Monday, October 31, 2016

Anatomy of an unsuccessful NVR attack

One of our NVRs was attacked recently using a known attack that would have compromised or destroyed an off the shelf DVR. The operating system was corrupted by the attack, but it effectively stopped the attack in its tracks. The damage was repaired in less than 45 minutes and only the software was affected.

We have learned quite a bit from the analysis of this NVR system. The attack was designed for Busybox – a version of Linux that runs many different types of embedded devices including security cameras and cheap DVR systems. The point was apparently to gain access to the system in order to use it in a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS).

We have been implementing new security rules on our NVR systems – with this system next on the list. We developed new security procedures after we posted this story from Ars Technica on our Gigastrand Facebook page. Changing default passwords is an easy and effective way to protect your system.

Many cameras also come with a proxy or Dynamic DNS service that allows easy access directly to the camera through a firewall. Gigastrand has been disabling these services on the cameras it sells. We recommend this for everyone using similar equipment.

We will soon be implementing changes that will make it easier for the end users to change default passwords on both the OS and NVR.

Anatomy of an unsuccessful NVR attack

Thursday, October 27, 2016

We tried a web traffic service - guess what we found.

About a month ago, we tried one of the many web traffic services from fiverr and analyzed the traffic. This is what we found:

  1. The traffic being driven to the site looked like a denial of service attack (DDoS). It was all bots, all Windows desktop PCs, and all highly suspect. While it was not a denial of service attack in the sense that it crashed the website, the traffic looked very much like a DDoS attack if it were done once every few seconds or so.

  2. The visitors were from different IPs. So it looked like unique visitors and sessions, but it was all bots.

  3. The product did not significantly impact bounce rate. It remained pretty much the same. Some bots would hang around and browse a couple of links at random to keep the bounce rate low. It was pretty easy to see what were bots and what were actual people as the browsing habits were different. Time per page was different.

  4. The product was advertised as “qualified” traffic. Not in the least. Bots from compromised Windows PCs do not count.

  5. The product was advertised as “unlimited” for 30 days. We got 700 to 800 sessions per day.

  6. The product was advertised as “1000+” visitors per day. We got 700 to 800 “visitors” per day.

The product as advertised is more or less a scam. It didn’t deliver what was promised and what it did deliver was on the backs of people with compromised machines (spyware/malware/virus) and that just isn’t right. If you have a low bounce rate, it will most likely drive the bounce rate up despite some of the countermeasures.

The most annoying thing it did was make it very difficult to properly analyze the qualified visitors. When we write an article and post it, the stats spike when people look at our post. It was very difficult to tell how big of a spike we had when we posted.

So, we are only out $6 in total but well worth the lesson. We won’t ask for our money back because we feel we got what we really were after out of it.

We are unable to review it on fiverr for some unknown reason.

We tried a web traffic service - guess what we found.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Gigastrand's 12 year old computer

In 2004, about the time Gigastrand was called LinspireNetwork, we built a computer. It was a secondary computer designed to run Linspire – a Linux OS we sold at the time. When Gigastrand was formed, it became the primary PC for Gigastrand in 2006.


Since then, it has performed a number of tasks. In 2012, it was a development machine for Gigastrand OS and one of the first machines to be loaded with the new OS. It later became the Gigastrand internal server. I have written about it several times on the Mr. Gigabytes Blog and on LinspireNetwork (the predecessor of Gigastrand – long since defunct).

While this is the best documented PC, it is possibly not the oldest. From 2001 – 2004, Gigabytes Computer Store used a very specific type of computer case to build their PCs. We currently have one of those computers on our shelf.


When we found it, it was pretty much as you see it in the picture. Now it has been spray painted black and once served as a media center for my home. It has been recently restored as a media center in my home.


The story of longevity does not end there. From 1997 to 2006, I owned a Gateway 2000 PC that I kept running and functional. It served as the Gigabytes Computer Store’s point of sale and was eventually painted green and sold.

greenpos 1124_002greenpos

My home DVR has run since 2009 on all original hardware (sans main hard drive) and my original Gigastrand laptop ran for nearly 9 years before giving up the ghost in 2013.


So, when it comes to choosing your next PC, are you going to choose one mass produced that might last a year or so? Or, will you choose one from a builder that knows how to make one that lasts?

Gigastrand's 12 year old computer

Friday, October 21, 2016

Gigastrand NVR Basic Functions

This video takes you through the basic functions of the Gigastrand NVR software including live view, playback, downloading, and adding cameras.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Everyone is Linux and Gigastrand OS Ready

You know, we came out with that updated Gigastrand OS / linux readiness quiz and it got me thinking.

10+ years ago, we had to find the right fit for our customers to use a particular flavor of Linux. So, we developed a web app to help automate the process. For us and our purposes, Gigastrand OS has really made that process obsolete.

The reality is that many people use Linux already. It often takes the form of Android on their phone or tablet or Chrome OS on their Chromebooks. Many people use Android set-top boxes or smart TVs and may businesses host websites on Linux-based servers.

So, yes, Gigastrand OS is powerful enough to replace your computer’s operating system and robust enough to run full time. However, even if you do cannot switch over, standalone solutions like the Gigastrand NVR and the Gigastrand Media Center are ways you can run Gigastrand OS without converting over completely.

So, in reality, everyone can run Gigastrand OS in one form or another. This also means that we have done what we set out to do back in 2012: making a Linux for Everyone.

This month, the current concept of Gigastrand OS will be 4 years old. January 4th, 2017 marks 3 years since we released Gigastrand OS 1.0. We thank everyone for their support along the way.


Everyone is Linux and Gigastrand OS Ready

Friday, October 7, 2016

Gigastrand OS: 10-Year Business Cost Analysis

The Gigastrand OS is software that has practical applications across many systems and is designed to completely replace the systems you currently use. This analysis is based on the real-world costs of purchasing and maintaining various environments. Below you will find our 10-year operational cost projection comparing 3 different environments.

