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Tekcert on Facebook has a Facebook page! For all of you out there that wanted to post a comment that was about the site or directed to Jeremy about how awesome his CBT Nuggets are, you now have a place to drop us a line. The wall is open to everyone, so have at it!

Also, if you didn't see the icon on the bottom of the page, Tekcert is on Twitter too! There's usually a tweet every time a blog post is made and when other updates to the site are made. 

Follow tekcert on Twitter

Feel free to pick your favorite social media avenue to tell us about your latest certification, give us a heads up about something on the site, or simply say hello. And definitely keep the comments coming on the site, they're great!

Cisco 3750 switches get some needed attention

If you have ever setup a stack of Cisco 3750 switches and thought the StackWise feature could use some improvement, well Cisco read your mind. At least that is what I thought when I first laid eyes on the 3750-X switches. Finally, dual power supplies that are hot swappable and a cool feature called StackPower that saves the day when both power supplies fail!

For those of you who haven't heard of StackWise, it is basically a feature that Cisco has offered with some of their access-layer ethernet switches and blade server switches which allows several switches connected together with special cables to be managed as if they are a single switch. This means a server connected to a port on switch 1 can talk to a server on switch 2 without ever leaving the switch stack. Plus there is an added bonus of one IP address and system to manage instead of however many switches are in your stack.

Juniper is Jumping in to the mix

Juniper announced yesterday that they will be closing the deal with Belden to acquire Trapeze Networks, a Belden brand of wireless products. This fills a gaping hole in Juniper's product offering since they have just about everything else to offer in the enterprise space. With the acquisition Juniper will have a ton of patents on wireless technologies and a decent offering of WLAN controllers, Access Points, and Wireless management systems. 

Certification Vouchers


What's that you say? You pay full price when you take a certification exam? Oh, no no no, this just wont do. If you are planning on taking taking a certification exam and you are used to paying full price, let me introduce you to the voucher.

Since most IT certification exams (i.e. Cisco, Microsoft, CompTIA) are taken from third party test centers, such as Pearson Vue and Prometric, there are opportunities to pay for exams ahead of time using a voucher system. The voucher is simply a string of text you copy from an email and paste into the purchase form which will either remove some of the price or completely pay for the exam. This is similar to coupon codes for online stores, except you pay for the voucher and then that covers some or all of the cost of the exam.

Earnings Reports and Pepto

Whenever I think of the stock market, I picture of a bunch of rich old men in a suits standing around arguing about how much more money one has than the other and gambling on senseless things. Ever see that movie Rat Race?

Yesterday, Cisco's stock (CSCO) took a dive after a weak forecast during their earnings report. What does that mean? To me, it means share holders are upset because they were expecting to be more rich than they will be, so they retaliated by taking their ball and going home. Nothing new there.

For the rest of us though, there will still be networks to design, routers to configure, and problems to troubleshoot. Leave the jacuzzi filled with pepto for the weird ones.

Input Director

If you have multiple computers that have their own monitors, are on the same network and you want to control them all from one keyboard and mouse - you have got to check out Input Director.

The setup process for this application is really simple. You install it on the main computer and set it up as the "master" computer. Then you install it on other computers you want to control (preferably they are right next to each other), and you configure those systems as "slave" computers. There are a lot of settings and options you can change, but basically when you slide the mouse cursor to the edge of one computer's screen, it shows up on the next computer's screen with a little water splash animation. You can fully control the remote (slave) computer with the main (master) computer's keyboard and mouse, and it's fast. I haven't noticed any degraded performance as a result of using this tool on my systems.

Using PRTG with GNS3

So, I came across a blog entry at called Using MRTG with GNS3. This got me thinking, "if MRTG works with GNS3, then PRTG should as well." Really, any tool that you can run on your network should be able to access your virtual network. So, I ventured forth to test out my hypothesis and here are the results.

Install GNS3

The first step is to have a working version of GNS3. I would recommend if you are going to try this, get the latest version as there are a ton of features and enhancements that weren't there a year ago. 

