Author: Mike (Page 1 of 3)

Binding Macs to AD using Munki’s Configuration Profile support

Although the trend is to move away from binding Macs to Active Directory (most commonly using NoMAD), we’re still binding for various reasons:

  • Being able to authenticate with domain credentials for doing things that require admin privileges.
  • Being able to connect remotely using domain credentials.
  • Computer labs and other multi-user Macs.
  • We’re still using AD mobile accounts, for now.

Originally, we would bind Macs to AD as part of our DeployStudio imaging workflow. Unfortunately, we faced a couple of drawbacks with this approach:

  • By installing/configuring something only when imaging, you’re not enforcing the setting – it’s a one-shot thing. In the future, the setting could change, or the application might require an update, but you’re not going to reimage your entire fleet every time that happens.
  • When we moved from DeployStudio to Imagr, we needed to trim our workflows to be as slim as possible.

With the help of Graham Gilbert’s tutorial, we were able to move AD binding to Munki. This also gave us an unexpected benefit: in the past, we frequently found that the binding on Macs would randomly break. This was a major issue in the classrooms, where students and faculty would not be able to login to computers and start class. Moving this to Munki with a custom installcheck_script made it “self-healing” – every 1-2 hours, Munki will rebind the Mac, if necessary (or prompt the user to do this through Managed Software Center).

For the past year, there’s been a big push to move to configuration profiles for applying settings. Luckily, you can use the “directory” payload to bind to AD! However, it’s just running dsconfigad in the background anyway, so it’s entirely possible for your Mac’s binding to be broken, but the AD profile to show as successfully installed. The MDM protocol currently has no method of determining if the AD profile should be reinstalled, so Munki is a much more logical choice for deploying this. Armin Briegel’s tutorial was instrumental in assisting with this transition.

Code and usage instructions are available in my GitHub repository.

Securing MunkiReport with Let’s Encrypt on Synology DSM

Continuing my series on using Docker with a Synology NAS, I now have MunkiReport v3 working – and you can, too!

Some background: MunkiReport is a companion project to Munki (which we set up with Squirrel last week). MunkiReport v3 was released recently, and has a huge list of improvements, thanks to a dedicated group of contributors – especially @bochoven and @mosen, who have overhauled large portions of the project. MunkiReport v3 has some new requirements that weren’t present with v2 – this is the perfect use case for Docker! Docker will handle all of this for us.

Briefly, here’s what we’re going to do: we’re going to set up MySQL, Adminer, and MunkiReport using Docker Compose. Then, we’re going to use DSM 6.x’s certificate and reverse proxy support to secure MunkiReport. Let’s go!

  1. Enable SSH to your Synology server. Open the Terminal and connect to your server (I’m using root, but your admin account should also do fine). Leave that open for later.
  2. Install Docker through Package Center, if you don’t already have it.
  3. Add a certificate to DSM. I like Let’s Encrypt – DSM can walk you through the certificate creation process, and will renew it automatically. You’ll need a domain name for this. You might be able to use Synology’s QuickConnect service for this. (I ended up setting up a CNAME for my QuickConnect address with a subdomain that I already own, then used the CNAME for the certificate)
  4. Create a shared folder for your Docker data. I named mine ‘docker’. Create two directories inside of it: ‘MunkiReport’ and ‘MySQL’.
  5. Create a file called ‘docker-compose.yml’ in your ‘docker’ shared folder. Populate it with this data, to start:
  1. Change line 41, your MySQL root password, to something random. You can also change the port numbers if you’d like, but I’m going to finish this tutorial with the assumption that you haven’t touched those (it can get confusing very quickly).
  2. Switch over to your Terminal window and run these two commands. The first will download the Docker images for Adminer, MunkiReport, and MySQL. The second command will create Docker containers, which contain your custom settings. If you change any of the settings in your docker-compose.yml file, re-running these commands will destroy the Docker containers and recreate them with your new specifications. Pretty cool. You can monitor all of this with the Docker application in DSM.
    /usr/local/bin/docker-compose  -f /volume1/docker/docker-compose.yml pull
    /usr/local/bin/docker-compose -f /volume1/docker/docker-compose.yml up -d
  3. Now, let’s create the MySQL database for MunkiReport. Go to your Synology server’s IP address, but add :3307 to the end. You’ll reach a login page. Here are the relevant details:
    1. Server is your NAS’s IP address, but with :3306 at the end.
    2. Username is root.
    3. Password is whatever you set in Step 6.
    4. Database can be left blank.
  4. After you login, click ‘Create database’. Name the database whatever you’d like – I went with ‘mreport’. For ‘Collation’, pick ‘utf8_general_ci’. Close the Adminer tab.
  5. Open a new tab, with your server’s IP address followed by :4443 at the end.  You should be greeted with an empty MunkiReport installation. Nice!
  6. In your ‘docker’ shared folder, you had created a ‘MunkiReport’ folder in Step 4. Inside of that, create a file named ‘config.php’. This is how we’ll configure MunkiReport – by overriding values specified in config_default.php (click to see MunkiReport’s default values). I’ll skip this part of the tutorial, as it’s documented much better on MunkiReport’s wiki. At a minimum, I’d strongly suggest setting up authentication, MySQL connection settings, and the modules you’d like to enable.
  7. Before you can expose your MunkiReport container to the outside world, you’ll want to secure it. You’ll do this with a reverse proxy – basically, another web server put in front of your MunkiReport container (which itself contains a web server). The reverse proxy will add encryption, but otherwise leave your MunkiReport installation alone. DSM 6.0 includes a reverse proxy, so let’s use that.
  8. Check out the bottom of this Synology knowledge base article. Unfortunately, the documentation leaves a lot to be desired, so I’ll suggest some settings:
    1. Description: MunkiReport
    2. Source Protocol: HTTPS
    3. Source Hostname: *
    4. Source Port: 4444
    5. (leave both the HSTS and HTTP/2 boxes unchecked)
    6. Destination Protocol: HTTP
    7. Destination Hostname:
    8. Destination Port: 4443
  9. Click OK to save.
  10. In your router, forward port 4444 (TCP) to your Synology server. If you haven’t given your Synology server a static IP address, that’d be a good idea.
  11. Visit your secure MunkiReport installation in a web browser:

