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Remove "Network May Be Monitored by an Unknown Third Party" in Android 4.4 KitKat

If you have just updated to Android 4.4 KitKat, and you use a custom root certificate to sign SSL/TLS certs for your own server/website/WiFi then you may have had the “Network may be monitored by an unknown third party” prompt.

Android allows you to add user defined SSL Certificate Authority Certs, but it then complains about them continually, which is incredibly annoying!

Restrict Access to phpMyAdmin from WAN

phpmyadmin-working.png

I recently installed a plugin for WordPress called “Better WP Security”. One of the features this plugin has is the ability to log all 404 errors, and temporarily or permanently block hosts that request too many non-existent pages in a short space of time.

This is useful for blocking scripts that try to guess the location of your admin pages and then brute force their way in or exploit some specific vulnerability in the software.

I noticed in the logs that one particular script (“w00tw00t.at.blackhats.romanian.anti-sec:)”) was checking my website to see if phpmyadmin had been installed but the setup script not run, requesting lots of pages like “phpMyAdmin/scripts/setup.php”.

This got me thinking about securing the phpMyAdmin page a little, as I had pretty much just set it up and forgotten about it. I very rarely use it, but still wanted it installed just in case. So, the best solution was to simply disable access from outside my LAN.

Fix for Ethernet Connection Drop on Raspberry Pi

Raspberry_Pi_Ethernet_Port.jpg

The Problem

Today an engineer from BT was fiddling with the junction box outside my house, and my modem dropped connection to my router.

At the time, the router did not automatically force reconnect (my fault, I hadn’t configured it to do so). When I noticed what had happened, I reconnected to the modem. So far so good.

A couple of hours later, I noticed that two of my three Pi (all of which are connected with ethernet cables) had not reconnected to the router. The one that did reconnect is running Raspbmc (XBMC port to Raspberry Pi); the two that did not are running Apache with some bits on top (a mail server, owncloud, and wordpress for this website!).

This is a pain because not only did it take the services offline, but I was unable to SSH to the Pi to correct the problem. Removing and reconnecting the ethernet cables did not work, so in the end I had to pull the power and reboot.

More space for packages with extroot on your OpenWrt router

OpenWrt router EXTroot

If you would like to install extra packages on OpenWrt, but you have run out of space on your router’s internal flash memory, then this tutorial is for you.

The plan is to copy the OpenWrt’s root filesystem onto an external USB flash drive, and tell the router to switch to that when it boots up.

All you need is a standard USB flash drive, a USB capable router running OpenWrt, and about 30 mins.

Switch from DD-WRT to OpenWrt in under 30 minutes

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DD-WRT is a really nice way to free your router. It has a polished web interface, gives you far greater control than most proprietary firmware, and is supported on a large number of devices. I would still recommend it for people who want to take a step up to some more advanced networking, and want a sleek web GUI front-end to do so.

Having said that, I just switched to OpenWrt, and love it!

Install OwnCloud on your Raspberry Pi

Owncloud Logo

OwnCloud is a free (libre), open source equivalent to DropBox.

As well as the program you install on your server, it has free desktop sync clients for Linux, Windows and Mac, and apps for Android and iOS.

I’m just going to cover the server side of things for your Pi in this tutorial, because the desktop client can be found in the Ubuntu repos, and the app is on the Play Store. If you want the Android app free of charge, then install it via F-Droid.

Speed up your Pi by booting to a USB flash drive

Raspberry Pi USB flash drive

Intro

If you’ve read some of the other articles on the site, you may have gathered that I have three RasPis doing useful things around my home:

  • Pi #1 is running Raspbmc, an XBMC media centre port for the Raspberry Pi.
  • Pi #2 is running this website plus an email server.
  • Pi #3 is running the Dropbox replacement OwnCloud.

All three of these ran reasonably quickly out of the box, but because the Pi is such a low powered device, every little performance boost helps.

Having said that, this is no small improvement, and the performance gain is instantly apparent.

Beware Apache2 mod_proxy

While tinkering with the settings for my site, I discovered an Apache module called mod_proxy.

I was interested in it because I am running two webservers – one for www.samhobbs.co.uk and one for webmail, and I wanted to redirect traffic from one part of the site to the webmail server using ProxyPass.

Unfortunately, I was over-enthusiastic in my explorations and made an error: I enabled my server to be used as an open proxy, and attracted thousands and thousands of dodgy requests from around the world.

What this meant is that anyone could connect to my server and use it to visit web pages whilst concealing their true identity: the pages visited would only see my IP, not theirs.

Download BBC TV Shows with get_iplayer

What is get_iplayer, and why would you want it?

Get_iplayer is a FOSS program that allows you to download TV and radio from BBC iPlayer. The original developer stopped maintaining it at one point, but since it was licensed using the GPLv3 a few others were able to take over, and it’s still actively maintained. Hooray for free software!

GPLv3.png

You may find it useful if you have a slow internet connection at home that causes iPlayer to stutter, or if you want to download a TV show and watch it later when you’re not connected to the internet (e.g. on a tablet during a long plane journey).

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