Troubleshooting Syspeace

An interesting support case came to our attention recently.

A customer claimed that Syspeace wouldn’t block according to the rules.

The bruteforce attacks would continue , even after they should have been blocked.

We checked the ususal culprits (verify that the .Net is fully patched, that the customer is running the latest Syspeace version, verify that logging is enabled and that the firewall is turned on )

The rules were added as expected in the firewall but they didn’t have any effect.

After a lot of troubleshooting the root-cause was found.

The customers server did indeed have the firewall enabled but only in one of the firewall profiles (public, private, domain) and unfortuantely, the network used was not the one the firewall was enabled for, hence, nothing was blocked as expected. The rules were added but did not take effect in the expected amount of time

So, as a general troubleshooting tip , check how your firewall is enabled and verify that it indeed is the correct network profile in there, or, enable the firewall for all three profiles.

The usual troubleshooting tips we give are described in the manual in the troubleshooting section

1. Make sure you’ve enabled the firewall (as described in Firewall), firewall enabled, prefferably on all profiles.

2. Make sure you’ve enabled the auditing (as described in Windows login detection prerequisites).

3. Verify that the server can reach . (You should see a message saying Hello from Stockholm. and the local time of the server and recommended Syspeace version)

4. In some instances, when running Terminal Server or Remote Desktop Services there’s actually the scenario where the Windows server itself fails to obtain the source IP address of the login attempt (you can verify this by checking the Windows event log and look for Source Network Address: ) Sometimes, that entry is empty, thus disabling Syspeace from actually having anything to block. Syspeace will attempt to corroborate the IP address from some other logs. If it doesn’t find any, there is not much that Syspeace can do. (Update: starting with Syspeace 2.7, these attempts can be detected too.)

5. In any applicable firewall or antivirus software, allow Syspeace access to (port 443).

6. Verify any proxy settings, if applicable.

7. Some methods of Windows authentication actually attempts to log in several times. Two failures may be part of one log in attempt. Syspeace has no way of knowing how many attempts were intended and has to work with the actual failures. Due to counting failures instead of attempts, rules may be triggered seemingly ahead of time.

8. One way of quickly verifying functionality is to use a workstation (not whitelisted) and attack your server with the net use command from the command prompt. After the number of tries defined in the current rules, the workstation should be blocked from communicating with the server. Example of the command: net use * \server name or server IP addressanyshare /user:syspeacetester “anypassword”

9. If you want to submit logs to us, start Syspeace, go to Management → System settings, enable logging and start the service. The log file is created in a subfolder of the Syspeace installation folder.

10. When submitting logs,
Please create a .zip file of the logfiles, include any relevant information from Windows Eventlogs (application, system and security and when applicapble, the Syspeace eventlog ) and also create a .Zip-file of the database and email them directly to the devteam . The email address can be found in the manual

11. If your server doesn’t pick up the source IP address in your eventlog , please have a look a this blog article

12. If your database has grown above the size limit of 4 GB, in the current version ( 2.5.2) you will have to manually delete the database and set up your Syspeace again. Please refer to this post on the matter
by Juha Jurvanen

#Syspeace stops due to license server inaccessable on #Windows Server 2003 #infosec

Syspeace service stops due to license server not reachable / inaccessibility on Windows Server 2003

We’ll actually update the troubleshooting section with info for Windows 2003 Servers but here’s why this can occur.

Apparently root certificates are not automatically updated on Windows Server 2003:

The automatic root update mechanism is enabled on Windows Server 2008 and later versions, but not on Windows Server 2003. Windows Server 2003 supports the automatic root update mechanism only partly. (This is the same as the support on Windows XP.) And because the root update package is intended for Windows XP client SKUs only, it is not intended for Windows Server SKUs. However, the root update package may be downloaded and installed on Windows Server SKUs, subject to the following restrictions.

If you install the root update package on Windows Server SKUs, you may exceed the limit for how many root certificates that Schannel can handle when reporting the list of roots to clients in a TLS or SSL handshake, as the number of root certificates distributed in the root update package exceeds that limit. When you update root certificates, the list of trusted CAs grows significantly and may become too long. The list is then truncated and may cause problems with authorization. This behavior may also cause Schannel event ID 36885. In Windows Server 2003, the issuer list cannot be greater than 0x3000.