From there, you can create a MunkiReport installation package (I like using the AutoPkg recipe for this). Push it to your clients, then watch as they check in with sweet, sweet data.

Securing Squirrel with Let’s Encrypt on Synology DSM

Yep, this is another Docker blog post…but this time, we’re covering Munki!

It’s pretty common knowledge that a Munki server is just a web server. This allows tons of flexibility with hosting your Munki repository – basically anything that can run Apache, NGINX, IIS, etc. can act as your Munki server (even macOS Server, but I wouldn’t recommend it). Today, I’m going to continue the series of blog posts about Docker, but we’re going to discuss something called Squirrel.

Squirrel, written by Victor Vrantchan (@groob), is described as a simple HTTPS server for Munki. While you can set up your own Apache server (or Docker container), Squirrel comes prebuilt for hosting a Munki server.

As with Ubooquity, I’m going to use Synology DSM’s certificates.  That way, we can leverage Let’s Encrypt without needing to do any additional setup.

  1. First, set up Let’s Encrypt with in DSM’s Control Panel. Synology has excellent documentation on that.
  2. Before we go any further, I’d recommend creating a directory for Squirrel to save files (such as certificates). Separately, you’ll also want to create a Munki repository (see the Demonstration Setup, but skip the Apache config stuff). If you already have a repo, that’s great too.
  3. Next, add the Docker image for micromdm/squirrel. Follow Synology’s instructions.
  4. Create a Docker container, following those same instructions.
    1. You’ll want to specify two volumes, both of which you created in Step 2: where to store Squirrel’s data, and your Munki repository. I have a shared folder named ‘docker’, and I like creating directories for each service within that: for example, /volume1/docker/Squirrel. I made a ‘certs’ directory within that, as well.
    2. You’ll also want to pick a port. If you’re comfortable exposing port 443 to the world, go for it. Otherwise, use 443 internally to the Docker container, and pick another port for the outside world. Be sure to forward this port on your router!
    3. The environmental variables you’ll want to override are:SQUIRREL_MUNKI_REPO_PATH (this is the path to your Munki repo, which you specified in Step 4a).
      SQUIRREL_BASIC_AUTH (this is a randomly generated password for your Munki repo)
      SQUIRREL_TLS_CERT (/path/to/cert.pem)
      SQUIRREL_TLS_KEY (/path/to/privkey.pem)
  5. But wait, where do we get the cert? I wrote a really simple script to copy the Let’s Encrypt certs to Squirrel’s config location: get it here. Be sure to edit line 6! I run this once a night, with DSM’s Task Scheduler.
  6. After you start up your Squirrel container, check the Docker logs by selecting your container, clicking the Details button, then the Log tab. You’ll see the Basic Authentication string that you’ll need to provide to your Munki clients. You can find out more information on the Munki wiki.

