Suggestions for a backup computer
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Thread: Suggestions for a backup computer

  1. #1
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    Question Suggestions for a backup computer

    Well, pretty much I have this old computer sitting in my room, I've tried setting it up with Mandrake, but I keep getting distracted from getting too serious about learning how to get used to its different interface (Don't ask my why). But anyways. What I'm asking from those of you who have done experiments with old systems....Whats both fun and teaches me something in the process?
    The systems specs are as follows, just for limitation purposes
    Intel Celeron 400 MHz
    128 MB PC133 SDRAM
    6GB harddrive...But I have only 4 are usable, I've been meaning to look into that too.
    Onboard Sound and graphics.
    Ethernet and Modem PCI cards

    Internet connection is DSL, hope to me moving up to a 3mbps broadband connection soon.
    Connected to the internet through a Router (2 other computers sharing the connection)

    Mandrake is currently installed, Formatting is no problem though, if you're idea requires it.

    This computer is located in the same room as the router and DSL modem, and is right next to my main computer (Currently on WinXp Pro if it matters).

    Now that I've kinda rambled on for a while, I'll let you all suggest some ideas on what to do with it.

  2. #2
    King Arana: Super Moderator
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    What's fun and teaches you something in the process? I'd hafta say taking that box apart and putting it back together, exploring the Mandrake OS (you're new to it, correct?), maybe uninstalling and re-installing, trying a different OS, etc.
    Space For Rent.. =]

  3. #3
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    Already built a few PCs, So I have that process down pat. Exploring Mandrake came to mind, but I wasn't sure if there was something more security related that could be learned from something that could only be tested from a spare PC. Because I could always make a 10gb paritition or so on my main pc and mess with Mandrake there.
    It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious. - Murphy
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  4. #4
    Senior Member mungyun's Avatar
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    I would figure you should set it up in a network and learn to break in to it. That would be fun and security related. I have a couple of real old computers I put older versions of red hat that have obvious security holes and learn from there. Just a suggestion though.
    I believe in making the world safe for our children, but not our children’s children, because I don’t think children should be having sex. -- Jack Handey

  5. #5
    Super Moderator: GMT Zone nihil's Avatar
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    Hi,

    The first thing I would do is sort out your HDD problem and get some more RAM. PC133 is very cheap these days so now is the time to get that sorted out (I made the mistake with PC100, which is now significantly more expensive than PC133). Your specifications are quite low at the moment, particularly as you have onboard video, which must be sharing some of the RAM.

    You should be able to pick up a cheap or second hand video card that will improve performance as well.

    I see from your profile that you are a student, how long before you will be starting work? If it is in the near future you might like to get a copy of WIN 2000 Pro and experiment with setting up user groups, profiles and permissions and try locking down the computer, files, folders and applications then breaking into them just like some pesky users do

    The reason I say that is depending on where you get a job, you are quite likely to encounter Win2k, so it would be good to have that under your belt and on your CV. Given the specifications for Longhorn, I can see Win2k being around until 2010, particularly in Education, Government and Military sectors.

    Just a thought
    If you cannot do someone any good: don't do them any harm....
    As long as you did this to one of these, the least of my little ones............you did it unto Me.
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  6. #6
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    From a teach yor self linux and security point of view. I would take the copy of Knoppix STD, that i haveand install on my spare machine.

    Knoppix is a live version of linux that can be run from a cd rom, which is exactly what i am playing with at the moment. I have not got a spare pc at the moment so i have not installed it.

    Knoppix STD is a security inhanced version of Knoppix with a list of tools that is quite impressive.

    authentication
    encryption
    forensics
    firewall
    honeypot
    ids
    network utilities
    password tools
    servers
    packet sniffers
    tcp tools
    tunnels
    vulnerability assessment
    wireless tools

    Some more info here: http://www.knoppix-std.org/

    If i had a spare box thats what i would do learn and have fun at the same time.

    I only mention Knoppix because it's the only version of linux that i am familiar with. there may be other disto's equally loaded with security tools, i'm sure some of the nix gurus will but us straight on that point.

    good luck and have fun, what ever you decide.

    Jinxy
    What happens if a big asteroid hits the Earth? Judging from realistic simulations involving a sledge hammer and a common laboratory frog, we can assume it will be pretty bad. - Dave Barry

  7. #7
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    Well, this is what I would do..... In fact, it's not far off from what I did do with an old PII 266.

    Once you have your hardware issues sorted out, drop two NICs in that sucker and install the linux version of your choice. Or continue to use Mandrake if you like, that's all personal choice. Personally, on older boxes, or ones with very limited hard drive space, I like to use Slackware.

    Anyway....once you've got that sucker with two NIC's in it, put it directly behind your router and learn how to use iptables. There is an excellent book by Robert L. Ziegler called Linux Firewalls that can step you right through it. So now you have a dedicated hardware firewall in your network (a good thing) which will teach you a lot about how firewalls work. You can continue to expand your knowledge by making that box a DHCP server, a DNS server, et cetera as you feel inclined. And no...it's not 'best practices' to have all those services running on the same box, but for a home network if you have your iptables tight enough, you should be just fine.

    My $.02

  8. #8
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    Sounds good, I think I'll take nihils advice and fix the pc up a bit first. But as for a student thing. Starting my sophmore year soon. So work isn't coming anytime soon.

    But after that thread_killer's idea sounds a bit interesting, and is exactly the sort of thing I was looking. So thanks a lots.

    And jinx, I'll keep the knoppix idea in mind. Hopefully I'll be able to get to it before summer vac. is over.
    It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious. - Murphy
    CooLL.Net

  9. #9
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    I run a P233MMX (64MB RAM) as a linux firewall, NIDS and other sec stuff at my home lan. It works great for a 256Kb-1Mb connection (i.e. adsl).
    Meu sítio

    FORMAT C: Yes ...Yes??? ...Nooooo!!! ^C ^C ^C ^C ^C
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  10. #10
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    As thread_killer said try out linux in that manner or go with one of the BSD's. I have started reading "Absolute OPENBSD Unix for the Practical Paranoid" by Michael W. Lucas $27.17 from amazon.com. Lucas does say that the book is for experienced Unix users, but if you have the basics of linux down, you shouldn't have too many problems working your way through the book. Right now, I am working on setting up an OpenBSD firewall box.
    The box you have is more than enough for a home network firewall. If you want to setup a linux desktop, I would get more ram as nihil suggested, although you could run a liter desktop than kde/gnome for better performance.

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