Tool Sharpening

As honest Abe Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

For the last six months, I have been playing the part of Hey Blinkin, getting the tools in my toolbox sharpened, honed, configured, and ready as I am inches away from starting the PWK/OSCP course. As soon as some paperwork clears, I’ll be signing up, hopefully to start in mid-July. You may have seen me posting things I’ve learned so far here on my blog. I intend to keep it up, as finding other OSCP adventurer blogs, tips, and tools along my journey has been invaluable. I hope to pay it forward here.

That said, here are a few very sharp tools I’ve come to love (as recently as this evening):

iTerm 2 – – a better Terminal app for Mac. Highly configurable, integrative, and versatile. Not exactly a pentesting tool, but something anyone doing command line work on a Mac should check out.

Sn1per – – a super-thorough and invasive reconnaissance tool. It is very noisy and not recommended for actual pentesting, but it is great for working on CTF and Vulnhub VMs.

OSINT Framework – – a hefty, well-organized set of free tools for gathering all kinds of information. Originally geared towards security, it includes a lot of other fields as well. Follow it on GitHub here.


Microsoft Windows has Free Virtual Machines

Wish I had know about these earlier. Microsoft offers free Windows virtual machines for VirtualBox, VMWare, and others. You can choose from Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10 (a few different flavors of each). They last 90 days before expiring, but you can snapshot them right after you install them to make it easy to reset that 90 days by rolling back to the snapshot.

Officially, these are for testing out the Edge browser, but you can also use them for whatever else 😉

Check them out here:



Metasploit Tidbits

I’ve been working through Metasploit Unleashed in preparation for the PWK course and the ensuing OSCP exam. Looks like I’ll be signing up for that in early July. While you can’t use Metasploit on the OSCP exam, they do teach it in the PWK course itself, and it’s a very powerful tool anyway, so learning it now seemed like a good idea.

I’ve been taking a lot of notes in OneNote as I progress on all things OSCP, but I thought I’d share some of the handier Metasploit tricks that I might find myself using from day to day. Additionally, writing all this out and thinking about it as I do so helps me commit it to memory, so this blog post isn’t an entirely selfless effort 😉

Find Hosts on Your Network

The arp_sweep auxiliary module comes in handy to find hosts on your network. In the below example, you select the arp_sweep tool, show its options, then set the RHOSTS variable accordingly for you your network range.

Running the above will return some output that looks something like this:

If you want to be sneaky when you do this (and why would you need to be sneaky on your home network? 😉 ) you can spoof the source host (you) and the source MAC address so that it doesn’t look like you have been scanning anything. Typically, you might set this to appear to be coming from your router.

Scan a Host

Metasploit lets you scan hosts that you discover.

You can set THREADS (10) and CONCURRENCY (20) too, to help speed things up without getting too crazy.

You can even use nmap from within Metasploit, and store the results in the database, or import normal nmap results (saved as xml) into the Metasploit database. The advantage of doing this is that you can save your work and results in workspaces in Metasploit. Workspaces let you create projects and keep things organized, which is useful when working on many targets, or with a team.

I will provide some examples of this soon. Stay tuned. For now, here’s what looks like a great reference for this.


Appmazing: What Does It Take To Design An Application That Wows?

You know that Apple advert, the one where one person asks another person for help with a certain task, and they respond with “there’s an app for that”? The concept of this advert is to show that there’s an app for almost everything. A few years on from the release of that advert and there really is an app for everything – well, almost. With apps being so in demand, it makes business sense to take advantage of this and design your own app. If you have the skills, knowledge, and ideas for app design, that is.

The vital thing when it comes to app design is understanding that there is a lot of competition and that it’s fierce. So if you are going to design an app, whether that’s to tie in with your business or as a new venture, it’s crucial that you understand how to create an app that stands out for all the right reasons. To be able to do this you need to be somewhat of a tech geek; you need to be an innovative thinker, someone who loves creating new products and is passionate about cutting edge technology.

To help you get started on app creation, below are some tips for designing an application that has the wow factor and is sure to be a success.