This can be resolved for Syspeace by manually installing the gd-class2-root.crt certificate from this page:

#infosec VPS and #Cloud servers used for brute force attacks and #botnets against #WinServ and #MSExchange

Syspeace - intrusion prevention for Windows servers

Syspeace website

Is your VPS used for brute force attacks?

or I could also have called this post “Do you know whom your VPS is hacking today?”

A trend that has surfaced over the years is to simply hire computer power inte the Cloud in various forms and shapes. The basic idea is to get rid of the hardware and maintenance för servers and have someone else take care of it. Also known as Infrastructure aa a Service or IaaS

The problem is often though that even if you use a hosted VPS you still have to manage it. This is something that a lot of users and companies tend to forget or neglect.

What you’ve basically done is simply get rid of the hardware hassle but you still have to take care of the Windows patching and manage security issues as with any Windows serevr (or Linux för that matter) .

There aren’t that many Cloyd services out there that actually will also manage the security and management aspects of your VPS and you really need to think these things through.

The resaon for this post is that for some time now, a VPS located at a Swedish Cloud Service provider has been trying to brute force its way into quite a few different servers with #Syspeace installed on them.
The attacks, targeted aginst RDP / Terminal Servers servers, Exchange Server and Sharepoint Servers in this case, have been blocked, traced and reported automatically but the big question is whether whoever owns/hires this VPS is actually even aware of what is going on ? Or if it’s hired especially for this purpose? This is actuallt impossible to know.

In this specific case this VPS has been going on and on for a while and it has targeted at least 5 different customers of mine with Syspeace installed and about 12 servers at least.
All attacks have been succesfully blocked, tracked and reported and eventually this VPS will end up in the Syspeace Global Blacklist (GBL) and propagated to all other Syspeace installations around the world and it will be blacklisted for all of them, thus securing them preemptively from any brute force / dictionary attacks from this VPS.

Most likely the Cloud Service Provider doesn’t know what’s going on since it’s not their responsibility really. Maybe the user / customer hirong the VPS does this on pyrpose or they have no idea that the VPS has been compromised and is used for this hacking activity. I juyt donät knoew. All I know is that it has been cinducting a lot of dicitionary attacks lately.

What I’m driving at is that if you decide to start using a hosted VPS, you still have the responsibility to manage it as any other server really.
You need to have it correctly patched, have an antivirus on it, make sure all security settings are correct and you need to monitor activity on it.

You should also ask your Cloud Service provider for intrusion prevention from Syspeace since you basically have no idea what all of the other customers VPS are really doing in your shared network since you hae no control over them.

Most Cloud Service Provers could inplement Syspeace in their various Applications portals or have a Syspeace installed in their prepared images for customers. If your providers hasn’t implemented Syspeace yet, you can simply download it yourself from /free-download/download-plus-getting-started-with-syspeace/

Your “neighbors” at the Cloud Service could be trying to brute force they way into your VPS and you’d probably wouldn’t have a clue if you haven’t turned on logging and installed a brute foce prevention software for Windows servers.

By Juha Jurvanen @ JufCorp

#infosec Securing your #WinServ and #MSExchange with an acceptable baseline security

Securing your Windows Server with a baseline security

In short, to have an acceptable baseline security for any Windows server you need to think all of the things below in this list.
Sadly enough, even if you follow all of these steps, you’re still not secured forever and ever. There’s no such thing as absolute security. That’s just the way it is but you might use this as some kind of checklist and also the links provided in this post.

Syspeace logo

Syspeace logo

Securing Windows Serves with an acceptable baseline security

1. Make sure all of your software is updated with all security patches. This includes the Windows operating system but also Adobe, Java,Office and any software really. This reduces the risk for so called 0day attacks or your server being compromised by software bugs.

2. Make sure you have a good and not too resource intensive antivirus running on everything. Personally I’m a fan of F Secure PSB for servers and workstations for lots of reasons. It’s not just a pretty logo.

