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JKS: Extending a Self-Signed Certificate

Sometimes you don’t have a PKI in place but you still need a key and a corresponding certificate to sign stuff (outside of the TLS context). And after the certificate in initially generated jks file expires, you have few options – either generate an entirely new keypair, or somehow “extend” the existing certificate. This is useful mostly for testing and internal systems, but still worth mentioning.Extending certificates is generally

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Multiple Cache Configurations with Caffeine and Spring Boot

Caching is key for performance of nearly every application. Distributed caching is sometimes needed, but not always. In many cases a local cache would work just fine and there’s no need for the overhead and complexity of the distributed cache.So, in many applications, including plain Spring and Spring Boot, you can use @Cacheable on any method and its result will be cached so that the next time the

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The Positive Side-Effects of Blockchain

Blockchain is a relatively niche technology at the moment, and even thought there’s a lot of hype, its applicability is limited. I’ve been skeptical about its ability to solve all the world’s problems, as many claim, and would rather focus it on solving particular business issues related to trust.But I’ve been thinking about the positive side-effects and it might actually be one of the best

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7 Questions To Ask Yourself About Your Code

I was thinking the other days – why writing good code is so hard? Why the industry still hasn’t got to producing quality software, despite years of efforts, best practices, methodologies, tools. And the answer to those questions is anything but simple. It involves economic incentives, market realities, deadlines, formal education, industry standards, insufficient number of developers on the market, etc. etc.As an organization, in order to produce quality

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Implicit _target=”blank”

The target="_blank" href attributes has been the subject of many discussions. When is it right to use it, should we use it at all, is it actually deprecated, is it good user experience, does it break user expectations, etc.And I have a strange proposal for improving the standard behaviour in browsers – implicit target=_blank" in certain contexts. But let’s try to list when target="_blank" is a

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Certificate Transparency Verification in Java

So I had this naive idea that it would be easy to do certificate transparency verification as part of each request in addition to certificate validity checks (in Java).With half of the weekend sacrificed, I can attest it’s not that trivial. But what is certificate transparency? In short – it’s a publicly available log of all TLS certificates in the world (which are still called SSL certificates even

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Integrating Applications As Heroku Add-Ons

Heroku is a popular Platform-as-a-Service provider and it offers vendors the option to be provided as add-ons. Add-ons can be used by Heroku customers in different ways, but a typical scenario would be “Start a database”, “Start an MQ”, or “Start a logging solution”. After you add the add-on to your account, you can connect to the chosen database, MQ, logging solution or whatever.Integrating as Heroku add-on is allegedly

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Types of Data Breaches and How To Prevent Them

Data breaches happen practically every day. Personal, including financial and medical data leak to cyber criminals as well as intelligence agencies. Some notable breaches include the Equifax breach, where dozens of personal data fields were leaked, and the recently announced Marriott breach, where passports, credit cards and locations of people at a given time were breached.I’ve been doing some data protection consultancy as well as working on a

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Technical Innovation vs. Process Innovation

We are often talking about “innovation” and “digital innovation” (or “technical innovation”) in particular, when it comes to tech startups. It has, unfortunately, become a cliche, and now “innovation” is devoid of meaning. I’ve been trying to put some meaningful analysis of the “innovation landscape” and to classify what is being called “innovation”.And the broad classification I got to is “technical innovation” vs “process innovation”. In the majority

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Resources on Distributed Hash Tables

Distributed p2p technologies have always been fascinating to me. Bittorrent is cool not because you can download pirated content for free, but because it’s an amazing piece of technology.At some point I read and researched a lot about how DHTs (distributed hash tables) work. DHTs are not part of the original bittorrent protocol, but after trackers were increasingly under threat to be closed for copyright infringment, “trackerless” features

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Automate Access Control for User-Specific Entities

Practically every web application is supposed to have multiple users and each user has some data – posts, documents, messages, whatever. And the most obvious thing to do is to protect these entities from being obtained by users that are not the rightful owners of these resources.Unfortunately, this is not the easiest thing to do. I don’t mean it’s hard, it’s just not as intuitive as simply

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A Caveat With AWS Shared Resources

Recently I’ve been releasing a new build, as usual utilizing a blue-green deployment by switching the DNS record to point to the load balancer of the previously “spare” group. But before I switched the DNS, I checked the logs of the newly launched version and noticed something strange – continuous HTTP errors from our web frameworks (Spring MVC) that a certain endpoint does not support the HTTP method.The odd

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Proving Digital Events (Without Blockchain)

Recently technical and non-technical people alike started to believe that the best (and only) way to prove that something has happened in an information system is to use a blockchain. But there are other ways to achieve that that are arguably better and cheaper. Of course, blockchain can be used to do that, and it will do it well, but it is far from the only solution to this problem.

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Implementing White-Labelling

Sometimes (very often in my experience) you need to support white-labelling of your application. You may normally run it in a SaaS fashion, but some important or high profile clients may want either a dedicated deployment, or an on-premise deployment, or simply “their corner” on your cloud deployment.White-labelling normally includes different CSS, different logos and other images, and different header and footer texts. The rest of the product stays