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Igor Moiseev Applied mathematician, Web Developer

Get file creation time on Linux with EXT4

Despite the common opinion

Linux offers three timestamps for files: time of last access of contents (atime), time of last modification of contents (mtime), and time of last modification of the inode (metadata, ctime).

You may recover the file creation date if you deal with capble filesystem like EXT4 - journaling file system for Linux:

Improved timestamps

… Ext4 provides timestamps measured in nanoseconds. In addition, ext4 also adds support for date-created timestamps.

But there no consensus in the community on that so

… as Theodore Ts’o points out, while it is easy to add an extra creation-date field in the inode (thus technically enabling support for date-created timestamps in ext4), it is more difficult to modify or add the necessary system calls, like stat() (which would probably require a new version) and the various libraries that depend on them (like glibc). These changes would require coordination of many projects. So even if ext4 developers implement initial support for creation-date timestamps, this feature will not be available to user programs for now.

Which end up with the Linus final quote

Let’s wait five years and see if there is actually any consensus on it being needed and used at all, rather than rush into something just because “we can”.

So what to do? Let’s chill out

Now let’s question yourself how would you extract this information? We end up with the STAT utility

      stat - display file or file system status

       stat [OPTION]... FILE...

       Display file or file system status.

and DEBUGFS utilities

       debugfs - ext2/ext3/ext4 file system debugger

       debugfs [ -Vwci ] [ -b blocksize ] [ -s superblock ] [ -f cmd_file ] [ -R request ] [ -d data_source_device ] [ device ]

       The debugfs program is an interactive file system debugger. It can be used to examine and change the state of an ext2, ext3, or ext4 file system.
       device is the special file corresponding to the device containing the file system (e.g /dev/hdXX).

So we compound both command in one

$ debugfs -R 'stat <filename>' </dev/sdXX - partition name>

to finally get the crtime - creation time:

Inode: 1071162   Type: regular    Mode:  0644   Flags: 0x80000
Generation: 1324300925    Version: 0x00000000:00000001
User:   105   Group:   114   Size: 1831803
File ACL: 0    Directory ACL: 0
Links: 1   Blockcount: 3592
Fragment:  Address: 0    Number: 0    Size: 0
 ctime: 0x54cba040:2718d1c8 -- Fri Jan 30 16:16:16 2015
 atime: 0x54cba167:94c3cfa0 -- Fri Jan 30 16:21:11 2015
 mtime: 0x54cba040:2718d1c8 -- Fri Jan 30 16:16:16 2015
 crtime: 0x54ca6763:94c3c518 -- Thu Jan 29 18:01:23 2015
Size of extra inode fields: 28
(0): 4229445, (1-7): 4261097-4261103, ...

So lets write the xstat utility before the consensus will come :)

now put it in ~/.bashrc or ~/.profile and voilà:

$ xstat *
Tue Jan 13 17:41:05 2015	404.html
Thu Feb  5 23:19:19 2015
Sun Jan 18 01:28:51 2015	archives.html
Tue Jan 13 17:41:05 2015	atom.xml
Thu Feb  5 22:32:52 2015	categories.html
Thu Feb  5 23:24:40 2015	_config.yml
Tue Jan 13 17:41:05 2015	_drafts
Thu Feb  5 21:50:47 2015	Gemfile
Thu Feb  5 21:50:47 2015	Gemfile.lock
Tue Jan 13 17:41:05 2015	_includes
Tue Jan 13 17:41:05 2015	index.html
Tue Jan 13 17:41:05 2015	_layouts
Tue Feb  3 22:42:06 2015	learning-nosql-php.html
Tue Jan 13 17:41:05 2015
Thu Feb  5 20:36:30 2015	plugins
Tue Jan 13 17:41:05 2015	_posts
Tue Jan 13 17:41:05 2015	public
Tue Jan 13 17:41:05 2015
Tue Jan 13 17:41:05 2015	search
Wed Jan 14 20:08:17 2015	_site
Thu Feb  5 22:51:27 2015	tags.html

Speedup MySQL with tmpfs

Today we will deal with temporary tables and files.

At first lets examine the MySQL whether it actually uses temporary tables writings with mysqltuner

:~$ sudo mysqltuner
[!!] Temporary tables created on disk: 28% (324K on disk / 1M total)

Yes, it is definitely does. Just one thing to know is that

Temporary tables are not always flushed to disk, since the time to live of temporary table is rather small.

