Microsoft Exchange Vulnerability affects all Exchange versions

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CVE-2020-0688 | Microsoft Exchange Validation Key Remote Code Execution Vulnerability

Security Vulnerability

Date of Publishing: February/11/2020

Microsoft has announced a vulnerability has been found in all Exchange Server 2010 through 2019 versions, The vulnerability allows an attack to send a specially crafted request to the affected server in order to exploit it.

When could this happen?

A remote code execution vulnerability exists in Microsoft Exchange Server when the server fails to properly create unique keys at install time.

Knowledge of a the validation key allows an authenticated user with a mailbox to pass arbitrary objects to be deserialized by the web application, which runs as SYSTEM.

The security update addresses the vulnerability by correcting how Microsoft Exchange creates the keys during install.

Affected Versions:

  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 3 Update Rollup 30
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 Cumulative Update 23   
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2016 Cumulative Update 14   
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2016 Cumulative Update 15   
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2019 Cumulative Update 3   
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2019 Cumulative Update 4

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Solution:

Until now Microsoft has not provided any solution or work around to cover this vulnerability.

Mitigations

Microsoft has not identified any mitigating factors for this vulnerability.

Workarounds

Microsoft has not identified any workarounds for this vulnerability.

NOTE:

Keep an eye on the below link for any change

https://portal.msrc.microsoft.com/en-US/security-guidance/advisory/CVE-2020-0688

Microsoft Windows 10 security updates KB4532695 and KB4528760 causes TPM driver to fail and results in windows 10 BSOD

Update: For the solution scroll to the end of the page.

Windows 10 Update :

Yesterday and today Microsoft released KB4532695 and KB4528760 causes TPM 2.0 driver to stop functioning and causes BSOD with error “Memory Management” Issue.

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Windows Hello Face Authentication

In the first KB Microsoft says they have improved the accuracy of Windows Hello Face authentication however this would cause your PIN to be reset, TPM driver stop functioning and BitLocker to change in Pause state.

Check KB Article here

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The BSOD will generate an event ID 1001 stating the bugcheck code and saves a dump. ( I haven’t analyzed that yet).

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After Uninstalling the updates it was a no go but at least the Memory Management BSOD stopped..

Interesting thing is that not just TPM stopped, now even Virtual Box says no Virtualization Capabilities supported on my Device which I had over 20 VMs on it and was working fine also before these updates.

The TPM is indeed firmware as it’s fixed on the board..

In the event viewer related to Device Manager (Trusted Platform Module 2.0) I see couple of errors sourced from Kernel-PnP and UserPnp

KernelPnp error

Device ACPI\MSFT0101\1 had a problem starting.

Driver Name: tpm.inf
Class Guid: {d94ee5d8-d189-4994-83d2-f68d7d41b0e6}
Service: TPM
Lower Filters:
Upper Filters:
Problem: 0xA
Problem Status: 0xC0000001

—-

Device ACPI\MSFT0101\1 was configured.

Driver Name: tpm.inf
Class Guid: {d94ee5d8-d189-4994-83d2-f68d7d41b0e6}
Driver Date: 06/21/2006
Driver Version: 10.0.18362.267
Driver Provider: Microsoft
Driver Section: Tpm2BaseInstall
Driver Rank: 0xFF0002
Matching Device Id: *MSFT0101
Outranked Drivers: tpm.inf:ACPI\MSFT0101:00FF0001
Device Updated: true
Parent Device: ACPI_HAL\PNP0C08\0

—-

UserPnp (Informational event) happens after Kernel-Pnp fail

Driver Management concluded the process to install driver tpm.inf_amd64_aaaa339206cb706e for Device Instance ID ACPI\MSFT0101\1 with the following status: 0x0.

Solution:

After two days of struggling I managed to find the solution.

Disable Device Guard from Group Policy and PowerShell.

