Taking Things for Granted – The RDP Attack.

Before we start, a story. When I created my first web server, I’d found a copy of Windows NT Server 4.0, upgraded it to Service Pack 6a to get IIS enabled, opened port 80 on the router and viola, working webserver. This was 2001 and unfortunately my creation of a webserver coincided with the spread of the Code Red virus, and it reached my server within days of it being online.

Not knowing at the time, and thinking it was a one off, formatted the hard drive and completed the whole setup again. A day passed before the virus was back. Now with the knowledge of what was happening and wary of it happening again. I rebuilt the server and this time put the website behind port 8080, this time the virus never returned.

I thought to myself that this was security through obscurity, and with the victory over Code Red, was something I held onto for many years.

I applied this method when it came to opening RDP access to the outside world, choosing a seemingly obscure port 8021 on each network setup. However, I’ve been dealt a wakeup call following what I’ve just seen…

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Connecting to a Headless Raspberry Pi

A great feature of the Raspberry Pi is that it can be fully used as a headless unit, meaning it does not need a monitor, keyboard or any other input device connected. This is great when running it as a server or for automated processes that require the unit to be tucked away.

What is annoying is that setting up the Pi for the first time may need those input devices to be able to configure the network and install applications. Thankfully there is a way to connect to a headless Pi from the start, with it only needing power and Ethernet connection.

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RDP on iPad

I originally purchased my iPad so I could peruse the net from the comfort of my sofa, and so far I’m impressed with what I can actually achieve on it. The limitations if iOS and the form factor over my trusty laptop are there, but I’m trying to blur the differences.

Apart from the almost impossible-to-use spreadsheets, I kept referring to the laptop when I needed to Remote Desktop into my server. Luckily there is an iOS solution for this in the guise of the Desktop RDP app.


I had the free version on my iPhone, but due to the small screen being productive was impossibly tedious, and so was left on my phone for server emergencies.

The iPad version however, is a lot more feasible, setting it to connect to my Win 2003 server with a screen resolution of 1024×768 means that the desktop can be controlled with all the desktop in view.


The paid version of Desktop RDP includes the full keyboard, and the ability to drag and right click, something of a necessity for windows, but the more clever users the get along in the free versions without these “perks”, although I wonder if it is not worth the £3.99 for these.

Looking for apps that allow you do what on a PC would be easy is a perilous journey, and in the case if trying to find a suitable office app, an expensive one. But I am glad, if not relieved that this purchase turned our to be a good one.

If I’m out on the wilderness armed only with an iPad and need the features of a PC, I can now just RDP into my server to get the best of both worlds, a lot better than lugging around my desktop replacement notebook.