With a Windows environment, the average expenditure to operate in this environment (including upgrades, downtime, and support) is approximately:


With a Linux environment taking into account the same variables the cost of operating the same environment is approximately:


That is a significant savings ($191,233 to be exact) but not really much of a secret. Many companies know about the savings of running Linux. A Mac OS environment operates slightly more at about $675,000.

Now, let’s shake things up a bit and assume that the PCs and Server are scalable and upgradeable Gigastrand Lifetime Warranty PCs running the Gigastrand Operating System. Operating this environment will cost approximately:


That is a massive savings of $477,498 over a comparable Windows environment!

There are other benefits to running Gigastrand OS in your business that aren’t so easily measured. For example, when your technology runs better and more efficient, productivity goes up. Gigastrand OS was designed with business in mind. This analysis does a good job measuring the monetary benefits, but with the capability of Gigastrand OS and the reliability of Gigastrand PCs, money is not all you will save with Gigastrand.

Gigastrand OS: 10-Year Business Cost Analysis

Friday, September 30, 2016

Gigastrand Small Business Server

Gigastrand Small Business Servers provide essential services to the client PCs on your network. File and print services, web server, and other network services can be handled without the expense of purchasing additional modules or per seat access licenses. It is the secure and affordable solution for your small business needs.

  • Quad Core AMD Processor

  • 16Gb Memory

  • 120Gb solid state Main Drive

  • Continuous Backup (via mirrored RAID) Solid State (SSD) Storage

  • Gigabit network

  • 2u Rackmount case

  • Keyboard and mouse

  • No per seat license

  • Gigastrand OS 3

  • Gigastrand Lifetime Hardware Warranty

  • 1 year labor warranty

  • Lifetime Upgrade Guarantee


Gigastrand Small Business Server

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Gigastrand NVR Can Record Your Phone Camera

Gigastrand NVR can record IP and web cameras at megapixel resolutions. With the help of an app, you can now record your phone camera using the Gigastrand NVR.

How did we do it?

First, you have to install a program called IP Webcam from Google Play. There is a pro version that removes ads, etc. but, for testing, we went with the free version.

After that, we configured a few things, played with some settings, but we essentially just pressed start. The video url was http://IP.ADD.RE.SS:8080/video.

We will post this information on our NVR IP Camera Compatibility page.

Neat, huh? Why would anyone do that?

For several reasons.

1. Automatic pictures. Let’s say you want pictures of a particular landmark. You can set the NVR on snapshot mode and take 1 picture every second from your phone and send it to your desktop.

2. Personal security. With the help of a proxy like the DynDNS client, you can walk around and capture video of a place you are visiting. If you are the victim of a crime, your phone can be a silent witness.

3. Phone security. If your phone gets stolen, you will have video of who stole it.

4. Dashcam anyone? No need to buy a separate device. Capture your road trip or commute. If your phone is lost or damaged in an accident, you will still have documentation of the crash.

5. No more missing out. No more “Man! I wish I had my camera!” moments.

6. Baby monitor or home security. No need to buy a camera. Just use an old android device.

I am sure someone can think of a few more uses, but that should about do it.

Gigastrand NVR Can Record Your Phone Camera

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Installing Kodi in Gigastrand OS 3

Gigastrand OS 3.0 removed XBMC from its pre-installed software list because at the time, customers were reporting that they weren’t really using XBMC as the repositories at the time were for Ubuntu and didn’t have an updated version for Gigastrand OS.

According to Kodi’s website, Debian now provides the packages via Jessie backports. With new Gigastrand OS set-top boxes just around the corner, we figured it was time to renew our familiarity with this powerful home theater software.

Here is an excerpt from the Wiki:

2.1 Debian

The installation if you are using Debian (Jessie), you can use the debian-backports repository.

Add the following lines to your /etc/apt/sources.list file, as superuser (sudo)

# kodi repos
# starting with debian jessie, debian provides kodi via its backports repository
# remember: those packages are not supported by team kodi
deb jessie-backports main

And then, update APT and install.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install kodi

In Gigastrand OS, the above instructions will work, however, if you are more comfortable using a point-and-click method, the following instructions might be more to your liking:

  1. Open Computer

  2. Click on root (the red folder on the left side)

  3. Double-click etc then apt

  4. Right click on sources.list

  5. Go to Root Actions>Open as Text

  6. The file will open in Kwrite. Add the following line to the end:
    deb jessie-backports main

  7. Save and close

  8. Open Apper (On the taskbar, or Go>Settings>Apper)

  9. Double click Updates

  10. Install any found updates

  11. In the search bar, type in kodi.

  12. Click the install button then apply.


Kodi will install under Multimedia category in the Go menu. These apt modifications will be installed in the next minor revision of Gigastrand OS (v3.4). This means you will simply be able to install from Apper (step 11).

Installing Kodi in Gigastrand OS 3

Video Security and Patient Privacy

There are many laws both local and national governing where you can and cannot place video security cameras. Virtually nothing is said about video security when it comes to patient privacy and with the ubiquity of video security cameras in hospitals, nursing homes, and even doctor’s offices is there cause to be worried?

The answer is both yes and no.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) does not specifically mention video security in its protections for patient records, however, most hospitals choose to treat video records of patient visits as a patient record.

Information gathering depends on location of cameras and capabilities of the system. So, let’s take a look at what patient information can be gleaned from video security footage.

Who: Obviously, it provides picture of the patient, however, it does not give a full name or other identifying information.

What: Unless the reason for the visit is visible, it provides little else.

When: Video is time-stamped so date and time can be determined.

Where: Video is at a specific location but, unless there are identifying items in the video, someone unfamiliar with the location may only know it is a medical facility of some kind.