  • To disable from PowerShell you’ll need to download the Device Guard and Credential Guard hardware readiness tool which contains a script that would disable/enable Device Guard.
  • Use the following cmdlet .\DG_Readiness_Tool_v3.6.ps1 -Disable after extracting the the DG readiness tools from the link below

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=53337

  • From Run type gpedit.msc and launch Group Policy then navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > Device Guard and set “Turn On Virtualization Based Security” To Not Configured.

Once this is done, Restart your Computer and Press F3 to disable Device Gaurd twice. When restarting the Computer will restart again and you’ll see that your TPM is back to normal.

Upgrading Exchange Online PowerShell to V2 Module

Managing Exchange Online

If you have Exchange Online and your users are MFA enabled then you most likely will be using Exchange Online’ s ECP (Exchange Control Panel or Admin Center) to connect to Exchange Online PowerShell through the Hybrid Windows since this is the only supported way with MFA.

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Clicking on Configure would install the PowerShell Module of Exchange Online which looks like the below screenshot.

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New PowerShell with MFA support

If you have launched Exchange Online PowerShell today then you most likely have noticed there’s a red line stating the possibility to try the new (Preview Version) of Exchange PowerShell V2 .

Microsoft has recently released a new version of Exchange Online PowerShell Module which supports MFA and can be run directly from your computer without the need to login to Exchange Online Admin Center and download any files from there.  Check details in this link

As stated in the article, the Module is just in preview so it has some known and maybe unknown bugs as well.

How to Install it?

The installation process is pretty straightforward, Launch Windows PowerShel as an Administrator (It’s required for the installation).

Run these 4 cmdlets

Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned

Install-Module PowershellGet –Force

Update-Module PowershellGet

Install-Module -Name ExchangeOnlineManagement

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You might get a warning that the Module you’re about to install is from an Untrusted Repository, Accept it by typing Y and hit enter

Type the following cmdlet to ensure that Exchange Online Management module is installed

Import-Module ExchangeOnlineManagement; Get-Module ExchangeOnlineManagement

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Connecting to Exchange Online

To connect to Exchange Online, Run the following cmdlet along with the new parameter –EnableErrorReporting which gives the ability to record all the cmdlets that you have run along with errors generated as well.

Connect-ExchangeOnline -EnableErrorReporting -LogDirectoryPath e:\ExchOnlineLogs.txt -LogLevel All

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After connecting, I am going to try and run two commands the Old Cmdlets and New Cmdlet and see the difference between them:

  1. Get-CASMailbox -ResultSize 10
  2. Get-EXOCasMailbox -ResultSize 10

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The new Cmdlet has much more details, although it says that it runs faster but it took few seconds more than the old one to run (Probably first time).

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After you run those two Cmdlets, There will be two files generated in the log directory which we have pointed the parameter to save files to.

The CSV files have details about the two cmdlets and the HTTP Method they are utilizing in order to connect along the Request and response latency.

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This new version seems to be extremely useful esp in environments where such deep details are needed for troubleshooting issues.

Stay tuned for more

Reference:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/powershell/exchange/exchange-online/exchange-online-powershell-v2/exchange-online-powershell-v2?view=exchange-ps

Warning for millions of Windows 10 users

The “Windows List” website, which follows the news of the famous operating system “Windows 10“, issued a warning to the users of the Operating system after it monitored a new security update for the operating system, which is “KB4528760” causing serious problems, noting that the problem “appears to be widespread now.”

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In its interpretation of the sequence of events, the site says that this update initially fails to install on the device, issuing “a number of general error messages” that do not provide any indication of the cause of the problem, then the problem escalates as the next time you restart the computer it fails to boot .

“The recent update KB4528760 for Windows 1909 (the Windows build version number) appears to cause problems with some computers and prevents them from Starting up, causing the oxcooooooe error code. The number of devices affected by this problem has increased after installing this update,” says a user on the official Microsoft Community Forum. .

Image result for windows 10 error code oxcooooooe

Some users attribute the problem to Microsoft’s Connect app, which the company has terminated. Although it is not the only scenario of the cause of the problem, the users who installed the app or had it installed and then uninstalled it, have been particularly severely affected. It is only Windows Vista that completely re-installs the Windows 10 operating system.

