Brain Dump: Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn, School, Giving Back, Blogging

I recently loaded up a new vir­tual machine with Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn (32-bit) run­ning on Vista Ulti­mate (64-bit) and have had no prob­lems thus far.  Every­thing works, dual mon­i­tors, sound, net­work­ing, etc…

I’m seri­ously impressed with the qual­ity of VMWare Work­sta­tion 6.  I’ve been a user of their prod­uct since ver­sion 4, and it’s done noth­ing but improve.  I’m also impressed with Ubuntu.  It took almost zero effort in order to get a work­ing sys­tem installed to disk. After the install a sim­ple sudo apt-get install build-essential was all I needed to get what I need for development.

My rea­sons for the linux vm are 2 fold. First of all I pre­fer it to win­dows as a “safer” plat­form to do my bank­ing and such on. Sec­ondly, I’ve started another class in my Master’s pro­gram at DePaul Uni­ver­sity, and it requires a linux sys­tem.  We’ll be learn­ing assem­bler from the programmer’s point of view; that is under­stand­ing what data struc­tures, con­trol state­ments, etc look like in assem­bler as well being able to take com­piled pro­grams and debug them at the assem­bler level to find/troubleshoot bugs.

I’ve also been spend­ing some time think­ing of ways to give to the secu­rity com­mu­nity.  One of my ways was recently men­tioned in a Secu­rity Cat­a­lyst Com­mu­nity forums post.  Basi­cally, cre­ate a matrix of secu­rity con­trols and com­mon imple­men­ta­tions cross ref­er­enc­ing them with all the dif­fer­ent secu­rity stan­dards out there. A per­son could for instance check all the con­trols they already have in place. The site would then list off the stan­dards they are already com­pli­ant with.  If they wanted, they could pick a stan­dard and it would list off both what they already have and what they are lack­ing. Not easy and not quick, but useful.

I’ve also been play­ing around with some type of more use­ful way to glean data from Check­Point fire­wall logs that have been exported to ASCII with the fwm log­ex­port –i <date> –o <date>.out –n –p –m raw com­mand. Specif­i­cally, I’m look­ing for ways to visu­ally make unusual activ­ity “jump” out at the ana­lyst. I’ve been able to cre­ate graphs of port usage over time, but haven’t got­ten the code into a state where com­par­i­sion against the stan­dard divi­a­tion is viable yet.  I also haven’t come up with a solid inter­face either.  Thus far its a hodge podge of perl scripts that can print graphs if STDOUT is redi­rected to a png file :) I’m debat­ing between open source, free soft­ware, web-based stuff and C# in a Win­dows App. The devel­oper in me wants to use C# since I’m very com­fort­able with the lan­guage, but the stu­dent in me wants to use perl, mysql, and php. Oh the choices!

Another inter­est­ing thing I’ve been mulling over is file carv­ing from libp­cap files. Often I find myself want­ing to grab a file that was sent over the net­work that I have a cap­ture of. I’ve been think­ing of 2 ways to solve this: (1) write my own parser for files as I need them or (2) con­tribute to the tcpx­tract project so that it works more accurately.

Well that’s my brain dump for now.  One of my goals is to use blog­ging as Richard Bejtlich has, and that’s as a per­sonal dump­ing ground to find thoughts, arti­cles, etc in case I need to refer back to them in the future. Let see how this works out!

A Fresh Look for a Fresh Start

A while ago my web­site http://rarmknecht.net got cat­e­go­rized by Web­sense as mali­cious.  This came about the same night I posted an entry about how to use a perl script to deob­fus­cate some sim­ple eval()‘d javascript.  They saw the code, assumed it was mali­cious and black listed me.  From now on I’ll be post­ing screen­shots of code, and not code directly.  This should skirt the Web­sense issue.

My other issue has been find­ing time to post due to many per­sonal hap­pen­ings sur­round­ing my every­day life. I’m freed up once again and get­ting ready to start a new term in my Master’s pro­gram.  I’m excited and hope to share much of my strug­gles and tri­umphs here.

As before, this blog is pri­mar­ily a dump­ing ground for my thoughts sur­round­ing tech­ni­cal and cor­po­rate issues. Gen­er­ally, they will be secu­rity related as it is not only my cur­rent job but my pas­sion as well. I look for­ward to a promis­ing jour­ney and the abil­ity to share it online.  It’s my hope that some­one some­where will find what I have to say help­ful. If not, at least it’ll help me :)