How to setup Flask and Apache on an Ubuntu VM in DigitalOcean with a Custom Domain

In this video I show how setup Flask and Apache on an Ubuntu VM in Digital Ocean with a custom domain. This was made after someone in the comments on my other DigitalOcean video requested it. If there is something else anyone would like to see, please just let me know I am happy to provide these walk through’s.

Note: I hit a number of challenges with DNS in this one, I think it’s fun to watch me struggle. Enjoy!

How to setup Flask and Apache on an Ubuntu VM in DigitalOcean with a Custom Domain Read More »

How To: Create An AWS Lambda Function To Backup/Snapshot Your EBS Volumes

AWS Lambda functions are a great way to run some code on a trigger/schedule without needing a whole server dedicated to it. They can be cost effective, but be careful depending on how long they run, and the number of executions per hour, they can be quite costly as well.

For my use case, I wanted to create snapshot backups of EBS volumes for a Mongo Database every day. I originally implemented this using only CloudWatch, which is a monitoring service, but because it’s focused on scheduling, AWS also uses it for other things that require scheduling/cron like features. Unfortunately, the CloudWatch implementation of snapshot backups was very limited. I could not ‘tag’ the backups, which was certainly something I needed for easy finding and cleanups later (past a retention period).

Anyway, there were a couple pitfalls I ran into when creating this function.


  1. Make sure you security group allows you to communicate to the Internet for any AWS API’s you need to talk to.
  2. Make sure your time-out is set to 1 minute or greater depending on your use case. The default is seconds, and is likely not high enough.
  3. “The Lambda function execution role must have permissions to create, describe and delete ENIs. AWS Lambda provides a permissions policy, AWSLambdaVPCAccessExecutionRole, with permissions for the necessary EC2 actions (ec2:CreateNetworkInterface, ec2:DescribeNetworkInterfaces, and ec2:DeleteNetworkInterface) that you can use when creating a role”
    1. Personally, I did inline permissions and included the specific actions.
  4. Upload your zip file and make sure your handler section is configured with the exact file_name.method_in_your_code_for_the_handler
  5. Also this one is more of an FYI, Lambda Function have a maximum TTL of 5 minutes ( 300 seconds).

I think that was it, after that everything worked fine. To finish this short article off, screenshots and the code!




And finally the code…

Function Code

# Backup cis volumes

import boto3

def lambda_handler(event, context):
    ec2 = boto3.client('ec2')

    reg = 'us-east-1'

    # Connect to region
    ec2 = boto3.client('ec2', region_name=reg)

    response = ec2.describe_instances(Filters=[{'Name': 'instance-state-name', 'Values': ['running']},
                                               {'Name': 'tag-key', 'Values': ['Name']},
                                               {'Name': 'tag-value', 'Values': ['cis-mongo*']},

    for r in response['Reservations']:
        for i in r['Instances']:
            for mapping in i['BlockDeviceMappings']:
                volId = mapping['Ebs']['VolumeId']

                # Create snapshot
                result = ec2.create_snapshot(VolumeId=volId,
                                             Description='Created by Lambda backup function ebs-snapshots')

                # Get snapshot resource
                ec2resource = boto3.resource('ec2', region_name=reg)
                snapshot = ec2resource.Snapshot(result['SnapshotId'])

                # Add volume name to snapshot for easier identification
                snapshot.create_tags(Tags=[{'Key': 'Name', 'Value': 'cis-mongo-snapshot-backup'}])

And here is an additional function to add for cleanup

import boto3
from datetime import timedelta, datetime

def lambda_handler(event, context):
    # if older than days delete
    days = 14

    filters = [{'Name': 'tag:Name', 'Values': ['cis-mongo-snapshot-backup']}]

    ec2 = boto3.setup_default_session(region_name='us-east-1')
    client = boto3.client('ec2')
    snapshots = client.describe_snapshots(Filters=filters)

    for snapshot in snapshots["Snapshots"]:
        start_time = snapshot["StartTime"]
        delete_time = - timedelta(days=days)

        if start_time < delete_time:
            print 'Deleting {id}'.format(id=snapshot["SnapshotId"])
            client.delete_snapshot(SnapshotId=snapshot["SnapshotId"], DryRun=False)

The end, happy server-lessing (ha !)


How To: Create An AWS Lambda Function To Backup/Snapshot Your EBS Volumes Read More »

Python & The Jira Rest API

Recently, while having to work a lot more in Jira than normal I got annoyed with the Jira Web GUI. So I wrote a script to do simple management of our jira issues.