The information you can glean from a properly installed system is limited, nevertheless, it should be treated with care. Let’s go through some examples of how this has been done at some facilities.

Most hospitals will air-gap video security systems or use a virtual network (VLAN) to protect DVR systems from outside attack. This virtually eliminates internet-based attacks.

Modern video security systems will overwrite and destroy recorded information automatically after so many days on the system. After so many days stored video will not be a concern.

Archive video – that is, video taken of a specific incident and stored – might be depend on where the archive is. Most places will store it on removable media. Usually the incidents worthy of archiving are of major events. When this is done at a medical facility, it should be as secure as patient records. It should never be stored on any device that will leave the facility.

If you are thinking of installing a video security system at a facility governed by HIPAA, here is what you should do.

  • No cameras looking at computer monitors. This can be the source of a dangerous information leak.

  • Cameras in common areas only. Cameras are not allowed in patient rooms already, however, keep them out of anywhere that a patient is escorted. This will help ensure patient privacy. 

  • Air-gap the machines when possible. This is the best defense against hacking attacks.

  • If remote access is required, use a secure connection like a VPN. Gigastrand can help with that.

Gigastrand has experience dealing with camera installations at HIPAA compliant facilities. Contact us for a free consultation.

Video Security and Patient Privacy

Monday, September 26, 2016

User installed malware found on non-Windows machines.

In recent weeks, Gigastrand has seen 2 instances of browser extension malware installed by unwitting users on Safari in Mac OS and Chrome in Gigastrand OS v3.

This discovery makes a change in operating system ineffective when it comes to security. Malware seems to be targeting Internet browsers with the OS being a secondary consideration.

However, this is easily mitigated if users pay attention. These extensions generally require user permission to install – a fairly standard security precaution in browsers. Once installed, they can be easily removed from a browser by removing them in the extensions or plugins page for the browser. In extreme cases, the browser can be uninstalled and reinstalled.

One word of caution, browsers like Chrome will re-install an extension upon login. There is a narrow window of time between login and when the extension is reinstalled to be on the extension page.

A few pieces of advice to prevent this from happening.

  1. Don’t install plugins or browser extensions from outside sources.

  2. Read the prompts that popup on a website. Do not agree to install anything unless you know what it is.

  3. Watch the prompts for software carefully. Do not install programs that install 3rd party software as well.

Paying attention to what your computer tells you can prevent a lot of this from happening no matter what OS you use.

User installed malware found on non-Windows machines.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Gigastrand successfully tests first High Definition IP camera with NVR

It is a fairly inexpensive high definition camera that initially seemed incompatible. It is a Dlink DCS-935L that can push HD video at 1280×720. On paper the camera looked compatible but the RTSP video streams could not be read by the software.


Today, Gigastrand re-tested the camera using the still frame URL of the camera. Not only was it viewable in live view, it also displayed and recorded high definition video.

This is a major breakthrough for the Gigastrand NVR. The method can be applied to other cameras thus opening up additional compatibility with HD cameras and resolutions. While this method works in the main NVR software, the Advanced Live View NVR (ALVN) is another matter.

This method is not compatible with ALVN. When the still frame URL is entered into ALVN, a single frame is rendered and doesn’t change until the page is reloaded. This will be resolved in a later version.

ALVN can display some video streams that the main software cannot handle. You can set up ALVN to use a streaming URL instead of the still image URL. Keep in mind that the still image URL might look different from the streaming URL.

Gigastrand will continue to test additional cameras and re-test cameras for enhanced capabilities.

Gigastrand successfully tests first High Definition IP camera with NVR

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Video Security: 4 things to avoid and what to look for

In 2001, I got my first real-world experience with installing security equipment. It was an all-in-one gizmo that was supposed to provide some kind of alarm and video from a couple of cameras. The customer bought it off the shelf from a wholesaler. It was such a giant piece of junk that pieces started to fail as we installed them. That experience led us to avoid security for nearly 10 years.

Video security has not always been a major part of Gigastrand but we have seen how small companies and box stores are able to sell cheap, prepackaged CCTV systems at ridiculous markups. For us, that has never sat well.

Folks aren’t video security experts, however, and are not likely to become so just to purchase a system.

So, what do you look for and what do you avoid? We have compiled a list of some of the pitfalls customers have faced with other systems.

Look out for narrow lenses

This piece of advice only applies to the actual “eye” of the system: the camera. Regardless of the type of video system you are trying to install, as any photographer will tell you, the lenses are the most important part of any camera.

Most camera lenses are measured by focal length in millimeters (mm). The higher the number, the more “zoom” the lens has. This might sound good, but on a video security system you want as wide of a shot as you can get to get the most out of each camera.

Cameras with varifocal lenses (lenses that can zoom in and out) from 2.8 – 12mm are the best, but most low cost cameras come with a fixed focus lens. These are also less expensive – which is ok if you know what to look for.

For nearly all applications, you want a focal length of 3.6 or below. This will give you 80 – 90 degrees of view. Avoid lenses that have a fixed focus of 4mm or more, unless you want to shoot down a long hallway or over a field as they excel at a distant, level view.

Why is this so important? A 2.8mm lens can cover 2x the area of a 6mm lens in the types of shots customers want to see. This means a 2.8mm camera will be more valuable in an install and you could potentially use fewer cameras.

Can’t find the focal length? Avoid the camera and any system it comes with.

Thin wires

This applies mainly to analog CCTV systems. Off-the-shelf systems will very often come with a very thin coaxial (coax) and power wire in one. This wire is complete garbage. It breaks easily and when it does break, it can’t be repaired. Customers have often thrown away cameras because they think it is the problem. Professional installers use a thick version of this wire that doesn’t lend itself to breakage and can be repaired easily.

One way to tell what kind of wire is packaged with the system is the size and weight of the box. If the box is fairly small and light (or even the same general size and weight as all the rest of the systems on the shelf) it probably has this thin wire.

