Episode 93 – Peripherals

Keyboards, Mice , Printers, Accessories

What do we call peripherals?

peripheral or peripheral device is an auxiliary device used to put information into and get information out of a computer. The term peripheral device refers to all hardware components that are attached to a computer and are controlled by the computer system, but they are not the core components of the computer, such as the CPU or power supply unit. In other words, peripherals can also be defined as the devices which can be easily removed and plugged into a computer system.

Several categories of peripheral devices may be identified, based on their relationship with the computer:

  • An input device sends data or instructions to the computer, such as a mouse, keyboard, graphics tablet, image scanner, barcode reader, game controller, light pen, light gun, microphone and webcam;
  • An output device provides output from the computer, such as a computer monitor, projector, printer, headphones and computer speaker;
  • An input/output device performs both input and output functions, such as a computer data storage device (including a disk drive, solid-state drive, USB flash drive, memory card and tape drive), network adapter and multi-function printer.

Many modern electronic devices, such as Internet-enabled digital watches, keyboards, and tablet computers, have interfaces for use as computer peripheral devices.

Some of my favourites

Mechanical Keyboards
KUL ES-87 Cherry MX Black or Clear Switches – I must double check
Keychron K2 Wireless

On my whislist:
HHK Classic Pro
UHK v2 * Hungarian project*


Trackball Mice
(I have 2x Logitech, 1x Kensington 1x Microsoft)

Logitech MX Ergo (At work , wireless)
Kensington Expert Mouse Wireless Trackball (At home, wireless)
Logitech Trackball Marbel ( Backup one cable USB)
Microsoft Trackball Optical 1.0 ( Backup one cable USB)

MFP Printers
( like the HP M3035 or Canon MF6180dw)

I will talk in more details about them below.

——

Monitors with Monitor Arms ( Ergotron) as accessories.

My main GPU in my Fedora Workstation the Fujitsu R940 is an Nvida Quadro NVS 510 which has 4x Monitor Outputs I can use natively. That was the most required feature I wanted out of the GPU.

There is a newer but similar card from Asus if you are in the market for 4x Display out and You are not a gamer:

Asus GT710 4H-SL 2GB DDR5 around 88 Euros here where I live ( it used to be around 50-60 euros but price went up unfortunately)
The NVS 510 has also 2GB Ram but its DDR3 so it might server as an Upgrade for me at some point if needed (( native 4x Display out is definitely what I need from a GPU)

The Asus card with the GT710 Nvidia chip is still compatible with the latest Nvidia drivers for Linux and its on the linux hardware .org list as compatible

https://linux-hardware.org/?view=search&name=GT+710#list

I don’t have any 4K Monitors I’m not sure I need one. I have 2x BENQ GL2460 1080P 24″ one mounted to an Ergotron LX Dual Side-By-Side Monitor Arm ( Front Left – Front Right) and an Old Benq T2210HD 22″ 1080p on the Side Left and a Lenovo T2224p 22″ 1080p on another Ergotron LX Single arm

(( I am missing an Ergotron LX Single Arm for the small Benq T2210 but I shall get it soon ))

Ergotron Monitor Arms = Lexus of Monitor Arms.
Built like a tank, solid and awesome.

My Printers

Switched to B&W Lasers some years ago and I must say it turns out to be more economical than inkjet ones were for me even with the added maintenance every once in a while exchanging the consumables ( pick up rollers and bits a and pieces which needs to be replaced as part of general service maintenance just like on a car after X amount of Kms driven ) apart from the toner/s after every X pages printed.

One thing for sure that with the inkjet ones I was unable to estimate cost per print per page as there was no real way to measure printed paged amount nor to estimate how many pages I could print in average with a new ink when replaced.

This is very different with the laser printers. Their toners are estimated to X amount of pages printed and I found out that they always comply with these numbers ( in HP and Canon’s case this is what I have experienced) and even go a tiny bit beyond to give you some margins.

Also there is built in monitoring / webui in these small business or mid enterprise size machines to precisely measure printed pages, amount of copies made , pages scanned ,etc.

The price of the toners are economical in light of the amount of pages can be printed with them and its in the X amount of cents per page which is under what a normal internet cafe use to charge in 10 – 15 cents per page ( or at least those are the prices I remember)

The HP M3035 I have is a more than 25 year old unit if Im not mistaken and it was used when I purchased it ( came with the addon 500 page drawer) and I managed to pick up some toners for it NOS (New Old Stock) for around 15 euros which are able to print up to 6500 pages calculated with pages with 5% of coverage of ink on them with the HP Q7551A toner ( HP 51A).

Mine is on 79% and estimates 3300 pages to be printed with it still.