Clean up those firewall cobwebs

Stumbled upon an interesting article over on Tufin's blog that talks about cleaning up old firewall rulebases. If you manage a firewall for a larger organization, you are most likely accustomed to receiving frequent requests to modify it. In very large organizations, this typically involves an approval process, which might help keep approved requests in line with corporate policy, but doesn't mean the actual implementation of the rules are clean and not duplicated. 

IE Vulnerability

Microsoft announced they have a zero day vulnerability in versions 6, 7, and 8 of their famed browser. The majority of people use a combination of other browsers, but for everyone out there that prefer IE and throw caution to the wind, here's what you need to know. 

The vulnerability exists because some embedded feature that can be accessed in a certain way allows an attacker to execute arbitrary code (a.k.a. load viruses on your computer) and do their thing. If you are running recent versions of IE, stay away from questionable sites and don't click on spam email until Microsoft releases their patch for it. 

Mobile VPN Magic: Netmotion Mobility XE

If you have ever been in a position of having to support a mobile workforce, you have most likely been in a position of having to troubleshoot VPNs of one form or another.  This could involve tense phone calls with a VP while they are on a business trip and can't connect to get the presentation they need (why they didn't just copy it to the laptop in the first place, don't ask, because they never do). 

Connectivity options run the gamut. IPSEC VPNs were the standard years ago, however SSL moved in and seems to be the most popular of connectivity options that I've seen in recent years. There are also a wide variety of vendors that all offer pretty much the same thing, server software, client software, and then various authentication options. This is pretty much true for most vendors except for one, Netmotion Wireless

Tesla Motors Opens Their First Major Factory

I know this is way off the standard topic list, but I couldn't help myself, I like cool cars. Tesla Motors is a budding car company that aims to manufacture electric vehicles. If you haven't heard about them, check out their website.

Cisco Works Vulnerability

Cisco released a security advisory late last week announcing a vulnerability in their management software, Cisco Works Common Services. Common Services is the core Cisco Works application that takes care of the common database and other data that is shared between all of the Cisco Works applications.  If you are running a relatively recent installation of any Cisco Works installation, including Cisco Security Manager (CSM), Telepresence Manager, or QoS Policy Manager (QPM),  you most likely have a vulnerable version running. 

Here's a synopsis of the vulnerability, take a quick look at your version to see if you are at risk: 

Versions affected: The announcement says Common Services version 3.05 and newer are vulnerable. Earlier releases and the 4.0 release are not vulnerable. 

GLBP Authentication

If you have any type of redundancy protocol running on your network without authentication configured (especially on client subnets), you really should implement some simple security. When GLBP was first implemented in Cisco's routers, if authentication was even available it was in plain text. Since then, the addition of MD5 key-strings and key-chains has enabled engineers to ensure some level of security without simple, plain text passwords. 

How to configure GLBP

So, you might be asking how to configure GLBP. If you already have two routers on the same subnet with GLBP configured, their interface configurations might look something like this:

Defend the city!

The Cisco SLM2008 switch Jeremy talked about is cool and all, but does it help you defend the city?
Introducing the  Cisco SG 300-10 10-Port Gigabit Managed Switch. According to Amazon's description, not only does it aid in defending the city, it also will help you "find and defeat new Doom Syndicate enemies, including Megamind's re-programmed Brainbots!" 

Say Goodbye to CCVP and CCSP

Kiss the CCSP and CCVP titles goodbye. Cisco recently announced that the track specific professional certification exams are going to be changing their names. No more CCSP, it is now the CCNP Security. Same with the CCVP, it's now the CCNP Voice. Throw in the CCNP Service Provider Operations and CCNP Wireless, and you have yourself a plethora of professional tracks. 

The previous exam versions are still available for those of you out there who are halfway through completing the current Security and Voice tracks. Beginning next year, you'll start to see the current voice and security exams be replaced by updated versions. 

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by Dr. Radut