After that, you’re done! Your clients have a secure Munki repo, and you don’t have to bother with Apache config files, a reverse proxy for securing your web server, or any of that.

Securing Ubooquity with Let’s Encrypt on Synology DSM

Whew, that’s a very specific title. I don’t know if this will be useful to anyone else, but it took a fair amount of work to figure it out, so I figured I’d document it. There will be more Mac stuff soon, I promise!

If you haven’t heard, Let’s Encrypt is an excellent service, with the aim of securing the internet by offering free HTTPS certificates to anyone who requests one. In fact, I’m using one on this website right now. 🙂

With DSM 6.0, Synology added the ability to request a free certificate from Let’s Encrypt to secure your NAS. DSM handles renewing your certificate, which must happen every 90 days (one of the limitations of the free certificate, but nothing that can’t be automated).

Unrelated for the moment, but I’ve been using Ubooquity (through Docker!) for the past few months, and it’s been pretty neat. You can point Ubooquity to a directory of ePub and PDF files, and it’ll allow you to access the files remotely using reader apps like Marvin, KyBook, or Chunky. I have a habit of buying tech books and comics through Humble Bundle sales, but transferring the files to my iPad through iTunes/iBooks is clunky and requires a fair amount of disk space upfront.

Although Ubooquity supports user authentication, you’ll want that to happen over HTTPS, to keep your passwords secure. Luckily, Ubooquity supports HTTPS, but requires the certificate (and other associated files) to be in a format called a “keystore”. What?!

Here’s how to leverage DSM’s Let’s Encrypt support to secure Ubooquity, automatically.

  1. First, you’ll want to set up Let’s Encrypt in DSM’s Control Panel. See Synology’s documentation.
  2. Next, you’ll want to get Ubooquity up and running (I recommend the Docker image mentioned above). Synology’s documentation covers that, too. If your eBook library is a mess Calibre will make quick work of that.
  3. For this to work, you’ll also need the Java 8 JDK installed. This will give you access to the ‘keytool’ command you’ll need to create your keystore. Once again, see Synology’s documentation.
  4. Now, you’ll put all of this together. In a nutshell: you’re going to use the Let’s Encrypt certs that DSM has helpfully obtained for you, convert those to a keystore, put the keystore in Ubooquity’s config directory, and tell Ubooquity to use it to secure its interface. Here’s a script to get you started – note that you’ll need to edit lines 11, 12, and 15 for your environment. Thanks to Saltypoison on the Ubooquity forums for most of the code that became this script!
  5. Once you’ve successfully run the script, I recommend using DSM’s Task Scheduler to have it run once a day. This way, Ubooquity’s certificate will always be up to date with DSM’s certificate. That’s right, I’m going to link you to Synology’s documentation.
  6. Finally, you’ll need to tell Ubooquity where to find your keystore. Login to the Ubooquity admin interface, then click the Security tab. You’ll see two boxes – one for the path to your keystore, and one for the keystore password. Enter both. Click ‘Save and Restart’ at the top-right corner.
  7. Now, try accessing your Ubooquity instance using https and your FQDN! If it doesn’t work, make sure you’re forwarding the appropriate ports from your router to your Synology server – you’ll need to do this for both the eBook interface, and the admin interface (which are accessible via two different ports).

I’ll probably post more Synology/Docker stuff in the future, as I’ve been spending a lot of time with both. They’re really awesome!

Deploying JMP Pro 12.x and 13.x licenses

As I’m reorganizing my GitHub repositories, I’ve realized that I forgot to post about my work with Shea Craig and the JMP Team at SAS. Because of them, I was able to deploy JMP Pro 12.x and 13.x licenses to our Mac labs.

You can find code and instructions at my jmp_pro_12_license_pkg and jmp_pro_13_license_pkg GitHub repositories.

NoMAD Group Condition for Munki

One of the most powerful features of Munki are conditional items – and the ability for an admin to provide custom conditions for deploying or removing software. For example, we’ve been using the scripts that Hannes Juutilainen has published to determine which macOS version is supported by a particular Mac’s hardware.  We can then offer the most appropriate OS upgrade to each Mac.

We recently deployed the excellent NoMAD to single-user Macs, with the intention of resolving keychain issues (and eventually moving away from Active Directory binding altogether). If you’re using AD with your Macs, it’s absolutely worth checking out.

When a user logs into NoMAD, some data about the user’s AD account is retrieved for later usage – such as their group membership (also known as Organizational Units, or OUs). In our environment, users are divided into different groups based on their department. What if we could use that for deploying printers, similar to Group Policy on Windows?

