Network Wide Ad & Malicious Website Blocking | Pi-Hole

For a few months now I have used the software package named Pi-Hole as an internal network DNS server to prevent ad sites in addition to malicious websites from being accessible form compute resources on my home network.

Pi-Hole is a small install that can be installed on any Linux system and it works like a charm.

Install is simple, just run the following command:

curl -sSL | bash

Answer a few questions about how you would like the software configured and your up and running.

This is a very useful software this gives you many options to report on the activity of the systems on your network and what connections were requested and those blocked.

For more information and details please visit:

The following video also shows the installation process via a Putty SSH session.


Malicious Listsused to block phishing, and malware sites



Almost 50% of my home network traffic is junk, and so is yours. Do something about it, because your privacy is being taken from you and sold.

Backup of VMware vCenter Server Appliance 6.5

It’s always a good idea to backup your work to provide you a way to recovery if things go wrong with your environment. Running an home lab I have cause my own share of issues many of times which had forced me to reinstall and configure my vCenter environment. Moving forward I will be taking advantage of the backup features included with the vCSA.

Using The vCenter Server Appliance Management Interface (VAMI) an administrator uses the HTML5 web interface to perform administrative tasks to the appliance configuration. These tasks included changing the host name, the network configuration, NTP configuration, applying patches / updates and performing backups.

Once logged into the VAMI, under the Summary tab, Click on “Backup” to start the backup of the vCenter Sever appliance.

There are options allowing you to perform a backup using different protocols and location settings. These include the following: FTP, FTPS, HTTP, HTTPS, SCP.

Next specify the protocol of choice and then the credentials for accessing the remote location where the backup will be stored. As an added option, you can encrypt the backup data before transferring.

Click Next


A minimum set of data needed to restore the appliance will be backed up by default. This includes the data such as OS, VC services, vCenter Server database, inventory and configuration. Historical data such as tasks, events, and alarms.

Click Next

You get a final review before you click Finish to start the backup process

Depending on the data size of the vCenter server appliance, backups will take a few minutes to complete.

When completed, Click on OK


Tech Short: Modify vCenter Single Sign-On Password Policy

Warning:  I do not advocate that anyone to make modifications which extend outside of their organizations security policies. Doing so may put account security as risk.

By default, passwords associated with vSphere Single Sign-On expire every 90 days. As a user approaches this expiry point they will be reminded that their password is about to expire.

In my lab I wanted to avoid the need to change my password so frequently so I decided to extend the number of days required between password changes.

The steps below can be followed:

  1. Log in to the vSphere Web Client as a user with vCenter Single Sign-On administrator privileges
  2. Browse to Administration > Single Sign-On > Configuration
  3. Click the Policies tab and select Password Policies
  4. Click Edit
  5. Modify the “Maximum Lifetime”
  6. Click OK

Under the password policies you may take note of various options which can be modified based on your criteria or organization password policy.

Here are the password policy options:


Maximum lifetime:

Maximum number of days that a password can exist before the user must change it.

Restrict reuse:

Number of the user’s previous passwords that cannot be selected. For example, if a user cannot reuse any of the last six passwords, type 6.

Maximum length:

Maximum number of characters that are allowed in the password.

Minimum length:

Minimum number of characters required in the password. The minimum length must be no less than the combined minimum of alphabetic, numeric, and special character requirements.

Character requirements:

Minimum number of different character types that are required in the password. You can specify the number of each type of character, as follows:

  • Special: & # %
  • Alphabetic: A b c D
  • Uppercase: A B C
  • Lowercase: a b c
  • Numeric: 1 2 3

The minimum number of alphabetic characters must be no less than the combined uppercase and lowercase requirements.

In vSphere 6.0 and later, non-ASCII characters are supported in passwords. In earlier versions of vCenter Single Sign-On, limitations on supported characters exist.

Identical adjacent characters:

Maximum number of identical adjacent characters that are allowed in the password. The number must be greater than 0.

For example, if you enter 1, the following password is not allowed: p@$$word


Ref: ESXi and vCenter Server 5.1 Documentation > vSphere Security > vCenter Server Authentication and User Management > Configuring vCenter Single Sign On

Office 365: Use Content Search to delete unwanted Emails from Organization

Office 365: Use Content Search to delete unwanted Emails from Organization

As an admin you can use the Content search located under Security & Compliance to search for and delete email message from select or all mailbox in your organization.  This is particularly useful to remove high-risk emails such as:

  • Message that contains sensitive data
  • Messages that were sent in error
  • Message that contain malware or viruses
  • Phishing message


To start the process, we begin with creating a content search:

  1. Log into your Office 365 protection center –
  2. Click on Search & investigation, then select Content search
  3. From Content search click on the “New” Icon
  4. Enter a name for this search job
  5. Select either specific mailboxes or “all mailboxes”
  6. Select “Search all sites”, public folders are an option depending on your search criteria
  7. Click Next
  8. Enter in keywords to search of leave blank to search for all content
  9. Add Conditions – In my example I am looking for a subject (ex. Microsoft account unusual sign-in activity)

  10. Click Search


The search will start and results will be displayed in the right pane.

When completed you a preview the results and export to computer as a report.

Now the you have generated a search you can move to deleting the content you had searched for.

To do this we will need to connect to the Security & Compliance Center using remote PowerShell.

$UserCredential = Get-Credential

$Session = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange -ConnectionUri -Credential $UserCredential -Authentication Basic -AllowRedirection

Import-PSSession $Session -AllowClobber -DisableNameChecking

$Host.UI.RawUI.WindowTitle = $UserCredential.UserName + ” (Office 365 Security & Compliance Center)” 


Once successful authenticated, and connected to the compliance center you can creation a new action to delete the items found in our previous search.

This is done by using the following example:

New-ComplianceSearchAction -SearchName “Phishing” -Purge -PurgeType SoftDelete


Change Screen Resolution for a Ubuntu Hyper-V Virtual Machine

Just finished installed Ubuntu as a Windows 10, Hyper-V guest.  I went to modify the video settings and noticed them to be locked in place.  After some searching; Thank you Google… Found the solution that worked for me.

Ref: Ben Armstrong’s Virtualization Blog

Steps to change screen resolution:

  1. Open Terminal
  2. Type: sudo nano /etc/default/grub
  3. Find the line starting with GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT, and add video=hyperv_fb:[the resolution you want]. The resolution I want is 1280×720. So my line ends up looking like this: GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=”quiet splash video=hyperv_fb:1280×720″
  4. Write the changes (Ctrl X)
  5. Run: sudo update-grub
  6. Reboot the virtual machine

When you return from your restart you will have the resolution you applied in the grub config.