S2E21: "Barenaked Boxen"

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2017-11-28 03:55:51 2017-12-04 02:30:07 "Edita"
Format SHA256 GPG Audio File
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In this episode, we talk about installation preconfiguration (via e.g. Kickstart, etc.) vs. configuration management (Ansible, Puppet, etc.) for baremetal turnups. We also answer an email from a listener!

“May many portable gloryholes descend upon you and surround you and make you feel wildly uncomfortable.” – Jthan


  • (Not mentioned during news segment; see 1h11m0s) We are still running a contest! You need to get your answers/submissions in!
  • Speaking of announcing contest winners, we are also having season 2’s shitshow December 6, 2017 at 2100EST! You can find more info here!
  • There was an Imgur breach
  • Some pro-repeal comments on the FCC’s Net Neutrality feedback might have been faked (again)
    • The vote on the proposal occurs on December 14, 2017.
    • You can find the proposal here
    • The notice of event is here (the horribly mis-named “Restoring Internet Freedom” item)
    • It seems that they are still accepting comments on this (untested at time of composing notes)
  • Intel had firmware flaws in their ME (which we mention in S2E7, S2E15, and S2E20)
  • It seems there’s a new version of Bank Bot making the rounds in Google Play Store
  • TP-Link firmware downloads are pretty hard to come by in EU
  • The drone company DJI has leaked a ton of information, including their private key
  • AWS is finally moving to KVM from Xen
  • Results from Pentagon’s bug bounty program (“Hack the Pentagon”) are released


Starts at 27m54s.

I was drinking a Jack and Coke, but with a Bulleit 95 rye instead of Jack Daniels. Paden was drinking Leffe Blonde, a Stella, and Absolut vodka. Jthan was drinking Lagavulin 16-year.

  • Which tasks should you use baremetal provisioning for and which shoukd you use configuration management for?
    • Baremetal provisioning (Kickstart, Preseed, AIF-NG, etc.)
    • Jthan makes good points about “code” (task, etc.) re-use for configuration management
    • He also mentions Kickstart doing the OS install and Puppet agent installation, and have Puppet handle literally everything else past that
    • And he finds baremetal provisioning configurations a little too inflexible
    • Paden follows the same methodology – baremetal prov for only installing the configuration management and using the cfg mgmt for everything else
    • I hold to the same basic idea, but I make the additional suggestions of using baremetal provisioning to also install core packages (since it’s faster, especially if it’s a local repository mirror)
    • I also mention using the baremetal configuration to set up the basic security controls as well (firewall rules, pubkey auth for SSH, etc.), as well as NTP (and, I didn’t mention this on-air, but a non-root administrative account is a good idea to set up in the baremetal configuration too).
    • I also bemoan the disadvantages – it’s harder to get the current status of a build/provision/turnup/etc. when done via a baremetal install (unless you explicitly enable SSH to run for it) as opposed to a configuration management tool.
    • I also speak specifically to role/group/etc.-based functionality. Baremetal provisioning should be reserved for the most common components shared across all machines, and should be tasks that should (ideally) only need to be done once.
    • PXE (at least via PXELINUX) or iPXE can use things like host-specific configurations or scripted use of variables, respectively, to let you serve specific baremetal provisioning profiles to specific machines/specific VLANs, etc.
      • However, cfg mgmt is (again) probably more ideal for role-based or group-based configuration.
  • Just why do we hate the “Cloud”/containerization? (44m28s)
    • Thanks to raindev in our IRC channel for the question!
    • Jthan’s hate train is moving a little slower then Paden and I’s in this regard – his userbase (researchers) are getting easier grants …er, granted by targeting these large “cloud” providers (AWS, Google’s services, etc.)
    • He also mentions the validated and custom-built container templates he built for specific research tasks.
    • He kind of hints towards the cost-savings too.
    • BUT he also is a little on the hate train – e.g. NodeJS developers suddenly think they’re able to deploy to production without considering things like resource consumption, security, comprehensive reliability, privacy, data integrity, etc.
    • He also talks about the dangers of putting all your eggs in one basket that you don’t even have direct access to or control over.
    • Paden mostly hates that it’s owned by someone else. The lack of liability for maintenance is nice, but the reliability of a third party does add complication.
    • My hate for containers/the “cloud” is manifold.
      • You can’t guarantee that third-parties are going to attempt to protect against cross-customer abuse.
      • Paden mentions the prevalence of overselling, which is atrocious. (They’re essentially a perpetual minimum viable product.)
      • One of the things I hate the most is how people will jump onto new/flashy/“hip” tech just because it’s popular, and try to shoehorn it into cases it doesn’t belong (see also: blockchain, the majority of startups that keep re-inventing existing things, etc.)
      • And the security inherent to the technology of these containerization platforms etc. is flawed. They do not belong in production.
      • I highly recommend in-house full virtualization over containerization.

Sysbadministration Award

In this segment, we highlight system administration mistakes. Think of them as the IT equivalent of the Darwin Awards. (1h13m30s)

Uber’s done it again! They:

  • Dropped 100K USD to breachers who exfiltrated private data to keep them quiet
    • 57 million users’ data was breached
    • There is no way to verify that the breachers have indeed removed/deleted their data.
    • They failed to release notice of the breach – we didn’t find this out until a long time after.
  • This is after being in talks about previous privacy violations…
  • AND an FTC case about mishandling customer data.


  • I’m waiting on Jthan for the link to the Scotch Test Dummies video
  • The datacenter I refer to on an abandoned oil rig was Sealand HavenCo – but it seems that it is no longer a thing as of 2008.
    • Even Google’s plan at imitating this, Google barges, failed as well.


Music Credits
Track Title Artist Link Copyright/License
Intro It feels good to be alive too Loyalty Freak Music click CC0 1.0
Outro Close Your Eyes Def Manic click CC-BY 4.0
(All music is royalty-free, properly licensed for use, used under fair use, or public domain.)



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