HP M3035 Supplies Status Page


This old HP M3035 which might not be everyones favourite ( and it is big and heavy) compared to the Canon MF6180dw the only thing it can not do is:
Apple Airprint compatibility

Also while it has no Wireless Built in You could get a Wireless 802.11g module for it but as I am on the network cable I can still print just fine with My android phone being connected to wireless network (android with the HP Print Driver app) and it sees and recognizes my printer on the LAN ( another subnet Vs the Wireless of the Android phones ) and I am able to print when I am on the Wifi just fine. So no need the wireless module ( nor the bluetooth module you can get for it IMHO)

Specs and Modules info for it here:

https://h10057.www1.hp.com/ecomcat/hpcatalog/specs/provisioner/05/CB414A.htm

http://www.i-print.com.hk/datasheet/LaserJet%20M3035.pdf

It does and compatible with everything I need. It does PCL 5 and PCL 6 its estimated for volumes of 75 000 pages per month ( so I am really using just occasionally and taking very good care of it). It works under Linux / Unix (HP-UX) / Windows without a problem.

It is a reliable piece.

Now the Canon on the other hand. I bought it new and using very lightly just before it reached 11 months of age I had to send in for repair as the control board/motherboard gave up and it started to do very weird things:

– sent a page to print .. never printed it out but I did see it on the print jobs list however It neither allowed me to cancel it … eventually it timed out after 20 some minutes but not always –

I had to fight with their technical support explaining them nothing has changed in my environment and yes the drivers are up to date and yes I tried with 3x different machines ( Windows , Mac , Linux) and under none of those its willing to work tough It did just fine a few days ago, etc. etc. and Yes i tried on Wireless and on Cable and on USB plugged in directly to the computer … it was a nightmare.

Eventually I got it back and it did happen the same symptoms again after like 5 months or so maybe 7. I recognized the symptoms instantly and I explained again to technical service. This time it was not in the type of warranty as before when It was just about being 1 year old. Unfortunately after the first year the warranty did not cover free pickup and delivery back to the customer , I had to pay for it.

They sent it back after a few weeks saying they found nothing wrong with the printer and it works fine.

When I got it back and tried miraculously it was working. I am still convinced they did change the part one more time in it but did not want to admit it.
Otherwise it was the biggest miracle ever if it was not the case.

When the Canon was in service the second time that’s when I picked up the HP M3035 as it was a time when I needed a printer to print some documents weekly/daily for a while and that was exactly when the Canon failed me again/

Keyboards and Mice

In my opinion these are one of the most important pieces because they are the main input devices you are using every day if you are working in IT.

Having a keyboard and mouse which you can handle and work with without fatigue and with ease and comfort in my opinion is important to your health and wellbeing.

On the keyboard typing experience for me adds a lot to the comfort and the speed I can input what I have to into the computer.

The mouse its design and shape and ease of use for long periods and everyday activities helps me avoid strain and injury in my hand.

I prefer mechanical keyboards for their typing experience and trackball mice for moving the mouse pointer around the screen all day without the need to move my whole arm as I have to do if I use a regular non trackball mouse.

I admit there is / was some learning curve to get use to and precise / quick enough with the trackball mice and also with the mechanical keyboards as its a different feeling with both devices but eventually I can say it worth the effort.

On my wish list I have some keyboards still ( I think mice I do have enough for now 🙂 )

HHK Classic Pro
UHK v2

Episode 92 – Fortinet

Prologue

Fortinet (Nasdaq: FTNT) is an American multinational corporation headquartered in Sunnyvale, California. It develops and sells cybersecurity solutions, including but not limited to physical products such as firewalls, plus software and services such as anti-virus protection, intrusion prevention systems and endpoint security components.

Fortinet was founded in 2000 by brothers Ken Xie and Michael Xie. The company’s first and main product was FortiGate, a physical firewall. The company later added wireless access points, sandboxing, and messaging security.

By 2004, Fortinet had raised over $90 million in funding. The company went public in November 2009, raising $156 million through an initial public offering.

In 2016, Fortinet released its Security Fabric architecture that included integration and automation with other network security devices and third-party vendors.

Prior to Fortinet, Ken Xie founded and served as an executive for NetScreen, a company that was acquired by Juniper Networks in 2004. Michael Xie served as an executive for ServeGate. In 2000, they co-founded Appligation Inc. The company was renamed to ApSecure in December 2000 and later renamed again to Fortinet, based on the phrase “Fortified Networks.”

Fortinet introduced its first product, FortiGate, in 2002, followed by anti-spam and anti-virus software. The company raised $13 million in private funding from 2000 to early 2003. An additional $30 million in financing was raised in August 2003, followed by $50 million in March 2004. Fortinet’s first channel program was established in October 2003. The company began distributing its products in Canada in December 2003, and in the UK in February 2004. By 2004 Fortinet had offices in Asia, Europe and North America.