Avoid appliances

So, pretty much just leave the box store stuff alone and avoid installers trying to sell you stuff that kind of looks like it. On average, things start to fail on those small boxes after only a year. You might be lucky to get 3 years of use on an appliance type system.

Appliance (often called embedded or standalone) systems can’t be upgraded, and the software to view them is usually of poor quality or won’t keep up with your technology. In some cases, you never even know they have failed until it is too late. They continue to run despite a failed hard drive.

Specialty Analog

This tale starts with a story. A few years back traditional analog solutions started to be left behind in favor of IP/network systems. Companies who were used to selling and installing analog systems struggled with the network technology required to run the new, megapixel cameras.

So, the industry responded with something called High Definition Composite Video Interface (HDCVI). High resolution cameras that work over that work over existing analog lines.

Up until this point, this has been a critique of the technology itself. HDCVI is a fine technology that delivers what is says it does. However, it is a stop-gap technology and not an industry standard like analog or network based systems. If you need the resolution, go with a network video security solution like the Gigastrand NVR. If not, stick with standard analog and upgrade the DVR. It will often be less expensive and the right DVR will improve the look of your cameras.

Recommendations for HDCVI

While we do not strongly recommend it, if you do decide to go with this type of system, make sure that it is backwards-compatible with existing analog technology so you don’t spend a ton on replacing perfectly working equipment. This is often referred to as bi-mode or tri-mode. If you can, get a system that will also do a couple of IP cameras as well (tri-mode systems will often have this capability).


Video Security: 4 things to avoid and what to look for

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Complete Escape Room Management System

Are you looking to setup your own escape room? Want to monitor your haunted house? Look no further!

  • This single system can monitor and interact with your players / victims!

  • Easy to use software custom-designed for escape room management

  • Completely plug and play. No setup or configuration necessary!

  • Remotely accessible with Gigastrand Remote assistance software (internet connection required).

  • Records and monitors cameras. Up to 16 cameras can be connected per system!

  • Camera can connect wirelessly. No need to run cables.

  • Additional cameras can be purchased from Gigastrand. Purchase them with the system, and Gigastrand will configure the cameras for the system at no additional charge!

  • Includes a 7″ Android tablet to interact with your escapees pre-loaded with all the necessary software.

  • Includes 1 camera with audio monitoring* pre-configured to connect with the rest of the equipment.

  • Includes a Gigastrand 16ch NVR with all software loaded and configured.

  • Includes a pre-configured wireless router

Gigastrand NVR Specifications

  • Dual-core processor

  • 60 Gb Solid State hard drive (20Gb recording space will give a few days of video)
    • Record the experience for your customers to a flash drive and make extra $$ on your room

  • 4 Gb DDR-3 1600 Memory (max 32Gb)

  • AMD Radeon HD graphics

  • PCI express expansion

  • 4x USB 3.0, 4x USB 2.0, 8x USB total

  • VGA, HDMI, and DVI connectors

  • 6 ch audio

  • Gigabit network card

  • Wireless keyboard and mouse

  • Modular design allows nearly unlimited upgrades.

  • USB Recovery Software
    • Gigastrand OS v3.2 with Gigastrand NVR v1.4 software

    • Free NVR 1.x software updates

  • The only video surveillance recorder in the world that:
    • Is based on the stability and security of the Gigastrand OS

    • Can be fully installed with cameras over the Internet!

    • includes a Limited Lifetime Hardware Warranty!

    • Includes 1 hour of installation support!

  • 90 Day labor warranty

  • Lifetime Upgrade Guarantee
    • This system will grow with your needs!

Gigastrand recommends 1 recorder per escape room.

*Note: Live audio monitoring is part of this system but audio recording is not. Video will be recorded without audio.

Complete Escape Room Management System

Executing .jar files in Gigastrand OS

Executing Java ARchive ( .jar ) files is not something that you will need to do everyday. However, if you are distributing executable archive content – say from a executable Ark file – the jar file is the only way to go.

From Wikipedia

In software, JAR (Java Archive) is a package file format typically used to aggregate many Java class files and associated metadataand resources (text, images, etc.) into one file to distribute application software or libraries on the Java platform.

In Gigastrand OS, .jar files are not associated with the installed Java Runtime Environment (JRE) 7 automatically. This is partly for security.

If you need to execute .jar files we will use the following example with KouChat.

  1. Right-click the .jar file and select Open With…

  2. In the top line, type in /usr/bin/java -jar

  3. Check Remember application association for this type of file

  4. Click OK

jar files example

Now you will be able to execute Java Archive files using the built-in java runtime.

Executing .jar files in Gigastrand OS

Friday, September 9, 2016

Never looking back: Why customers stay with Gigastrand

Gigastrand OS measurable recidivism rates are less than 3%. Which means people tend to stick with Gigastrand OS. Obviously, we are very happy with those numbers but wanted to find out what it was that our customers liked so we could keep doing it.


When the idea for Gigastrand OS was revived back in 2012, we tried to explain it to the Linux community as a “transitional Linux distribution”. Something to ease people into the Linux and safer computing. We were pretty clear that while our goal was to make a very good, well-supported OS, the target market wasn’t people who were already running Linux.

Today, we have stayed the course. The whole point of Gigastrand OS is to make it as easy as possible for someone to move away from other systems.

Less Support Required

When we incorporated Gigastrand OS into our business, support was a top priority after developing the OS itself. What we discovered was that people rarely needed support after converting to Gigastrand OS.

The average user will only seek help every 3 to 6 months for computer problems. This was also true of some Gigastrand customers, however, the average per-incident support cost went from $60 down to $15. The reason for this was the problems are easier to fix and far less severe on Gigastrand OS as compared to Windows PCs.


