Blog di Bernardino (Dino) Ciuffetti

27 Ago 14 Squid: how to get rid of “All url_rewriter processes are busy”

If you check your squid forward (transparent or not) proxy log files you may found errors like those:

WARNING: All url_rewriter processes are busy.
WARNING: up to 6 pending requests queued

This is true if you use the directive “url_rewrite_program”, for example with SquidGuard.
In this case, squid tells you that it cannot spawn more helper processes to externally scan your requests in parallel, so it’s queuing your requests.
This is not a great problem, but you may be annoyed to see this stuff in your log files, or there are cases in which the default may be too low!

You may raise this limit with the parameter called url_rewrite_children.

To solve, add something like this to your squid.conf configuration file, and restart squid:

url_rewrite_children 32

Ciao, Dino.

21 Ago 14 How to enable apache NameVirtualHost with SSL

If you want to create name based virtualhosts in apache with SSL Certificates, you need openssl with SNI and TLS support (0.9.8f or better) and good apache 2.2.X version.

It’s a simple task, after you’ve read this official article:

12 Giu 14 How to declare a read only variable in bash

I didn’t know that it was possible to declare a read only variable in bash.

It’s as simple as to run the following statement:

declare -r a=10

This will create a read only variable called $a with value 10 that you cannot overwrite or unset.

21 Feb 14 HOWTO generate a SAN (Subject Alternative Names) SSL CSR with OpenSSL

There is a cool SSLv3 protocol extension that’s called SAN (Subject Alternative Names). With this extension you can create a single SSL X509 certificate that is valid for several domain names, instead of a classic certificate that’s valid for one domain name only.

You can ofcourse create this kind of certificate with OpenSSL. We are now going to see how to do that.
Fist you have to create a file called openssl.cnf and put it for example into a temporary dir. The file should begin with:

distinguished_name = req_distinguished_name
req_extensions = v3_req

This is to enable SSLv3 req extensions.
Now, you have to add your custom informations to the openssl.cnf file: those informations will be reflected on the next steps.
Add something like this to openssl.cnf:

countryName = Country Name (2 letter code)
countryName_default = IT
stateOrProvinceName = State or Province Name (full name)
stateOrProvinceName_default = Italy
localityName = Locality Name (eg, city)
localityName_default = Rome
organizationName = Organization name
organizationName_default = My company name Srl
organizationalUnitName = Organizational Unit Name (eg, section)
organizationalUnitName_default = System Techies
commonName = Common Name (eg, YOUR name)
commonName_max = 64
#commonName_default =
emailAddress = Email Address
emailAddress_max = 40

The informations above are used by the “openssl req” command to ask you data to generate your certificate request.
Then, add this block of informations into the openssl.cnf file:

keyUsage = nonRepudiation, digitalSignature, keyEncipherment, dataEncipherment
extendedKeyUsage = serverAuth, clientAuth
subjectAltName = @alt_names

Those informations will enable some extra useful things on your certificate request that will hopefully became valid on your brand new SSLv3 certificate. For example you are requesting your Certification Authority to release a X509 SSLv3 certificate with server and client authentication purposes, plus other certificate goodies.

Now the cool part: this is where you are asking your CA to release a certificate with Alternative Names (certificate valid for several domains). Append this stuff in openssl.cnf:

DNS.1   =
DNS.2   =
DNS.3   =
# you could also specify IP addresses like this:
# IP.1 =

OK. You are almost ready to create your CSR, but first you have to generate your private key.
NOTE that many CA are now requesting a private key of 2048 bits or more. Warned: a key of 1024 bits is not recommended!
To generate a 2048 bits private key, as usual, execute this command:

openssl genrsa -out server.key 2048

Perfect. It’s time to create the Certificate Request (PKCS#10) with SSLv3 extensions:

openssl req -new -out server.csr -key server.key -config openssl.cnf

Now, send your new server.csr file to your Certification Authority that will hopefully accept the request and relase a valid X509 SSLv3 certificate with SAN.

Good luck and enjoy.

05 Dic 13 As you can see, this site is reachable via IPv6!

If you are using IPv6 (like me) you can see that this blog is reachable via IPv6. Pretty cool!

ipv6 ready

14 Nov 13 LVM Hot backups with snapshot

As you may know, LVM make it possible to create live snapshots of running logical volumes.
Imagine a guest virtual machine that has its virtual disk backed on a LVM logical volume on the host system.
You may create a live hot backup of your virtual machine on the fly, while it is working.

