Sunday 9th August 2020
Tor is a fantastic networking and privacy technology that makes private and anonymous browsing available to millions. Despite this, it is unfortunately seen by some people as a system that solely exists to facilitate an illegal criminal underground,
However, to take a literal view, Tor is just a networking tool, and it can be used in any way that you want. The features that enable privacy and anonymity are also extremely useful for many of the tasks carried out by Network Engineers and Systems Administrators on a daily basis. For example:
In this article, I will demonstrate how Tor can be used to carry out some of these tasks, and why using Tor may be advantageous to other methods. Continue reading...
Monday 1st June 2020
Quagga is a network routing software suite providing implementations of various routing protocols, including RIP, OSPF and BGP. It is a fork of the discontinued GNU Zebra project, and utilises a configuration syntax very similar to that of Cisco IOS.
An 1804 illustration by Samuel Daniell of a South African quagga, an extinct subspecies of plains zebra after which the Quagga network routing software suite was named. Source (Public Domain)
Unlike traditional routing daemons which interact directly with the kernel, Quagga operates a central kernel routing manager (known as zebra) which exposes an API to the various Quagga routing daemons. This allows the routing daemons to be enabled, disabled and configured on a 'pick and mix' basis, including the ability to run multiple of the same routing daemon on one machine.
This article and series will be primarily focusing on Quagga BGPd, which is Quagga's BGP routing implementation. Continue reading...
Monday 11th May 2020
Sender Policy Framework (SPF) provides a way to restrict the mail servers that are permitted to send as your domain, and is particularly effective when used with DMARC.
However, maintaining an SPF policy for a large or complex infrastructure with numerous distinct mail servers can pose a significant operational challenge. Some of the most common issues include:
- SPF record is too long
- Maximum number of DNS lookups has been reached
- Keeping your SPF record up-to-date when mail is sent by third-parties
- Keeping track of which whitelisted senders are for what, who put them there, and removing them when they're no-longer needed
- Having to globally whitelist third-party systems when they only need to send-as a single or small number of addresses
- SPF record syntax becoming messy or breaking when it is maintained by multiple different people
SPF macros, a seldom used yet widely supported feature of the SPF specification, provide a potential solution to some of these challenges.
This article includes an introduction to SPF macros, as well as several examples of how they can be used to solve the various operational complications that SPF so often poses. Continue reading...
Tuesday 31st March 2020
Decentralized Network 42, known as DN42, is a private overlay network built using thousands of distinct nodes interconnected with each other via VPN tunnels. DN42 employs routing protocols such as BGP and OSPF in order to route packets, allowing users to deploy services such as websites, IRC servers and DNS servers in a way very similar to the real internet.
The landing page for DN42, available at dn42.us.
The DN42 network is primarily used by network and security engineers in order to provide a safe and accessible environment to practise using network technologies, as well as allowing isolated networks, such as those behind strict firewalls or NAT, to communicate with each other directly.
However, the primary selling-point for DN42 is that it provides free and realistic access to a production-like BGP environment, which is something usually reserved for network operators responsible for large enterprise networks or ISPs who are also often paying expensive registry fees. Continue reading...