My Slides from Drupal Camp Asheville 2017

Thanks to all for coming to my talk! Here are my slides. Drupal Security #devsecops #dcavl @drupalasheville
DevSecOps – Slides

I enjoyed being at Drupal Camp, and it was good talking with the many new folks I met (as well as the ones I already know). If you have any questions or comments, feel free to post here or contact me directly.

Update:

Video is Now Available Too!

4 External USB Wifi Adapters for Kali Linux Pentesting

If you are like me, you have been working with Kali Linux, the Linux distribution for penetration testing and ethical hacking, and have been running it as a virtual machine on your 2015 Macbook Pro. And, you have been having issues with sniffing packets because your 2015 Macbook’s built-in wifi adapter is not going into true promiscuous mode — only a limited version that doesn’t give you everything you need. Sadly, other versions of the Macbook don’t seem to have this problem at all, so you may be finding yourself in need of an additional interface.

Or, perhaps you are not like me, and the chipset driving your PC’s Wifi adapter doesn’t let you do much at all, and you just want an external USB Wifi adapter that will make it easy to use tools such as Aircrack-ng for ethical hacking jobs.

Whatever the case, I’ve done some research and will present a few options that don’t break the bank and should provide you with a quick and easy way to do all the proper packet sniffing you deserve.

TP-Link N150

The first option on this list is the $13.45 TP-Link N150 dongle. A small USB device that sports a detachable antenna, it should get the job done if you prefer portability over power. This device uses the Atheros AR9271 chipset, which is known to work smoothly in Kali Linux (and probably most other distros).

USB Rt3070

The cheapest USB adapter, at a paltry $11.99, is the generic USB Rt3070, another dongle style device that is also the smallest you will find here. With similar specs as the TP-Link device, this one is even easier to conceal, and probably won’t raise any suspicions if you have it plugged into your laptop in a crowded place. While not the most powerful device by any means, if you are near the router you want to connect to, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Alfa AWUS051NH

Taking a big step up in everything, including features, power, and profile, we have the Alfa AWUS051NH. This one has been sitting on my Amazon wishlist for quite a while, and I think it’s about time I pick it up. It even has a holster with suction cups to stick to a window, and it will pick signals up from long range.

If you are needing to physically stay away from the target you are testing, while still being able to test it, try this sucker.

Alfa AWUS036NHA

Lastly, we have another Alfa device, both of which get really good reviews for Kali Linux in particular. At only $6 more than the AWUS051NH, the Alfa AWUS036NHA looks cooler and has a boost in power to let it pick up signals from even farther away. It also comes with the holster and suction cups for the windows of your vehicle, office, or home. According to its description, what sets it apart is the “High Transmitter Power of 28dBm – for Long-Rang and High Gain Wi-Fi.”

 

Are there others?

Have you tried any of these? What did you think? Know of any others that do a good job?

A Review of EaseUS Data Recovery Software for Mac

I have never really had the need for data recovery software until recently, when I mistakenly deleted a bunch of data off of a USB thumb drive, thinking I had backed it up somewhere. Much to my chagrin, I had not in fact backed it up. There were some files I was really going to miss, such as recordings of music I had made in Logic, and some various photos I’ve carried around with me over the years.

As I quickly learned, these type of apps do not run cheap. After doing some digging, I ran across a promising candidate called EaseUS Data Recovery. As far as data recovery software goes, they seemed to have been around a while, and had some good reviews. At $89.95, though, I expected it to do great things. Not only did I want Mac data recovery, I wanted a tool that would let me recover data from external hard drives, USB thumbs drives, and more. EaseUS promised to do that.

Installing The App

There were a few concerning things that happened during the installation process. For starters, Little Snitch reported outbound connections to track.easus.com. I could understand the need to reach out and check the license key, but over port 80? The subdomain “track” indicated that this was collecting some sort of metrics. I’m not sure I feel OK about that, especially over an unencrypted connection.

I let it pass through, and the installation continued. Another outbound connection warning appeared:

Hmm…another non-SSL connection to their website. I would hope that a company charging $90 for an application would be able to (and be smart enough to) get an SSL certificate to encrypt these connections, thereby helping protect their customer’s privacy.

Post Installation

Once installed, I went to plug in the license information that EaseUS had provided to me to register the product and assure I was getting all the features. When I did this, another unencrypted outbound alert appeared, which I can only assume contained my license key information as the software called home to validate it:

EaseUS doesn’t seem to care about encrypted data transfers. Not good!