Here is the basic usage

(env) ➜  jira git:(master) ✗ ./
usage: [-h] [-lp] [-li LIST_PROJECT_ISSUES] [-ua UPDATE_ASSIGNEE]
                   [-ud UPDATE_DATE] [-usts UPDATE_STATUS]
                   [-usum UPDATE_SUMMARY]

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -lp, --list-projects  List all projects
                        List Issues for a specific project
  -ua UPDATE_ASSIGNEE, --update-assignee UPDATE_ASSIGNEE
                        Update an issues assignee format: <issue
  -ud UPDATE_DATE, --update-date UPDATE_DATE
                        Update an issues due date format: <issue number
  -usts UPDATE_STATUS, --update-status UPDATE_STATUS
                        Update an issues status format: <issue
                        number>,'<Open|In Progress|Resolved>'
  -usum UPDATE_SUMMARY, --update-summary UPDATE_SUMMARY
                        Update an issues summary format: <issue
(env) ➜  jira git:(master) ✗

Here is the code…

from jira.client import JIRA
import os, sys
import prettytable
import argparse

parser = argparse.ArgumentParser()
parser.add_argument('-lp', '--list-projects', action="store_true", dest="list_projects", required=False, help="List all projects")
parser.add_argument('-li', '--list-issues', action="store", dest="list_project_issues", required=False, help="List Issues for a specific project")
parser.add_argument('-ua', '--update-assignee', action="store", dest="update_assignee", required=False, help="Update an issues assignee format: <issue number>,<first_last>")
parser.add_argument('-ud', '--update-date', action="store", dest="update_date", required=False, help="Update an issues due date format: <issue number>,<yyyy-mm-dd>")
parser.add_argument('-usts', '--update-status', action="store", dest="update_status", required=False, help="Update an issues status format: <issue number>,'<Open|In Progress|Resolved>'")
parser.add_argument('-usum', '--update-summary', action="store", dest="update_summary", required=False, help="Update an issues summary format: <issue number>,'<summary>'")
args = parser.parse_args()

def get_pass():
    if os.environ.get('JIRA_PASS') == None:
        print "you must first export your JIRA_PASS in the shell by running: source"
        print 'or "export JIRA_PASS=<jira_password>'
    jira_password = str(os.environ['JIRA_PASS'])

    return jira_password

def connect_jira(jira_server, jira_user, jira_password):
    Connect to JIRA. Return None on error
        #print "Connecting to JIRA: %s" % jira_server
        jira_options = {'server': jira_server}
        jira = JIRA(options=jira_options,
                    # Note the tuple
        return jira
    except Exception,e:
        print "Failed to connect to JIRA: %s" % e
        return None

def list_projects():
    projects = jira.projects()
    header = ["Projects"]
    table = prettytable.PrettyTable(header)
    for project in projects:
        row = [str(project)]
    print table

def list_project_issues(project):
    query = 'project = %s and status != Resolved order by due asc' % (project)
    #query = 'project = %s and status != Resolved order by due desc' % (project)
    #query = 'project = %s order by due desc' % (project)
    issues = jira.search_issues(query, maxResults=100)

    if issues:
        header = ["Ticket", "Summary", "Assignee", "Status", "Due Date"]
        table = prettytable.PrettyTable(header)

        for issue in issues:
                summary = issue.fields.summary
                st = str(issue.fields.status)
                dd = issue.fields.duedate
                assignee = issue.fields.assignee
                row = [issue, summary, assignee, st, dd]
        print table

def update_issue_assignee(issue_number, assignee):
    issue = jira.issue(issue_number)
    print "updated %s with new Assignee: %s" % (issue_number, assignee)

def update_issue_duedate(issue_number, dd):
    issue = jira.issue(issue_number)
    print "updated %s with new Due Date: %s" % (issue_number, dd)

def update_issue_summary(issue_number, summary):
    issue = jira.issue(issue_number)
    print "updated %s with new Summary: %s" % (issue_number, summary)

def update_issue_status(issue_number, status):
    # To figure out transitions view the following URL

    transitions = {
                    'Resolved': 11,
                    'Open': 41,
                    'In Progress': 21,
                    'Testing': 71,
                    'Transition': 81,
                    'Closed': 91,

    issue = jira.issue(issue_number)
    jira.transition_issue(issue, transitions[status])
    print "updated %s with new Status: %s" % (issue_number, status)

if __name__ == "__main__":
    if not args:
        jira_user = '<your_login>'
        jira_password = get_pass()
        jira_server = ''

        jira = connect_jira(jira_server, jira_user, jira_password)

        if args.list_projects:
        elif args.list_project_issues:
            project = args.list_project_issues
        elif args.update_assignee:
            (issue_number, assignee) = args.update_assignee.split(',')
            update_issue_assignee(issue_number, assignee)
        elif args.update_date:
            (issue_number, dd) = args.update_date.split(',')
            update_issue_duedate(issue_number, dd)
        elif args.update_status:
            (issue_number, status) = args.update_status.split(',')
            update_issue_status(issue_number, status)
        elif args.update_summary:
            (issue_number, summary) = args.update_summary.split(',')
            update_issue_summary(issue_number, summary)

Later, I found out that there is a Jira command line utility, I didn’t check and see what functionality it provided, but I enjoyed writing this anyway.

