Free Useful Tools from ESET® Antivirus to Protect Users and Families Online

The multiple award winning company ESET headquartered in Bratislava, Slovakia was founded in 1992 when Miroslav Trnka and Peter Paško partnered with Rudolf Hrubý. The hugely successful company offers anti-virus and firewall products such as ESET NOD32.


Post a Comment

Windows Server 2012 R2 Computer Account Management

Computer Account Management

What is a Computer Account?
Located in Active Directory, the Computers container keeps entry records and manages all client machines connected to a server domain environment. Building on from our lesson in Windows Server User Account Management, Launch AD and expand the local domain tree > Select Computers container and notice there are currently no computers listed in the directory as shown below. 


Post a Comment

Dell SonicWALL Firewall Appliance Overview

                    Dell SonicWALL Firewall Appliance

Founded in 1991 by brothers Sreekanth Ravi and Sudhakar Ravi under the name “Sonic Systems, to develop Ethernet and Fast Ethernet cards, hubs and bridges for the Apple market.


Post a Comment

Secure Password Applications and 2 Factor Authentication (2FA)

Secure Password Applications and 2 Factor Authentication (2FA)

Remembering passwords which some important applications enforce to be changed at least every three months can be a nuisance, sometimes resulting in people using ‘abcd1234’ for everything online. Creating and recalling effectively strong passwords for every website you visit can be a daunting task.


Post a Comment

Windows IIS Internet Information Service Server Installation

Internet Information Service (IIS)
Formerly known as Internet Information Server, IIS was essentially created by Microsoft as an extensible web server for use with Windows NT family.

Protocols supported by IIS include HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, FTPS, SMTP and NNTP, making IIS an integral part of the Windows NT family since Windows NT 4.0.  

1 Comment:

Post a Comment

F5 BIG IP Network Traffic Firewall Load Balancer

F5 Firewall Introduction & Course Overview

What is F5 Networks?

An American based company that specializes in Application Delivery Networking (ADN) technology targeting web applications delivery and security, availability of servers, performance, data storage devices and cloud resources.

Originally known for its load balancing products, F5 has diversified into global DNS based load balancing and acceleration, web application firewalls for security and DDoS defence.

F5 technologies are available in data centres and cloud platforms such as Microsoft Azure, AWS, Google Cloud and OpenStack. 

F5 Application Delivery Network Products (BIG-IP)

The BIG-IP family of products consists of hardware, modularized software and virtual appliances that run the F5 TMOS operating system. 

Depending on the appliance and functionality required, several BIG-IP modules can be added for your networking tasks. We’ll be focusing on Local Traffic Manager (LTM) for the purposes of this course.

F5 BIG-IP Product Offerings

There may be different reasons why a network engineer will be looking F5 appliances. Maybe you want to deploy a device on your network, gain some knowledge about them or even gain certifications in deploying and administering the technology. Below are options available:

- Local Traffic Manager (LTM): Provides local load balancing based on a full-proxy architecture framework.

- Application Security Manager (ASM): This works as a web application firewall.

- Access Policy Manager (APM): This option provides authentication and access control for HTTP and HTTPS applications.

- Application Acceleration Manager (AAM): Using compression and caching, you can optimize and accelerate the performance of applications.

- Advanced Firewall Manager (AFM): This is used as on premises data center firewall and protection from DDoS attacks.

- IP Intelligence (IPI): This is used to block known bad IP addresses, preventing phishing attacks and botnets.

- WebSafe: This leverages advanced encryption to protect against sophisticated fraud threats, client-less malware detection with session behavioral capabilities.

- BIP-IP DNS: Provides distributed DNS and applications based on user, network and cloud performance conditions.

                                           F5 BIG-IP Education and Certification  

Certification can become a big part of an IT engineer’s career once you have experience with technologies. Begin the journey by visiting F5 website and register for an account.

Several benefits come with having an account with F5 from up to date information about new products, licensing tools, engineering community and most importantly getting access to virtual F5 BIG-IP applications to install in your home lab to practice the technologies.

Considering a second hand F5 device could cost about $9000, getting your hands on the virtual machine is an invaluable option for beginners.  

                                               F5 Certification Exam Structure 

Typically the exam costs $135 to sit and comes in two parts to earn certification as an F5 BIG-IP Administrator;

-101: Application Delivery Fundamentals – Covers all the base networking technologies and modules required to configure optimum performance experience for users interacting with applications on multiple servers. Knowledge of load balancing of servers using NAT/SNAT, iRules, persistence and High Availability can be gained from studying this course.

