From the archives (October 2014): Systems Administration Skills and Judgment Calls Notebook of IT

The purpose for this series of articles is to help with making good judgments in deciding what software and tools to use on your home and business network.

The situations Systems and Network administrators are encountering today is more complicated than what the general public believes.

“What do you mean? They teach students in school today how to setup a home network.”

Yes, in many schools, the curriculum includes using a computer, connecting to wireless networks and how to download apps. Hmm, well the students have already taught and graduated themselves in how to download apps.

All the same, this is not what I mean by complicated. The search engine definition for complicated is “consisting of many interconnecting parts or elements; intricate.”

There happen to be so many “interconnecting parts” (software) on the internet that the younger generation is viewing everything as safe.

“Hey, turn on this.” “Download that.” “Give access to what? OK, I will.”

The BYOD (Bring\Buy your own devices) can crash a network to a slow crawl or standstill and if you don’t have tools to track it down… let’s just say the network is no longer yours.

Will you face this Scenario?

Back in the days when the command line of choice was called DOS (Disk Operating System) for Windows computers, if you just purchased a 100 to 300 page manual on DOS you could track down and resolve problems on a LAN (Local Area Network). Back then, it was common for bots\hackers to scan websites, much like today, to find vulnerabilities. Once they found an open FTP (File Transfer Protocol) port they would break in and upload\store pirated movies on the server’s hard drives. Oooh wee! Your 100 gig hard drive storage that would take a life time to fill up was now loaded and part of a Darknet type of system.

Oh, the phones would ring off the hook. Why is the website slow? I can’t use the network! I bet your mother no longer wants you over for dinner!

So, you sit back and wonder how you are going to fix this problem? Oh, I forgot to add one more thing. Even though your webserver is hijacked, you don’t know at the time if this is really the problem. You don’t even know that the hard drive is filled up with movies because the hackers created an invisible directory.

What? How can an invisible directory be created and store more than 50 gigs of short movies on it without you knowing it? If the directory was invisible, how did you find it?

All good questions… And it will be shared with you what I, *cough*, I mean how a scenario like this can be solved.

In this “Notebook of IT” series, we will talk about the following topics noted below here at Geek Brain Dump. As I share some of these tidbits with you, it will also help US to remember and make good decisions when it comes to Systems administration. At times, I will make short videos to show you why a tool or choice is valuable. By no means do I know everything, but what I do know is that if you are managing a network, you should know what is going on with the software and traffic. This doesn’t mean you work 24 hours a day. It means, that if a severe threat comes along to your systems; and it will at least once in your IT career, you will have a step-by-step method to lock down your network, solve the problem(s), reestablish a baseline and get back up and running within hours if not less. CAVEAT: If the threat is that severe, you will be happy to resolve it by the COB (Close of Business)

These are some of the topics we will address:

Disaster Recovery
Caution-What to watch out for
Until next week, have a good one; and for others, a cold one.

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