Examining the Remnants of a Small DDoS Attack

Posted on 03 December 2016 in Technology • Tagged with apache, botnets, ddos, drupal, ip, logs, sqlite

On Sunday (27 November 2016) a small website that I advise on was the victim of a DDoS attack that managed to knock the site offline. I received notice on Monday that the website was not working. I was able to ssh to the web server and quickly found that the database service was stopped. After a brief examination of the database logs (nothing too out of the ordinary), I started the service back up and sure enough the website came back online. As the website runs on Drupal, I logged in to take a peak at the Recent log messages and found hundreds of records of log in attempts from a lot of different IP addresses. User accounts on the website are only used by administrators to update content, so it was clear that the site was hit by a DDoS attack!

After getting things back online, I poked around the various log files to try to get an idea of what happened. The Drupal watchdog logs seemed to indicate that the attack started around 15:22 EST and overloaded the server's memory around 15:42 EST. The Apache server's access logs, however, revealed that the attack started closer …

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12 Years of Gmail, Part 2: Bootstrapping

Posted on 08 November 2016 in Technology • Tagged with 12 years of gmail, mailbox, graphing, plotly, python, sqlite, takeout inspector

This post is part of my series, 12 Years of Gmail, taking a look at the data Google has accumulated on me over the past 12 years of using various Google services and documenting the learning experience developing an open source Python project (Takeout Inspector) to analyze that data.

Jumping back in to Python has been just as fun as my first experiences with it. After brushing off some of the dust, I have managed to put together a (very) small package that does a couple of basic things with a Google Takeout Mail (mbox) file:

  1. Parses and standardizes the format of email addresses;
  2. Imports key messages data in to an sqlite database;
  3. Produces simple graphs of top recipients and senders.

Parsing Email Addresses

The mailbox Python module makes it very simple to get an mbox file in to Python and play around using the mailbox.Mailbox and email.Message classes. Here is an example using my mbox file:

import mailbox
email = mailbox.mbox('/path/to/email.mbox')

# The number of emails in the mbox file.
print len(email.keys())

# The "Delivered-To" header of the first email.
print email …

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