Older blog entries for wardv (starting at number 20)

26 Aug 2002 (updated 26 Aug 2002 at 22:51 UTC) »

So I've been playing with IPSec lately. More specifically with a Symantec Firewall/VPN appliance 200.

The good
It boots blazingly fast (3 seconds).
It has a nice web interface.
I suspect it's built on Freeswan.

The bad
It doesn't interoperate well with other IPSec implementations. With FW/1 4.1 alledgedly it works, but I can assure you that with FW/1 NG it doesn't. A VPN between two of these beasts works just fine as well, of course. It also seems to work with a Cisco router on the other side.
It's a 'black box' - well technically a yellow one. The logs are not very extensive, and the web interface, however nice, gives me a limited feel. I guess I just want a prompt, I'm a bit oldfashioned.


Setting up a VPN tunnel through a NAT device (in this case a Cisco 827) turns out to be slightly troublesome. The problem is the Port translation done by the NAT - IPSec doesn't really like that. But here's an article that tells you which line to add to your config to make it work. Beware, however, you might need to update your IOS....

Life, the universe,...

Last week at work. I'm getting my paperwork together for my application to the University of Sussex. It's complicated and involves translations of my diploma and transcript. I also need references - luckily I have built enough social capital to get a few of those.

22 Aug 2002 (updated 7 Sep 2002 at 08:43 UTC) »

I'm going to move pretty soon now. I'm excited - most of all to see my alter ega again. I'm looking at studying now, there's an interesting MSc in Science and Technology Policy (STP) there that I am going to apply to.


It's official now, I have resigned. It's a shame, I will miss my colleagues, the good atmosphere, and the cool job at ba.be. And the domain name, of course :) But the future lies before me, and the coming year, I will be in the UK!


Homewall, our trustworthy home server, has been working wonderfully since December 4th 1999. It was a Redhat 6.2 box with some firewalling and the usual other things. A couple of weeks ago I have rebuilt the software from scratch - now it runs a nice Debian Woody. This box is a good example of cooperation between me and my dad - he built the electronics to have it switch on automatically as soon as there is traffic on the LAN, and I did all other software bits. And it works just perfectly and independantly.

Sysadmin interview

After reading an ask slashdot about how to interview a sysadmin candidate, I took the brainbench general linux administration test again. Scored somewhat higher than last time - now I am in the top 4 percentile :)

The comments on the ask slashdot piece were quite interesting - especially since I might be doing some interviews soon. Anyone remember corewars? Now that was a cool game! I haven't played with robocode yet, but it looks like corewars' modern day's equivalent....

11 Aug 2002 (updated 11 Aug 2002 at 15:46 UTC) »

So now that we have found a place to live, all that is left is something to do. Life is very expensive in the UK - at least compared to our side of the channel - so I will need some source of income. The job I had been hoping to get fell through, so it's back to searching. Maybe I should go study again - there are excellent artificial intelligence masters at the University of Sussex.


Here I am, on a mountain above Montreux. The weather is terrible - we're in the clouds and it rains all day. Like it has for the most of the last two months, I have been told.

The little internet cafe I set up here still works like a charm. Next summer we'll actually hook it up to a broadband line which will be much better. I'll need to rewrite my software but that's ok.


It's hard to be over 9000 km from the person you love. I can't wait until September.


I spent this weekend in Brighton looking for a home. It was the hottest weekend of the year in the UK (and here in Belgium too I think), so I did loose a fair amount of sweat.

We've found a flat! It's on the seashore, expensive but considering the average price in Brighton not too bad. And it's a nice place with 2 big-ish rooms so we can have people stay over :)

Now all that needs to be sorted out is finding something to do ;)

Tip of the day

touch -- -i will create a file called '-i' in the current directory. This will cause rm to _always_ ask for confirmation when it is issued in this directory: '-i' is the first file it meets to delete, but it sees it starts with a - and hence assumes it is the option -i, for 'interactive'.

Excellent protection from the accidental rm -rf command. I just love unix...

A bit of an intensive day today. Did some paid work this morning (using WeSQL, of course :), and then I ventured off into UK-ifying my CV. Which turned out to be an all-afternoon project. But I'm happy with the result, it must be said.


Called some more folks with flats for rent this evening. They are either taken, too small for two, or just not interested in letting them only from September. Sigh.


Now how strange is it to wander about Advogato, randomly picking people and reading their stuff, rating them, and to meet a reference to my own diary on Stevey's page?

21 Jul 2002 (updated 4 Nov 2002 at 12:02 UTC) »

Well, 0.53 has seen the light. Of WeSQL, that is. It's a bugfix-only release, but it's an important bugfix if you run MySQL :)

Cool tools

Cronolog is the final solution for all log-rotation trouble. It doesn't rotate the logs, it just saves them properly in the first place.

If you need to build a (S)RPM, Thomas' excellent bitches is your friend - though the name is a bit.... well it's an acronym that didn't turn out very well.


July 21st is the Belgian national holiday. Also, the 'Gentse feesten', one of the biggest street festivals in Europe, have kicked off here yesterday, for the next 10 days. Neither of these two events mean much to me. I wish I was in LA.


I'm still looking for a job and a place for 2 that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. My CV is coming along but it needs more work to UK-ify it.

16 Jul 2002 (updated 16 Jul 2002 at 22:05 UTC) »

Nothing much to say today. Ngrep is very cool - and Ettercap is even more amazing.

Also, an interesting discussion about ARP and what one can do with it is going on on Bugtraq.

My friend Thomas is flying to Boston tomorrow for the Gnome Boston Summit. Now how cool is that? Boston is a nice place - I've spent most of the last half year there and I really like it. With San Francisco, my favourite US city.

14 Jul 2002 (updated 14 Jul 2002 at 08:47 UTC) »

I've been having fun with hackerslab.org. It's a 'cracking contest', where you have to get through 17 or 18 levels. There's a tutorial here, in French (I hope that's not a problem for you ;) but only use it when you really don't know how to continue. It only goes up to level 8 anyway.

Time for some real work now.

If anybody has some information about living/working in and around Brighton,UK, I'd like to hear from you!

13 Jul 2002 (updated 13 Jul 2002 at 18:31 UTC) »

I have to look into the honeynet project. The concept is simple, but it's just too cool. This guy built one and caught a couple of crackers within 28 hours. With his whitepaper, it's trivial to find out name/age/location of the 'cracker' - just a kid -, even though he tried to obfuscate it a bit.

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