When we took into account all of the other users who did not call into tech support, we found they were not having any issues. Users reported that there was no strange behavior, no slowdowns, no pop-ups, and whatever minor problem they did run into fixed itself after a restart – which they didn’t have to do very often.

Simple and Straightforward.

Gigastrand uses an older style menu that people have been using for decades. The main difference is that Gigastrand categorizes the programs instead of sticking them under a single subheading.

While most users admitted to only using a couple of programs, those that explored some of the other programs the OS has pre-installed said that they had no trouble finding and using them.


Users have reported being happy with the overall performance of the system, despite all of the pre-installed software that would normally bog down a system. Users with Gigastrand PCs, overall, felt the performance exceeded their expectations.

It does what users need and want it to do.

Gigastrand has worked very hard to do everything customers need and want it to do. Even on the rare occasion where it doesn’t do something the user wanted, that something is usually minor.


Even those who use Linux and try out new distributions regularly (sometimes known as “distro hoppers”) are impressed.

“It is a really good OS,” remarked one such individual. Though, then promptly explained that it wasn’t “technical” enough for him.

That’s ok, though. If people can recognize the quality of the product even if it isn’t specifically designed for them, we’ll take that.

Never looking back: Why customers stay with Gigastrand

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

TCP Flaw Workaround Patch for Gigastrand OS

A flaw for Linux devices – including Gigastrand OS – has been discovered as detailed at Hacker News

Researchers have uncovered a serious Internet flaw, which if exploited, could allow attackers to terminate or inject malware into unencrypted communication between any two vulnerable machines on the Internet.

The vulnerability could also be used to forcefully terminate HTTPS encrypted connections and downgrade the privacy of secure connections, as well as also threatens anonymity of Tor users by routing them to certain malicious relays.

The flaw actually resides in the design and implementation of the Request for Comments: 5961 (RFC 5961) – a relatively new Internet standard that’s designed to make commonly used TCP more robust against hacking attacks.

Manual patch

You can add the following line to /etc/sysctl.conf (right click on sysctl.conf>Root Actions>Open as Text)

net.ipv4.tcp_challenge_ack_limit = 999999999

Then open a terminal and execute

sudo sysctl -p

and it will do the same thing as the patch below.

Automated Patch: Download – tcpatch.tar.gz

The above patch automates the process and contains a workaround implementation of a modified sysctl.conf that should protect Gigastrand OS and other Linux PCs from attack while a system patch is being developed. Instructions are below.

Chrome and Firefox will download the GsNVR.tar.gz file to Computer>Downloads (/home/user/Downloads).

  1. Extract the downloaded file with Ark to your home folder (/home/user) also called Computer

  2. Right-click on the file and select Properties

  3. Click on the Permissions tab and select Is Executable

  4. Click Ok

Now we are ready to install.

  1. Right click in a blank area and go to Actions>Open Terminal Here

  2. type ./ or sh

  3. Your output should look like this:


tcpatch output screen

TCP Flaw Workaround Patch for Gigastrand OS

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Hulu and Netflix working in Gigastrand OS

We are happy to report that Hulu and Netflix are working in Chrome in the Gigastrand OS 3.x.

As much as we would like to take credit, we only tested to see if it was working. We suspect changes to Chrome have made it possible.

We were hoping that Netflix and Hulu could be working before we released 4.0. We have been maintaining subscriptions with both in the hopes that this would be resolved. Looks like we can cross that one off the list.

In the meantime…

While we are waiting for an update to the stable codebase for 4.0, we are making great strides for the live view monitoring software for Gigastrand NVR.

We are calling it Advanced Live View for NVR – or ALVN (alvin) for short. It is designed to run locally on the system for a better live view experience. For now, it will be a separate system from the main software.

It can be accessed by a remote PC but it currently does not work on mobile devices. This will not be remedied immediately, but it will in future versions.


Hulu and Netflix working in Gigastrand OS

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

What Happened After Gigastrand OS Wouldn't Install

When one woman bought a Gigastrand OS PC over 2 years ago, she knew she was moving from a slow, buggy, and out of date Windows PC to a brand new one with a different kind of operating system on it.

“I remember explaining to her that, if she absolutely hated Gigastrand OS, we can always just load a new version of Windows on it instead.” Gigastrand CEO Josh Tordsen explains. “But, I knew from over 15 years of experience in Linux, that she was the perfect candidate.”

Gigastrand built a system that they thought was future-proof. It was a fast system with plenty of memory and a large solid-state hard drive. More importantly, it was the first direct sale of a brand new Gigastrand OS system in South Dakota.

“The operating system software makes all the difference. It doesn’t just determine how user-friendly it is. It is one of the most important determining factors when it comes to system security, stability, and reliability.”

Recently, Google dropped support for 32-bit operating systems like Windows XP and Gigastrand OS 2.x. So when Chrome began telling its user that they were no longer supporting the operating system, Gigastrand was already trying to figure out what needed to be done.

“When I got her call, I was already seeing the same thing on my screen. I was still using gigastrand OS 2.x on my personal computers despite the fact we upgraded all the rest to 3.0 by that time. Ideally, we would have liked to use the multiarch feature in our OS to piggyback 64-bit programs on a 32-bit system. It would have extended usable life and compatibility for 2.0.  It seemed like we were so close to doing it too, but it proved impossible.”

Gigastrand began recommending that an upgrade to 3.0 was necessary to resolve the Chrome issue. Mr. Tordsen travelled to his customer’s house to upgrade her computer.

“It was going to be a straightforward upgrade. Backup data, pop the disc in, upgrade the system. We’ve done it hundreds of times.”

This time was different. Several errors were noted by Mr. Tordsen resulting in the system being unable to startup to the installation disc.

“I tried all the usual tricks. Is the disc dirty? Is it a bad disc? Was the version incompatible? Was the drive bad? Nothing worked. We even left site, made a new install image with some things removed, and tried again. That didn’t work.”