3. Verify you have thought your file and directory access structure and that users and groups are only allowed to use and see what they’re supposed to. Setting file permissions is a very powerful tool to secure your server and crucial.

4. Always make sure to read best practices for securing applications and servers and Google for other ideas also. No manual is the entire gospel.

5. Enable logging. If you don’t know what’s happeing, you can’t really react to it can you ? It also makes any troubleshooting hopeless in restrospect.

7. Have a good monitoring and inventory system in place such as the free SpiceWorks at

8. If your server has any monitoring agents from the manufacturer such as HP Server Agents, then install them and set them up with notifications for any hardware events to be prepared.

9. User Group Policies. It’s an extermely powerful tool once you start using it and it will make you day to day operations much easier.

10. If your server is reachable from the Internet, use valifd SSL certificates. They’re not that expensive and any communications should be encrypted and secured as fa as we’re able. Yes, think Mr. Snowden.Think NSA.

11. Disable any unused services and network protocols. They can be a point of entry and for the unused network protocols, you bascially fill your local network with useless chatter that comsume bandwidth. This also goes for workstations and printers and so on.

12. Enforce complex password policies! You won’t be well-liked but that’s not what you get paid for.
If people are having trouble remembering passwords the have all over the world, maybe you could have thme read this and on the topic of online passwords and identities also,

13. Use a good naming standard for user logins. Not just their first name as login or something too obvious. Here’s an old blog post on why

14. Backups! Backups! and again. BACKUPS!!
Make sure you have good backups (and test them at least once a year for a complete disaster revovery scenario) and make sure you have multiple generations of them in case any of them is corrupted, preferrably stored offsite in some manner in case of a fire, theft or anything really.
For day to day operations and generation management I highly recommend using the builtin VSS snapshot method but never ever have it instead of backups.
You can also use the built in Windows Server backup for DR as described here

15. You need to have an automatic intrusion protection against brute force and dictionary attacks with Syspeace since the “classic” methods do not get the job done. Here’s an older blog post on why . I you don’t have the time to read the article then simply download the free Syspeace trial, install it and you’ve set up a pwerful and easy to use bruteforce prtection for your server in minutes.

If you’re up for it, I’ve written a few other related posts here:

By Juha Jurvanen @ JufCorp

A walkthrough of getting #Syspeace licenses and how it works

Getting #Syspeace licenses and how it works.

From time to time we get an email from customers that have bought their Syspeace licenses and they ask for the license key that they expect to get in an email.

Here’s a walkthrough of how #Syspeace licensing actually works.

First you install a #Syspeace trial, register a valid email address and choose a password password (this is done in the initial setup of SysPeace ).

The license key is then email to that mailaddress.
This is the key that will also become the live license when you buy the license, There is no separate license key mailed to you if you purchase licenses.

Once you purchase the license, the Syspeace client will automatically be updated upon the next contact with the license server when it requests a new token to validate the license or the next time it is restared.

If you want to extend your Syspeace license to be valid for more servers, simply login to the Syspeace licensing page and extend your license and install Syspeace on the next servers , using the same license key.

When you extend the license, you also have to ability to align license renewals to fit your needs. As an example, if you bought a Syspeace license in april for 3 #Windowsservers and two months later you install an additional server. The easiest way is to extend the running license and simply adding a fourth server. This way you don’t have to have an administrative nightmare in order to rememember various license renewals for diferent servers.

If you’ve bought your license through a reseller such they’ll manage all of the administration for you.

Have a try for yourself and download a free, fully functional trial of Syspeace and have your #Windows #Server, #Exchange and #OWA , #SQL , #Citrix , #Terminal #RD #RDweb , #Sharepoint and more automatically #intrusion protexted in a minute.

#bruteforce attacks and #dictionary attacks blocked, tracked and reported.

So far , #Syspeace has blocked 2 042 900 #intrusion attempts worldwide!

By Juha Jurvanen – Syspeace reseller at JufCorp and independent IT Consultant

Using Syspeace for a targeted bruteforce attack against a specific username

Today we had an interesting support question actually.

