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Ubuntu
Apr 23

The latest version of Ubuntu (Jaunty Jackelope) has hit the streets – I’ve been using it for a few weeks now and it is simply more of the same great stuff.   The only difference I’ve really noticed is boot speed and I didn’t have to download and install OpenOffice 3.  So far it has been a breeze to install and run on both a VM and physical hardware.  Still fast, secure and incredibly easy to use.  Very nice.  That being said, for full production servers, I still prefer RHEL for Enterprise Server applications.  With the addition of some VM technology, Ubuntu may become a contender in that arena soon.  Maybe 10?

However, the most exciting part of the release wasn’t the Desktop or Server Editions, but rather the Netbook Remix.   After getting to use it a bit on a friend’s netbook, there really is no real competition for it.  Vista is slow and bloated on a Netbook, CE & XP just seem clunky and very, very dated – And out of all the Linux distros, Ubuntu Netbook Remix is by far the most polished and complete out of the box.  It is really the current gold standard for Netbook OS’s.

Aug 10

Black Hat and DefCon, the premier Information Assurance venue for bleeding edge vulnerability and exploit research just wrapped up in Las Vegas.

The Good: The published presentations including a host of discussion about security in a virtualized environment, the sad state of Microsoft SQL Server security, and much, much more. Topping it all off was the announcement of the Windows Vista security bypass exploit via the browser by Mark Dowd and Alexander Sotirov. This is a particularly bruising find on Microsoft’s latest flagship, as it is quite a resource consumer, fairly annoying to use, but at least it was secure… Maybe now is a good time to try Ubuntu?

The Bad: The Pwnie Awards.  Unless you are in the ‘Most Innovative Research’ category, this is BlackHat’s Hall of Shame for security shortcomings.   A lesson learned from other’s mistakes is hopefully a lesson you don’t have to experience first-hand!

And the Ugly: A group of reporters from E-Week were covering Black Hat 2008 for their Security News.  They were too lazy to use their secured VPN to log into their home servers, so they just let their credentials pass in the clear… At a hacker convention… The shameful part is they threw the three responsible attendees out when they tried to submit these credentials to The Wall of Sheep.

Brian Fedorko