In April 2005, a German court issued a preliminary injunction against Fortinet’s UK subsidiary in relation to source code for its GPL-licensed elements. The dispute ended a month later after Fortinet agreed to make the source code available upon request.

Fortinet became profitable in the third quarter of 2008. Later that year, the company acquired the intellectual property of IPLocks, a database security and auditing company. In August 2009, Fortinet acquired the intellectual property and other assets of Woven Systems, an ethernet switching company.

According to market research firm IDC, by November 2009 Fortinet held over 15 percent of the unified threat management market. Also in 2009, CRN Magazine‘s survey-based annual report card placed Fortinet first in network security hardware, up from seventh in 2007.

In November 2009, Fortinet had an initial public offering, wherein the company planned to raise $52.4 million through the sale of 5.8 million shares. Over 6 million shares were also sold by stockholders. Just before the first day of trading, Fortinet increased the share price from $9 to $12.50 and the price increased in the market to $16.62. By the end of the first day of trading the company had raised $156 million in financing.

By 2010, Fortinet had $324 million in annual revenues and held the largest share of the unified threat management market according to IDC.

Fortinet made four notable acquisitions from 2012 to 2016. The company acquired app-hosting service XDN (formerly known as 3Crowd) in December 2012 Coyote Point in 2013 and Wi-Fi hardware company Meru Networks in 2015. In June 2016, Fortinet acquired IT security, monitoring and analytics software vendor, AccelOps.

In July 2014, Fortinet announced a technical certification program called the Network Security Expert (NSE) program. In March 2016, Fortinet launched a Network Security Academy to help fill open cyber security jobs in the U.S. Fortinet donated equipment and provided information to universities to help train students for jobs in the field. Also in 2016, Fortinet launched a program called FortiVet to recruit military veterans for cybersecurity jobs.

The NSE Certification is broken into 8 levels from beginner to expert.

NSE1 – NSE3 are Cybersecurity Awareness Certification
NSE4 – NSE6 are Cybersecurity Technical Certification
NSE7 is Cybersecurity Advanced Certification
NSE8 is Cybersecurity Expert Certification

Similar to other certifications they are valid for 2 years and a higher tier certification renews all lower tier ones even if those were already expired.

Compared to other certification paths like Juniper or Cisco there is no pre-requisite to take any of their certification level including the highest one NSE8. They work in partnership with Pearson Vue Testing Centers worldwide.

You can find more about the certificates and materials on https://training.fortinet.com

Right now they are offering some free courses over on their website which are worth to check ( its free)
https://www.fortinet.com/training/cybersecurity-professionals#free-trainings

In January 2017, it was announced that Philip Quade, a former member of the NSA, would become the company’s chief information security officer. At the end of 2017, Fortinet reported $416.7 million in revenue, a 15 percent increase from the previous year.In June 2018, Fortinet acquired Bradford Networks, a maker of access control and IoT security solutions. In October 2018, Fortinet acquired ZoneFox, a threat analytics company. In January 2019, it was announced that Fortinet and founder Ken Xie would participate in the annual World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland.

In September 2019, Fortinet settled a whistleblower lawsuit regarding what the company has described as an “isolated incident” of sales of intentionally mislabeled Chinese-made equipment to U.S. government end users. In late 2019, Fortinet acquired enSilo and CyberSponse. Also in 2019, Fortinet’s FortiGate SD-WAN and Next Generation Firewall received a “Recommended” rating from NSS Labs.

In July 2020, Fortinet acquired OPAQ Networks. OPAQ is a Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) cloud provider based in Herndon, Virginia.

Products and Services

Fortinet released its first product, FortiGate, a firewall, in 2002, followed by anti-spam and anti-virus software. FortiGate was updated to use application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) architecture. The company has used ASIC in several of its products, including to support its SD-WAN features.

Initially the FortiGate was a physical, rack-mounted product but later became available as a virtual appliance that could run on virtualization platforms such as VMware vSphere.

Fortinet later merged its network security offerings, including firewalls, anti-spam and anti-virus software, into one product. In April 2016, Fortinet began building its Security Fabric architecture so multiple network security products could communicate as one platform. Later that year, the company added Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) products. In September 2016, the company announced it would integrate the SIEM products with the security systems of other vendors.

In 2017, Fortinet announced the addition of switches, access points, analyzers, sandboxes and cloud capabilities to the Security Fabric, in addition to endpoints and firewalls. Later in 2017, Fortinet created a standalone subsidiary, Fortinet Federal, to develop cybersecurity products for government agencies. Fortinet has received security effectiveness certifications through NSS Labs. Gartner, a research and consulting firm, has ranked Fortinet within the top three companies in its Magic Quadrant for enterprise network firewalls, which measures market trends and direction.