Lets find where MySQL saves temporary tables

sudo cat /etc/mysql/my.cnf | grep tmpdir
tmpdir		= /tmp

If you had no success with previous one find out with the query

| Variable_name | Value |
| tmpdir        | /tmp  |
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

Let’s make sure that MySQL intensively writing in this folder using great iwatch command

:~$ sudo iwatch /tmp/
[23/gen/2015 10:43:08] IN_CREATE /tmp//#sql_a87_0.MYI
[23/gen/2015 10:43:08] IN_CREATE /tmp//#sql_a87_0.MYD
[23/gen/2015 10:43:08] IN_CLOSE_WRITE /tmp//#sql_a87_0.MYD
[23/gen/2015 10:43:08] IN_CLOSE_WRITE /tmp//#sql_a87_0.MYI
[23/gen/2015 10:43:08] IN_CLOSE_WRITE /tmp//#sql_a87_0.MYI
[23/gen/2015 10:43:08] IN_CLOSE_WRITE /tmp//#sql_a87_0.MYD

This is a good sign, so lets do the rest.

Add the following string to the /etc/fstab

:~$ sudo cat /etc/fstab
tmpfs   /tmp         tmpfs   nodev,nosuid,size=256M          0  0

Now let’s apply it without reboot

:~$ sudo mount -a

Now check how faster is scrolling the listing in iwatch /tmp. This optimization will be useful also for many other services such as anti-viruses, PHP and web servers, Java and so on.

Block denial-of-service attacks on Wordpress and Joomla with Fail2Ban in ISPConfig

Are you tired to see these lines in Apache log

cat /var/log/apache2/other_vhosts_access.log | grep "wp-login.php" - - [20/Jan/2015:12:40:14 +0100] "POST /wp-login.php HTTP/1.0" 200 211 "-" "-" - - [20/Jan/2015:12:40:14 +0100] "POST /wp-login.php HTTP/1.0" 200 211 "-" "-" - - [20/Jan/2015:12:40:14 +0100] "POST /wp-login.php HTTP/1.0" 200 211 "-" "-" - - [20/Jan/2015:12:40:14 +0100] "POST /wp-login.php HTTP/1.0" 200 211 "-" "-" - - [20/Jan/2015:12:40:15 +0100] "POST /wp-login.php HTTP/1.0" 200 211 "-" "-" - - [20/Jan/2015:12:40:15 +0100] "POST /wp-login.php HTTP/1.0" 200 211 "-" "-" - - [20/Jan/2015:12:40:15 +0100] "POST /wp-login.php HTTP/1.0" 200 211 "-" "-" - - [20/Jan/2015:12:40:15 +0100] "POST /wp-login.php HTTP/1.0" 200 211 "-" "-" - - [20/Jan/2015:12:40:15 +0100] "POST /wp-login.php HTTP/1.0" 200 211 "-" "-"

Actually your server is working hard managing multiple attempts to login, especially in such frameworks like Wordpress and Joomla. The saturation of database connections results in Denial-of-Service and the website downtimes!

To block the unsolicited requests and avoid website downtimes we just need to follow some steps

STEP 1: Fail2ban installation

Install Fail2ban:

STEP 2: Fail2ban jail configuration

Now lets configure Fail2ban to ban the attacker.

sudo vim /etc/fail2ban/jail.conf

add the following to the end of the file

enabled = true
port = 80,443
protocol = tcp
filter = framework-ddos
logpath = /var/log/apache2/other_vhosts_access.log
maxretry = 10
# findtime: 10 mins
findtime = 600
# bantime: 1 week
bantime  = 604800

The default installation of ISPConfig writes into log file loceted in /var/log/apache2/other_vhosts_access.log in the following format - - [22/Jan/2015:17:10:52 +0100] "GET /wp-login.php HTTP/1.1" 200 22457 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +"

The next is the most important part, the filter configuration

vim /etc/fail2ban/filter.d/framework-ddos.conf 

and put the following regular expressions

failregex = .*:(80|443) <HOST> .*(GET|POST) .*/xmlrpc.php
            .*:(80|443) <HOST> .*(GET|POST) .*/wp-login.php
            .*:(80|443) <HOST> .*(GET|POST) /administrator/index.php HTTP

Restart Fail2ban

sudo /etc/init.d/fail2ban restart

STEP 3: Testing and monitoring

Start monitoring the log file

sudo tail -f /var/log/fail2ban.log 

once you’ve seen the first attacker

2015-01-20 12:40:35,205 fail2ban.actions: WARNING [framework-ddos] Ban

Check out the iptables for the action applied correct firewall rules

Chain fail2ban-framework-ddos (1 references)
target     prot opt source               destination         
DROP       all  --           

This is it!

