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Posted on 2009-06-26

Infrastructure Post

Identi.ca the premier instance of the Laconi.ca OpenMicroBlogging platform, attempted to perform an upgrade to 0.8 as a final test before releasing the new version, and the site has been pretty much entirely down since. Attempts to load the site result in errors such as:

"No such site."
"No suitable nodes are available to serve your request."
"Database Error"

Identi.ca's Infrastructure appears to be provided by a "Cloud Accelerator" called Joyent, which seems to be failing pretty spectacularly under what can't really be that extreme a load. The entire idea of hosting in the cloud is that it is elastic, it expands to handle any amount of load, without having the higher fixed costs associated with providing that infrastructure your self, but can that snap back to the smaller size when that increased load goes away, allowing you to only pay for the infrastructure you need, rather than having extra capacity that sits unused. Cloud Computing that simply says "sorry, all of our servers are busy, come back later" would seem to defeat the purpose of hosting in the cloud.

Update 2009-06-26: Identi.ca admits new host is not able to cope with load

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Posted on 2009-06-26

Infrastructure Post

If the news of a pop star dieing is enough to cripple the biggest sites on the internet, what would happen if there was a truly important news item of global interest? This is a matter of the utmost urgency, what if something serious were to happen, and you couldn't find out about it?

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Posted on 2009-06-25

Security Post

WebCT, the popular Learning Management System used at many post secondary institutions, fails at implementing password hashing. The use of an outdated cryptographic hashing function makes WebCT vulnerable to offline brute force attacks, but also to shoulder surfing and other password guessing techniques. WebCT contains sensitive information such as grades, but also in-progress and submitted assignments, which if stolen could result in a charge of Academic Dishonestly (plagiarism) and result in possible lost credits or expulsion.

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Posted on 2009-06-24

Infrastructure Post

Infrastructure is all the various bits that hold a website up, like the piers of a bridge, or the legs of a chair. For your average blog or forum the most common failure is overloading the database, which happens when unoptimized queries lock tables for too long, or when a single database just cannot handle the volume of queries that are coming in. When any one part of that infrastructure fails, the entire site comes crashing down. In this brief article Security Analyst Allan Jude examines some of the common pitfalls of infrastructure design.

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Posted on 2009-06-24

Security Post

The most common cause of Security Fails is improper implementation, people who do not fully understand the concepts involved trying to engauge in complicated crypto. We'll be profiling a number of different security fails that we know about, and we would love it if you could point out any that you happen to know about or find. FreeBSD Security Officer and all around security Guru Colin Percival offers his advice on what is the Cryptographic right answer.

By: Allan Jude


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Cuiusvis hominis est errare; nullius nisi insipientis in errore perseverare - Any man can make a mistake; only a fool keeps making the same one.

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