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Secure email server for nonprofits

Non-profit organisations are a special kind of business. Their purpose is to help people. Happily, there exist multiple companies, who allow non-profits to use their easily, without the need to pay for services like classic business entity. One of them is Google for non/profits iniciative (https://www.google.com/nonprofits/). This services allows you to use Google’s infrastructure, and use it easily for most of internet-related activities as a normal business is used to work with. Probably the best part is, your organisation can use state-of-art Google’s email solution without any charge, while normally, your weould be charged app 50USD per year for every email in your company. For charities and another special kind of organisations, you can use Google AdWords as well, while (when you will be allowed), you are able to advertise your charity on Google, while you are given a credit of 10.000USD per month. Note that eligibility in this support programme is depends on your country of living, and many other circumstances.

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Firefox eats your SSD, writes tens of GB per day

If you use Firefox on your SSD, you should read carefully now. Browser, by default, wipes the flash chips with a number of entries. Unnecessarily tens of gigabytes are stored on the disk.

Today's modern multi-core processors and a large amount of memory allow you to open more and more pages in one browser. But it has an unintended impact on the life of the SSD, because they are postponing data about the open pages. Daily numbers may be relatively large.


The problem in Firefox was discovered by Sergei Bobik and described by ServeTheHome. SSDLife has been tracking SSD writes for two days, surprisingly, that 12GB of data is written on the disk each day. He said he did not download any large files and only used a browser and a mail client. So he started watching the situation for a long time and it turned out to be a stagnant situation. Even an unused open-source computer writes 10GB of data per day.

While watching the system, Firefox writes practically constantly into the recovery.js files and cookies * between 300 KB and 2 MB per second. This is the file from which the session is restored after the browser or system crashes. Browser does not write changes to it incrementally but continually overwrites it. This generates a large bit rate that consumes memory chips in the SSD.

Interestingly, Pale Blue browser does not suffer from this problem. Although it comes out of Firefox, it uses the older version code. Firefox, in version 33, introduced a new session manager, which is significantly more aggressive in the entries and causes the above problem.

Solve the problem - Change settings

The solution is to change the interval after which Firefox regularly stores the status of the current session into the file. By default, Firefox has 15 seconds (15,000 ms), which allows you to recover a few seconds of old work in the event of a failure, but it leads to the above mentioned entries.

If you want to change the settings, insert the about: config in the address bar and look for the browser.sessionstore.interval entry, which you can reasonably increase. Sergei Bobik increased the interval to 30 minutes, which led to a decrease in daily registrations to significantly lower 2 GB.

The second option is to completely disable this feature. In the same menu of advanced settings, you need to right-click, select New Preference → Logic from the menu and create browser.sessionstore.enabled and set its contents to false.

Firefox is probably not alone

The original article only applies to Firefox, but other users have the same problem with other browsers. For example, Chrome is able to write about 1 GB per hour for 80 open panels, with cookies accounting for about a fifth of that volume.

In the discussion under the original article, another user complains about a similar behavior of the Vivaldi browser. In any case, this problem is not dependent on the operating system you are using. On the other hand, it depends on the particular user and his/her way of working with the browser - if the work is more intense and more panels are open, the browser will store more data.

Is this really a problem?

The question is whether this is a real problem or at least how much such behavior threatens SSDs. At the cheapest TLC discs, manufacturers are guaranteed only a few thousand transcripts per cell. Specifically, OCZ recommends that at least 120 GB of 27 GB of data per day be recommended. If half of this volume consumes an open browser, it can be a problem.

On the other hand, various practical tests have shown that the SSD actually endures far more entries than guaranteed. Even if it did, it's useless to get rid of the cells unnecessarily, regardless of the downward performance of the busy disk.


Chrome will no longer occupy memory, reducing its consumption by dozens of percent

Chrome (Chromium) is the most popular viewer today, but it is known to be a big consumer of memory. However, the new edition will come with a number of consumption-optimizing optimizations.