-201: TMOS Administration – Covers the main Traffic Manager Operating System that runs on the F5 device. This focuses more on how the operating system works, administration, troubleshooting and maintenance of the F5 BIG – IP system.

Each exam lasts for 90 minutes with 80 questions to answer. 10 of those questions carry No marks in completely random orders, so essentially you have to answer 70 questions with the pass mark set at 69% which can be really tight to achieve unless you have experience playing around with the device.

The best approach will be to register for an account with F5 where to get the chance to download a virtual machine version of the load balancer which can be installed on VMware ESXi for example for training purposes until you are ready to attempt the exam. 

More information about the courses here

BIG-IP LTM training courses cost $2,995 (USD) and lasts for a period of 3 days. It’s a good idea to have a look at the study guides or blueprints to know the nature of the questions and how to approach them.

You can only take these exams from VUE Professional Test Centres, locations of which may not be available near you so it’ll be worth researching these centres for more information about the exams. 

                            Conclusion & Final Thoughts

We hope this document sheds some light on what to expect if you are in pursuit of knowledge or certification in F5 BIG-IP Firewall Load Balancer. Knowledge of this technology will enable you to deploy networks in corporate environments with emphasis on balancing the network load for optimum performance of applications.

Further certifications exist such as F5 Certified Technology Specialist and F5 Certified Solutions Expert which can be explored after your first stage is complete.

Do leave us some comments or tips you may have on passing the exams and thanks for investing your time with us.  

                                     Ledger Nano S - The secure hardware wallet
                                        Learn Data Backup on Sia Blockchain 

                  Credits to all organisations and development teams at F5 Networks Technology    Twitter:@ixploitsecurity    Facebook



Post a Comment

Windows Server 2012 R2 User Account Management

User Account Management

What is a User Account?

An object in AD DS responsible for controlling authentication and validation of access to resources, containing many attributes about a particular user on your network. 


Post a Comment

How to Set Up BitLocker® Drive Encryption in Windows 10

In this new era of rampant ransomware attacks and threatening activities on the internet, setting up a form of encryption is a good idea even if only to prevent your data landing in the wrong hands.


Post a Comment

How to Create Admin Account in Windows 7 & 10 with Full Privileges

As an active IT engineer, you will find yourself logging in and out of systems on a daily basis. But what happens when you get locked out of the system you built for one reason or the other?  


Post a Comment

Configuring VMvisor ESXi 6.5 with Multiple Virtual Machines

Welcome to our third lesson in data centre virtualization with VMware, in the previous lessons we performed the installation of Androidx86 on a Type-2 hypervisor and VMware ESXi installation as a Type-1 hypervisor system.


Post a Comment

Data Center Virtualization with VMvisor Installing & Config VMware ESXi 6.5

Welcome to our second lesson in data centre virtualization with VMware, this time around we’ll be focusing on the Bare- metal Type-1 hypervisor; VMvisor ESXi installation and configuration.


Post a Comment

Introduction to Windows Server 2012 R2 Install and Configuration

Paying homage to its powerful predecessors like Win Server 2000 and 2003, Windows Server 2012 R2 is Microsoft’s penultimate edition to the family with familiar technologies such as Active Directory, DNS, DHCP and Group Policy that administrators have grown to love and organisations frankly can’t do without.


Post a Comment

Data Center Virtualization with VMware vSphere - Installing android x86 on VMware

For individuals interested in knowledge for certification in VCP (VMware Certified Professional) and DCV (Data Center Virtualization), this tutorial will give you a clear, hands-on approach to achieving your goals.

Please be aware to pursue a certification as a VCP, VMware requires you to take an online or physical class with an official authorised agent, a list of which can be found on the VMware website.  

Virtual Machines
Imagine being beamed into the world of virtual reality, where you can experience multiple content and signals on a large scale from your living room as if you were present at the scene, just by wearing some advanced goggles fitted with sensors. Impossible once upon a time, right?

Now think about your old computer with the usual components such as ROM, BIOS, CMOS, drivers and peripherals such as mouse, keyboard, USB and monitor that need to be present for a successful boot into an operating system.
What if a hardware can be tricked by software to believe all these parameters are present to create the perfect illusion of a traditional environment? That’s what Hypervisors are.

Hypervisors are a type of system normally in software capable of emulating resources to enable successful booting of operating systems such as Windows or Linux. As far as the operating system is concerned, the components required for it to function are present such as processors, RAM, keyboards etc.

Types of Hypervisors
There are generally two types namely Bare-Metal Hypervisors, where a hardware computer has the hypervisor installed and is hosting two or more operating systems running as guest virtual machines. An example of a Type 1 hypervisor is VMware ESXi installed on a host machine.