What increases the importance of the warning issued by “Windows Light” is precisely that Microsoft is not yet aware of this problem. Indeed, until the moment the company states on the support page of the latest update that it is “currently not aware of any problems with this update.”

This is a recurring series of slow responses in recent years, as Windows 10 users have experienced problems caused by system updates, and this is disappointing because it encourages users to continue to download the update that might harm their computers

The good thing here is that Microsoft is working on substantive modifications to improve the updates of “Windows 10”, but the bad thing is that the process of testing the modifications in its entirety is fundamentally flawed, according to the site mentioned

Deploy Azure Linux and Windows servers in 10 mins via cli

This is a step by step guide about deploying Linux or Windows servers on Azure via CLI.

Why Cli?

Some people prefer using Linux rather than PowerShell and it seems sometimes easier and faster to learn esp if you’re not GUI type of person.

Installation Options

If you’re working on Windows and would like to use CLI, you’ll have two options to install CLI

Option 1

Run Azure CLI installation directly from your Powershell (PowerShell needs to run from a privileged account)

Invoke-WebRequest -Uri https://aka.ms/installazurecliwindows -OutFile .\AzureCLI.msi; Start-Process msiexec.exe -Wait -ArgumentList ‘/I AzureCLI.msi /quiet’

As soon as you run this command, it’ll take about 5 mins or less depending on the connection you have.

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Option 2

Download the MSI file directly from MS’s link and install it on your Computer.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/cli/azure/install-azure-cli-windows?view=azure-cli-latest

Connect to Azure CLI from PowerShell

Run PowerShell or CMD and type the following command to connect

Az Login then hit enter

As soon as you type this, a web page will be launched asking you for your Azure Account credentials so open the session for your Cli window.

The moment you verified your account, PowerShell will list your azure plans that you have / had before.

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If you’re going to use Linux (Ubuntu, Debian) flavor then you’d have to following the following instructions

Manual install instructions

If you don’t want to run a script as superuser or the all-in-one script fails, follow these steps to install the Azure CLI.

  1. Get packages needed for the install process:

    bash

    
    
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install ca-certificates curl apt-transport-https lsb-release gnupg
  2. Download and install the Microsoft signing key:

    bash

    
    
    curl -sL https://packages.microsoft.com/keys/microsoft.asc |
        gpg --dearmor |
        sudo tee /etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/microsoft.asc.gpg > /dev/null
  3. Add the Azure CLI software repository:

    bash

    
    
    AZ_REPO=$(lsb_release -cs)
    echo "deb [arch=amd64] https://packages.microsoft.com/repos/azure-cli/ $AZ_REPO main" |
        sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/azure-cli.list
  4. Update repository information and install the

    azure-cli

    package:

    bash

    
    
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install azure-cli

Run the Azure CLI with the

az

command. To sign in, use the az login command.

  1. Run the

    login

    command.

    Azure CLI

    Try It

    
    
    az login

    If the CLI can open your default browser, it will do so and load an Azure sign-in page.

    Otherwise, open a browser page at https://aka.ms/devicelogin and enter the authorization code displayed in your terminal.

  2. Sign in with your account credentials in the browser.

To learn more about different authentication methods, see Sign in with Azure CLI.

Deploying Linux (CentOS):

Creating a Resource Group for Azure Container Instances (ACI)

We will start first by creating a Resource Group for our Machine, calling it a AzureLinuxServersGroup to easily identify that this group contains our Linux Servers

az group create –name AzureLinuxServersGroup –location westeurope

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Next we will be creating a container to contain the Linux OS on the resource group which we have just created

First, How we know which Image to use and if that will be proper for our deployment?

To answer that, we will use the following command which will view the available latest edition Linux OS with different flavors.

I would like to use CentOS since its identical to RedHat and used by majority of Enterprises.

