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We slept in what had once been the gymnasium. The floor was of varnished wood, with stripes and circles painted on it, for the games that were formerly played there; the hoops for the basketball nets were still in place, though the nets were gone. A balcony ran around the room, for the spectators, and I thought I could smell, faintly like an afterimage, the pungent scent of sweat, shot through with the sweet taint of chewing gum and perfume from the watching girls, felt-skirted as I knew from pictures, later in miniskirts, then pants, then in one earring, spiky green-streaked hair. Dances would have been held there; the music lingered, a palimpsest of unheard sound, style upon style, an undercurrent of drums, a forlorn wail, garlands made of tissue-paper flowers, cardboard devils, a revolving ball of mirrors, powdering the dancers with a snow of light.

There was old sex in the room and loneliness, and expectation, of something without a shape or name. I remember that yearning, for something that was always about to happen and was never the same as the hands that were on us there and then, in the small of the back, or out back, in the parking lot, or in the television room with the sound turned down and only the pictures flickering over lifting flesh.

We yearned for the future. How did we learn it, that talent for insatiability? It was in the air; and it was still in the air, an afterthought, as we tried to sleep, in the army cots that had been set up in rows, with spaces between so we could not talk. We had flannelette sheets, like children’s, and army-issue blankets, old ones that still said U.S. We folded our clothes neatly and laid them on the stools at the ends of the beds. The lights were turned down but not out. Aunt Sara and Aunt Elizabeth patrolled; they had electric cattle prods slung on thongs from their leather belts.

No guns though, even they could not be trusted with guns. Guns were for the guards, specially picked from the Angels. The guards weren’t allowed inside the building except when called, and we weren’t allowed out, except for our walks, twice daily, two by two around the football field, which was enclosed now by a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire. The Angels stood outside it with their backs to us. They were objects of fear to us, but of something else as well. If only they would look. If only we could talk to them. Something could be exchanged, we thought, some deal made, some tradeoff, we still had our bodies. That was our fantasy.

We learned to whisper almost without sound. In the semidarkness we could stretch out our arms, when the Aunts weren’t looking, and touch each other’s hands across space. We learned to lip-read, our heads flat on the beds, turned sideways, watching each other’s mouths. In this way we exchanged names, from bed to bed:

Alma. Janine. Dolores. Moira. June.

The Handmaid’s Tale, chapter 1.

Setting and Time: a universe of temporal and spatial signs

Contextualisation: space

Semantic fields are understood universally. The gymnasium is a call to universal memory, to the experience of every reader, it’s a cultural sign.

It is reassuring but there are many syntactic breaks: “once”, “formerly”, “though” that show an insistence on the way recognizable signs are manipulated so that they gradually become revised, unrecognizable, and subverted signs.

Sport places (which used to be places of fun, pleasure and bodily activity) are now turned into dormitories (1: “We slept in what had once been the gymnasium.”) or prison yards (31: “the football field which was enclosed now (…) barbed wire.”)

Je suis tombé sur une drôle d’erreur ce matin sur un VPS de mes clients : après mise à jour du système et redémarrage du serveur, webmin est injoignable et son service ne veut plus démarrer.

Les messages d’erreurs

On commence par lancer un curl distant depuis un autre serveur, histoire de voir si c’est bien injoignable de manière globale, et non propre à notre machine:

curl -I https://example.com:10000/

curl: (7) Failed to connect to example.com port 10000: Connection refused

Pas de doute, cela touche tout le monde. On vérifie donc l’état du service:

systemctl status webmin.service


webmin.service - LSB: web-based administration interface for Unix systems
   Loaded: loaded (/etc/init.d/webmin; generated)
   Active: failed (Result: exit-code) since Sat 2020-09-12 17:35:13 CST; 20s ago
     Docs: man:systemd-sysv-generator(8)
  Process: 1803 ExecStart=/etc/init.d/webmin start (code=exited, status=25)

Sep 12 17:35:13 systemd[1]: Starting LSB: web-based administration interface for Unix systems...
Sep 12 17:35:13 systemd[1]: webmin.service: Control process exited, code=exited status=25
Sep 12 17:35:13 systemd[1]: webmin.service: Failed with result 'exit-code'.
Sep 12 17:35:13 systemd[1]: Failed to start LSB: web-based administration interface for Unix systems.

