2009: A review
Well, the year is nearly over and it seems everyone is in a reflective mode so I thought I’d join in. And I’m glad I did, didn’t really just how turbulent year I’ve had. I’d better (on pain of death) start with the none technical, as it is around 12 months since I got engaged to my long-time girlfriend.
Back to the technical: The InfoSanity blog went live in February with the first post. Originally I was far from confident that I would be able to keep up blogging as I had a ‘fear’ of social media and web2.0, but nearly a year on I’m still here and despite some peaks and troughs posting articles regularly. I’ve found it a great platform for getting ideas out of my head and into practice, hopefully I’ve managed to be of benefit to others in the process.
Lab environment: February was also when I purchased the server for my virtual lab environment. This has got be the best buy of the year, providing a solid framework for testing and experimenting with everything else I have done this year. Lab environments also seem to be one of the areas that gathers a lot of interest from others, the two posts discussing configuration of virtual networks and guest systems were InfoSanity’s most popular posts this year by a good margin. In the process of improving my lab environment I also read Thomas Wilhelm’s Professional Penetration Testing book and reviewed it for the Ethical Hacker Network, for which I’m indebted to Don for organising.
Wireless: Included in my long list of purchases this year was an Alfa AWUS036H wireless card and a BU-353 GPS Reciever. This resulted in a basic attempt to write a utility to create maps from the results of wardriving with Kismet, whilst the short development time of the project was enjoyable it was promptly shelved once people introduced me to Jabra’s excellent giskismet. It also resulted in the creation of the still to be field-tested, James Bond-esque warwalking case.
Honeypots: Whilst I had had Nepenthes honeypot system running before the turn of the year, I hadn’t really worked with it in earnest until the first post on the subject in February, and subsequent statistic utilities. These posts also became the topic for my first experience with public speaking, for local (and rapidly expanding) technical group, SuperMondays. As the technology has improved the honeypot system has recently been migrated over to Nepenthes’ spiritual successor Dionaea. Over the year I have also had the pleasure and privilege of talking with Markus Koetter (lead dev of Nepenthes and Dionaea) and Lukas Rist (lead dev of Glastopf), these guys *really* know their stuff.
Public Speaking: As mentioned above I gave my first public talk for SuperMondays, discussing Nepenthes honeypots and the information that can be gathered from them. Unfortunately (or thankfully) there is only limited footage available for the session as the camera’s battery ran out of juice. My second session was for a group of Northumbria University’s Forensics and Ethical Hacking students as an ‘expert speaker’, and I still think they mistook me for someone else. This time a recording was available thanks to a couple of the students, full review and audio available here. My public speaking is still far from perfect, coming out at a rapid fire pace, but I’m over my initial dread and actually quite enjoy it. Hopefully they’ll be additional opportunities in the future.
Friends and Contacts: Throughout the year I have ended up in contact with some excellent and interesting people; from real-world network events like SuperMondays and Cloudcamp, old school discussions in forums (EH-Net) and IRC channels, to the ‘2.0’ of Twitter (@infosanity btw). Along with good debates and discussions I’d also like to think I’ve made some good friendships, too many people to name (and most wouldn’t want to be associated 😉 ) but you know who you are.
So that’s the year in brief, couple of smaller activities along the way, from investigating newly released attack vectors to trying my hand at lock picking. In hindsight it has been one hell of a year, and with some of the side projects in the pipeline I’m expecting 2010 to be even better. Onwards and upwards.
— Andrew Waite