In July 2018, the company launched FortiGate SD-WAN, its proprietary SD-WAN service. FortiGate SD-WAN was included in the Challenger category of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for WAN Edge Infrastructure later that year, joining the Leader category in 2020. Later in 2018, Fortinet released FortiGuard (AI) to better detect new and unknown threats, and also announced the 6.0 version of its FortiOS security operating system with enhanced centralized management and expanded cloud capabilities. The FortiGate 6501F. Presented by Fortinet, February 5, 2018

In May 2004, Trend Micro, a competing cyber security and defense company, filed a legal complaint against Fortinet. Though the International Trade Commission initially ruled against Fortinet the Trend Micro patents at the center of the dispute were later declared as invalid in 2010. In 2005, an OpenNet study suggested that Myanmar, which was under American sanctions, had begun using Fortinet’s FortiGuard system for internet censorship. Fortinet stated that their products are sold by third party resellers, and that they acknowledged US embargoes.

In 2019, Fortinet grew to 21,000 WAN edge customers, according to a Gartner report.

In February 2020, Fortinet released FortiAI, a threat-detection program that uses artificial intelligence. In July 2020, Fortinet launched multi-cloud SD-WAN. That year, BT Security selected Fortinet and other Threat Alliance members as Critical Partners. As of 2020, Fortinet has been awarded over 640 patents.

As of January 2021, the FortiGate line of firewalls is and remains the company’ main product which accounts for most of the gross revenue.

Research

In 2005, Fortinet created the FortiGuard Labs internal security research team.

In 2008, Fortinet researchers sent a report to Facebook highlighting a widget from Zango that appeared to be tricking users into downloading spyware.By 2014, Fortinet had four research and development centers in Asia, as well as others in the US, Canada and France.

In March 2014, Fortinet founded the Cyber Threat Alliance (CTA) with Palo Alto Networks in order to share security threat data across vendors. It was later joined by McAfee and Symantec. In 2015, the CTA published a white paper on the CryptoWall ransomware, which detailed how attackers obtained $325 million through ransoms paid by victims to regain access to their files.

In April 2015, Fortinet provided threat intelligence to Interpol in order to help apprehend the ringleader of several online scams based in Nigeria. The scams, which resulted in compromise of business emails and CEO fraud, had cost one business over $15 million. The following year, in March 2016, Fortinet and technology company, Cisco, joined NATO in a data-sharing agreement to improve their information security capabilities.

In January 2017, Fortinet worked with Interpol to conduct an investigation into web security in several southeast Asian countries. The investigation identified compromised websites, including government-operated web servers. Later that month, Fortinet researchers discovered a spyware that scammed victims by impersonating the IRS. Also in 2017, researchers helped identify malware, called Rootnik, and ransomware, called MacRansom, that targeted Android and MacOS systems respectively. In 2018, Fortinet entered into an information-sharing agreement with Interpol.

My Personal Experience with Fortinet so far

Using a Full GUI firewall at first was not as strange as I thought as it reminded me a lot of SophosXG UTM Firewalls I have met and used in the past in my lab as Firewall for my subnets and VMs running there.

For me it seemed that the features offered and the possibilities to configure more complex scenarios were above of what I have experienced so far on SophosXG UTM Firewalls I used prior. It could have been I was using a model with a lower tier of feature set when it came to Sophos? I do not know at this point.

One of the real life scenario I tried out to configure on the FortigateVM with FortiOS 7.0 ( latest at the time) was simple and probably an everyday scenario in many corporations out there what System Administrators have to do:

Scenario:

In an On Premises AD controlled environment create the foundations to be able to limit end users access to site f.e bbc.com * Allow or Deny* based on a criteria.

( You can include here specific ports f.e to reach website or service on IP / FQDN and port 14300 to make it more interesting )

My AD Lab environment in this example consisted of the below:

  • The 172.19.19.0/24 subnet
  • FortigateVM Firewall running FortiOS 7.0 with its Port2 Interface set at 172.19.19.6/24 serving as the Gateway for the 172.19.19.0 subnet. ( its WAN (port1) interface is Dynamic set in the 172.31.5.x/24 range)
  • AD DNS , DHCP , DC Server running Windows 2019 server running the hypervlab.local domain at 172.19.19.90/24
  • Two AD User Groups: Usera added to group Allow_BBC_Website_On_Fortigate and Userb added to group Block_BBC_Online_Website_On_Fortigate respectively
  • FSSO_Agent ( Fortinet Single Sign On Agent running on the Domain Controller to Sync AD Users and Groups with the FortigateVM Firewall at 172.19.19.1/32) so I can use them directly in Firewall Policies.
  • A Windows VM with Windows 11 at 172.19.19.26
  • A Linux VM with Rocky Linux at 172.19.19.22

Links

https://www.fortinet.com/training-certification

https://www.fortinet.com/training-certification#certification-levels

https://training.fortinet.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fortinet