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Episode 068: Just the Essentials


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More BSD conference videos

OpenBSD vs FreeBSD security features

  • From the author of both the OpenBSD and FreeBSD secure gateway articles we've featured in the past comes a new entry about security
  • The article goes through a list of all the security features enabled (and disabled) by default in both FreeBSD and OpenBSD
  • It covers a wide range of topics, including: memory protection, randomization, encryption, privilege separation, Capsicum, securelevels, MAC, Jails and chroots, network stack hardening, firewall features and much more
  • This is definitely one of the most in-depth and complete articles we've seen in a while - the author seems to have done his homework
  • If you're looking to secure any sort of BSD box, this post has some very detailed explanations of different exploit mitigation techniques - be sure to read the whole thing
  • There are also some good comments on DaemonForums and that you may want to read

The password? You changed it, right?

  • Peter Hansteen has a new blog post up, detailing some weird SSH bruteforcing he's seen recently
  • He apparently reads his auth logs when he gets bored at an airport
  • This new bruteforcing attempt seems to be targetting D-Link devices, as evidenced by the three usernames the bots try to use
  • More than 700 IPs have tried to get into Peter's BSD boxes using these names in combination with weak passwords
  • Lots more details, including the lists of passwords and IPs, can be found in the full article
  • If you're using a BSD router, things like this can be easily prevented with PF or fail2ban (and you probably don't have a "d-link" user anyway)

Get started with FreeBSD, an intro for Linux users

  • Another new BSD article on a mainstream technology news site - seems we're getting popular
  • This article is written for Linux users who may be considering switching over to BSD and wondering what it's all about
  • It details installing FreeBSD 9.3 and getting a basic system setup, while touching on ports and packages, and explaining some terminology along the way
  • "Among the legions of Linux users and admins, there seems to be a sort of passive curiosity about FreeBSD and other *BSDs. Like commuters on a packed train, they gaze out at a less crowded, vaguely mysterious train heading in a slightly different direction and wonder what traveling on that train might be like"

Interview - Michael W. Lucas - / @mwlauthor

FreeBSD Mastery: Storage Essentials

News Roundup

OpenSMTPD status update

  • The OpenSMTPD guys, particularly Gilles, have posted an update on what they've been up to lately
  • As of 5.6, it's become the default MTA in OpenBSD, and sendmail will be totally gone in 5.7
  • Email is a much more tricky protocol than you might imagine, and the post goes through some of the weirdness and problems they've had to deal with
  • There's also another post that goes into detail on their upcoming filtering API - a feature many have requested
  • The API is still being developed, but you can test it out now if you know what you're doing - full details in the article
  • OpenSMTPD also has portable versions in FreeBSD ports and NetBSD pkgsrc, so check it out

OpenCrypto changes in FreeBSD

  • A little while back, we talked to John-Mark Gurney about updating FreeBSD's OpenCrypto framework, specifically for IPSEC
  • Some of that work has just landed in the -CURRENT branch, and the commit has a bit of details
  • The ICM and GCM modes of AES were added, and both include support for AESNI
  • There's a new port - "nist-kat" - that can be used to test the new modes of operation
  • Some things were fixed in the process as well, including an issue that would leak timing info and result in the ability to forge messages
  • Code was also borrowed from both OpenBSD and NetBSD to make this possible

First thoughts on OpenBSD's httpd

  • Here we have a blog post from a user of OpenBSD's new homegrown web server that made its debut in 5.6
  • The author loves that it has proper privilege separation, a very simple config syntax and that it always runs in a chroot
  • He also mentions dynamic content hosting with FastCGI, and provides an example of how to set it up
  • Be sure to check our interview with Reyk about the new httpd if you're curious on how it got started
  • Also, if you're running the version that came with 5.6, there's a huge patch you can apply to get a lot of the features and fixes from -current without waiting for 5.7

Steam on PCBSD

  • One of the most common questions people who want to use BSD as a desktop ask us is "can I run games?" or "can I use steam?"
  • Steam through the Linux emulation layer (in FreeBSD) may be possible soon, but it's already possible to use it with WINE
  • This video shows how to get Steam set up on PCBSD using the Windows version
  • There are also some instructions in the video description to look over
  • A second video details getting streaming set up


  • Send questions, comments, show ideas/topics, or stories you want mentioned on the show to - if it's anything related to BSD, we wanna hear about it
  • Watch live Wednesdays at 2:00PM Eastern (19:00 UTC)
  • Next week will be the prerecorded holiday episode where we read all the stories of how you got into BSD, should be pretty fun

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