The last complaint about the installation process is that I was left with a new taskbar widget that looked like a weather alert. 35 degrees? What is that?

Turns out this is a widget that provides “S.M.A.R.T.” monitoring of my drives. I’m not sure what that acronym stands for, but this widget was added for me without my knowledge, and it was promising to monitor my drives for issues. I decided to disable it since I am not a fan of widgets being added for me without asking.

Recovering Data with the Recovery Wizard

At this point, things got considerably better. The application was a breeze to figure out and use. I was first asked what type of files I wanted to recover. I left all of them checked since I wasn’t sure what all was on my deleted USB thumb drive.

From there, I was given a list of drives on my system:

Selecting my USB drive, I proceeded. Within a minute I was shown a bunch of files that were recoverable from my USB drive. I was able to choose what I wanted to be restored.

After that, all it took was clicking the Restore button, and I was asked where I wanted to save everything. Another 2 minutes later, I had all my files back! I’m not sure why I’d want to Tweet about that or “share my happiness” on Facebook, but I was given that option when the operation was complete.

MP3’s worked, images were viewable, and everything was good. I did notice a few filename characters had been replaced with a “#” sign, but they still operated normally. The EaseUS software did exactly what it said it would do.

Summary

All in all, this is a good product based my testing experience, and I’d recommend it if you need to recover data from a computer or external drive. There are some installation shenanigans to be aware of, as the software tries to install its monitoring widget without your consent. The worst part of it all is that the outbound calls to easus.com are not encrypted. EaseUS: get your stuff encrypted, please!

How Technology Has Changed the Way We Travel

Technology has changed so many things in our lives. It has revolutionized communications, education and, of course, business, mostly for the better, but in this post, we’re going to take a look at the numerous ways technology has transformed the way we travel…

Choosing a Destination

In the past, we would have to rely on collecting and pawing through brochures obtained from the local travel agency, or by checking out guidebooks from the library. Today, thanks to the internet, at the click of a button, we can find travel blogs, guides, photos and recommendations in a matter of seconds.

Booking a Vacation

Again, when booking a vacation in the not too distant past, we would have been forced to go to the travel agency and have an agent book our dream trip after trying to sell us all manner of extras. Now, we can not only book online at the touch of a button, but we can quickly compare prices to get the best deals, using price comparison sites. We can also find reviews to ensure that the hotel we’re going to isn’t more like Bates Motel than the Ritz!

Dealing with Emergencies

Time was, if you had a serious accident abroad, you’d be stuck in a foreign hospital, racking up debts until you were fully back to health. Now, thanks to the increase in air ambulance transport, it’s possible to be returned home to the hospital of your choice immediately because these planes have been fitted out with life support machines, cardiac monitors, and well all of the things you’d find in the average intensive care unit of your local hospital.

Learning the Lingo

If you wanted to impress your Spanish hosts or order your French bread in the native tongue, at one time, you would have to have carried a phrase book along with you, spending ages looking up the right words with each interaction. Now, you can speak into an app like Waygo and have it instantly tell you what to say and even how to pronounce it!

Taking Photographs

At one time, if you wanted to take a snap of the Roman ruins or forever immortalize the image of your kids playing on the beach, you’d have to load film into your camera, wind it after each shot and change the roll when it’s full. Thanks to smartphones, you just point and click, and it’s done. With smartphones, you no longer have to bother with taking your films to be developed and waiting a week for them to be ready either – you can print them at home instantly.

Communication

Time was you’d have to send your family back home a postcard or perhaps make a costly and very faint long distance phone call if you wanted to keep in touch while on vacation. Now, thanks to apps like Skype and WhatsApp, you don’t have to go a day without talking to them if you don’t want to, and when you do talk it will be crystal clear!

How has tech changes travel for you?

Happy Employees= Better Business!

Without your staff, you essentially have no business. These people are what makes your business run, what makes it work. They are so crucial to the success of your company that from an entirely practical point of view, their happiness shouldn’t be an afterthought. Not only will happy employees be more productive but there will be a lower turnover rate which will reduce costs spent on hiring, interviewing and training. Here are some of the ways to attract and keep!) the best staff members for your business.