Today, Chrome is based on measured statistics on websites on every second computer. His closest competitor, Internet Explorer, has a half representation. In spite of all the advantages, Chrome has a long memory consumption problem and many users do not like it.

Developers have now looked at the memory consumption of the tooth and the upcoming version 55 should be significantly more cost-effective. We plan to see it in December, but it is now possible to test it within development channels. Optimization concerns mainly the JavaScript core V8. Over the past few months, the V8 team has analysed and significantly reduced the memory consumption of several sites representing today's modern web development, says the developer's blog.

Many testing

In the case of such optimizations, intensive testing is essential, in which specific problems are revealed. Developers use the Telemetry tool, which allows you to make reproducible simulations of working with JavaScript - simulating user interactions with the site, and recording all server and browser behaviours.

In practice, the testing of news sites is done by loading the page, clicking the first link, waiting for full load, and returning. Then he clicks on the next link and repeats this activity several times. In the case of a multimedia content site, the video will start, run for a few seconds, and then select the next item to watch. This activity is repeated several times.

The benchmarks created in this way can be repeated in the test environment during development to track the impact of optimizations on different versions of the browser. The developer has published his tests, so anyone can repeat them.

Developers have added a very detailed JavaScript kernel tracking experience to new versions of Chrome. A browser running with the -trace-gc-object-stats parameter lists memory allocation details for the individual data structures. You can then visualize them with a special tool. The result looks like this:

Based on memory allocation, it is possible to return to the code to see if the individual structures behave as expected or there is a possibility of optimization. We used this tool to detect low efficiency in many data types, writes developers.

Reduce the heap for JavaScript

There is a direct link between garbage collector intensity, latency and memory consumption. For example, the use of a garbage collector may be reduced in such a way that the application receives more memory - it is not necessary to clean it so often and the user does not notice delays. For devices with a small amount of memory (such as cheap phones with 512 MB RAM), however, excessive spreading would result in an out-of-memory killere and the inaction of a greedy application.

Developers have heuristics that dynamically decides what strategy they choose when using the garbage collector. After the cleaning is completed, the statistics of the living objects are executed and the environment determines when the next cleaning is planned. If it decides to save the memory, it will begin to plan the collector run more often.

Another optimization concerns half the page size on the JavaScript heap. Instead of 1MB of pages, the new version uses 512KB. This allows for less fragmentation, reduces memory usage, and allows for more paralleling of smaller pieces of memory.

Memory management for VM

In addition to the heap, the V8 Javascript kernel also uses additional memory for internal VM operations. This memory is allocated in so-called zones that allow very fast allocation and emptying once the zone is canceled again. This is most often used in parsing and compiling scripts.

The scripts are being processed in the background when the page is loaded. Using memory visualization, developers have discovered that this process leaves the tagged zone even after the compilation has finished. A new measure has been taken to cause the zone to be canceled immediately after the compiler is complete. This leads to overall lower memory consumption and, above all, smaller tops.

At the same time, developers have found that the C ++ compiler that builds Chrome does not always optimize the layout of memory arrays. For example, if two boolean variables are in memory, they should occupy adjacent bits in one word or use free bits in the memory already in use. However, the compiler does not always behave properly, so developers have decided to do this by themselves. The result is again a reduction in the amount of unnecessarily allocated memory, but also a higher performance of the parser and the javascript compiler.

Developers promise not to complete this area and plan further zone optimizations. It will focus on devices that have between 512 MB and 1 GB of memory.


Do you still have the original DNS servers in the router?

Today, we will look at changes to the DNS settings in routers, Cerber ransomware, the order of countries according to the number of botnet clients in the Europe, Middle East and Africa, the next wave of attacks on the RDP, or the possible weakness of the Tor network.

There were a lot o attacks on routers in 2016. These are some of the brands, specifically the products of Asus, Netis, TP-Link and Tenda. As with similar attacks in previous years, this time the attacker changes DNS servers, and primary to, or, the secondary then always to So far, we do not know the attack vector, but we think it will be a JavaScript attack placed on a web page. In addition to the fact that multiple brands are being attacked, a part of the routers were also behind NAT, so we believe that the vulnerability was not likely to be exploitable via the WAN interface, as in the case of 2014 when the attacker abused the vulnerability of rom-0 .