After the last attempt, Mr. Tordsen knew he would need to examine the problem more closely. He loaned her a laptop and took the computer to fix it. What he discovered was the hardware used in the original build was not compatible with 64-bit versions of Linux – including Gigastrand OS 3.0. The only option was a hardware upgrade.

As this was a new computer purchased with Gigastrand OS and the OS upgrade was the cause for the hardware requiring to be upgraded, Gigastrand chose to liberally interpret their Lifetime Upgrade Guarantee – which usually applies to hardware upgrades only – and give this customer the hardware she needed to upgrade to Gigastrand OS 3.2.

“All of the trips, all of the troubleshooting, and all of the hardware – and the customer only paid the cost of the software – $25. I don’t know of any other company that stands behind their products like Gigastrand does.”

What Happened After Gigastrand OS Wouldn't Install

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Gigastrand OS 4.0 Development Postponed

Gigastrand OS 4.0 development has been postponed because Debian has not released a new stable codebase. We had figured Debian 9 would be the new stable release by now, but it hasn’t quite come to pass just yet. That is perfectly fine by us as we want to work with the best possible product.

We are going to instead redouble our development efforts on Gigastrand NVR. The big push now is to get a real-time live view. Ideally, we want to integrate it into the code, but it may take the form of a link off the main live view page for now.

While we haven’t announced anything about Gigastrand NVR 2.0 but it is definitely on our minds. Customers will likely see incremental changes to 1.0 while we develop features for 2.0.


Gigastrand OS 4.0 Development Postponed

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Gigastrand FAIL and what we know now

Failure at Gigastrand is always an option. To fail is acceptable as long as there is a lesson in it.

Many months ago, Gigastrand set out to do something impossible: piggyback a 64-bit architecture onto a 32 bit system. In Linux there was a slim possibility that this could work with multiarch support built into Debian. We postulated that by installing the architecture, as long as the hardware was there to support it, we could run 64 bit programs on a 32 bit system. We have done the reverse of this in Gigastrand OS 3.x (32 bit architecture on 64 bit system) with great success.

Why in the world would we want to do this? For a lot of reasons. 

  1. It would extend the viability of Gigastrand OS 2.x

  2. It would force compatibility with 64-bit software like Chrome with a 32 bit OS

  3. It will maintain compatibility with older hardware while allowing advancements to the OS

We came close – really close – to making it work. In the end, the one program we really wanted to work, Chrome, just would not even install.

We still believe that it is hypothetically possible, but beyond our capabilities.

So, we began going around to our customers and upgrading their systems to 3.0 so they can still use Chrome. We fixed the version of Chrome in place in version 2.4.

Then we come to fail number 2.

We were upgrading a machine from 2.2 to 3.2 when we noticed the system would boot very slow, error out with a “no microcode for this processor” then fail when trying to start X – the user interface (UI) for Linux. We tried all the usual troubleshooting (replacing discs, trying different drives, etc.) but all gave the same result. Without being able to boot into X, installing the OS will be nearly impossible.

So, we booted back into this customer’s original OS and checked to see if the microcode was installed. It wasn’t.

Then we opened a terminal window and did an lspci command (you can also look at Go>System>Kinfocenter for a graphical depiction and a few more tools). Via chipset, Via graphics, Via processor.

Our best guess is that the processor microcode that is installed in 3.x – specifically the Intel microcode – is mis-identifying the processor and activating. As there is nothing we can do about it once the install image is created, we simply went back to the original build and created a new image without any of the microcode.

If it works, we will release that image with the 3.4 update. If it doesn’t. We will let you know.

Gigastrand FAIL and what we know now

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Gigastrand OS Boot Issues

There are a few BIOS settings that could affect the ability of a PC to boot the Gigastrand OS. Below are a few of the more common solutions to these issues.

Legacy Boot: This is a setting in most BIOS that, if not turned on, will not allow the Gigastrand OS DVD or USB drive to startup. This is required to boot Gigastrand OS. Gigastrand PCs enable this by default. Accessing the BIOS settings is always accessed with a keypress before the computer boots the operating system.Consult your PCs manual to find out how to access your BIOS settings. Common keys to access the BIOS settings are: Del, F2, F10, or F12.

Boot Order: If the computer is set to startup to the hard drive first, you might not be able to run the installation media. You could change the boot order in the BIOS however, most PCs also have a boot menu that will allow you to select the drive you want to use. Make sure your media is loaded or plugged in before you try to access this menu or your drive might not be listed. This menu is also accessed by a keypress before the computer boots. Common keys are: F12, F9, or F2

Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI) mode: This mode is a property of the SATA controller that allows advanced features like hot-swapping drives and other advanced features. How you know you should check for this solution is after install, you reboot and get a GRUB error: 

error: file '/grub/i386-pc/normal.mod' not found.
grub rescue>

This is a strong indication that you need to change the SATA controller settings in the BIOS from AHCI to IDE or ATA. Gigastrand OS does support AHCI, but not on all hardware. When you reboot, the hard drive should boot fine. If not, reinstall the Gigastrand OS and it should start fine.

