Personal Security – PGP Keys

As we continue our series of articles on security, today we are going to cover personal security in the form of using PGP keys. Let’s talk about what PGP is, why it is important and how we can use it to generate the public and private keys needed to increase our personal security profile for transaction authentication. (more…)


Amazon S3 Versioning: What, How, Why

How can you protect important assets and data when using Amazon S3? A feature called versioning works as an excellent answer to this question.

By default when you upload an object to S3, that object is redundantly stored to provide 99.999999999% durability. This means that for 10,000 objects stored on S3, you can expect the loss of a single object once very 10,000,000 years (on average). Those are some pretty good odds, so why do we even need to answer this question? Because while the underlying infrastructure powering S3 provides serious durability, it does not protect you from overwriting your objects or even deleting those objects. Or does it? Not by default, but it does if we enable versioning. (more…)

lots of raid

RAID Explained

RAID, or a redundant array of independent disks, is a storage solution intended to improve some combination of fault tolerance, storage management, and performance. RAID works as a form of storage virtualization that combines multiple physical disks into one logical volume.

RAID works by saving data in either a mirrored or striped manner (sometimes both), with or without parity. How the RAID is set up is noted through RAID levels. (more…)


Workstation Security

Most conversations regarding security inevitably focus on server or application security: How do I harden my server? How do I secure my database? What is the most secure web cluster configuration? However, one area that if often overlooked is security on our personal workstations. Although it may seem that as long as you have an antivirus application installed, you are doing everything you can, there are other steps you should be taking, not only to protect yourself but the environments from which you work. In this article, we will take a look at some things that you can do on your local workstation to harden your security profile. (more…)

Git and GitHub

Version control allows for projects to branch out.

Last week we explored what version control meant, and how Git works behind the scenes, but how is it actually used on the user-end?

Before we start, you need to install Git, which can be done easily using their website.

With Git installed the initial step is to set up your Git configurations. This is as easy as running two commands to set your username and email address:

[elle@penguinbook]$ git config --global "myusername"
[elle@penguinbook]$ git config --global

You can also run git config --list to review all available settings. Most users need not change any more than their username and email.

Before we proceed, you want to create or navigate to a project directory from which to work. This can be an already-existing project, a new one you intend on working with, or a sample, throw-away directory with files that you can expunge when you are comfortable with using Git for actual projects. We are using a project, “gitetgithub,” saved in a directory with the same name. In it, I have two files: A README, and (a copy of this post written up to this very point).

Ensure you are in your project directory, then initialize the directory: (more…)

file system3

Anatomy of a File System

At the most general level, most people know what a file system is: A storage utility that stores the data of a server or computer. We know that all our of files, directories and services have to live somewhere, but where do they live; or, perhaps, the real question is how?

We know that computers read only the 1s and 0s of its data and that this data must be stored in a way that a computer can understand. This means that file systems are organized bodies of data — for the system, the organization exists through inodes; for users, this is the hierarchy of directories and files from which users can work. (more…)