For example, it could be an improved version of the already-known JavaScript malware JS_JITON, which the attackers put into compromised websites and which already included 1,400 login logos this April, and was focusing on D-Link, TP- LINK and ZTE. When a user visits a compromised site, this malware attempts to change the DNS server settings in the router using saved logins.

Based on our findings, the attacker does not yet direct users to any fake versions of the site, however, it is likely to change in the future. Similar attacks are nothing new. In the past, we have been dealing with the aforementioned case, where the users connected via the infected router were redirected to the attacked copy of the Google Sites, where malicious software was being served as a pretext for downloading the FlashPlayer update. Similarly, in Poland, users were redirected to mBank's fake mockery page in one of these attacks.

Our observations

The new Cerber ransomware option terminates the running processes of commonly used databases, such as MySQL, Oracle, or Microsoft SQL. The reason is to encrypt as much data as possible, while running processes would prevent encryption of database files. In order for the ransomware to terminate running processes, it must be run with the appropriate privilege.

Symantec conducted a survey to survey the number of computers in a particular country in the region of Europe, the Middle East and Africa as a member of a botnet. The first three places were in absolute numbers Turkey, Italy and Hungary. When counting the "density" of shoes, the first three positions are held by Hungary, Monaco and Andorra. Any device that is a member of the botnet has 17,492th Internet users. For example, in Hungary already mentioned, it is every 393nd user.

The Brazilian group of attackers focused on servers that are exposed to the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) on the Internet. In addition to brute force attacks, they also use vulnerabilities that the administrators did not pay for some reason. After a successful attack, the system launches a ransomware system that will encrypt most files.

Tor exit node operators should avoid using public DNS resolvers, such as Google or OpenDNS. Instead, they should use their ISP resolves or their own. This results from a newly published correlation attack that uses DNS to deanonymize Tor network users. At the moment, Google reviews about 40% of all DNS queries leaving the Tor network on its DNS resolves.


How to do it: maintenance-free Ubuntu computer for unpretentious users (grandparents)

Linux, especially Ubuntu, is an ideal choice for low-cost users. It does not spoil them with unnecessary, quietly ensures security, etc. How to set up Ubuntu so you do not have to touch it for a long time?

Linux is a good choice not only for advanced computer users but paradoxically for beginners or those who use computers only occasionally. Compared to Windows on Linux, we can see two significant benefits: 1) if the system works, it rarely happens to stop working. 2) Linux distributions do not ask for users, they do not bother with different pop-ups, program updates, etc. As you know, there is no need for antivirus on Linux.

So if you need a computer, for example, for parents or grandparents who browse the web, sometimes browse photos, videos, or write a simple document, you are at the right address. Specifically, I recommend Ubuntu. Its Unity interface is simple and intuitive for beginners. But the main reason is the five-year support of the LTS release, which is great for desktop distributions. In practice, this means that you do not need to do anything on a computer for 3-5 years (depending on which phase of the cycle you are installing).

Another advantage of Ubuntu is a very good default configuration that does not need much change. However, it's still time to install and install a few things to install and save a few worries. Let's look at them.

Install non-free add-ons

When installing, you will get the option to install third-party software. These are a few codecs, Flash, some fonts, and so on. For license reasons, it is not a default installation, but is very good. Later, they can be installed with the ubuntu-restricted-extras package.

Install updates

Even when you install it, you can check that you want to install updates, but only the most important ones are installed. Therefore, it's a good idea to upgrade to the latest versions of packages that are in repositories after installation. Either graphically through Update Manager or through the known apt update commands and apt upgrade.

Install language packs

Localization is another thing you can choose during installation, but not always installed correctly or completely. After installation, Ubuntu may offer you the option of installing additional language packages. If not, you can call it in the Settings → Language Support section.

