99 days to go…. The End of Server 2003 is upon us.

With less than 99 days to go until Microsoft stops supporting Windows Server 2003,  it really is time to ‘let it go’.


It was the OS of choice back in 2003, but has long since surpassed by the likes of Windows  2008, 2008 R2, 2012, 2012 R2.

With every iteration of Server release, every feature of Server 2003 has been improved time and time again (if your using standard edition, support from more than 4GB ram is a useful feature).
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Configuring a Draytek to Meraki LAN to LAN VPN

If your job is anything like mine, you’ll find yourself working with various different technologies, from various different manufacturers.

A few days ago I was tasked with setting up a LAN to LAN VPN for a customer’s new premises.  Interestingly the customer had chosen to install a completely different manufacturers product compared to their existing equipment:  Meraki MX60 in their new site, and an old Draytek 2820 in their existing site.

As getting a LAN to LAN VPN running between two different pieces of kit can throw up some headaches, I thought I would detail the required steps to make this work.

Before we begin, update the firmware on the Draytek router (backup the config first, make sure you use the .all file – the .rst file resets the device to factory settings).

Head over to the Meraki Cloud and make sure that your MX appliance has the latest firmware installed.

meraki update

Now, lets go get our VPN configured!

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Password Security: Useful Advice

Many hackers enter computer systems simply by guessing passwords, and with the top passwords of 2012, 2013 and 2014 being password, 123456 and 12345678, we’re not exactly making things difficult for them! (of 40 million Adobe account passwords leaked online, 2 million were 123456).

Increases in computer processing power makes cracking your password that much easier and faster.

pkq5jgcdees02krlfo0jAs they say, the best password is one that you can’t remember – using that approach, you should look to using a password manager,  such as Lastpass, Roboform or Keepass

However, even the best and strongest passwords can eventually be defeated mathematically given enough time and computer processing power.  Whilst the use of strong passwords acts as a firm deterrent against password guessing attacks, and buys additional time against other attacks, where possible, you’ll want to look at using two-factor authentication – that is something you know (a password), and something you have (ie. a mobile phone).

When you login to a site that supports two-factor authentication (such as a bank), you’ll enter your password, and a one time generated code generated via either a text message or an app on your phone.  As codes are generally refreshed every minute, even if a hacker had obtained your password,  they wouldn’t have your one time password.

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HeartBleed: SSL Security Threat


Over the last few days, the world has been made aware of a serious and potentially catastrophic security vulnerability that affects millions of web servers across the world.

Whilst a global fix has now been issued, the vulnerability had gone unnoticed for over 2 years.  During that time, your usernames and passwords for many popular websites (such as Gmail, Facebook and Dropbox) have been unprotected.

In addition, approximately 100 million Android devices (running Android 4.1.1), and more than 6,000 apps across Apple, Android and Blackberry apps stores  are at risk from the HeartBleed SSL vulnerability.


It is vitally important that you take swift and appropriate action to secure yourself against this security disaster.

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