To list the Images, Enter the following command

az vm image list –output table

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Notice there are many columns, The one which we are going to use in terminal command line is the UrnAlias. It’s important to remember this.

az vm create \

–resource-group AzureLinuxServersGroup \

–name AzureCentOSWP \

–image CentOS \

–admin-username Moh10lyUser \

–generate-ssh-keys

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Since we are using Bash, It’s a case sensitive and it complained about user having capital letters. So we’ll go ahead and use small letters

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After running the command with small letters, it’s telling us where we can find the keys in order for us to reach and get them to use later to login to this newly created machine.

SSH key files ‘/home/moh10ly/.ssh/id_rsa’ and ‘/home/moh10ly/.ssh/id_rsa.pub’ have been generated under ~/.ssh to allow SSH access to the VM. If using machines without permanent storage, back up your keys to a safe location.

The deployment of the machine takes about 3 mins, and it’ll be created with the default minimum resources. Let’s view

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Our machine is ready to be accessed now

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In order for you to get the SSH Keys, you’ll have to have a bit of knowledge

I am going to go the location mentioned previously after creating a machine and copy the keys from the bash screen into a file. Save the file and Import it into SSH client which I will be using (Bitvise in my case).

From the bash screen goto cd /

Cd /home/user/.ssh/

Cat id_rsa hit enter and copy the key and save it into notepad.

Cat id_rsa.pub and copy/save into a notepad as the public key.

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After loading both keys, I was able to successfully login to the Server

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Get a list of Azure VMS

az vm image list

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Let’s List and deploy a WordPress on CentOS

To view the list of available CentOS images, we’ll use the following cli command

az vm image list -f CentOS –all

The image needs to be grabbed from dockerhub URL

cognosys:wordpress-with-centos-77-free:wordpress-with-centos-77-free:1.2019.1008

az container create –resource-group mohazbackupgroup –name mohcontainer –os-type Linux –image cognosys:wordpress-with-centos-77-free:wordpress-with-centos-77-free:1.2019.1008 –dns-name-label azmohlinux –ports 22

Create Windows Server core with IIS

az container create –resource-group mohazbackupgroup –name mohcontainer –os-type windows –image mcr.microsoft.com/windoervercore/centos –dns-name-label azmohlinux –ports 22ws/servercore/iis:nanoserver –dns-name-label azmohiis –ports 80

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Here we go I got a machine ready (took about 5 mins)

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azmohiis.westeurope.azurecontainer.io

To delete the container, you can write the following

az container delete –resource-group mohazbackupgroup –name mohcontainer

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Stay tuned for more articles about Azure.

Microsoft exposes a security issue that affects millions of Windows 10 computers, RDP and DHCP on win2008R2

Windows 10 Crypto API Spoofing

Microsoft has released a new security patch for a vulnerability that could affect millions of Windows 10 Users world wide.

A decades old API

The decades old CryptoAPI tool validates and signs packages/software which could be utilized by hackers/developers to sign and execute illegitimate software thus would allow users to run anything without user’s nor Antivirus/Internet Security software’s notice.

Microsoft mentioned that the vulnerability could also allow hackers to change or modify encrypted communications.

It’s important to mention that CryptoAPI is a legacy API that’s being replaced by a new CNG (Cryptography Next Generation API) which also supports CryptoAPI.

CryptoAPI Key Storage Architecture

cryptoapi architecture

Download Patch

Direct Download

https://www.catalog.update.microsoft.com/Search.aspx?q=KB4528760

CVE

https://portal.msrc.microsoft.com/en-US/security-guidance/advisory/CVE-2020-0601

Windows 2008 R2, Windows 7 RDP

A day ago Microsoft released two very important security patches on May 14, 2019.

One of these patches has been detected in the RDP service (CVE-2019-0708) which affects Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2.

According to MS’s Article a remote code execution vulnerability exists in Remote Desktop Services – formerly known as Terminal Services – when an unauthenticated attacker connects to the target system using RDP and sends specially crafted requests.