Type 2 hypervisors are where the computer is already running an operating system such as Windows, Linux or MAC OS. You can run virtualized operating system environments using software such as VMware workstation, Fusion, Oracle’s Virtual Box and GNS3 for emulating network environments.  

                                        Illustration of Type - 1 and Type - 2 Hypervisors

   1.   Installation of VMware Workstation with OS (Hypervisor Type-2)

If you’re serious about studying VMware all the way, it is advisable to register for a free account, which can be done using this link;

Carrying out this important task comes with some advantages, such as downloading Workstation and ESXi software, getting access to software licenses, joining a community of experts and also accessing information on training and exams for certification as VCP and DCV.

The current version of Workstation is 12 but installing earlier versions, like 10, will be adequate for this task. Remember this is a demonstration of a Type-2 Hypervisor so an operating system would have already been running on a host before the hypervisor is installed. Think of it like an onion inside another onion when we install additional operating systems in the hypervisor VMware Workstation.

To save space, I would recommend downloading an .iso file of Android x86 for this task, a link to the file on Sourceforge can be found here;

Once downloaded, place the file in a location on your computer and fire up VMware Workstation. 

At the top left corner, click File and select New Virtual Machine to display the set-up wizard above.

Select Typical Installation and click Next to continue the set up with the screen displayed below. 

Here, you’ll be presented with a few installation options such as Installing from a Disc, installing from an .iso file or you can even choose to install the operating system later. Since we already have an .iso file we downloaded earlier, select (.iso) and browse to the location of your file. Click Next to proceed.

At this stage, you get to name your virtual machine and you may change the location where the installation files are stored on your host machine. 

Choose an appropriate name, so it is easy to identify if you intend to install many virtual machines in the future. Click next to proceed with the installation. 

By default, 20GB of HDD space from your host machine is allocated to create your new virtual machine.
You are presented with the option to store your virtual disk as a single file or split it into multiple files.

The idea for choosing the split disk option is that some operating systems have maximum file size limits such as 2GB limit for Fat32 file types, having a split disk will ensure the machine can write excess files onto the multiple disks instead of being limited to one single virtual disk.

Using a configuration process known as Thin Provisioning ensures not all of the 20GB is used up at once. For example, if only 4GB is required, it releases the space to be used by other OS that require it.

You can now check the settings of your virtual machine and customize the hardware by changing the amount of HDD, RAM and networking options if required. Click finish to power on your virtual machine. 

The virtual machine is now ready to boot and you will be presented with a few options to run your operating system. For the purposes of this task, select Install Android – x86 to hard disk and hit Enter.

Remember to switch control from host machine to virtual machine, hold down Ctrl + Alt and click in the virtual machine workspace to use your keyboard and mouse to send inputs. 

1 On the first step, you get to create/modify partitions

2 Create a primary partition using all of the 20GB allocated space.

3 Select New to create new partition from free space.

4 Select Write to partition table. Prompt data will be destroyed, which is fine.

5 Once the Write operation is complete, you can select the partition to install Android OS.

6 Choose the ext3 filesystem to format the partition.

7 Validate partition and select Yes to format sda1.

 8 Choose Yes to install /system directory as read-write.

9 Select Yes to install boot loader GRUB to enable successful boot of the operating system.

10 Wait for a moment while the Android operating system files install.

11 If the set-up configuration goes to plan, you should see this screen signifying your install has been successful.

This concludes the installation of Android OS in VMware workstation as a Type-2 hypervisor. You should now be able to see the Android virtual machine on the left pane of your application, where you have the option to tweak any settings you want for your new machine. Booted interface should look like the image below. 

Test the functionality by launching the browser and accessing your favourite websites. 

           VMware Education Packages & More Information 

As we discussed earlier in this lesson, you stand to gain a lot by registering for an account with VMware

Similarly, if you decide to pursue any certification in the direction of VCP (VMware Certified Professional) and DCV (Data Center Virtualization), you are required to take an online or physical class from an authorised agent. Please visit the website for more information.

Buy Now!

Typically, a training course in VMware vSphere: Install, Configure and Management will cost about £3,192.00 with the vSphere Foundations Exam Number: 2V0-620 costing about £276.00

You are welcome to join us as we delve even deeper into more advanced configurations of VMware to help sharpen your skills as you prepare for your exams or career as an engineer. 

As always, don’t forget to teach your fingers by practice, practice and more practice!

Thank you for investing your time with us. 

                                     Ledger Nano S - The secure hardware wallet
                                        Learn Data Backup on Sia Blockchain  Twitter:@ixploitsecurity  Facebook

                   Credits to all organisations and development teams at VMware Incorporated


Post a Comment