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How to Create a Bootable USB for Ubuntu Server

If you’re reading this blog post then you’re probably in the realms of playing with hardware and building a mini server, media server, web server or something along those lines. Great! So now you’ve got your hardware pieced together, it’s now time to start installing software on it. For the purposes of this blog post, I’m not going to go into the details of what/why/when/who/how for the vast array of choices and options available for configuring software on your server. Instead, I’m just going to look specifically about how to create a bootable USB for installing Ubuntu Server. Simple and straight to the point.  

 

Step 1: Install Universal USB Installer 

Download here, https://www.pendrivelinux.com/universal-usb-installer-easy-as-1-2-3/ 

This software will turn a .iso file into a bootable partition on a USB drive.  

 

Step 2: Download Ubuntu Server 

Download the relevant version here, https://www.ubuntu.com/download/alternative-downloads#alternate-ubuntu-server-installer 

Note, make sure you’re downloading the correct version for what you require, there are quite a few different versions! 

This step will download the .iso file to your computer. You’ll need this file in the next step.  

 

Step 3: Create the Bootable USB 

Follow the instructions here, https://www.pendrivelinux.com/universal-usb-installer-easy-as-1-2-3/ 

In essence, you’re installing the .iso file you downloaded in the previous step onto your USB Pen Drive. Note, make sure you install on the correct drive on your computer or you can really really really mess things up! 

When you are creating the bootable USB for Ubuntu Server, make sure you actually select Ubuntu Server from the dropdown list, as there is also an option for installing Ubuntu (desktop) version too, which you don’t want.  

 

Complete! 

That’s it! You’re done. You’ve just created yourself a bootable USB that can be used for installing Ubuntu Server. Simply plug this device into your server, make sure that it has priority boot settings so your installer can then run and you’re on your way! 

 

Note for Ubuntu Server 18.04

The above software doesn’t seem to like Ubuntu Server 18.04, so you’ll probably need to use the Rufus software instead – https://rufus.akeo.ie/

 

How to Loop Through a Map in Java Using JSTL on a JSP

Quick info for reference.
Loop through a Map and output the Key and Value data using;

<c:forEach items="${map}" var="entry">
  Key: <c:out value="${entry.key}"/>
  Value: <c:out value="${entry.value}"/>
</c:forEach>

If you have an object within the Key:Value pair, such as within an object Map(), you can get this data as follows;

${map.key}

Then you can iterate over the above list using the code to get the Attribute data within the CustomerInformation object a follows;

<c:forEach items="${map.value}" var="customerInformation"> 
  <tr>
    <td>${customerInformation.firstName}</td>
  </tr>
</c:forEach>

How to Increase the Maximum Connections on Apache Tomcat

The maximum number of connections that Apache Tomcat can handle is defined within the Tomcat settings. In essence, this setting determines the number of concurrent connections that can be handled by Apache Tomcat.

Out of the box, Apache Tomcat is configured to handle around 200 simultaneous connections (kind of…), which for most web servers and projects is more than adequate. But when you get into the realms of millions of monthly active users and concurrent connections, you’ll soon need to optimise Tomcat to suit your needs accordingly.

Ultimately though, the number of simultaneous connections that the Apache Tomcat software on your web server is capable is handling is determined by the physical limitations of your web server. The bigger your hardware, the bigger the number of connections that Apache Tomcat is capable of handling. This being said, the 200 maximum connections as a default is merely an arbitrary number, so you’ll need to assess this in relation to the hardware you are running on. The bigger the server hardware you’re running on, the higher the number of maximum connections on Apache Tomcat your server will be able to handle. As always, this can change depending on what you are doing. For example, if you have a process on your really fast server that is calling a third party dog slow server, then this soon becomes the limiting factor in the chain.

Max connections from an Apache Tomcat perspective is calculated based on a number of factors such as the number of simultaneous connections multiplied by the maximum execution time that each thread is capable of handling. Under normal circumstances this can appear to be behaving correctly, so keep in mind exceptional circumstances when things don’t quite perform as you wish. What you’ll soon spot (via the Tomcat Manager) is that the Max Connections soon starts to creep up and eat up all the resources on your server. This can be caused by many factors, from long running processes on your own server, or code on that is calling third party servers which may be running slow and causing problems.

With all this in mind, let’s take a look at how to increase the maximum connections on Apache Tomcat. It’s actually quite simple to do.

Run the command;

 


sudo nano /usr/share/tomcat8/conf/server.xml

 

This command will open the editor to edit the file Server.xml which controls many of the settings required for configuring Apache Tomcat. You’ll note that it is Apache Tomcat 8 that is being used in this example, so edit this accordingly for the version of Apache Tomcat that you are using. Again, depending on your individual configuration of your server, this file may live in a different file path. So to easily find the file if the above command doesn’t work, then run the command below;

 


find / -type f -name server.xml

 

The above command will search for a File (f) called “server.xml”

What you’re looking for within this file is the setting for “maxConnections” which will have a value set. You may not have this variable set so look out for the core settings for the port that your Tomcat instance is listening on, for example;

 


<Connector port=”8080” protocol=”HTTP/1.1” maxConnections=”200”/>

 

The maximum number of connections that the server will accept and process at any given time. When this number has been reached, the server will accept, but not process, one further connection. This additional connection be blocked until the number of connections being processed falls below maxConnections at which point the server will start accepting and processing new connections again.

Depending on your specific requirements, you may also need to increase the maxThreads setting too. Hope that helps getting you started with tuning Apache Tomcat for your specific needs.