Encoding hell, grep and iconv salvage!

Nowadays we inherit a lot of old databases. The typical problem is to extract data from badly encoded fields. This happens when the browser encoding is forced to let say UTF8 and MySQL is accepting the the default LATIN1 encoding. In this case the problem does not manifests immediately since the byte sequence corresponding to the single character remains immute during the saving and retrieval, but become a problem when dumped and migrated.

Lets get workaround this problem. At first find non ASCII characters in the dump file

grep --color='auto' -P "[\x80-\xFF]" FILENAME

Now let’s work it out with iconv

iconv --verbose -f LATIN1 -t UTF8//TRANSLIT FILENAME_latin1 > FILENAME_utf8

If you get the followinf message

iconv: illegal input sequence at position <NUMBER>

this is a good sign of badly encoded character, you may correct it with vim, just type in command mode

:goto <NUMBER>

Taking into account that you’re working with UTF8 locale session in terminal

user@host:~$ locale 

After you’re finished, just save the file and import it into UTF8 encoded fields of the database!

Speedup your KVM migration in Proxmox

If you ever woundered why your 10Gbit link on Proxmox node is used only by a few percent during the migration, so you came to the right place.

The main reason is the security measures taken to protect virtual machine memory during the migration. All volume of memory will be transmitted via secure tunnel and that penalizes the speed:

Nov 24 12:26:41 starting migration of VM 123 to node 'proxmox1' (
Nov 24 12:26:41 copying disk images
Nov 24 12:26:41 starting VM 123 on remote node 'proxmox1'
Nov 24 12:26:43 starting ssh migration tunnel
Nov 24 12:26:43 starting online/live migration on localhost:60000
Nov 24 12:26:43 migrate_set_speed: 8589934592
Nov 24 12:26:43 migrate_set_downtime: 0.1
Nov 24 12:26:45 migration status: active (transferred 133567908, remaining 930062336), total 1082789888)
Nov 24 12:26:47 migration status: active (transferred 273781779, remaining 788221952), total 1082789888)


Nov 24 12:26:58 migration status: active (transferred 1036346176, remaining 20889600), total 1082789888)
Nov 24 12:26:58 migration status: active (transferred 1059940218, remaining 11558912), total 1082789888)
Nov 24 12:26:59 migration speed: 64.00 MB/s - downtime 54 ms
Nov 24 12:26:59 migration status: completed
Nov 24 12:27:02 migration finished successfuly (duration 00:00:21)

If your configured your Proxmox cluster to use the dedicated network isolated from the public one so you may low down the security level

$ cat /etc/pve/datacenter.cfg
  migration_unsecure: 1

This is it:

Nov 24 12:42:19 starting migration of VM 100 to node 'proxmox2' (
Nov 24 12:42:19 copying disk images
Nov 24 12:42:19 starting VM 100 on remote node 'proxmox2'
Nov 24 12:42:35 starting ssh migration tunnel
Nov 24 12:42:36 starting online/live migration on
Nov 24 12:42:36 migrate_set_speed: 8589934592
Nov 24 12:42:36 migrate_set_downtime: 0.1
Nov 24 12:42:38 migration status: active (transferred 728684636, remaining 5655494656), total 6451433472)
Nov 24 12:42:40 migration status: active (transferred 1465523175, remaining 4865253376), total 6451433472)


Nov 24 12:42:55 migration status: active (transferred 7115710846, remaining 69742592), total 6451433472)
Nov 24 12:42:55 migration speed: 323.37 MB/s - downtime 262 ms
Nov 24 12:42:55 migration status: completed
Nov 24 12:42:58 migration finished successfuly (duration 00:00:39)

now you’re using all available bandwidth for migration, that also is very useful during migration heavy loaded instances. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn fees when linking to and affiliated sites.