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I still don't regret switching to MacOS

2021-11-08 21:37:00

It has been almost exactly 18 years since I switched to MacOS, coming from Windows and Linux. November 2003! When the Powermac G5 was the hottest thing (literally). 

MacOS 10.3 was ready to drop and I was giddy about that beautiful, heavy cheesegrater under my desk. 

Why bring this up now? Because I just realized that the three laptops I'm using have all been great for us! Thee Macbooks Air, two from 2014 and one from 2017. All with 8GB of RAM and the i5 CPU. And they still work perfectly fine for my daily needs! 

They run my Docker containers, my Linux VMs with VirtualBox and Vagrant, my BurpSuite and all my productivity tools. And they're still good looking, light and quiet. That was money well spent!


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I tested CompTIA Server+ and it wasn't great

2021-10-29 09:21:00

I just passed CompTIA's Server+ exam, which was a "meh" experience. 

The exam crashed twice on the same PBQ (literally the very first question!), but the proctors were awesome about it.

In the first crash, not even the chat tool worked, so I powered down and not 1 minute later my phone rang. The proctor was very helpful in getting me back to my exam. The second time I went back to that broken question it hung again, but luckily chat was still working so the proctor reset my connection. 

In short: the exam has solidified my opinion that the CompTIA PBQs work badly on MacOS systems. The OnVue software clearly puts stress on the system, because my fans were going wild nonstop.

Based on the Server+ exam contents (I did not read any of the books) this is not a course/exam I would recommend to anyone with over a year of data center experience. It would make a nice introduction to someone starting as DC tech or Unix/Windows admin.


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Renewing CompTIA certification

2021-10-12 13:08:00

A question that comes up pretty frequently on Discord, is about CompTIA's renewal process. Like ISC2, ECC and SANS/GIAC, CompTIA also have a program that works with CPE/CEU (study credits). However, they're actually a bit more flexible than the others.

Here's a nice comparison of the "easiest" ways to renew.

TLDR, you either:

 

Me, I've always gone for the last option, which is silly because getting PT+, CYSA+ and CASP+ would have renewed all my certs for free. 😐 Wasted money


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Linux+ practice resources

2021-10-10 17:23:00

Here's a list of practice resources I suggest to my Linux+ students, for Bash and Linux in general.

Special mention:

Complete newb level:

Early on, for beginners:

Advanced:


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Where to go after Security+

2021-10-10 11:32:00

There's a question which commonly comes up on Discord. I thought I'd just make a blogpost out of my most common response.

"I need you to suggest me onto path after security+. I want to develop my pen-testing and web security skills."

Here's a great overview of all kinds of security certification tracks -> https://pauljerimy.com/security-certification-roadmap/

If you're a rookie pen-tester and need a start with the basics, then eLearnSec's eJPT was always a decent start.

Pentest+ is CompTIA's cert that tests for 1-2 years of professional experience (or bruteforce book-learning). In Paul's overview it's lower ("easier") than eJPT, which I disagree with.

For a little more experienced people, eWPT and eCPPT from eLearnSec were also decent. Or, if you want to pack a bit more oomph, go for PWK (pentesting with Kali) from Offensive Security. The capstone to PWK is the now famous OSCP practical hacking exam.

OSCP combines research skills, time management and documentation with technical challenges which are not "too hard" (their difficulty lies mostly in the huge variety offered).

There are many cool sites that offer free or affordable education through labs, like TryHackMe and HackTheBox. Personally I've been a fan of PentesterAcademy, who put out good quality content and whose courses can go really in-depth.

If you have an employer who's not afraid to spend some money on you and you still have budget left, consider the SANS trainings + GIAC exams. They're expensive, but have a good reputation and the trainings are awesome.

GSEC can be considered their next step after Security+. GCIH and GPEN are the GIAC "better-than" certs compared to CySA+ and Pentest+... Their training courses SEC504 and SEC560 are awesome... and ?

Finally I'd like to plug Antisyphon trainings

They offer very good value for money, via online trainings. Some of these are pay-what-you-can, letting you pay somewhere between $25 and $495. Others are fixed price, but well worth it.

Case in point -> Modern webapp pentesting with B.B. King.

That's $495 for 16 hours (4*4h) of online training with a group of fun students and the excellent B.B. King. It goes into a whole bunch of very important tactics and testing methods for modern web applications. Recommended!


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Another season of classes done, which has left me a bit empty

2021-10-09 17:57:00

Halfway through May I started teaching Linux+ to the cyber-security "Group 41" at ITVitae. It's been 16 classes since then, nearly a hundred contact hours with a marvelous group of students.

And now, like I've had before after finishing a big project, I'm feeling a bit empty. In 2017, not a day after finishing my OSCP exam, I quickly felt empty and lost. And now that I'm officially done with "my" kids, I'm also at a loss. It feels odd, not teaching them anymore.

So. Best look to the future! Hopefully I'll teach a new group in a few months and until then I'd like to shoot for the DCA and CKA Docker/K8S exams.


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Homebrew CMS security issues

2021-08-23 21:22:00

Back in early 2019 I first learned how to properly apply CSP to my site's code. It was a very educational learning experience and by the end of it I managed to score an A+ in Mozilla's Observatory (which does compatibility and security checks on your site). 

Imagine my surprise when earlier today I learned that A) my CSP wasn't being used anymore, the header wasn't even set and B) my Observatory score had dropped to an F! Wow, what happened?!

It turns out that Dreamhost's PHP wasn't using my .htaccess file anymore, on the PHP 7.3 setup that it was running. A switch to PHP 7.4 with their FastCGI setup and we're back in business. 

Also, hooray for the CSP Evaluator tool!

That'll teach me to regularly scan and check my own site. :|

I was prompted to go check out my own CSP settings, thanks to Scott Helme's recent post -> I turned on CSP and all I got was this crappy lawsuit


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The price our grand-children were to pay

2021-08-11 08:14:00

We need change now.

Image courtesy of UN Climate Action.

"There's a price our grand-children will have to pay."

Remember that one? About the climate? We've been saying that for so long that we forgot what it means. Well, fun's over: we are those grand-children. My generation, the twenty-somethings I teach at school, my daughter Dana! We're all going to pay the piper, starting this decade. 

The IPCC, an international cooperation of hundreds of scientists, has recently confirmed that what they've been saying for decades is not only true, it's also happening right now. 

The full report is a whopping 1300 pages, which is too much for mere mortals such as you and me to take in. But luckily there's friendly folks who create summaries.

Or as Zentouro puts it, if you really want to panic and feel desperate, try playing with the IPCC's Interactive Atlas which shows you exactly how things will be changing on the short term.

To put it bluntly: all of us will need to pull together and start taking measures that we will not like. Forego travel-for-fun, drastically cut down meat consumption and your consumption of luxury goods overall. Bitter pills to swallow and all that. But if that means that the earth will only burn for fifty years instead of a hundred, I guess that'll be worth it. 

To make sure that it's not just us putting in the efforts, make sure to influence your local politics! It's not just the people who need to change, it's our nations and our companies.

Write to your representatives, to your congressmen, to your politicians. Refer them to the IPCC's summary for policy makers, refer them to the IPCC's FAQ on the AR6 report

It's time to get angry and to help make changes. It was time thirty years ago, but better late than never.


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