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Metasploit and Pentest Discussion on Test Talks Podcast

Test TalksJoe Colantonio and I had a conversation about penetration testing and the use of Metasploit on the Test Talks Podcast. That episode is available now.

Joe is a fellow Pluralsight Author and host of the Test Talks Podcast, which is a weekly podcast all about software test automation.

We discussed concepts in penetration testing, Metasploit and its auxiliary modules and OpenVAS for vulnerability scanning, Meterpreter for post-exploitation activities, ethics in the use of tools like Metasploit, and Kali Linux.

Check out this episode and other episodes from Joe Colantonio and the Test Talks Podcast.

Categories: security, training.

Introduction to Penetration Testing Using Metasploit

Pluralsight logoAfter many months of effort, my first Pluralsight course, Introduction to Penetration Testing Using Metasploit is now available. Here is the official course description:

Metasploit is one of the most widely used tools for penetration testing, providing powerful attack simulations, security assessment management, and more. In this course, Introduction to Penetration Testing Using Metasploit, you’ll learn to use Metasploit to enumerate available services, identify potential weaknesses, test vulnerabilities through exploitation, and gather evidence for reporting. First, you’ll see how to install and configure the Metasploit Framework and several supporting tools on Kali Linux. Next, you’ll explore how exploits and payloads work together to gain access to systems. Finally, you’ll look at how Metasploit Framework releases are made available and how to maintain the latest version of the Framework. By the end of this course, you’ll have a better understanding of how to use Metasploit to quickly assess the security posture of systems and networks to reduce risk.

I received terrific support from the Pluralsight team in creating this course. They are very active in communicating, listening, and work with their authors. They have tools and a process for getting courses out the door. I was surprised by this attention to authors and to the details most of all.

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Categories: training.

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ikawnoclast.com, Now with Let’s Encrypt

Let's Encrypt

Let’s Encrypt Logo

I just switched my personal web site (this one) over to HTTPS using Let’s Encrypt. My long-time hosting provider, Dreamhost, added support for it recently (January 20, 2016). Both Let’s Encrypt and Dreamhost’s support for it are still considered Beta, but no issues here so far.

I have always wanted to have encrypted transmissions for my web site but did not want to spend the money to get the certificate and and possibly pay for the static IP. Thanks to Let’s Encrypt and Dreamhost’s support for it, it’s now possible.

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Categories: security.

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Network Warrior, Second Edition

Network Warrior, Second Edition book cover

Network Warrior, Second Edition book cover

Network Warrior, Second Edition

Gary A. Donahue

O’Reilly Media

I am an information security guy with a computer science degree. A good portion of my knowledge lies in operating system security and the interactions between systems. In college I took a computer science course in networking in which we delved into network fundamentals (packets, headers, protocols, etc.). However, most of it was focused on building network-enabled applications at the system call library level in the C programming language. We did not get to play with routers and switches, even though we knew how they worked, at least in theory. We assumed those components were there, were properly configured, and worked perfectly.

In my information security work, I have worked with small firewalls, software VPNs, IPS/IDS devices, VLANs and switches, and some other network components. I was able to figure out and configure most of that stuff out based on my fundamental knowledge of networking. However, I still didn’t have any exposure to enterprise-level switching and routing. Now I am a security architect and that is essential knowledge.

I got a free copy of the second edition of Network Warrior by Gary A. Donahue in early January 2016 through my membership to several O’Reilly Media mailing lists. This was a great opportunity to grow my knowledge of an area that I needed. It’s just over 1000 pages and packed full of useful information. It’s mostly about Cisco gear, but there are many chapters that focus on concepts that apply no matter what the vendor.

Here is a mini-review of what I found to be most helpful from an information security perspective.

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Categories: book review.

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Exploring ZFS Properties

We have options! (CC BY-ND 2.0 licensed image by Bill Ohl, haynseek on Flickr)

We have options! (CC BY-ND 2.0 licensed image by Bill Ohl, haynseek on Flickr)

Properties are an important part of determining and setting the configuration of ZFS storage systems. They can also be used to review the performance and usage of storage resources. Properties can be set at a top-level and inherited by child components when created. Understanding how ZFS properties are utilized is important to operating an efficient storage system.

In this article, we will explore how to properties work and how to get and set properties.

Learning Objectives

  1. Learn how properties and their inheritance are used in ZFS.
  2. Learn how to set properties to change the configuration of a storage system.
  3. Learn how to get information from properties.

This article is one of a series of articles on ZFS. You can start at the beginning by creating a ZFS playground on which you can play.

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Categories: ZFS.