No Authentication or Interaction needed

This vulnerability is pre-authentication and requires no user interaction. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could execute arbitrary code on the target system.

An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.

When look at CVE-2019-0708, which is related to the RDP service, we see that attackers are able to run code on systems by sending specially produced packages without any user interaction and authentication and manage to install malware like Ransomware or other execution files.

Download Patch

https://portal.msrc.microsoft.com/en-US/security-guidance/advisory/CVE-2019-0708

Windows 2008R2, 2012R2, 2016 and 2019 DHCP

The other one is in the DHCP service (CVE-2019-0725), and both vulnerabilities are very critical.

A memory corruption vulnerability exists in the Windows Server DHCP service when processing specially crafted packets. An attacker who successfully exploited the vulnerability could run arbitrary code on the DHCP server.

Download Patch

https://portal.msrc.microsoft.com/en-US/security-guidance/advisory/CVE-2019-0725

Sources:

Microsoft, NSA, Other Security Researchers

Freely Monitoring your Servers with Google Chat App Notifications

Monitoring:

Monitoring is considered one of the most important process in today’s world of Technology. Most Datacenters have their private monitoring systems with automation tools that would trigger failover, or Disaster Recovery in case of downtime being noticed and this is extremely costly operation.

What to Monitor?

CPU Usage, Memory Consumption, I/O, Network, Disk Usage, Process etc. Server Monitoring also helps in capacity planning by understanding the server’s system resource usage.

Other services can be monitored like Web Servers, FTP, Mail Servers or anything else if it’s publicly accessible.

Using UPTimeRobot Monitoring

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Uptime Robot Monitoring is a free-commercial service that has rich monitoring features where you can monitor your services/servers on 1 minute interval and get alerted by Email, SMS, Phone Apps e.g. (Telegram, Google Chat, or Skype).

The Free version

In the free version Monitoring you can add services based on ports and protocols or Servers. This might look limited to some but since it’s free of charge it can be very useful for small or startup companies with couple of servers.

– Limited up to 50 Monitors.

– No SMS.

– Check interval is 5 mins.

– Logs are not kept

The Commercial Version:

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In the commercial version you pay a small fee of 4.5$ a month, an you’d get the following:

– Up to 50 Monitors.

– 20 SMS.

– Check interval is 1 mins.

– Logs are kept for 2 years.

Adding a Server to Monitor:

After you create an account on UpTimeRobot.com you can easy add a site or a service to monitor right away and the monitoring will initiate after 5 minutes then it’ll report if the service,server you added is up or down.

Click on + Add New Monitor

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Next add the website, In my case i’ll add my own website and see how it works and then choose Google Chat (Since I already have the integration on).

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Once ready, click on create monitor

That should add the website directly into the List of monitored services:

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If you click on the Monitor, you’ll get the stat figure of how long has your website been on/off

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After waiting roughly 35 mins, I can see now that my website is up and running without any problem. The monitoring probe counts by milliseconds so you’ll be able to see if there’s any interruption in the connection to your website/server.

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Integration with Google Chat

Requirements:

  • Google Suit.
  • Google Admin Account
  • Create a Google Chat Room
  • Configure WebHooks

The integration between Google chat and UpTimeRobot requires Google G Suits account

I will login to my G account with admin user

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Next go to Chat admin console

Login with your admin account to google admin Console and then go to this link

https://chat.google.com/u/1/

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Create a room, Call it UpTimeRobot

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Once Created, Click on the … dots next to Now

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Now Configure WebHooks

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Call this UpTimeRobotContact and save

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This should create a URL for you, Something that looks like this! This

https://chat.googleapis.com/v1/spaces/AAAAcUvSsqs/messages?key=AIzaSyDdI0hCZtE6vySjMm-WEfRq3CPzqKqqsHI&token=qSlBYydgUj2mqqC8o_DIDY_RqcMaiI%3D

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Adding Members (To get notifications)

On the right side Add People and Bots

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Add a user to receive notifications once any server or service is down.

