMP manager IP address]@161/public,[SNMP manager IP address]@161/public –username root

Seperate multiple managers with comma’s. No spaces. Adjust your community names accordingly.

Enable the SNMP agent:

vicfg-snmp –server [ESXi host FQDN]¬†-E –username root


vicfg-snmp –server¬†[ESXi host FQDN] -s –username root

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