Posts

Securing Google Workspace Administation with Free Secondary Admin Accounts

Image
This is especially useful for all Google Workspace admins who still use their regular account as domain admin. Google's security best practices for administrator accounts mentions Don’t use a super admin account for daily activities and I believe that this is a really important point. If you haven't done so, I also strongly recommend going over this acrticle as it serves as a check-list for your admin setup. Why isn't everybody using an admin account? Well, paying for yet another Google Workspace license just for admin work might be too much for you, especially for smaller domains. A Shared Admin Account - Bad Idea Some domains use a shared super admin account where every user has their own YubiKey configured as MFA. While this approach does separate between regular work and admin access, it doesn't give a good solution IMHO: You can't know who actually used it because multiple people have access and Google doesn'

FOSS Backstage 2024 - Open Source is nearly normal?

Image
Attending the 2024 Foss Backstage was again a real pleasure, my last one was in 2022 . I enjoyed participating in a conference in Berlin, in person and about Open Source. The only thing I don't understand is, why not more people come to it, there where only about 200 attendees on-site and another 60 online. Corporate Open Source Open Source in the business and as a serious business practice is clearly growing up. Most larger companies who sent representatives to this conference already have some sort of Open Source governance framework in place. It was also a nice meeting of many old acquaintances from the German corporate Open Source community. Has Open Source outgrown the OSPO   (video) , since SUN defined the role 25 years ago? - asks  Per Ploug Krogslund  who established Open Source Program Office (OSPO) teams at Zalando and Spotify. By my own observation it clearly has not outgrown it: Outside this Open Source conference, most companies I personall

Overriding / Patching Linux System Serial Number

Image
I'm a big fan of test driven development  (TDD) for infrastructure components. I'm currently working on a hardware-related topic where we also use the system serial number as identifier. To create a proper integration test, we need to be able to start a system and set the serial number to a known value. This can easily be done with the help of virtual machines like in VMware or VirtualBox , but I couldn't find a way for changing the system serial number on hardware boxes, cloud VMs (e.g. on Alibaba Cloud) or other Linux system. Problem Analysis I was thinking: Linux is the operating system where I can potentially do everything . So how hard can this be? After some digging around I found out that there are those main sources for the serial number on Linux: /sys/firmware/dmi/tables/DMI contains a binary blob of Desktop Management Interface data provided by the kernel and the dmidecode utility is commonly used to decode

Mission Impossible: Complete Disaster Recovery for Google Workspace

Image
I'm a frequent user of Google Workspace and even accept the switch from free to paid for my family domain . One topic has always been on my to-do list: Proper backups to support disaster recovery after a major problem. It turns out that Google Workspace has a significant flaw: It is technically impossible to create a full backup of all data and to restore that! Google simply doesn't offer any API for that. As a result, all backup vendors are forced to work with the regular APIs. As a result, not everything in Google Workspace can be stored in a backup, e.g. Google Sites (new, not classic). Some content, like Google Drawings and others, can only be backed up as a static file (e.g. PDF) and not restored into a new Google Drawing. Google itself doesn't offer much on backup and disaster recovery: Recover deleted files and folders for Drive users Restore deleted shared drives or their files How to mitigate ra

FOSS Backstage 2022 — A True Community Conference

Image
Attending the FOSS Backstage 2022 conference on "Community, Management & Compliance In Open Source Development" was a real highlight for me: A conference About Open Source In Berlin In person! I fondly remember the first edition in 2018 ( YouTube Archive , Flickr Photo Archive ) which actually helped with my Open Source work at DB Systel . Given the ongoing COVID pandemic, the conference was very small, with only about 60 people attending in person and 200 additional remote participants. That, and the conference location in a co-working space, gave the event a very intimate and personal feeling. More like a true community meet-up than a polished commercial event. The 2022 edition put the major focus on major Open Source related initiatives and community topics, but it didn't talk much about the practical sides of Open Source compliance, e.g. the OpenChain Project . I spoke with the organisers about that, and they indicated that future F

Fixing Chrome Color Printing on Linux with HP Color LaserJet M880

Image
It seems like I can't get a printer that "just works". I recently decided to replace our HP X476 printer with something nicer and bigger, an HP Color LaserJet M880 ( background story & review in German ). And of course there is something that needs fixing: The Chrome browser on Linux wouldn't let us print in color, even though all other applications had no problem to print in color. Even with Chrome color printing was possible, if one used the system printing dialog instead of the built-in Chrome print preview. This strange behavior of course piqued my curiosity. After some digging around I found out that the Chrome browser needs to parse and understand  the printer driver PPD! Chrome tries to find out how to configure color or grayscale printing in order to offer the user the choice. If Chrome can't understand the printer driver then it simply doesn't offer the choice between color and grayscale — and then some printer driver default can ch

A Login Security Architecture Without Passwords

Image
Following up on Lifting the Curse of Static Credentials and Eliminating the Password of Shared Accounts , I have many discussions about why we would benefit from removing password prompts for website logins. Let's dig deeper into the details and show why removing password prompts leads to a  safer security architecture . Update 11.03.2022: Added more details about business vs. consumer websites and additional security suggestions surrounding WebAuthn Problem Space For context, imagine a website that needs to identify online users via their email address. We assume that the website in question is not the primary email system of a user but some other website, e.g. an e-commerce shop system or a collaborative productivity tool. As a User As a user of that website I want to easily sign up for an account have an easy way to login into the account be sure that my account is protected from others or attacks be able to easily recover access to my account i

Thank you Deutsche Bahn, we had a good time

Image
As I am writing this, my last minutes of employment at Deutsche Bahn ( DB Systel , DB) are running out. Tomorrow I will start my new job at Forto – time to look back at my 4 years with DB. This was my first time working at a really large company, even a corporation. 320,000 employees is really a lot and till the very last week I met new people with interesting topics. Working at such a large company – especially one with so many subsidiaries – was a novel experience for me. I learned a lot about corporate politics and about the motivating factors in such a large organization. For me these last 4 years were a very good time, where I was allowed to work in a very interesting position (Chief Architect Cloud in the CTO Team of DB Systel) and together with very interesting and inspiring colleagues. I learned something from every one of my colleagues, and I would like to take this moment to tell you all a big thank you for this time together. A lot happened during those years, and I

The Demise of KaiOS - Alcatel 3088X

Image
I was really excited, when Firefox OS became commercially available as KaiOS for "smart" feature phones. Unfortunately the high hopes I had put into this platform have been utterly shattered. I was recently looking for a button phone that had only three requirements : very good battery run time, at least several days or a week of standby without charging easy backup or even synchronization of the contacts VoLTE support to benefit from LTE coverage  In Theory... On paper, KaiOS phones look like the perfect match for those requirements. PhoneCopy for KaiOS is a cloud synchronization service that comes with an app for KaiOS (and many other platforms) to synchronize contacts and other phone content to the cloud (and back). With batteries of 1500 mAh and more , KaiOS phones have the potential to deliver outstanding battery performance. The Alcatel 3088X , for example, boasts "up to 300h standby and more than 7h talk time" with a 1530 mAh battery: Battery specification
Like this content? You could send me something from my Amazon Wishlist. Need commercial support? Contact me for Consulting Services.