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Once you add a user, you’ll notice that the admin user’s notification below saying he/she added a user to the Room.

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Uptime Robot Configuration:

In order for this to work we’ll have to finish the work on the UpTimeRobot portal

Inside Uptime Robot, create a new alert contact in My Settings>Alert Contacts>Add new>Google Hangouts Chat using the previously created Hangouts Chat web-hook URL.

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When we choose the Google Hangouts Chat, We will have to give the following:

  • Friendly name for the monitor.
  • Provide the webhook URL which was created previously.
  • You can add a custom message to identify something related to the monitoring.
  • Enable notifications for, You can choose to get notifications only when the site/service is up or down or both.

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After adding this, You need to download one or two apps to get alerts to your Cell Phone:

  • Google Chat
  • UPtime Robot

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What do Alerts Look like?

As soon as your system goes down, Google Chat will sends you a push notification to your phone, if you’re using UpTime Robot and you’re logged in to the account then you’ll get another identical notification at the same time indicating your system’s status if it goes down or back up.

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Like this you can add up to 50 monitors including all kinds of services, ports, protocols.

The notification also comes with an interesting tone so you could easily tell if the sound is for “System Down” or “System is up” kind of state.

This has personally helped me keep my system up 24/7 and interfere whenever there’s any downtime noticed.

I hope this article helps and in case you have any question please leave a comment or get in touch with me info@moh10ly.com

References:

https://blog.uptimerobot.com/new-feature-google-hangouts-chat-notifications/

https://chat.google.com/u/1/

Error After Migrating ADFS from 2012R2 to 2016

The Story:

You might have got a request to upgrade from ADFS 2012 R2 to Windows ADFS 2016.

This process can be complicated especially if you’ll have to migrate the Database as well and it would be more of an issue when the Database is WID (Windows Internal Database) since there’s no much documentation about troubleshooting issues involving WID on ADFS.

I have got a request from a client whom have done a migration with another consultant and obviously it was not done right.

Symptoms

On Windows 2016 ADFS when trying to update the ADFS SSL certificate I get the following error:

Set-AdfsSslCertificate -ThumbPrint A7etc : PS0159 : The Operation is not supported at the current Farm Behavior Level ‘1’. Raise the farm to at least version ‘2’ before retrying.

At line:1 char:1

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Trying to update the database from 1 to 2,3 will also fail with the following error:

Invoke-AdfsFarmBehaviorLevelRaise

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Error:

Database upgrade cannot be performed on AdfsServer.domain.com. Error: A database for the target behavior level already exists.

Troubleshooting:

If you’re installing ADFS on WID (Windows Internal Database) you should run the following to get the database name/Connect String

On ADFS Server

Open Windows PowerShell

  1. Enter the following:
    $adfs = gwmi -Namespace root/ADFS -Class SecurityTokenService

    and hit Enter

  2. Enter the following:
    $adfs.ConfigurationDatabaseConnectionString

    and hit enter.

  3. You should see the connect string information.

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Go to Service Console and stop ADFS Service or from Powershell type Net stop adfssrv

Run SQL Server 2017 Database Engine Tuning Advisor as an administrator

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Use the Server name as this

\\.\pipe\MICROSOFT##WID\tsql\query

As for Authentication, Use the Windows Authentication with the user you’re logged into if you know that’s a privileged user and can authenticate, If not try with a user which you’ve done the upgrade of ADFS with.

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After authenticating, You will be able to see AdfsConfiguration , AdfsConfigurationV3 and AdfsArtifactStore. What we need to see is that AdfsConfigurationV3 has data in it and is not totally empty.

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After checking and comparing the size between V1 and V3, It appeared that V3 database is empty. So what next?

Solution

Deleting the AdfsConfigurationV3 was the first thought that hit my mind however, before deleting anything I always take a snapshot of the VM since backing up the WID is more painful and takes more time than simply backing up the VM (Checkpoint, Snapshot).