How to Make Apache HTTPD Service Start Automatically on Server Reboot and Startup

If you’re looking for a quick answer and you’re running a common version of Linux, just type this when you are SSH’d into your server;

 


sudo chkconfig httpd on

 

Now for a bit more technical details about what this all does.

 

What is chkconfig?

The Chkconfig command in Linux is used to setup, view, or change services that are configured to start automatically during the system startup which abstracts some of the underlying settings that are stored within the /etc/rc.d/init.d/ directory. Chkconfig basically helps you to easily make service start or not when your system reboots.

Some handy chkconfig commands that you’ll find handy;

  • chkconfig –list (dash dash)
    • This will list the details of all services that are running on startup
  • chkconfig –list httpd (dash dash)
    • This allows you to list specifically the details of the service you care about, to avoid you having to trawl through the entire list. Simply change ‘httpd’ to whatever service name you are interested in looking at.

When you start to look through the outputs from the above commands, it may be a little confusing seeing 7 levels, some with a status of on and some with a status of off, but what do they all mean? The different levels are what is known as Linux Runlevels. Generally speaking, you probably don’t need to worry about those at all. But if you do need some fine grain control over what happens and when, when that may be covered in a future blog post.

It’s Ok, You Haven’t Been Caught Watching Porn

Phew! You can relax now.

We’ve started to see a report in spikes in porn blackmail emails come through from various people over the last few days. These emails have been coming through on corporate email addresses generally and with corporate email addresses often being added onto personal mobile phones that often younger members of the family use, this has had a few people concerned. But it’s ok, don’t worry. This is a scam.

When I investigated one of the emails it was clear that the scanners were playing on people’s sense of fear with the demand often being along the lines of;

 

“Tiсket Details: ECW-209-57819
Email: [REDACTED]
Camera ready,Notification: 21.02.2018 06:08:59
Status: Waiting for Reply 20xuVaAy8A0f64wMnKmJkL1FrF5Ky39Fu1_Priority: Normal
****************************************************************************

hi.

If you were more careful while playing with yourself, I wouldn’t worry you. I don’t think that playing with yourself is really awful, but when all colleagues, relatives and friends get video record of it- it is undoubtedly [bad for u.

I placed virus on a web-site for adults (with porn) which was visited by you. When the object press on a play button, device starts recording the screen and all cameras on your device begins working.

Moreover, my virus makes a dedicated desktop supplied with key logger function from ur device , so I was able to get all contacts from ya e-mail, messengers and other social networks. I’ve chosen this e-mail because It’s your corporate address, so you must read it.

I think that 330 usd is pretty enough for this little misstep. I made a split screen video(records from screen (interesting category ) and camera ooooooh… its awful AF)

So its your choice, if u want me to erase this сompromising evidence use my bitсoin wаllеt аddrеss:  1Lt4tLxQmZruKic23FYdAycB9a3GgTaacN
You have one day after opening my message, I put the special tracking pixel in it, so when you will open it I will know.If ya want me to show u the proofs, reply on this letter and I will send my creation to five contacts that I’ve got from ur device.

P.S. You can try to complain to cops, but I don’t think that they can solve ur problem, the inquisition will last for several months- I’m from Estonia – so I dgf LOL”

 

Sounds legit, right? Well, aside from the obvious spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and unsociable hour to be sending such a threatening email, sure.

Thankfully with a bit of investigation we can see that the IP address where this email is coming from is, 188.40.100.212, which is based in Germany with a German web hosting company, not Estonia. And while it is possible to send emails from different locations with relative ease, this one just doesn’t seem to stack up. As when you view the IP address in your web browser, you notice the default cPanel page which shows you that the website does not exist. Now for those of you who know cPanel well, you’ll also know that you can visit www.example.com/cpanel to get to the login page, and likewise, you can do the exact same from an IP address, so 188.40.100.212/cpanel also takes you to the login page.

Also from knowing cPanel very well, I also know how to secure cPanel, and I also know that many people who use cPanel do not secure it correctly and with minimal testing, it is clear that there is no brute force protection technology in place on this “hackers” web server – ironic. So with handy little scripts designed specifically to brute force your way into a cPanel account, should you decide to ‘research’, this is a relatively straight forward thing to do on insecure web servers.

You’ll also notice the Bitcoin wallet listed where you can deposit the “ransom”, yet when you check the transactions against that Bitcoin wallet, you’ll also notice that this wallet has never had any Bitcoins transferred in or out of the account. Another sign that this is clearly a fraudulent email – and that the people behind this scam aren’t that successful.

All in all, this looks to be what’s known as a ‘script kiddie’ in the industry, i.e. someone who clearly thinks they know more than they really do. Now as a non-teckie, this email still can be rather intimidating. Thankfully with a bit of know-how, you can start to spot these ever increasing range of tactics used by the scammers.

Something to bear in mind for all the script kiddies out there… It’s one phone call to the authorities and they’ll be speaking to your web hosting company to get your contact details. In this particular instance I investigated, this appeared to be from a hacked website, so as always – keep your website and web server secure before a hacker finds a vulnerability. It is so easy to find and exploit vulnerabilities when you know what you are looking for…

On a final note, web browsers are designed with security in mind. Web browsers simply cannot access the hardware of your device without your express permission, regardless of the content you are browsing. As a simple example, uploading an image to a website, you’ll notice that this brings up a popup for your standard operating system controlled dialogue box. What this means in layman’s terms is that control has been handed over to the underlying operating system to determine how to proceed with the request and the web browser is waiting for a response to know what to do next. The web browser simple cannot turn on your camera remotely without you agreeing to it.

As a sub-note though, if a hacker manages to find a way to install a program on your device, then they will likely have full access to everything. So keep that in mind too…