Ben Kennish

DevOps Engineer

Ben is a dev-ops engineer in the CatN team. He works on integrating various systems and backend processes across our infrastructure. You can find Ben on Google+

Passwords are past it – are certificates the key to better online security?

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When the impact of the OpenSSL Heartbleed vulnerability became clear (along with many other recent compromises), security experts advised us to change all of our online passwords as a precaution.

Of course this is a Good Idea™, but did you actually do it or was it just another of those pieces of advice about passwords that you thought about and then chose to ignore because it seemed like a massive hassle?  Did you promise yourself that you would get around to it at some point and yet probably you never will, despite an uncomfortable nagging feeling of insecurity at the back of your head?

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From Azerbaijan to Belarus – Support System Updates

Recently I have been making changes to the Support System we use here at CatN and I thought I’d share what features have been developed and are in development to help us to help you more effectively.

Features added so far (v1.4 “Azerbaijan”)

  • The system is now in a GitHub repository – in the process of doing this I learned lots about git and GitHub and this should allow others to make changes to the system at the same time as me
  • More portable – I removed leading slashes from relative URLs that didn’t need them, tidied up the way that “include”/”require”s are used, removed duplicate files and replaced with symlinks, etc
  • Enabled per-project priorities for issues – this included the ability for clients to set a priority using e-mail subject and automatic calculations of SLA deadlines
  • A “tidy-up” tool for stripping ‘Re:’, ‘Fwd:’, etc from issue subjects
  • A merge tool for combining multiple issues into one
  • Removed unused links from menu and updated the logo – sometimes the smallest of cosmetic changes can make a big difference to the overall feel of a system!

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DevOps Ninja Assassinates Web Logs!

Hello, I’m Ben and I recently joined the CatN team as a Systems Engineer / DevOps Ninja.

My first proper task was to get statistics working for two sites hosted on an early alpha of vCluster version 2; housepricecrash.co.uk and insanelymac.com. This proved to be quite tricky and required a good understanding of the way things worked.

First off I looked at the PHP script on our syslog1 server that runs daily on the cron and fetches stats from AWStats for the previous day.  This uses a MySQL database to find which sites it will fetch stats for, and screen scrapes an AWStats page for each one to do so. Read More