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I wanted to create an FTP server to share some of the media that I've saved over the years. I like the old protocols and services and I plan to stand up more of them. Because each service has its own inherent security issues, the deployment process becomes an exercise in mitigating the risks. Check it out at ftp.disloops.com

I used an Ubuntu Server 14.04 LTS instance for the FTP server and gave it an AWS Elastic IP (EIP). An entry must be added to the /etc/hosts file when deploying Ubuntu instances in AWS:

127.0.0.1  (hostname here)

Without specifying the hostname, using sudo creates an error message. Next I ran updates and changed SSH to a non-default port, then installed VSFTPD and backed up the config file:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
sudo vi /etc/ssh/sshd_config
sudo apt-get install vsftpd
sudo cp /etc/vsftpd.conf /etc/vsftpd.conf.old

...continue reading "Hosting Anonymous FTP"

This site is being hosted in Amazon Web Services (AWS). It relies on a number of cloud services, including RDS, S3, and CloudFront. The following are some of the steps that were required to set it up.

Provisioning a Server

Create an AWS account if you don't already have one and complete the steps listed in the Identity and Access Management (IAM) service. It's especially important to set up multi-factor authentication (MFA) for your account. You should have an IAM user in the "Administrators" group when you're done.

Next go to the EC2 service, Amazon's storefront for virtual machines. Before launching a new instance, we'll create a key pair than can be used to access it securely. Use the following command locally to create a key pair:

ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096

Upload the public key by clicking "Key Pairs" and then "Import Key Pair" from the EC2 dashboard. Now we can launch an instance.

...continue reading "WordPress in AWS"

I'm still using Ubuntu as my preferred Linux distro on personal machines. These are some of the settings that I configure each time I have to install it. Starting from the beginning:

Installation

Download the ISO image for the latest Long-Term Support (LTS) version and burn it to a disc. Boot from the disc to reach the installation menus and configure according to your needs. My own preference:

  • Plan to erase the entire disc to install Ubuntu
  • Do not download updates during installation
  • Do not encrypt the OS or home directory
  • Do not use Logical Volume Management (LVM)
  • Most importantly:
  • Do not allow automatic login
  • Do not allow login without a password

...continue reading "Secure Ubuntu 14.04 Configuration"