You might see where I’m going with this – check out the script on GitHub for requirements and usage instructions.

Deploying Gaussian

I thought I blogged about deploying Gaussian 09 when I published this GitHub repository, but I guess I forgot to do that.  Anyhow, here’s some code for deploying Gaussian 16, the latest version of the Gaussian software.

Munki 101 Presentation

For our April 2017 Greater Philadelphia Mac Admins meeting, I presented on Munki 101. Here’s the summary (along with the slides), and here is the video:

Resolving a freezing problem on lab Macs

This post has been brewing for a while, and a MacEnterprise thread from today finally got me to write about this problem, and how we resolved it.

Our university has many computer labs – some in public, open spaces, and some in classrooms. Although we don’t use roaming profiles (a technology that Apple finally removed in macOS 10.12), we do bind to Active Directory and create mobile accounts upon logging in with a valid AD account.  To prevent the buildup of cruft, we remove student and faculty accounts periodically. In the public labs, we do it overnight, using a script based off of this one from Marnin Goldberg:

The most important parts of that script are:

# Delete the account
/usr/bin/dscl . -delete $a

This deletes the cached Active Directory account from the system.

# Delete the home directory
/bin/rm -rf $a

This deletes the home folder, freeing up space for more accounts.

We noticed something strange, though. After a couple of weeks of usage, the iMacs in our public labs would freeze at random points: at boot, at login, when using applications, when logging out, even when shutting down. Here’s a list of things we noted while trying to resolve the issue:

  • We use Munki to deploy software, so one by one, we removed potential culprits from the manifests.  Eventually, we whittled down the manifest items to three things we could not remove from this particular lab: Microsoft Office, the Xerox printer driver, and Active Directory binding.
  • We investigated if this was an issue with our network, power, or Active Directory setup.  For a few weeks, all iMacs were plugged into UPSs.
  • We replaced all of the iMacs with brand new models – some with SSDs, and some not.
  • As this issue persisted over ~3 years or so, we tested against multiple macOS versions – including 10.9, 10.10, and 10.11 (and the minor versions in between).
  • We enabled OD debug logging, but couldn’t make much sense of the logs.  They were very, very verbose.
  • Ultimately, the best fix was to reimage the Mac.  This would hold off the freezing for at least another week or two.
  • The freezing seemed linked to computer usage.  If an entire lab was reimaged at the same time, the first Macs to freeze were located near the printers. During the summer, when usage was decreased, we rarely had reports of freezing issues in the public labs.

We were in the process of reaching out to our Apple Systems Engineer, when we found a long-running thread on Jamf Nation, detailing the exact problems we were facing.  It was a relief to see others were trying similar tactics, too.  Then, towards the bottom of the thread, Frank Kong noted that with every use login, some files were being left behind – and the script we were using did not clear those out.  In System Preferences > Sharing > File Sharing, you could see a long list of shares, all named things similar to “Mike Solin’s Public Folder”.  Bingo, there’s our culprit.

Alan Petty, in the same thread, added this code to his profile deletion script:

/usr/bin/find /private/var/db/dslocal/nodes/Default/sharepoints -name "*" -type f -delete
/usr/bin/find /private/var/db/dslocal/nodes/Default/groups -name "*" -type f -delete

We found this code can be run while a user is logged in, so we don’t need to exclude the current user from this part of the script. It will, however, delete all file shares present on the computer (whether they are for public folders or not). This isn’t an issue in our labs, but it’s still worth mentioning.

We’ve had this fix in production for just over a month, and I can safely say the freezing problems haven’t returned.

Long-term, it might be best to look into deleting profiles using a configuration profile – Marnin posted his here.  For now, we’re sticking with the script, as it gives us more control over where and when it runs.

Allow specific users with no password to use sudo

As a sequel to the first post I made to this blog, I’ve found myself tackling this same thing with every macOS release.  Today, however, I discovered a line in /private/etc/sudoers that I hadn’t noticed before:

## Read drop-in files from /private/etc/sudoers.d
## (the '#' here does not indicate a comment)
#includedir /private/etc/sudoers.d

After some research, I discovered that you can drop a file in /private/etc/sudoers.d (a directory), and, as long as the syntax is correct, it will merge those with the main sudoers file.  In the event of a conflict, the last rule that applies takes effect – and, the main sudoers file is read first, so you can essentially override behavior by dropping a file into the sudoers.d directory.  Awesome!

I’ve posted the working code to my GitHub repository.  In the event that you want to make a change, be sure to check the file before packaging it up – or you risk breaking sudo:

/usr/sbin/visudo -csf /path/to/your/file

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