Someone is trying to bruteforce a customer using the same account name but from a lot of different IP addresses and they only try once or twice from each IP address thus not triggering Syspeace to block the IP address based on the default rule.

The suggestion that we eventually came up with is to create a rule based on the user name and set the allowed attempts to only 1 failed attempt. therefore making Syspeace block the IP address immediately.

In this scenario though, one must also keep in mind though that legitimate user will get blocked out instantly after one failed try so there might be a good reason to white list the IP addresses that this user usually logs in from.

Furthermore, the reason for this specific and targeted user attack should be inestigated more closely and also be handed over to the proper authorities for investigation.

Closing in on 1 Million blocked brute force and dictionary attacks on Windows Servers world wide

Just a quick post about the numbers so far really.

Last night , Syspeace had blocked 962 553 brute force and dictionary attacks on Windows 2003 / 2008 / SBS server / RDS servers / Citrix WorldWide.

As a prediction , we will reach over 1 Million later on this week or early next week. We think that’s pretty cool. Considering Syspeace has been publically available only since July 15th 2012..

New version coming up

Other news regarding Syspeace is that we’re beta testing the new release now that will support Windows Server 2012, SQL Server and also have a completely new reporting, sorting and exporting feature called Access Reports.

The new Access Reports feature lets you create reports on failed and succesful logins on your Windows Servers and export them to .CSV reports. The information is saved in the local database so even if the Windows Security Log is cleared, the information is still available for use in for instance forensics and other tasks.

For a free trial download of the brute force and dictionaray attack preventon software Syspeace, please refer to the Syspeace Download page.

Syspeace license password reset

Hi, all.

As all of you know, we put a lot of effort and work into getting various features and improvements in place to help you protect your Windows 2003/2008/2008R2 and the Windows Server 2012 support coming up , Terminal Servers, Sharepoint Servers, Citrix Servers, Exchange Servers and so on.

We’re just so into making Syspeace the nr 1 product for intrusion prevention for Windows servers and a natural part of any Windows servers baseline security so that’s where our main focus is.

From time to time, our administrative efforts get left behind.

One of the most common questions , acually by far the most common question, emailed to our support is that when you wanted to buy a license for Syspeace, you’d forgotten your password and we provided you with a password reset link manually.
From one point of view, we’re happy to talk to you guys and help you out but of course, a password reset thing should be automated to help you get your licenses as soon as possible.

So, finally, we’ve now implemented a “Password reset” feature on the licensing page. Simply fill in the emailaddress you used when you registered and a password reset link will be emailed to you.

We’ve also got the instructions more clearly into the email you receive when you buy a license that you actually won’t have to do anything.

The trial license you’re running will be automatically verified as a valid, live license the next time your Syspeace contacts the license server.

So, in short, you won’t have to wait for a license number to be sent to you since you’ve already got it.

PS. As a heads up, we’ll be releasing the SQL Server support and we’re also working on a GUI feature to easily sort, search, find and export various reports to CSV files D.S.

by Juha Jurvanen

Syspeace now also for Windows 2003 Server

We’re happy to annonuce that the 2.0 version of Syspeace now also supports Windows 2003.

A few other changes in there are that the engine is rewritten to be even faster, the GUI has been simplified and we’ve done a few other changes “under the hood” to make it more modular for future development for new functions.

If you’re looking for an easy to use , cost efficient brute force and dictionary attack intrusion prevention software for Windows Servers on Windows 2003, 2008 2008 R2, 2003 SBS, 2008 SBS and so on.

We have also tested it on Windows 2012 but the official support will come later, but so far though, it has worked as expected.

Once you install Syspeace it protect your Citrix, Sharepoint, Exchange OWA, Terminal Servers and more ..

Have a look at Syspeace.,

The fully working trial is absolutely free for one month

Syspeace for Windows 2003 and 2012 due for release today

Syspeace Version 2 with support for Windows Server 2003 , 2008. 2008 R2 and 2012 is due for release this evening. Http://

More info on improvements and features to come.
Stay tuned.

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Juha Jurvanen
Senior IT consultant in backup, server operations, security and cloud