Gigastrand OS Boot Issues

Friday, June 3, 2016

D-Link DCS930L IP Camera

D-Link DCS-930L Wireless-N Network (IP) Cloud Camera

Network Interface:

  • 10/100Base-TX Fast Ethernet

  • 802.11b/g/n WLAN

Wireless Connectivity:

  • 802.11b/g/n Wireless with WEP/WPA/WPA2 security

Reset Button:

  • Reset to factory default

Video Codecs:


  • JPEG for still images

Video Features:

  • Adjustable image size and quality

  • Time stamp and text overlay

  • Flip and Mirror


  • 640 x 480 at up to 20 fps

  • 320 x 240 at up to 30 fps

  • 160 x 120 at up to 30 fps


  • Focal length: 5.01 mm, F2.8

Minimum Illumination:

  • 1 Lux @ F2.8

View Angle

  • Horizontal: 45.3°

  • Vertical: 34.5°

  • Diagonal: 54.9°

Digital Zoom

  • Up to 4x

3A Control:

  • AGC (Auto Gain Control)

  • AWB (Auto White Balance)

  • AES (Auto Electronic Shutter)

Power Specifications:

  • Input: 100-240 V AC, 50/60 Hz

  • Output: 5 V DC, 1.2 A

  • External AC-to-DC switching power adapter

  • Max Power Consumption: 2W

Unit Dimensions:

  • Including the bracket and stand: 4.96 x 2.59 x 2.55-inches (H x W x D)

  • Camera only: 3.77 x 1.07 x 2.36-inches (H x W x D)

  • Weight: 2.71 oz (without bracket and stand)

Environmental Specifications:

  • Operation: 0 °C to 40 °C (32 °F to 104 °F)

  • Storage: -20 °C to 70 °C (-4 °F to 158 °F)

  • Humidity: 20-80% RH non-condensing

D-Link DCS930L IP Camera

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Gigastrand OS 2.4 EOL and 3.2 Updates

Gigastrand just released updates to Gigastrand OS v2x and v3.x. These minor releases are Gigastrand OS v2.4 and v3.2 respectively.

The Gigastrand OS 2.x codebase is the current 32-bit version of the operating system based on Debian 7 and KDE. The Gigastrand OS 3.x codebase is the 64-bit version based on Debian 8 and KDE. Gigastrand OS v1.x, which is based on Debian 6 and KDE is no longer receiving updates from Gigastrand and is not currently in development.

These releases mainly include several hundred security updates apiece. A few minor fixes are included as well.

2.4 updates Chrome to nearly the latest available version before Google pulled the plug on 32-bit operating system support and disables the Apt Chrome repository.

3.2 includes a long overdue fix to the splash screen and includes the installation files for Gigastrand NVR 1.1 software.

2.4 will be the last planned minor revision to the 2.0 codebase.

Gigastrand is expected to make an announcement about Gigastrand OS 4.0 development next week.

Gigastrand OS is available from the online store.

Gigastrand OS 2.4 EOL and 3.2 Updates

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Gigastrand NVR 1.1 Update

It is here! Gigastrand NVR’s very first update. This update is freely downloadable.

Gigastrand NVR 1.1 Update

  1. Download this file to /etc/kmotion/www/www/js

  2. Logout of any Gigastrand NVR

  3. Do a Gigastrand NVR Restart.

  • This fixes an issue with the button bar in Archive being disabled (works in Firefox and Iceweasel). May not work in all browsers.

  • This adds a basic file browser feature (called Download Mode) so that archive files can be downloaded.

Gigastrand NVR 1.1 Update

Monday, February 15, 2016

Gigastrand OS 2.x Google Chrome Error

Some of you who regularly update your system might have seen the following error in Chrome:

Google Chrome error

Google Chrome error in Gigastrand OS

We know exactly why this is happening: Google has decided to stop supporting 32-bit Linux operating systems by sometime in March. This means you will stop receiving updates to Chrome after a certain point and it will eventually stop working for some things.

What we have tried: Gigastrand has been experimenting with the multi-architecture (multiarch) feature of Gigastrand OS 2.x to try installing Google Chrome 64-bit on the system so that our customers can keep going with the 32-bit operating system some require for their systems.

While this is theoretically possible, it requires a complete revamp of the operating system itself as many of the dependencies required for Chrome are shared with other programs and would need to be replaced with 64-bit versions.

Internally, we need a version of Gigastrand OS that will run on older hardware, we are planning to develop a 32-bit version of 3.0 that will allow 64-bit only programs like Chrome to run. However, we are uncertain what the result might be.

Solution: Until then, you can still use Chrome in 2.x, you can use Firefox, or you can upgrade to Gigastrand OS 3.0 which includes the 64-bit version of Chrome.


Gigastrand OS 2.x Google Chrome Error

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Gigastrand OS Network Video Recorder 16ch

Gigastrand Network Video Recorder Available for Pre-order (product ships February 29)

Also includes USB camera for a limited time!

The Gigastrand Network Video Recorder (NVR) is the first video surveillance system in the world powered by the advanced technologies and security of the Gigastrand OS. Gigastrand NVR contains all the essentials you need for video security like live view, playback, motion detection, and support for up to 16 wired or wireless network connected cameras.

What makes this system truly unique (besides being based entirely on the Gigastrand platform) is this system can be installed 100% remotely.

That’s right. You plug it in, and our expert installers can install it for you over the Internet. No strangers in your home, no muddy boot prints, and no waiting around for service people.

The Gigastrand NVR also has a modular design that allows for nearly limitless upgrade options. 

Oh, and did we forget to mention this is the ONLY NVR in the world with a Lifetime Hardware Warranty

  • Quad-core processor

  • 250 Gb solid state hard drive
    • 50Gb for OS, 200Gb for video storage

    • Up to 90 days of video storage (depending on configuration)

    • Expandable up to 8000 Gb of video storage (2 Drive expansion bays)

  • 4 Gb DDR-3 1600 Memory (max 32Gb)

  • AMD Radeon HD graphics

  • PCI express expansion

  • 4x USB 3.0, 4x USB 2.0, 8x USB total

  • VGA, HDMI, and DVI connectors

  • 6 ch audio

  • Gigabit network card

  • Wireless keyboard and mouse

  • Modular design allows nearly unlimited upgrades.

  • Connects to nearly all USB and Network Cameras supporting MJPEG

  • USB Recovery Software
    • Gigastrand OS 3.0 with Gigastrand NVR 1.0 software

    • Free NVR 1.0 software updates

  • The only video surveillance recorder in the world that:
    • Is based on the stability and security of the Gigastrand OS

    • Can be fully installed with cameras over the Internet!