To do this, I created a small script that makes a compressed backup of all the logical volumes on the /dev/vg0 volume group.
The script make use of the standard LVM utilities to have the snapshot, the pv utility to get a cool progress bar and pigz utility to compress (gzip) using all of your processors.
If everything went ok, when the script finishes you’ll find your LVM hot backups on the /backups directory, and the temporary lvm snapshots removed.

This is how I make hot backups of some of my virtual machines (


for lv in `lvdisplay /dev/vg0 | grep ‘LV Name’ | awk ‘{print $3}’`
LV_SIZE=”`lvs –units m –noheadings –nosuffix $lv | cut -d’ ‘ -f7 | cut -d. -f 1`” # LV size in MB
LV_UUID=”`lvdisplay $lv | grep ‘LV UUID’ | awk -F’LV UUID’ ‘{print $2}’ | sed ‘s/^ *//g’`”
LV_SNAPNAME=”SNAP_`basename $lv`”

echo “LVM Logical Volume: $lv”
echo “Size: $LV_SIZE MB”
echo “UUID: $LV_UUID”
echo “Snapshot name: $LV_SNAPNAME”
echo “Removing old snapshot (if any)…”
lvremove -f “/dev/vg0/$LV_SNAPNAME”
echo “Creating snapshot…”
lvcreate -L+2G –snapshot -n”$LV_SNAPNAME” “$lv”
sleep 4
echo “Backing up snapshot…”
dd if=”/dev/vg0/$LV_SNAPNAME” bs=512k of=/dev/stdout | pv -pterbW -i 2 –buffer-size 512k –size “$LV_SIZE”m | /usr/bin/pigz -9 -b 256 > “/backups/$”
echo “Removing snapshot…”
lvremove -f “/dev/vg0/$LV_SNAPNAME”
echo “–”


13 Nov 13 Apache HTTPD as 2WAY (mutual) authentication SSL reverse proxy balancer

In this small article I’ll instruct myself (and you too?) how to create a 2 way authentication (mutual authentication) SSL reverse proxy balancer gateway. This configuration is useful in any enterprise environment where it’s requested to separate clients, the frontend and the backend, and when the traffic between clients and the gateway, and between the gateway and the backends must be encrypted.
This also ensure the clients and the backends to be authentic, and avoids Man In The Middle attacks.

Since the reverse proxy is in the middle between the clients and the backends, it’s requested for the clients to send a known client certificate to the gateway (apache), so that the gateway can recognize them. This is done with X509 certificates.
For the same reason, each backend contacted by the gateway is requested to respond with a valid and known server certificate. This is also done with X509 certificates.
Generally, the clients and the backends will also check their peer’s (apache) certificate to be known and valid, so that if someone is going to impersonate the gateway, it will be found and will not be considered authentic.

To do so, we’ll use:

  • apache httpd
  • mod_ssl
  • mod_proxy_balancer + mod_proxy + mod_proxy_http

Everything is done with a simple and single virtualhost in apache to be included in httpd.conf.
A working example is given below (assumes apache to be installed in /opt/apache, working with IP on port 443):

# General setup for the virtual host
DocumentRoot “/opt/apache/htdocs”
CustomLog “|/opt/apache/bin/rotatelogs /opt/apache/logs/ssl_request_%Y%m%d.log 43200” “%t %h %{SSL_PROTOCOL}x %{SSL_CIPHER}x \”%r\” %b”
ErrorLog “|/opt/apache/bin/rotatelogs /opt/apache/logs/error_%Y%m%d.log 43200”
CustomLog “|/opt/apache/bin/rotatelogs /opt/apache/logs/access_%Y%m%d.log 43200” combined

# Enable SSL Server on this virtualhost
SSLEngine on
# Disable SSLv2 in favor of the more robust and secure SSLv3
SSLProtocol all -SSLv2
# List of supported cryptografic server cipher suites

# Apache server certificate
SSLCertificateFile “/opt/apache/conf/ssl/server.pem”
# Apache server private key
SSLCertificateKeyFile “/opt/apache/conf/ssl/key.pem”
# Apache server CA certificate (certificate of who released your server certificate)
SSLCertificateChainFile “/opt/apache/conf/ssl/ca.pem”
# Client’s CA certificates (list of certificates of who released your client’s certificates)
SSLCACertificateFile “/opt/apache/conf/ssl/ca.pem”
# It’s mandatory for apache to authenticate the client’s certificate
SSLVerifyClient require

