Windows Vista Service Pack 2

Windows Vista Service Pack 2 is now officially available for download. SP2 includes better Wi-Fi and BlueTooth connectivity, processor compatibility, native Blu-Ray support, and faster search services along with a barrage of security hotfixes and updates. A list of notable changes is available here.

One disappointment is that service pack 2 requires service pack 1 to be installed as a prerequisite which means native Vista slipstreams won’t work without SP1 being installed first. The work around is to install SP1 inclusive Vista media or build a ground up slipstream cd which includes SP1 and SP2. This can easily be accomplished with vLite.

One interesting fact is that Vista Service Pack 2 and Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 are included in the same update file meaning you only need to download a single executable to update both operating systems. This is the first time Microsoft has released a joint service pack.

Vista SP2 will be released to Windows Update on June 30th but in the mean time it can be downloaded from Microsoft Downloads or using the links below.

Microsoft Windows Vista Service Pack 2 (SP2) for x86 (348.3 MB)
Microsoft Windows Vista Service Pack 2 (SP2) for x64 (577.4 MB)
Microsoft Windows Vista Service Pack 2 (SP2) Stand-Alone ISO (1376.8 MB)

MySQL CLI for Beginners


I find that the majority of webmasters (and even some sysadmins!) who work with MySQL use phpMyAdmin as a web-based front-end management tool for MySQL. Whilst phpMyAdmin makes database management a breeze, for those interested in some ‘command line interface’ experience with MySQL, I’ve pieced together some beginner notes from various websites…

Creating a Database

In order to create a database you need to have the PRIVILEGES- this may be because you are the root user or you (or you systems administrator) has created an admin user that has ALL PRIVILEGES over all databases. In these examples a user called ‘admin’ has been created precisely for this purpose. Creating a database is fairly straightforward.

Logging In

A reminder of how to start the MySQL Client Software, and as we are not concerned with manipulating just one database we don’t have to specify a database as part of our startup command.

$ mysql -u <username> -p
Enter password: Continue reading “MySQL CLI for Beginners”

WarVOX 1.0.1 – A Telephony Analysis & War Dialing Suite

WarVOX is a suite of tools for exploring, classifying, and auditing telephone systems. Unlike normal wardialing tools, WarVOX works with the audio from each call and does not use a modem directly. This allows WarVOX to find and classify a wide range of interesting lines, including modems, faxes, voice mail boxes, PBXs, loops, dial tones, IVRs, and forwarders. WarVOX provides the unique ability to classify all telephone lines in a given range, not just those connected to modems, allowing for a comprehensive audit of a telephone system.

WarVOX requires no telephony hardware and is massively scalable (and completely anonymous) by leveraging Internet-based VoIP providers. A single instance of WarVOX on a 1 mbit broadband connection, with a typical VoIP account, can scan over 1,000 numbers per hour. The speed of WarVOX is limited only by downstream bandwidth (64k per 711u channel) and the limitations of the VoIP service. Using four providers with over 80 concurrent lines we have been able to scan entire 10,000 number prefixes within 90 minutes! Continue reading “WarVOX 1.0.1 – A Telephony Analysis & War Dialing Suite”

nTOP on Untangle 6.2

I’ve had several people email me regarding information on configuring nTop on Untangle version 6.x (0,1,2).

nTop is a network traffic probe that shows the network usage, similar to what the popular “top” Linux command does. ntop is based on libpcap and it has been written in a portable way in order to virtually run on every Unix platform and on Win32 as well.

nTop users can use a a web browser (e.g. Firefox) to browse through ntop (that acts as a web server) traffic information and get a dump of the network status. In the latter case, ntop can be seen as a simple RMON-like agent with an embedded web interface. The use of:

  • a web interface
  • limited configuration and administration via the web interface
  • reduced CPU and memory usage (they vary according to network size and traffic)

make ntop easy to use and suitable for monitoring various kind of networks.

In an effort to encourage use of the Untangle forums, I’ve posted a online how to at: Please post comments and feedback on the Untangle thread.

Country IP Blocking

Country IP Blocks provides an online, search able internet protocol (IP) address database with the ability to export specific country level IP blocks into CIDR, Netmask, IP Range, .htaccess deny, .htaccess allow, Decimal/CIDR and Hex/CIDR formatted files. These files can then be used in cojunction with server (e.g. Apache, Microsoft IIS) and network security devices (e.g. Cisco, Juniper, TippingPoint, Untangle) to create access control lists to block access to networks and systems from specific countries.

Whilst I don’t advocate blocking entire countries, there are known IP address blocks used by spammers, crackers and other Internet filth which may need to be blocked from some websites and systems.

The American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) and the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC) manage the majority of Internet routed IP addresses allocations for IP v4 and maintain online allocation databases which are made available to Internet service providers. The Country IP database is updated with this information at least once every 24 hours which means accurate global network data is provided.

In terms of Country IP Blocks site, I specifically like the ability to export IP lists into common access control list formats such as HTACCESS. A simple example Continue reading “Country IP Blocking”