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But it still runs

June 29, 2017


The recent spate of malware attacks caused me to check on the security status of the various machines on the home/home office network that sit quietly doing their business without regular attention being paid to them. One of those is a machine used primarily as a file server. It’s a Linux box running Samba which raised issues with the recent SMB attacks (security notice from ).

My Samba install was too old to patch, so I went to find an update, which meant updating the web browser, which finally got me to check the operating system and hardware and realize that the server had been doing it’s job just fine but was too long in the tooth to keep going in the malware age. It’s running SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 (only 11 years old) but on an AMD Athlon and 1GB of RAM. I could probably get a current lightweight Linux to install on that hardware but I think I should throw in the towel and replace the server with something more current.

The point of this post is not to highlight my tendency to hold onto stuff, but to comment on a new reality. There was a time when working and filling a need was justification for keeping a machine in use. In the current reality security concerns change the equation.

When I was coming up in the IT world it was common to share stories about servers that had been walled in and forgotten and found years later but still running and in production the whole time. My server is not quite in that category but it was purchased in 2007, a then year-old OS was installed and it was put into use and that was pretty much it. There’s disk space left, it’s fast enough for what it does and I have a central place for my files. But in the modern world it’s a security disaster waiting to happen. Even with good patching practices, operating systems lose support and there is often no way to upgrade on old hardware.

Maybe if I can just find that old NetWare box inside a wall that will solve my problems…

From → Hardware, Security

  1. Well I didn’t find a server in the wall. I did decide that I really didn’t need a full server at home. Bought a Buffalo NAS device instead. “Simplify Grasshopper”


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