# Enable SSL Client on this virtualhost (the traffic to the backends can be encrypted)
SSLProxyEngine on
# Apache client CA certificate (certificate of who released your client certificate)
SSLProxyMachineCertificateChainFile “/opt/apache/conf/ssl/ca.pem”
# Apache client private key + client certificate (concatenated in a single file)
SSLProxyMachineCertificateFile “/opt/apache/conf/ssl/client.pem”
# Backends’ CA certificates (list of certificates of who released your backends’ certificates)
SSLProxyCACertificateFile “/opt/apache/conf/ssl/ca.pem”
# It’s mandatory for apache to authenticate the backends’ certificate
SSLProxyVerify require

<FilesMatch “\.(cgi|shtml|phtml|php)$”>
SSLOptions +StdEnvVars
<Directory “/opt/apache/cgi-bin”>
SSLOptions +StdEnvVars

BrowserMatch “MSIE [2-5]” \
nokeepalive ssl-unclean-shutdown \
downgrade-1.0 force-response-1.0

# Define a load balancer worker to be used to balance the HTTPS traffic to three backends.
# The traffic between apache and the backends is encrypted
<Proxy balancer://httpslb>
# Define the first backend (https) with 2 way auth
BalancerMember route=worker1 retry=10
# Define the second backend (https) with 2 way auth
BalancerMember route=worker2 retry=10
# Define the third backend (https) with 2 way auth
BalancerMember route=worker3 retry=10

# Don’t send the “/balancer-manager” uri to the backends
ProxyPass /balancer-manager !
# Distribute the traffic (any url, since it is “/”) to the backends with round robin + cookie based session persistence
ProxyPass / balancer://httpslb/ lbmethod=byrequests stickysession=JSESSIONID


If the clients and the backends are configured to check the gateway (apache) certificates, this is considered to be a very secure configuration.


03 Nov 13 SSH connection is slow? Did you try to disable DNS lookups?

If your SSH connection is slow, it may depends on your SSH server that is executing reverse DNS lookups to try to identify your details.

Try setting the parameter below to your /etc/ssh/sshd_config and restart your ssh server daemon:

UseDNS no

It worked perfectly for me, it may work perfectly with you too.

10 Ott 13 How to fix svn error: OPTIONS ‘’: SSL handshake failed: SSL error: Key usage violation in certificate has been detected

If you encounter an error like this one on your SVN client:

svn: OPTIONS di ‘‘: SSL handshake failed: SSL error: Key usage violation in certificate has been detected. (

you can try to fix your problem linking your library used by your svn client to /usr/lib/

Try with this one:

mv /usr/lib/ /usr/lib/
ln -s /usr/lib/ /usr/lib/

Tested on Debian 6.0 and Ubuntu 11.10

03 Mar 13 How to install php 5.2 on debian squeeze (6.0.x), the debian way

You may know that the PHP version coming with debian squeeze is 5.3. Since the 5.3 version of PHP breaks some compatibility with 5.2 you may find that an old PHP application is no longer working with the new version of PHP on squeeze.
The steps required to install PHP 5.2 on debian squeeze are very simple, you just need to setup APT to install the PHP packages coming with debian lenny.

The first thing to do is to add the lenny repository to the end of /etc/apt/sources.list:

deb lenny main contrib non-free

Then you need to make sure that your favourite PHP packages will be downloaded from lenny instead of squeeze. You can do this creating the file /etc/apt/preferences.d/lenny, with this stuff inside:

Explanation: choose Lenny as installation source if the package is not already installed and not available from Squeeze
Package: *
Pin: release n=lenny*
Pin-Priority: 100

Explanation: choose Lenny as installation source for those packages
Package: libapache2-mod-php5 php5-common php5-curl php5-gd php5-mcrypt php5-mysql php5-cli php5-mhash php5-xsl php5-imap php5-xmlrpc php5-sqlite
Pin: release n=lenny*
Pin-Priority: 999

After that, remove any previously installed PHP 5.3 package, for example with the command

apt-get remove –purge php5\*

and then install the PHP 5.2 packages from lenny:

apt-get update
apt-get clean
apt-get install libapache2-mod-php5 php5-common php5-curl php5-gd php5-mcrypt php5-mysql php5-cli php5-mhash php5-xsl php5-imap php5-xmlrpc php5-sqlite

That procedure saved my life twice, I hope it will save yours too!