Under Fire

Generation X Hosting is currently experiencing what we believe to be a distributed denial-of-service attack, also known as a DDoS attack.  A distributed denial of service attack occurs when multiple compromised systems flood the bandwidth or resources of a targeted system in an attempt to make a computer resource unavailable to it’s intended users. Our network providers are working to blackhole the attack higher in the system.

Black hole filtering works by forwarding malicious traffic to an imaginary interface known as Null0 – similar to /dev/null on Unix machines. As an invalid interface, traffic routed to Null0 is essentially dropped. This technique also minimises performance impact during the DDoS investigation so that the rest of the network remains stable under the increased load. 

I am pleased to report that most mail and web services have now been restored and that in spite of the attack our web monitoring service is currently showing an uptime report of 99.96% across the Generation X network.

Unzip .zip or .tar.bz2 files on the server

When setting up new installations of Joomla! on my web server I have a choice of using my hosting control panel or uploading via FTP. However, my hosting company has recently updated to Joomla! 1.5 as standard and the site I am currently developing requires a component (NeoRecruit) which is currently only compatible with Joomla 1.0.xx .

In this situation I would customarily unzip the Joomla! files locally and then upload via FTP. However, the upload process using FTP is quite time-consuming. I was fairly sure it was possible to FTP the zipped files to my server, and then unzip them in situ. I simply hadn’t got around to investing the time to find out how. A little digging around on the net revealed the following procedure:

Upload a zip file using ftp. Once uploaded, you can unzip the file by following these steps :
1. Create a file called unzip.php as follows and upload to the same folder as the archive.
2. Copy/paste the following content into unzip.php :
<? exec(“unzip myfile.zip”); ?>
3. Replace myfile.zip with the name of your file
4. Open yourdomain.com/path_to/unzip.php in a browser
The .zip file will be extracted into the same folder as the archive.

Joomla! offer files in a variety of formats including .zip, but the smallest was in a .tar.bz2 file format. I could have used SSH to decompress the file on the server, but I preferred to use a version of the php solution outlined above. I replaced “unzip myfile.zip” with “tar xvjf filename.tar.bz2″and the files were untarred to the current directory.
Apparently the syntax of the code is:
tar – Tape ARchiver
And the options:
x – extract
v – verbose output (lists all files as they are extracted)
j – deal with bzipped file (replace j with z if its a .zip file)
f – read from a file, rather than a tape device

The entire set up took a matter of minutes.

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