    • includes a Limited Lifetime Hardware Warranty!

    • Includes up to 4 hours of installation time FREE!

  • 90 Day labor warranty

  • Lifetime Upgrade Guarantee
    • This system will grow with your needs!

Gigastrand OS Network Video Recorder 16ch

Friday, February 5, 2016

Gigastrand Makes Security Software & Why You Should Care

Most of us have never really had to think much about video security. We often ignore the cameras at our work and where we shop. We glance briefly at a box store camera screen to catch a glimpse of ourselves on the monitor. Beyond that, we really don’t think too much about it.

In fact, most people don’t realize they need a video security system until something bad happens – which is the worst time to think about security. The damage is already done, and now you are dealing with insurance, repairs, and replacing your missing items.

There are 2 kinds of people who think about security a lot. The first kind are people who know they need it. The people who know they need it are not in a good situation or something has already happened that makes them think about how knowing what is going on when they are not around is probably a good thing.


The second is people who do it for a living. What we who do it for a living see too often is someone who has never had to think about video security before now scrambling to to figure out systems, options, and then having it installed. The end result is haphazardly piece-mealed together and often ineffective.

The other problem is that the people who really need it often can’t afford it and can’t install it. A system costing less than $1000 is a very cheap system in the security world, but is often out of reach for many people and often the price doesn’t include installation.

This is where Gigastrand NVR comes in. For as little as $50, you can buy the Gigastrand OS and the Gigastrand NVR software. That price even includes installation! We can remotely set it up on an old PC or laptop with a webcam and instantly you have a fully supported single camera NVR you can view from anywhere in the world with your PC, smartphone, or tablet.

If you need something a little more robust, you can pick up just about any Network camera and connect it to the NVR. Network cameras start at about $50 and you will soon be able to pick up a brand new system for $448 with a free starter camera, 30 days of support, and a Lifetime hardware warranty. Pre-orders will be available this weekend from the Gigastrand Store.


So, the Gigastrand NVR is probably the simplest and most affordable solution by making security possible for everyone.

Gigastrand Makes Security Software & Why You Should Care

Monday, February 1, 2016

Gigastrand Celebrates 10 years of Linux Advocacy

February 1st 2006, Gigastrand International* was founded. At the time, Linspire was the flagship operating system product, and Gigastrand’s mission was simply Linux advocacy through sales and support. That same month, Gigastrand attended the very last Desktop Linux Summit in San Diego.

Linspire logo

Linspire logo

Linspire folded in 2007. After looking at creating a Gigastrand distribution and evaluating several existing distributions (including a short-lived distro called Klikit) Linux Mint KDE became the new flagship OS.

From 2008 – 2011, Gigastrand simply existed while it tried and failed at several grand ideas. Some stuck, some didn’t. For those years Gigastrand survived off of the remnant sales of freespire and Linux Mint discs it sold online. Some Ebay and Zazzle sales helped pay for the website.

Then, in 2012, Gigastrand caught several breaks. Ventures into a short-lived wholesaling gig and PC servicing helped generate more revenue than in previous years. 

In September of 2012, founder Josh Tordsen rebooted Gigastrand and added services from his previous venture, Gigabytes Computer Store, which he had closed in May 2006. With a small $3000 initial investment, Gigastrand broke sales records year after year. Recently, December 2015, January 2016, and projected sales for February 2016 shatter all previous sales records for those months in the company’s history. 



Gigastrand OS Alpha .04

As a part of the reboot, Gigastrand reinvented its Linux advocacy plan by revisiting the idea of Gigastrand OS. It developed the Gigastrand OS into 1.0 and released it January 4th 2014. Six months later, July 14th, 2014, saw the release of Gigastrand OS 2.0 and September 1, 2015 Gigastrand released v3.0 – the first 64 bit version of the operating system.

The effort in developing the OS has been enormous but the results have been encouraging. Gigastrand OS set out to make Linux as easy as possible for everyone. The developers have taken over a decade of trying to convert people to Linux using various distros and incorporated what people want.

Gigastrand's Best selling PC

Gigastrand’s Best selling PC

The numbers are impressive as well. In the last half of 2015, 100% of new and used computers had Gigastrand OS on them. Since Gigastrand OS 1.0 was released, over 10,000 people have downloaded the operating system. In 2 years of new and used PC sales with Gigastrand OS we have seen a 98% adoption rate and a 0% attrition rate on new computers.

Gigastrand’s bread and butter continues to be technology management and security. It allows the company to focus on development of new solutions like the Gigastrand OS.


Gigastrand Network Video Recorder Software

What does the future hold for Gigastrand? According to founder Josh Tordsen, a lot.

“Our focus in 2016 will be software. A new version of the Gigastrand OS with more features is not out of the question before the end of 2016. More immediately, we are on schedule to release the Gigastrand NVR software for recording security cameras by the end of February then, in March, we will start porting some Windows software we own to Gigastrand OS.”

In short, Gigastrand continues its original mission of Linux advocacy while adding products and services to an ever-expanding technical portfolio. Gigastrand has had many ups and downs but it continues to move forward.





*In 2015 Gigastrand has dropped the “International” part of its name though some remnants of the old name can still be found.

Gigastrand Celebrates 10 years of Linux Advocacy

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Security and Surveillance Signs

These signs have been highly requested by our customers. So, we made some for you to download and print. So, here are 6 signs you can use in your installation for free!

videotaped  You are being videotaped

recordedbyaudio You are being recorded by electronic audio devices

premisesprotected Premises protected by electronic and video security

monitoredbyav Monitored by audio / video security systems

avsurveillance Audio / video surveillance in use

audionpremises Audio recording on premises

Security and Surveillance Signs