So the steps to fix this issue is

  • Taking a VM Snapshot/Checkpoint/Backup.
  • Download Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio from this link https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=864329
  • Install Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio on ADFS Server
  • Run MS SQL Server Management Studio as Administrator
  • In the Server Name type :

\\.\pipe\MICROSOFT##WID\tsql\query

Leave the Authentication as it is and logon.

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  • From the SQL Object Explorer right click and Delete the AdfsConfigurationV3 and leave AdfsConfiguration Database only.

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  • After deleting the Database, Start ADFS Service to make sure that it can load the old database without an issue.
  • Then run the cmdlet Invoke-AdfsFarmBehaviorLevelRaise and Accept by typing Y and Enter.

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This might take about 5 minutes to finish.

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When this process is done, You should see the following message indicating the success of the Database Upgrade.

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To double check, We will run the cmdlet Get-AdfsFarmInformation

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Updating Certificate

After this success, I am going to run the cmdlet below to replace the current certificate with the new one

Set-AdfsSslCertificate -Thumbprint 9b19426e17180c0b9c5d4atye53dda3bce9dbff

And here we go. It works perfectly fine

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References:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/identity/ad-fs/troubleshooting/ad-fs-tshoot-sql

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/identity/ad-fs/design/federation-server-farm-using-sql-server

SoftEther – Fixing connecting to localhost 5555

SoftEther VPN Server Manager Connection Issue:

I have used SoftEther VPN for a long time to connect securely to my cloud server for almost 2 years without any single issue and I am using my Laptop, iPad, Phone and everything without an issue.

But one day I tried to connect to the connection settings and I got this error

Softether VPN Connection Error

Connection to the server failed. Check network connection and make sure that address and port number of destination server are correct.

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Attempts to solve the issue

I have tried couple of things that came to my mind maybe that would solve the issue.

  1. Uninstall and Reinstall Softether VPN.
  2. Uninstall and Restart
  3. Tried to create a new connection with different ports.
  4. Disabling Microsoft Firewall.

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All of these attempts lead to failure and none worked eventually. So I started searching for a different solution and checked the configuration file of the Softether VPN server which is located in

File Location and Configuration

C:\Program Files\SoftEther VPN Server

You can open the file in Notepad and start looking for the default port 5555 which is how you could normally connect to the connection settings.

Solution:

The solution is in the configuration changes, but in order to change/amend the config file you need to take a backup and make sure you stop the service before doing so.

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Go to the configuration file location C:\Program Files\SoftEther VPN Server

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Right click and open this file with Notepad

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Search for uint Port 5555

On top of that, you’ll see bool Enabled false

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Change that to Bool Enabled True

Save the file and start the service

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Try to connect again

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Now it works and will ask you for the old password which you had set previously

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If you cannot remember the password, you can also find that in open text (Of course it is a vulnerability) then take it from there.

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That’s it. You should be able to access your server settings now

Setting up SoftEther VPN with Most Secure Settings:

Why VPN?

Before reading this article or going through it maybe you want to know why you’re supposed to use VPN wherever you go ?

If you use one of the following on your computer/Phone/Tablet then you must use VPN

  • Online Banking?
  • Paying Bills?
  • Purchasing online Services?
  • Checking Private Emails?
  • Connecting to work Email?

The list goes on and on and won’t probably end with only those, But the most important thing to acknowledge that nowadays there is absolutely nothing safe on the Internet World. Your data could be exposed, hacked at anytime anywhere and esp if you go to public Internet places e.g. (Starbucks, University, Your Friend’s home even).

So what is SoftEther VPN Server/Client?

As introduced by Softether itself, SoftEther VPN (“SoftEther” means “Software Ethernet”) is one of the world’s most powerful and easy-to-use multi-protocol VPN software. It runs on Windows, Linux, Mac, FreeBSD and Solaris.

SoftEther VPN is open source. You can use SoftEther for any personal or commercial use for free charge.