Ce n’est pas très loquace! journalctl est plus détaillé:

journalctl -xe

Résultat :

-- All system services necessary queued for starting at boot have been
-- started. Note that this does not mean that the machine is now idle as services
-- might still be busy with completing start-up.
-- Kernel start-up required 1709722 microseconds.
-- Initial RAM disk start-up required INITRD_USEC microseconds.
-- Userspace start-up required 152146335 microseconds.
Sep 12 17:35:13 systemd[1]: Starting LSB: web-based administration interface for Unix systems...
-- Subject: Unit webmin.service has begun start-up
-- Defined-By: systemd
-- Support: http://www.ubuntu.com/support
-- Unit webmin.service has begun starting up.
Sep 12 17:35:13 systemd[1]: webmin.service: Control process exited, code=exited status=25
Sep 12 17:35:13 systemd[1]: webmin.service: Failed with result 'exit-code'.
Sep 12 17:35:13 systemd[1]: Failed to start LSB: web-based administration interface for Unix systems.
-- Subject: Unit webmin.service has failed
-- Defined-By: systemd
-- Support: http://www.ubuntu.com/support
-- Unit webmin.service has failed.
-- The result is RESULT.

Mais nous n’obtenons toujours aucune information exploitable. Redémarrer le service avec service ne permet pas de le redémarrer.

La solution

Le seul moyen de redémarrer le service webmin sur ce VPS a été de la manière suivante:

/etc/init.d/webmin stop
systemctl start webmin

Et là, plus de problème, webmin démarre comme il faut.

Le principe du chiffrement WPA-PSK

Il y a peu d’intérêt à utiliser les derniers systèmes d’authentification WiFi comme le WPA-PSK si vous utilisez un mot de passe trop facile à deviner et qui pourra être cracké en quelques minutes à peine sans trop d’effort.

Le chiffrement WPA-PSK, censé pallier les failles de son prédécesseur – WEP – est une version moins sécurisée que le WPA puisqu’il n’y a pas de serveur d’identification Radius.

Le protocole repose sur une clé partagée (Pre-Shared Key ou PSK) qui initialise le processus d’authentification.

Votre clé partagée est créée à l’aide d’un mot de passe de votre choix. Il est souhaitable et recommandé que le mot de passe ne contienne aucun mot figurant dans le dictionnaire, même sous une forme leet speak, les logiciels de crack type brute-force ou dictionnaire connaissent cette astuce depuis quelques années déjà.

La combinaison doit donc être illisible, le genre de clé qui est impossible à donner à un correspondant par téléphone.

Autrement dit, si votre mot de passe est un mot courant qui fait partie d’un dictionnaire, il pourra être cracké à l’aide d’une attaque type brute-force ou dictionnaire en moins d’une minute.

Ensuite, il faut augmenter le nombre de caractères de la clé partagée : il est plus facile de trouver un mot de passe de 4 caractères plutôt que de 63 caractères.

D’où l’intérêt d’utiliser un mot de passe de taille conséquente, composé de signes et caractères spéciaux. Cracker une clé de 63 caractères prend quelques années avec la puissance de calcul actuelle.

Générateur de clés WPA sécurisées

J’ai à cet effet créé un générateur de clés WPA sécurisées : il vous suffit de choisir le type de clé qui convient le mieux à votre usage.

Je vous recommande bien évidemment la clé de 63 caractères mais vous avez aussi la possibilité de choisir le nombre de caractères qui vous plait.