Slaptijack Title

nginx: Blocking Access to /xmlrpc.php

by Scott Hebert

nginx logoI recently ran into an issue on a WordPress site running behind an nginx web server. The site was frequently being attacked by a botnet hitting /xmlrpc.php so rapidly, it would eventually force the FastCGI processes behind nginx to consume all available CPU. Naturally, this would cause all legitimate traffic to the site to timeout. My solution was to insert the following in the nginx configuration for the site:

location = /xmlrpc.php {
    deny all;

Although this change did not stop the brute force attack, nginx was able to handle it much more elegantly (read: not cratering the server) than php-cgi.

MBA Bookshelf

by Scott Hebert

Below is the list of books I have needed for my MBA.

Goodbye, discoveryd. Hello again, mDNSResponder.

by Scott Hebert


Once again, Apple has made a change in how DNS is handled in Mac OS X. Originally, Yosemite (10.10) had replaced mDNSResponder with discoveryd. This meant that all of those who had made a change to force mDNSResponder to always append search domains to DNS lookups had to make a new change to accommodate discoveryd.

Read More →

UnicodeEncodeError: 'ascii' codec can't encode character u'\u2019'

by Scott Hebert

Python LogoOnce again I was working on some Python code for EVE Online. This particular bit of code gathers a list of kills for a particular region and then summarizes that data in a daily report. Everything had been working properly, until one day...

Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "/Users/scott/Dev/Scripts/Slaptijack/EVE/loss_report/", line 163, in <module>
  File "/Users/scott/Dev/Scripts/Slaptijack/EVE/loss_report/", line 159, in main
UnicodeEncodeError: 'ascii' codec can't encode character u'\u2019' in position 6711: ordinal not in range(128)

Read More →

Career Advice: Becoming a System Administrator

by Scott Hebert

Recently, I got an email that went something like this:

I have completed a BTech in Electronics and Communication. Now, I am working as a desktop engineer. How can I move my career to the network / server side?

Career moves are hard for everyone. Personally, I've been thinking about making a change in my career for a long time as well. I have two recommendations for you:

1) If your current employer has a policy of hiring from within, keep your eyes open for opportunities within your own organization. Since your current company already has you onboard, they are motivated to hire you. If you've already shown your value to the company in your existing position, you are even more likely to get that chance.

2) I'm assuming that you are having a hard time getting your foot in the door with network / server administrator positions. Many hiring managers do not want to take a risk on an unknown or unproven candidate when there are so many candidates out there. To put them at ease, you might consider a certification or two in the area you are most interested in working. For example, becoming an MCSE is one way to prove your expertise as a Windows server administrator.

Best of luck!