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Clients

SoftEther VPN is an optimum alternative to OpenVPN and Microsoft’s VPN servers. SoftEther VPN has a clone-function of OpenVPN Server. You can integrate from OpenVPN to SoftEther VPN smoothly. SoftEther VPN is faster than OpenVPN. SoftEther VPN also supports Microsoft SSTP VPN for Windows Vista / 7 / 8. No more need to pay expensive charges for Windows Server license for Remote-Access VPN function.

Use:

SoftEther VPN can be used to realize BYOD (Bring your own device) on your business. If you have smartphones, tablets or laptop PCs, SoftEther VPN’s L2TP/IPsec server function will help you to establish a remote-access VPN from your local network. SoftEther VPN’s L2TP VPN Server has strong compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS and Android.

Download

Download the Windows Server version of Softether from the following Page:

https://www.softether-download.com/en.aspx?product=softether

Installation Requirements:

  • Windows Server/Windows 10
  • 4GB RAM
  • 100 GB Disk
  • 2 VCPU

These resources are estimated and not calculated, It’s only in case of small amount of users (Max 100 User). If you’re going to use more than that you’ll have to check depending on how many concurrent connections are there going to be.

Installation Steps:

As soon as you start Softether VPN – Create new Connection and set the password for the Administrator

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Configure Softether as Remote Access VPN Server

I am going to setup new Remote Access VPN Server:

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This will create a new Virtual Hub, Give it whatever name you want.

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If you have no Static Public IP address

Set a dynamic DNS function name, This is useful in case the IP you have keeps changing like in the case of ADSL connections at home ..etc

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VPN Type:

In the IPSEC/L2TP/EtherIP /L2TPv3 Server settings, you’ll need to choose the most secure VPN connection to allow your users to safely and securely browse the internet. This needs L2TP server function to be enabled along with setting the Ipsec Pre-Shared key to provide the most secure VPN connectivity.

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AZURE Settings:

If you don’t have access to Firewall to configure NAT, or configure your firewall access to the Softthere VPN Server you must enable this feature (VPN Azure Cloud VPN Service (Free) by the Japanese University of Subuka.

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We have set the Azure hostname previously already so no need to change it unless you wanna use something else.

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Creating Users

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I will create a user, assign it to my admins group, then Create a Certificate for this user to login to make sure I have the maximum security and authentication methods offered.

Creating Certificate

Since I already have created the root certificate, I Am going to create a client certificate for this particular user from the root certificate.

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Finally user is created

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Choosing the right connection to set as Local Bridge

I need to make sure to choose the NIC which reflects my internet outbound NIC in order to connect properly (In my case it’s going to be Ethernet 2)

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Using the most secure Encryption Algorithm for our connection

By default Softether uses AES128-SHA, while this is considered secured and used by most common VPN service providers it’s always better to use something that’s level or more secure. So we are going to change the default changes to AES256-GCM-SHA384

To change those settings, Navigate to the main menu of Softether VPN Server Manager and click on “Encryption and Network”

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Change the “Encryption Algorithm Name:” to AES256-GCM-SHA384

AES256-GCM-SHA384 is based on the cipher suite TLSv 1.3 which is considered the most recent and secure cipher suite that’s being used right now.

Default Setting:

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Change to

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Client Configuration:

  • In the setting name: we are going to enter a random name.
  • The hostname: will be the name which we created previously for Dynamic IP cases. This will be useful to remember even If you have a static Public IP address.
  • User Authentication Setting: We will be using the certificate which I created before (I copied this cert to my client computer where I am going to connect via the VPN client manager).
  • Virtual Hub Name: Here you’ll need to copy the exact name of the Virtual Hub name which you have created on the server side.

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Connectivity Test:

After settings everything, I am going to try and connect with my user using Certificate and the Password I set.

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Ref:

https://www.softether.org/

https://wiki.mozilla.org/Security/Server_Side_TLS

https://www.softether.org/4-docs/1-manual/3._SoftEther_VPN_Server_Manual/3.3_VPN_Server_Administration#3.3.6_Listener_Ports

https://www.iplocation.net/encryption