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Will Chatham Posts

Merle – Lost Recordings

Merle, circa 1992, in Schaefer Dormitory at Warren Wilson College.

Way back in the good years of 1992-1993 or so I was in a band called Merle, based at Warren Wilson College. As a three-piece, we produced some insane sounds, surrounded ourselves with more insane antics, and had a hell of a time doing it.

Merle went on to become The Merle when Morgan Geer joined the band, and our notoriety in Asheville and beyond started to grow. Eventually, I left the band (I was the only one still in school at that point), but The Merle continued on and became an Asheville legend.

An old pal from Warren Wilson (Richard Stowe) recently dug up a tape of a live recordings and some demos that Merle had done from 1992 or 1993. Another old pal (George Hodges) cleaned up the tape, remastered it, and put it out there for you all to enjoy!

Beware: there are vulgarities at certain points, where we asked friends to join us on stage.

Check it out here!

“Smart” Door Lock Drilled Open in 4 Seconds

The most striking (you locksmiths will get that joke) thing about this is that an expensive “smart” lock was made with little to no physical security features in mind. I like how the article points out the difficulty of physically compromising a good-ole-fashioned steel, “dumb” mortise lock.

Is it true that “smart” lock manufacturers are forgetting about physical security when designing locks? Isn’t that the point of a lock?

Thoughts on OSCP being ‘outdated’

In recent weeks I have been reading comments online about the Penetration Testing with Kali Linux (PWK) course and OSCP exam taking a lot of flak for being “tool old” and using “outdated exploits that don’t even work anymore.”

I believe most of these comments are directed at the lab environment and course materials. It is true that you won’t find many systems in modern pentesting engagements that are exploitable with older things such as EternalBlue (MS17-010).

But that is beside the point.

The PWK and OSCP exam are all about teaching you how to think, solve problems, persevere, and develop a pentesting methodology that works for you.

It is true that Hack The Box (HTB) and other modern online capture-the-flag frameworks are more leading-edge in that regard, which is great, and they can certainly be an excellent way to augment and prepare for the PWK/OSCP journey.

But the point is that it really doesn’t matter if you drive a 2019 Ferrari 488 Spider or a 1996 Honda Accord, it is whether or not you figure out how to get to the destination.

Music Updates

It’s been a while since I posted any musical updates here, and I don’t have a ton to share, but I did get a surprise email from the venerable Jason Lowenstein the other day, with a remastered set of Crain’s studio appearance on WMBR in Boston back in 1991 that he had made.

The previous version of this, mastered by Bob Weston, who initially recorded it in the studio late that evening way back when, is still here on my Music downloads page, and it is great, but I thought I’d add Jason’s version for you to download in one fell swoop.

Grab it here.

Enjoy it, and let me know what you think!

http://web.archive.org/web/20131220092546im_/http://crainspeed.com/images/crain2.jpg
Crain, circa 1991. Photo by John Kampschaefer.

Picking a Master Lock M5 Magnum

As you may or may not know, I was a locksmith for the better part of a decade, working on campus at Warren Wilson College as a student, learning the trade as I earned my BA in psychology, then being hired to work there and train other students after I graduated for about 4 years. I also ran my own business (Chatham’s Lock & Key) for about two years, and I did a stint at Willis Klein up in Louisville for a summer.

So it was interesting to me that once I started attending information security conferences, I saw how popular lock picking has become among that otherwise computer-based hacking crowd. They have “lock picking villages” where you can learn to pick locks, contests to pit your skills against others, and there are now loads of videos and tutorials online for “locksport” enthusiasts.

I was resistant to get into “locksport” for a while, perhaps because I had “been there, done that,” but also because the phrase “locksport” annoyed me.

However, I lost that battle when I found my old lock pick set from back in the day, and then found myself working a Master lock I had in the garage. Check out my first contribution to the Locksport community in this video.

Stay tuned for more.

OWASP Attack Surface Detector Project

When I did a short work stint at Secure Decisions in 2018, one of the projects I got to work on was helping to create the Attack Surface Detector plugin for ZAP and Burp Suite. I left that position before the project got published, but I am happy to see that it was a success.

Here it is in all its glory.

From the OWASP description:

The Attack Surface Detector tool uncovers the endpoints of a web application, the parameters these endpoints accept, and the data type of those parameters. This includes the unlinked endpoints a spider won’t find in client-side code, or optional parameters totally unused in client-side code. It also has the capability to calculate the changes in attack surface between two versions of an application.

There is a video that demonstrates the plugin, and yes, that is me doing the voice-over.