Happy coding !

Python & The Jira Rest API Read More »

How to use Boto to Audit your AWS EC2 instance security groups

Boto is a Software Development Kit for accessing the AWS API’s using Python.

Recently, I needed to determine how many of my EC2 instances were spawned in a public subnet, that also had security groups with wide open access on any port via any protocol to the instances. Because I have an IGW (Internet Gateway) in my VPC’s and properly setup routing tables, instances launched in the public subnets with wide open security groups (allowing ingress traffic from any source) is a really bad thing 🙂

Here is the code I wrote to identify these naughty instances. It will require slight modifications in your own environment, to match your public subnet IP Ranges, EC2 Tags, and Account names.

#!/usr/bin/env python
__author__ = 'Jason Riedel'
__description__ = 'Find EC2 instances provisioned in a public subnet that have security groups allowing ingress traffic from any source.'
__date__ = 'June 5th 2016'
__version__ = '1.0'

import boto3

def find_public_addresses(ec2):
    public_instances = {}
    instance_public_ips = {}
    instance_private_ips = {}
    instance_ident = {}
    instances = ec2.instances.filter(Filters=[{'Name': 'instance-state-name', 'Values': ['running'] }])

    # Ranges that you define as public subnets in AWS go here.
    public_subnet_ranges = ['10.128.0', '192.168.0', '172.16.0']

    for instance in instances:
        # I only care if the private address falls into a public subnet range
        # because if it doesnt Internet ingress cant reach it directly anyway even with a public IP
        if any(cidr in instance.private_ip_address for cidr in public_subnet_ranges):
            owner_tag = "None"
            instance_name = "None"
            if instance.tags:
                for i in range(len(instance.tags)):
                    #comment OwnerEmail tag out if you do not tag your instances with it.
                    if instance.tags[i]['Key'] == "OwnerEmail":
                        owner_tag = instance.tags[i]['Value']
                    if instance.tags[i]['Key'] == "Name":
                        instance_name = instance.tags[i]['Value']
            instance_ident[] = "Name: %s\n\tKeypair: %s\n\tOwner: %s" % (instance_name, instance.key_name, owner_tag)
            if instance.public_ip_address is not None:
                for i in range(len(instance.security_groups)):
                public_instances[] = values
                instance_public_ips[] = instance.public_ip_address
                instance_private_ips[] = instance.private_ip_address

    return (public_instances, instance_public_ips,instance_private_ips, instance_ident)

def inspect_security_group(ec2, sg_id):
    sg = ec2.SecurityGroup(sg_id)

    open_cidrs = []
    for i in range(len(sg.ip_permissions)):
        to_port = ''
        ip_proto = ''
        if 'ToPort' in sg.ip_permissions[i]:
            to_port = sg.ip_permissions[i]['ToPort']
        if 'IpProtocol' in sg.ip_permissions[i]:
            ip_proto = sg.ip_permissions[i]['IpProtocol']
            if '-1' in ip_proto:
                ip_proto = 'All'
        for j in range(len(sg.ip_permissions[i]['IpRanges'])):
            cidr_string = "%s %s %s" % (sg.ip_permissions[i]['IpRanges'][j]['CidrIp'], ip_proto, to_port)

            if sg.ip_permissions[i]['IpRanges'][j]['CidrIp'] == '':
                #preventing an instance being flagged for only ICMP being open
                if ip_proto != 'icmp':

    return open_cidrs

if __name__ == "__main__":
    #loading profiles from ~/.aws/config & credentials
    profile_names = ['de', 'pe', 'pde', 'ppe']
    #Translates profile name to a more friendly name i.e. Account Name
    translator = {'de': 'Platform Dev', 'pe': 'Platform Prod', 'pde': 'Products Dev', 'ppe': 'Products Prod'}
    for profile_name in profile_names:
        session = boto3.Session(profile_name=profile_name)
        ec2 = session.resource('ec2')

        (public_instances, instance_public_ips, instance_private_ips, instance_ident) = find_public_addresses(ec2)

        for instance in public_instances:
            for sg_id in public_instances[instance]:
                open_cidrs = inspect_security_group(ec2, sg_id)
                if open_cidrs: #only print if there are open cidrs
                    print "=================================="
                    print " %s, %s" % (instance, translator[profile_name])
                    print "=================================="
                    print "\tprivate ip: %s\n\tpublic ip: %s\n\t%s" % (instance_private_ips[instance], instance_public_ips[instance], instance_ident[instance])
                    print "\t=========================="
                    print "\t open ingress rules"
                    print "\t=========================="
                    for cidr in open_cidrs:
                        print "\t\t" + cidr

To run this you also need to setup your .aws/config and .aws/credentials file.

Email me tuxninja [at] if you have any issues.
Boto is awesome 🙂 Note so is the AWS CLI, but requires some shell scripting as opposed to Python to do cool stuff.

The github for this code here

Enjoy !

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