I want the controls or not?

By default, free graphical drivers are used in Ubuntu. From the Additional Drivers menu, you can install proprietary driver from the manufacturer (Nvidia or AMD). Although they have better performance, but free ones are more stable and better tested with desktop applications. If you do not play more challenging games on your computer, which is probably not the case in our case, I recommend staying with free drivers.

Install the VLC Player

Even though there are some basic codecs in the system, they will not play all formats by far. Therefore, I recommend installing a well-known universal VLC player and setting it as the default on the Settings → Details → Default Application menu. You may also want to check the default subtitle encoding, and the VLC has often been set incorrectly. In the VLC Settings → Subtitles menu, if you want the Eastern Europe encoding (Windows-1250) - than it must be selected.

Please install other programs

Although Ubuntu still belongs to smaller distributions, it basically contains almost everything the user desires - including the LibreOffice office suite. I would still recommend installing a GIMP graphics editor and possibly a Brasero burner if your computer has an optical drive. Although these programs are unlikely to be used often, it is useful to have them at hand. Otherwise, install other programs to which the user is used. They can be, for example, service clients such as Spotify, Skype, and others.

Enhancement of the environment

Especially for older users with weaker eyesight, the scale of the environment may be too small. In Ubuntu, individual elements can be increased, but unfortunately not all at the same time, so you have to play it a bit. The interface itself can be enlarged in the Settings → Displays → Menu Scale and Window Header.

As far as font size is concerned, Ubuntu is not normally available. You need to install Unity Tweak Tool (unity-tweak-tool) from standard repositories. Then simply point to the Appearance → Fonts and size menu, or change the font. You also have the option to use the large cursors in the Appearance → Cursor menu.

Move the launcher

Unity has the alias launcher on which the application representatives are located on the left. In my opinion, it is an ideal location. However, parts of the users might want to do better, especially if they have some experience with newer Windows. Launcher dospod move this command: gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Launcher launcher-position Bottom

Set updates

Since we want to keep the system maintenance-free and safe, I recommend installing automatic updates for safety updates daily (see figure). Security updates tend to be smaller and do not change much, so they rarely happen to break anything. Having upgraded libraries like OpenSSL is really important, so I definitely do not recommend updating completely or leaving it on a user who usually likes to click on a cross and does not solve more.

As far as functional updates are concerned, they are not even theoretically needed. In addition, they are a little more likely to break something. In theory, however, the API may change some services and the older version of the program will stop working. So, it depends on you, like the imaginary administrator of the computer, and the specific user. The options are basically three: do not update until a problem occurs, update it only once in a few months, or have updates on the user - just basically just click OK when the update system offers.

Beware of the backlight

Nowadays it will be very rare for you to have standard hardware installed after installation. Relatively often, however, it does not work to modify the backlight of the laptop display. And that's a thing you do not need to register at first glance. I recommend testing the backlight and eventually selecting a solution for a particular notebook model. It is often a simple modification of the GRUB loader parameters.

Alert the user for help

This point may sound somewhat stupid, but ... A lot of users do not realize that some help exists or is there for them to use it. Moreover, when it is almost completely translated into your language. In addition, there is also a localised wiki or a major English wiki. Many problems can be solved with a little patience using these resources, so the user may not be an expert.


Installing Ubuntu takes up to half an hour, adjusting the settings according to this article similar to the time. Within an hour, you have a system for common users, which you will not have to reach for a few years in luck. Similarly, other Ubuntu derivatives, or other distributions, can also be used.


A safer site with a Content Security Policy header

Content Security Policy (CSP) is a security feature for web applications that can protect websites and users from cross-site scripting (XSS) and data injection attacks.

When you visit a web page, your browser usually reads out of the pages itself, as well as lots of other content - external images, scripts, pages embedded via iframe, etc. Examples of these are popular buttons for social sharing (Google +1, Facebook Like ...) Google Analytics, discussions on third-party articles, etc. Here's all right because if you've put these elements on your site on a voluntary basis, you probably agree to uploading them to your site.