Develop your idea first

There’s no bigger mistake when it comes to app design than rushing the process. What you want to do is take the time to develop your idea before you begin turning it into an app. For your app to have the wow factor, it can’t be rushed. It is important not to rush the process because once you have started creating your app, it becomes more difficult to edit or change the concept, which is why it’s best to take your time developing your idea before you begin the process of turning it into an app.

Make user-focused design a priority

If you have ever built a website, you will know how important a user-friendly design is. The same rules that apply to web design apply to app design – it needs to be user-friendly to be successful. So when it comes to developing your app, it’s important to take the user experience into account. Think about how easy the layout will be to navigate, how quickly the app will load, and how clear the content is. If there are certain tasks you can’t deal with yourself, don’t be afraid to outsource them. Part of focusing on user-experience is ensuring that your app runs smoothly and is free from bugs. An app that has glitches can severely impact the user experience, which is why it’s worth using resources like to ensure that your app runs smoothly. By testing your app before releasing it, you can find any bugs or glitches and fix them, ensuring that your app is as user-friendly as possible.

Focus on branding

Whether you are creating an app to link to your brand or as a new venture, it’s vital that you focus on branding. The fact is that it’s branding – a well-designed logo, a certain color scheme, a style of text, a content style, etc. that gives a company its uniqueness. So when it comes to designing an app, it’s vital that you focus on branding, to ensure that your app is not only unique, but also that it has that professional look and feel to it. To get some ideas about effective branding, resources like are useful.

Want to design an app that has the wow factor? Then take note of the tips above.

Getting Technophobes Into Tech: How It Can Enhance Your Life

Unfortunately, not everyone thinks that technology is a good thing. If there’s someone in your life who thinks that the world’s moving a bit too fast for their liking and who won’t stop complaining about it, here are a few things to point out…


There’s very little that’s helping the world more than the huge advances in medicine that technology is enabling scientists to make. Aside from crucial breakthroughs in drugs that treat diseases ranging from cancer to HIV, technology is also helping the daily runnings of the medical services, from the ways that doctors can check for patients’ vital signs to the ways that doctors’ surgeries are being run. Being able to make an appointment and order your prescriptions online can be a serious help for anyone who might find it hard to use phones and who need to access medicine and healthcare. There are also huge strides being made in the way that people can be treated for conditions like brain injuries and strokes – new treatments and therapies are being developed all the time that make huge differences to people’s lives. Finally, surgeries are being done by machines more and moreso these days – keyhole surgeries can help to dramatically cut down the amount of time that people need to recover from having surgery and can also cut down on human errors that are made.


Pretty much every major city’s transport hub relies on technology, whether that’s passing messages from station to station about track closures on metros and undergrounds, putting out announcements about lost children over loudspeakers, or much more futuristic ideas that are being developed with high speed railways and self-driving cars. Not only does technology used in the world of travel make it a whole lot more convenient for people in their everyday lives with it comes to high speed travel and commuting, but self driving cars are also extremely safe and will mean that car crashes because of driver error will be at an absolute minimum – the future looks bright and a whole lot more safe.


The future of industry is a lot more exciting because of the progress that’s being made in the world of technology. This generation have jobs that their parents could never have dreamed would exist – and they’re forging excellent and important careers out of them as well. Knowing how to code is one of the best things that any young person can learn, so it’s important that their parents, even if they don’t totally understand the tech industry, supports the young people in their family to learn about and to understand computers and tech. It’s much easier to start a business than it ever has been before, thanks to the internet – you can work remotely easily which means that you can work flexibly. This is great not only for young people but also for those with families – and for people trying to break into their chosen industries who aren’t able to afford to live near a big city. Being able to work with just a laptop and a steady internet connection means that the world of work is starting to open up and become a lot more accessible.


