Back from the ether – sort of

UnixSecLab fell off without warning or explanation last quarter.  There were several factors involved in this sudden disappearance, but I won’t list them all.  Some were family related, and some were “hey everyone, I have a cool new project in the works, and I want to announce it to the world in a big way when its done” related.  So here’s the skinny on what was relevant for last quarter that I didn’t report.

  • The first big project I started was for a class on OpenSSH.  I’m working on breaking down the man pages, re-organizing them into related / relevant sections, and writing up a presentation on each section to go into deep detail on even the most esoteric settings, plus discuss security implications of some of the potentially dangerous ones.  This has been bouncing around in my head for a while, and is part of why one of my first organized series of posts was SSH Start to Finish Architecture.  This project tapered off over the quarter due to the above mentioned family issues, and the inspiration for a smaller product offering…
  • The smaller second project was to develop a class on OpenBSD’s virtual machine hypervisor.  The VMM/VMD class idea was due to how new this software is to the OpenBSD ecosystem, and the lack of documentation on its use and set up outside of (the excellent) man pages.  The man pages do make it seem straight forward to use, but one of my first hurtles was getting an off the cuff live Linux CD running.  I chose Kali (since I’m also doing security related stuff on the side unrelated to the OpenSSH class I intend to use this for.)  The first hurtles involved figuring out how to make Kali boot to a root prompt in multi-user mode without getting hung up on trying to load the graphics.  It’s not a VMM/VMD issue, it’s a Linux boot options issue I had to research.
  • Since I started both of those (still in progress) projects, Michael W. Lucas has put a brand new edition of SSH Mastery into sponsorship, and I’ve learned that there may be another author working on a book about the OpenBSD hypervisor software.  This author’s Twitter is @pb_double.
  • Hak5 announced a new device that I will want to cover a bit near the end of the year, as well.  The Packet Squirrel is a nifty hardware man-in-the-middle device that has a switch similar to the Bash Bunny so that you can set it to different modes on the fly without having to reprogram it every time you want to use it.  It comes with three pre-programmed modes, including a raw tcpdump mode, an OpenVPN mode, and a DNS spoof mode.  Some setup is required for the last two.
  • I got a notice that my GCIH certification will expire in two years.  I knew this already, but it reminded me that I need to get some continuing education credits, and possibly look for a new certification, as well.  The SANS institute’s on demand classes are a steep price for an individual, and while obtaining a new SANS/GIAC cert would meet all of the requirements to renew the GCIH, I’m looking at other options.  One of those is the Offensive Security Certified Professional.  This is the cert for their PWK class (Penetration testing With Kali.)  From what I’ve been reading, it’s a rigorous class with a lab full of 50+ target machines, and the certification exam is a 5 machine live pentest.  A little under 24 hours are spent testing these machines, and then another 24 hours are given to finish and submit a report on findings.  I’m strongly leaning this direction.
  • Since I’m leaning that direction, I need to brush up on my offensive skills a bit.  I found an article that covers a bit on how to prepare for the OSCP.  It has some suggested links to online capture the flag sites, as well as some general advice and resources on brushing up.  The last two days I’ve done two full CTF machines from Over The Wire, and it was a lot of fun.  I completed Bandit and Leviathan.
  • Another new find (for me) is an online security training site that doesn’t cost anything for the classes. has a lot of good content, from what I can gather thus far, and it’s worth a look if you’re on a budget and trying to get a foothold into this space.

The posts will still be a little sporadic for a bit, but we’re back, and we’re going to catch up on some lost work.  I’ll share some tidbits of things I’ve learned while doing the CTFs (without doing any walkthroughs or mentioning any specific machines) as well as try to wrap up some of the dangling series posts from last year.

Happy New Year (2018) and thanks for sticking with us during the information drought!

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