However, the problem may occur if, for example, an attacker inserts a specially modified comment that overrides your XSS protection and retrieves malicious JavaScript from an external source. Your browser can not suspect that a script that attempts to steal your cookies and is hosted at http://attackers-web.com is dangerous

Unlike the script hosted on https://apis.google.com, it downloads it, and the problem is in the world. The only one, who knows where to retrieve external resources, are you the site administrator, and this is what the CSP just mentioned.

Whitelisting resources

CSP works on the principle that using a special Content-Security-Policy HTTP header, you specify a policy for where to upload resources. Let's show it straight on the example. If the web page together with the answer returned this:

Content-Security-Policy: script-src 'self' https://apis.google.com;

so the above malware script problem could not be jeopardized because the browser makes scripts only from https://apis.google.com and from itself ('self'). Another example might be:

Content-Security-Policy: font-src 'none'; img-src 'self' https: //*.domain.com;

Here we have determined that the fonts will not be uploaded to the site anymore, and we will get the images again only from ourselves and from any subdomain of domain.com via HTTPS.

Resource list

If you want to define where the individual elements can be uploaded, you have several options. The first is direct definition:

https://domain.com - Only from domain.com using HTTPS

https: //*.domain.com - only from any subdomain of domain.com using HTTPS

domain.com - from domain.com using any protocol

*: //domain.com: 81 - any protocol from domain.com and port 81

https: - from anywhere but using HTTPS

You can use the wildcard operator instead of the log, the rest of the domain or port. Additionally, different keywords are specified instead of exact locations:

* - record sources from anywhere

, None '- sources cannot be recorded anywhere

, Self '- only by itself (the same protocol, domain and port)

, Unsafe-inline '- allows inline resources such as scripts and styles (to be discussed later)

, Unsafe-eval '- the same as inline but for the eval ()

List of directives

So far, we have met the script-src, img-src, and font-src directives. Their complete list can be found, for example, on the Mozilla Developer Network. However, there is one exception, which is the default-src directive, which serves as the default value for all other directives unless specified. For example, here:

Content-Security-Policy: default-src 'self'; script-src 'none'; img-src *; media-src https://youtube.com;

We have set the default policy to 'self', which means that, for example, fonts (which are not specified here) can only be read by themselves. Additionally, we have disabled all scripts, images can be uploaded from anywhere, and media (audio/video) can only be inserted from YouTube over HTTPS.


The syntax is quite simple. After the Content-Security-Policy header is listed: always followed by a directive and an arbitrarily long list of sources separated by spaces and ending with a semicolon. If you give one directive multiple times:

Content-Security-Policy: script-src domain.com; script-src google.com;

This will ignore the other and so it will not be possible to run scripts from Google. The right option is:

Content-Security-Policy: script-src domain.com google.com;

If you do not have access to a web server and cannot set HTTP headers, of course you can use the meta tags:

The user will be redirected to a phishing site that may look exactly like the template and ask for login information. A less experienced user does not have to notice this and thus comes to an identity.

CSP solves this easily and elegantly - all inline scripts are forbidden. All you have to do is modify the web page so that everything is downloaded from external files. If it's not a large project, it's not that much of a problem, and more or less it's "best practice" - it's easier for caching, the web is more readable for other developers, the code can be optimized,

If you cannot get around with inline scripts for some reason, here is the option to set 'script-src' and 'style-src' as 'unsafe-inline'. This allows inline scripts to come up with one of the biggest CSP benefits. Indeed, inline scripts are quite common and can sometimes not be circumvented without them. Is there no compromise between total prohibition and risk clearance of everything? Yes, there is.

Nonce and hash

The first option is the so-called nonce. In this case, the CSP header could look like this:

Content-Security-Policy: script-src 'self' 'nonce-KIOdfLfdosfoDKlksdf'Any script on a page to be executed must contain the same nonce (referred to as tag script parameter):

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