Getting xrdp up and running on Ubuntu 18 LTS

If you upgrade from 16.04 LTS to 18 LTS, you might find your XRDP installation fails to start. My advice is to remove the XRDP package and purge the configuration files after backing them up.

I set up XRDP so infrequently, I’ve noted down some notes for reference below.

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Is a retpoline-enabled kernel ‘enough’ to fully protect against Spectre Variant 2?

The Spectre attack exposed processors to memory disclosure attacks. Manipulation of indirect kernel calls may allow side channel retrieval of memory content (Branch Target Injection).

The Linux kernel was subsequently enhanced to mitigate this Variant II attack using the retpoline feature.

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Linux Kernel 4.14/4.15 and AMD’s SEV memory module

In my previous post I made brief mention of some new features in the 4.15 (well, technically, 4.14) Linux kernel, supporting encrypted volatile memory (RAM). Apart from a brief awareness of industry initiatives in this area, I hadn’t closely followed this development and so decided to take a look and write up some findings in this blog post.

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Reminder of the BCS Dorset AGM next week

Our AGM is fast approaching for the Dorset branch of BCS, the national association for computing in the UK and overseas. We’ve had a slight change to our plans, with a new Guest Speaker: Geoffrey Darnton. You can find more information on Geoffrey’s talk at our website www.dorset.bcs.org.

Due to changes in how BCS manages events, stemming from GDPR, we now use EventBrite and a ticketing system, so you’ll need to book a ticket in advance. If you’ve forgotten, don’t worry, simply turn up.

New security features in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

A reluctant adopter of Ubuntu, I’ve recently upgraded one of my servers to Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

There are some new features in the mix (both security and general functionality). Finding a succinct and complete list of new features is elusive, so here is one in case you are looking for the same:

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Sinkholing malware domains using Bind DNS

Bind is a good DNS server, however it has a slightly chequered history insofar as vulnerabilities are concerned. Nevertheless it’s a good solution for internal networks, and offers some flexible configuration options. In this post I’m going to add some security filtering functionality using Perl, Bash and some standard Linux tools.

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