Make Your Company An Attractive Place To Work

There are certain things employees will be looking for when they’re searching for a job. In order to attract the best workers with the most experience, you need to offer more than just a good salary. Benefits such as pensions, life insurance, dental and disability plans all make your company more attractive. You could even offer training and education for the right person, allowing them to study and work. If you’re in an IT field, something like an online Bachelor’s in Computer Information Systems degree could be useful, that way they could study around their working hours. Training up staff and paying for their education means you can ensure they are qualified in the exact areas you need them to be. Plus it allows you to snag the best candidates since there’s something in it for them too. Other ways you can offer good employee benefits is by providing smartphones, tablets, laptops or company cars to certain staff members. If you have salespeople, for example, these are things that can make their lives a lot easier.

Focus On Your Office Space

Your office is where your employees spend most of their day, so it’s not something to overlook. If yours has seen better days, did you know it could be having an effect on the morale productivity of your workers? Give the walls a fresh coat of paint, something light and neutral will make it look bigger and brighter, not to mention newer and cleaner. Dot around some living plants which have been shown to boost mood and promote productivity in the workplace. As well as making a good impression to clients or customers that visit your office, it will be a much nicer environment for your employees to work in too.

Ensure You All Work Well as a Team

Business is highly complex. Different departments have to work together in harmony, much like the individual cogs of a finely tuned machine. To ensure everyone is on the same page, and that staff can work together as a team as well as just individually, why not arrange some team building activities? You could book in with a company that offers this kind of thing, and either attend for a day or even a full weekend. You could practice team building activities in the office, and you could also arrange regular social gatherings. The occasional free lunch or dinner is always going to go down well with employees and will encourage interaction between them.

Be a Good Boss

Research has shown that strict bosses don’t get the good results you might expect. When people are scared of their boss or find them unapproachable, you can find that issues aren’t raised as quickly as they could be and that actually the stress doesn’t allow employees to do their best work. While professionalism is important, be friendly and approachable. Let your workers know they can speak to you if there’s a problem. Things like workplace bullying, theft and other issues will be raised far more quickly and can be resolved more quickly that way too.

New Tech Innovations: No Longer The Domain Of Big Brand Names?

There was once a time where many of the tech innovations that we are familiar with today were developed or “invented” by leading international brands. After all; they had the resources (i.e. manpower and money) to research and develop new technologies! The thing is, much of the new technology getting developed in the 21st century is no longer the domain of established corporations.

Believe it or not, enterprising inventors with little more than a garden shed and some tools are inventing new products or streamlining existing ones. While backyard inventions aren’t anything new, what might surprise you is how they turn their creations into internationally-acclaimed products!

So, what are the secrets of success to these inventors? And how do they manage to catch the attention of the big brands that sometimes struggle to come up with new concepts in-house? It turns out that the “secrets” are actually pretty well-known! Let me share with you how they do it:

They embrace low-cost and open-source technology

You might think that it would cost thousands to come up with a professionally-designed blueprint for a new product. And you may even assume that inventors would have to invest their life savings in expensive equipment to prototype and test their creations.

Things have changed in the world of inventions in the 21st century. For a start, many of the powerful CAD software packages that engineers and inventors use are also available as low-cost or open-source versions. In fact, there are free software programs that rival applications such as AutoCAD.

And when it comes to building prototypes, 3D printers make it possible to create small-scale versions of inventions without needing to spend a lot of money.

They work with creative manufacturing firms

When you have a new idea for a product, you are likely to meet some criticism from certain groups of people. While constructive criticism is one thing, there are those that are not receptive to new ideas or radical changes to improve existing ones.

To combat such roadblocks, inventors tend to partner up with companies that are known for developing creative solutions. For instance, let’s say that you are developing a product that has a control panel with buttons on it.

Existing solutions might involve the use of PCs attached to and controlling such equipment. But, your idea is to use a keypad that the end user can easily access, keeping costs down and lowering the footprint needed to set up your device. You could work with a manufacturer of membrane keyboards that don’t require you to order large volumes of items – perfect for keeping your prototype costs down!

They crowdfund their capital

Once upon a time, inventors would have to turn to wealthy backers with deep pockets to realize the potential of a particular idea. Nowadays, people can simple ask the general public for funding. In return, they get one of the first production products sent out to them before they go on general sale.

Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter are in abundance these days, making it easy to inventors to invest in the tools and materials needed to create marketable versions of their prototypes.