Advances in technology are enabling teachers to deliver lessons that are interesting and fun, which in turn motivates students and encourages them to learn. Devices like interactive whiteboards mean that you can show movies in class, which is extremely helpful in subjects like English and History, and they also mean that students can come up and interact with what a teacher has drawn on the board – although this could also happen with chalk boards and white boards, interactive whiteboards mean that large shapes can be moved around and students are much more interested in what’s happening. Technology can also enable schools to run more smoothly – registration systems that run throughout an entire school mean that teachers can see whether their students should be in their classes or not, meaning that if there’s an emergency it’s easier to account for all the students.


The world of entertainment has been dramatically changed by the advent of technology. Youtubers and vloggers have become some of the most popular and famous people around – they’re the ones who are influencing young people as well as actors and pop stars. One of the best thing about vloggers is that they’re able to create their own platforms, meaning that really great content can get its voice heard when it otherwise might not be able to. It can be very difficult for people to break into the mainstream media these days, but YouTube as a platform is getting bigger and bigger – a lot of people watch less TV and fewer movies, choosing to watch content that has been created by people online instead. This means that brands are starting to think about completely new and exciting ways of advertising. Other forms of entertainment have also been revolutionised with transformative tech – we have better speakers, we have better screens, and it’s also possible to immerse ourselves in the virtual reality systems that everyone will be using to game in the future.


When something terrible happens, the world goes into mourning, and technology can help us connect to people on social media sites who feel the same way that we do – who are mourning for Bowie, who are afraid for loved ones after terrorist attacks, who want to get more and more involved in politics as so many people are doing these days. Not only can technology provide emotional support for us but it can also be a valuable source of information – a lot of the time, traditional news sources are behind Twitter and social media with what they’re saying. Finally, social media makes it easier for us to donate for charity with sites like JustGiving – it’s a lot easier to put money towards a disaster relief fund with your credit card online than it was in the old days when you had to send money off to charity instead.

Best Gifts To Get Your Gamer Son or Daughter Outside This Summer

Video games are constantly increasing in complexity and beauty, and for that reason many young players stay chained to their desktops or game consoles, sacrificing fun memories being made outside. This isn’t to say video games are a waste of time. They’re increasingly serving up memorable experiences dripping with narrative complexity, and have been proven to increase critical thinking skills and reaction times.

However, with such a beautiful summer upon us, it can feel like a shame if your son or daughter doesn’t spend as much time outside with their friends, crafting new memories and friends as you once did, before silicon chips were such a ubiquitous invention.

However, for the tech-savvy child brought up on video games, providing them with a birthday or special gift that will encourage them to go outside is difficult. Here are a few significant gifts that are likely to forget they ever owned a video games console. At least for the time being.


Purchasing a drone for your child is an excellent choice. With a wide array of applications and sporting genuinely fun user interactions, drones could be just the ticket to get a child outside who loves technology. Flying the drone around is a game in itself, and can be fitted with a camera to create some amazing panoramic or bird’s eye shots. There are many drones out there, so choosing one of the best drones under 300 dollars requires you do plenty of research before buying.

Who knows? This time next year your child could be joining one of the blossoming drone racing championships. Yes, they do exist!


If a drone camera seems like a little out there, why not try purchasing your child a regular camera, or relatively cheap SLR? You can find these well-maintained and used from some online retailers or auction houses like eBay. This camera will allow your child to fall in love with the discipline of photography because any time spent outside is further time spent inside correcting and uploading the photos too.

These disciplines have many similarities to video games, as does any discipline. You’re imprinting your stamp upon the world and navigating it in a way you see fit. Refining the photograph is a perfectionist hobby, but it’s also open to a wide range of experimentation. This is something that the best video games share. Frame the hobby in these terms, and your gamer child is sure to shuffle outside their bedroom and rediscover their love for the outside world.


Would you like to develop a love of reading in your child? Want to see them hang out in the garden more? Consider purchasing them an e-reader. If they like fantasy video games, filling the reader with fantasy fiction novels can help them make that initial step to lounging outside on a deck chair, and getting excited over a plethora of amazing stories to consume.

Notice how these gifts are all focused on technology? This is because variant technology is an excellent way to stimulate those who have developed an affinity for online or digital fun. Being smart here will pay significant dividends. When your child has a remarkable tan at the end of this summer, you’ll be happy you made an effort.