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Video of My TEDx Talk

Presenting at TEDxLafayette 2014

Presenting at TEDxLafayette 2014

The video of my TEDx talk for TEDxLafayette 2014, “City Full of Unmanned Vehicles” is available on Youtube. Previously, I posted the text of the talk.

In this talk, I lay out my vision for the use of unmanned and autonomous vehicles and their uses within city limits. There are many potential benefits in terms of public safety, disaster response, personal transportation, delivery and logistics. However, a balance is needed between safety and the ability of system developers to experiment and advance the technology in the environments in which these systems will be used. I explore many of these ideas in this TEDx Talk.

What do you think? In light of the proposed FAA regulations regarding unmanned aerial systems (released after my talk), did I present the issue with the right balance? Are unmanned and autonomous systems just too experimental at this point to be used in our cities?

I look forward to your comments.

Categories: community.

Expanding Your ZFS Pool

Now that's a big pool! (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 licensed image by Trey Ratcliff, Flickr user stuckincustoms)

Now that’s a big pool! (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 licensed image by Trey Ratcliff, Flickr user stuckincustoms)

In addition to data integrity, device redundancy, and performance features, ZFS Storage Pools can also expanded in usable storage size through deduplication and compression of the data stored. In other words by shrinking raw data and removing duplicated parts of data, ZFS Storage Pools can store more data on disk. While there are some memory trade-offs using deduplication, it can provide significant storage savings for some types of stored data. There are also some significant performance benefits to compression.

In this article, we will explore how to configure deduplication and compression for storage pools.

Learning Objectives

  1. Learn about deduplication and configure it on a storage pool.
  2. Learn about compression and configure it on a storage pool.

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Categories: ZFS.

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Mac OS X PF Firewall: Protecting SSH from Brute Force Attacks

Apple-like gate (CC BY-SA 2.0 Licensed image by Dennis Jarvis, Flickr user archer10)

Apple-like gate (CC BY-SA 2.0 Licensed image by Dennis Jarvis, archer10)

The OpenBSD‘s PF provides a great many features for packet filtering and network address translation. Mac OS X includes a version of PF that can be used to protect network services. In an article called “Mac OS X pf: Avoiding known bad guys“, I talk about using the Mac OS X PF firewall to protect against known bad sites. In this article, we explore a technique to protect SSH from attackers trying to gain remote access to your Mac by guessing passwords by brute force.

Most of what I learned about PF was used at the office to protect our network. We built redundant firewalls using FreeBSD and PF rules. I started to experiment with the Mac OS X PF implementation once I learned that it was shipped in Lion (Mac OS X 10.7). I am specifically concerned about my Mac laptop systems. The information in this article can also be applied to Mac server and desktop systems too.

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Categories: firewall.

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Accessories for Your ZFS Pool

CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 Licensed Photo by Joe Shlabotnik (Flickr user: joeshlabotnik)

Not that kind of pool accessory! (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 Licensed Photo by Joe Shlabotnik, joeshlabnotnik)

ZFS provides several features for Storage Pools that can improve reliability of the storage system and increase the overall performance of reading and writing data. An additional level of reliability can be attained through the use of spare devices that can replace failed storage devices in a zpool. Data read performance can be increased through the use of cache devices. Data writes can be improved with the use of log devices. This article provides a description of each type of device and the commands through which they are configured.

Learning Objectives

  1. You will learn about hot spare devices and how to configure them.
  2. You will learn about ARC and L2ARC and how to configure cache devices.
  3. You will learn about the ZFS Intent Log and how to configure log devices.

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Categories: ZFS.

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Playing in the ZFS Pool

A lot of drives for ZFS Storage Pools.  (CC BY 2.0 Licensed Image by Billie Ward, Flickr user wwward0)

A lot of drives for ZFS Storage Pools. (CC BY 2.0 Licensed Image from Billie Ward, wwward0)

Storage Pools are the basic method for consolidation of storage devices, data integrity, and redundancy for ZFS. Using some commands, you can quickly configure simple storage pools. In this article, we will explore the basic types of ZFS Storage Pools (stripes, mirrors, and RAID-Z), the available storage and redundancy trade-offs, and the commands used to create each type. There are several example commands included that can be used to create storage pools for experimentation and testing. Using the ZFS Playground we built in a previous article, we can experiment and test ZFS Storage Pools quickly and easily.

Learning Objectives

  1. You will understand the basic types of ZFS Storage Pools.
  2. You will understand the tradeoffs associated with each pool type.
  3. You will be able to create basic storage pools in a virtual environment.

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Categories: ZFS.

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