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RunningLow – A free PowerShell script to check for low disk space and send e-mail to System Administrators

Today I would like to share with our readers RunningLow, a simple yet effective PowerShell script I coded a while ago to get to know when one of my servers is running low of disk space.

Whoever works with physical and/or virtualized Windows Servers is well aware of the importance of keeping this constantly under control: as soon as a server runs out of disk space it will be unable to fullfill a number of tasks, such as: create temporary files, store data on a database, performing system maintenance / backup / updates, create or update web sessions – assuming they are handled through I/O – and so on. Things can be even worse for those servers who host DBMS services such as MySQL and MS-SQL, as the sudden I/O unavailability could cause non-trivial damages to indexes, filesystem-based tables and data integrity.

The main purpose of RunningLow is to prevent all that: it will check one or more local and/or network drives to see if their available free space went under a certain quota, and send a customizable alert to one or more e-mail addresses if that’s the case. I know, there are A LOT of admin suites and maintenance software that could be easily configured to the same thing: even Piriform’s CCleaner PRO does that! However, if you don’t have the money, the time or the amount of system resources required to install these apps, you might find out that this lightweight alternative could be worth a shot.

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How to stop (or prevent) massive login attempts to Remote Desktop RDP on Windows Server

A couple days ago I published a post regarding how to protect CentOS server from unwanted SSH login attempts by changing the default port and/or using File2ban. Today I will talk about a very similar issue that affects Windows Server, which is often only accessible from the administrator by using a Remote Desktop (RDP) connection: that’s a very common case for any VPS or dedicated server hosted through an ISP.

The issue is the same of CentOS: your system is receiving an insane amount of (failed) login attempts in terms of thousands per day by random attackers who are trying to get in using standard brute-force techniques. Depending on given scenario they can be bots, zombies or hackers running BFA scripts. Luckily enough, there are some rather trivial countermeasures that can be adopted to shielding your system even if you can’t afford to purchase and install a Firewall with Intrusion-Prevention System (IPS) – which is something you should really do anyway, expecially if you’re hosting some valuable and/or sensitive data. The methods below will work on any Windows Server release: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008,  Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2 and the new Windows Server 2016.

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Protect CentOS from unwanted SSH failed login attempts with Fail2Ban

SSH is most likely the most secure way to remotely connect to a LINUX-based server machine. However, the fact that the SSH daemon service needs to be reached from the Internet and is usually configured to listen to a well-known TCP port has always been a major security flaw: it allows attackers to relentlessly spam it with a huge number login attempts, hoping to find a hole in your UAC setup.

To better understand what we’re talking about, let’s take a look at the following screenshot:

Those 150 failed login attempts have been attempted on one of our CentOS7 servers in a fifteen-minute range: we’re easily talking about thousands of them every single day, which would eventually break any non-strong password, other than flooding our beloved port 22.

It would be a good thing if we could do something about this nasty problem, for example issuing some throttling rules that could force these login attempts to respect a time limit each time they issue a wrong password. Luckily enough, there’s more than something we can do about that.

UPDATE: if you have the same problem with the Windows Server RDP service, read here to fix it.

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Ubuntu ISO Download – Zesty Zapsus (17.04), Xenial Xerus (16.04.3), Trusty Tahr (14.04.5), Precise Pangolin (12.04.5)

For those who need them, here are the official URLs to download the ISO images for all the most recent Ubuntu releases (desktop & server, i386 or AMD64).

Please take into account that the AMD64 releases should only be considered for those computers based upon AMD64 or EM64T architecture (e.g., Athlon64, Opteron, EM64T Xeon, Core 2). If you have a non-64-bit processor made by AMD, or if you need full support for 32-bit code, use the i386 images instead (choose this if you are at all unsure).

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Windows 7, Windows 8.1 & Windows 10 ISO Download – MS Official Links (Product Key not included)

Just like we did some weeks ago with MS Office we share here a list of official URLs to download the ISO images of the most recent versions of Windows OS: Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.

Don’t worry, this is not warez or pirate software: all of these URLs come from the official Microsoft installation tools or are a link to download the tool itself. This also means that if you want to activate the software after installing it you still need to purchase a valid Product Key (not included) from the Microsoft Store or from any official reseller.

If you want to download the ISO images for the latest versions of Microsoft Office (Office 2010, Office 2013, Office 2016 and Office 365) you can also check this post.

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