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Category: Tech

Your ISP May Know You Better Than Your Mother: How?

They say your mother knows you best. After all, she’s been with you right from birth to adulthood. I, however, dare to disagree with this well-known fact by stating that ISPs might know you better than your mother. The question is, how? Before I get into the technical nuances, let’s start with the basics.

What is an ISP?

ISPs, or Internet Service Providers, are corporations or institutions that provide internet services to customers at a fee. They give all kinds of internet access be it DSL, dedicated high-speed interconnection, dial-up, cable modem or any other connection.

How Do ISPs Work?

The working of an ISP is quite simple. When you want to access a site on the internet, the browser of your access device converts the domain name of the said site into an IP address which is sent to the ISP, usually by a router. Your ISP will then convey your access request to the ISP of the site you intend to visit. The ISP of the site sends back a link through which you can access the site. ISPs can also pay other ISPs (upstream ISPs) to offer internet connectivity which usually has a more extensive network than your ISP.

Data and ISPs

Now that we are up to speed with ISPs, we have the hot button issue, that is, your data and ISPs. Are ISPs collecting your data? Are they spying on you? Can they provide your browsing history data to law enforcement/government? Can they sell your data to third-parties? Is there any way you can protect your data? A simple answer to all of the above questions is Yes, but it’s much more technical than you think. Let’s break it down for you.

First things first, your ISP has access to all the data you transmit or receive through the internet. With all this access, they track and monitor said data to observe how the information is being used, to provide security against cyber-attacks and to prevent the abuse or misuse of data. The service providers can, therefore, tell what sites you visit, how often you visit these sites, frequency of visits, and the duration you spend on the site. To be on the safe side choose a VPN service to encrypt your connection and protect your privacy. Check this review of Private Internet Access for a start.

Visits to unencrypted websites are akin to a data gold mine for the ISPs since it is in these instances that the ISPs get the most data from users. Unencrypted sites use Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) which is unencrypted as opposed to the much more secure Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTPS).

To put it simply, when you visit an unencrypted website, your ISP can view the full content of the site on visits and the complete URL. This is alarming, seeing as research confirms that 8 out of 10 lifestyle websites are unencrypted. The solution to this problem should be fairly straight forward – a transition from unencrypted to the more secure HTTPS. Well, not entirely since all third party associates and partners on the site must support HTTPS. For your reference, addresses of sites prefixed with ‘https’ mean that they are secure. Secure sights prevent the ISP from accessing the full content and or URL of the site in question. ISPs have been known to collect data, and over time create a detailed profile of someone’s internet activity.

In most cases, ISPs can’t be compelled to share the data they have collected over time on an individual, though it is common practice for some to sell data to advertisers and other third parties. In the US for instance, the law allows ISPs to share non-identifying data.

How Can You Protect Yourself?

Now that we have covered the nuances of ISP data dealings, a salient query is: do the subscribers of these ISPs have any way to protect their data and internet activity? It is noteworthy that private browsing features like incognito browsing don’t offer much respite as the ISP can still access one’s data. Google provides excellent add-ons, as does the EFF, that automatically convert HTTP to HTTPS in your web browser.

The magnum opus of internet security remains the VPN services. What VPNs do is they encrypt your internet traffic and activity, hence preventing your IP address from being accessed by anyone. With some of these VPNs, the user might incur additional charges, especially subscription-based VPNs. This is, however, a small price to pay for protection from over-ambitious ISPs.


Mothers are an embodiment of love, resilience, and most importantly, safety. ISPs on the other hand, not so much. Sadly, the latter might have in their possession more information about you than the former. Take the necessary step to ensure the ISPs don’t compromise your privacy and security.

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.

Kali Linux Dockerfile

Since recently discovering there is now an official Kali Linux docker image, I’ve been fiddling with it and tweaking my own setup to get it to how I like it for the things I use it for. I have a work version and a personal version. What follows is my personal version, used mostly for R&D, CTF challenges, and bug hunting in my free time.

My Kali Dockerfile (for Mac)

# The Kali linux base image
FROM kalilinux/kali-linux-docker

# Update all the things, then install my personal faves
RUN apt-get update && apt-get upgrade -y && apt-get dist-upgrade -y && apt-get install -y \
 cadaver \
 dirb \
 exploitdb \
 exploitdb-bin-sploits \
 git \
 gdb \
 gobuster \
 hashcat \
 hydra \
 man-db \
 medusa \
 minicom \
 nasm \
 nikto \
 nmap \
 sqlmap \
 sslscan \
 webshells \
 wpscan \

# Create known_hosts for git cloning things I want
RUN mkdir /root/.ssh
RUN touch /root/.ssh/known_hosts
# Add host keys
RUN ssh-keyscan >> /root/.ssh/known_hosts
RUN ssh-keyscan >> /root/.ssh/known_hosts

# Clone git repos
RUN git clone /opt/seclists
RUN git clone /opt/powersploit
RUN git clone /opt/hashcat
RUN git clone /opt/linenum
RUN git clone /opt/dirsearch
RUN git clone /opt/sherlock

# Other installs of things I need
RUN apt-get install -y \

RUN pip install pwntools

# Update ENV
ENV PATH=$PATH:/opt/powersploit
ENV PATH=$PATH:/opt/hashcat
ENV PATH=$PATH:/opt/dirsearch
ENV PATH=$PATH:/opt/sherlock

# Set entrypoint and working directory (Mac specific)
WORKDIR /Users/wchatham/kali/

# Expose ports 80 and 443
EXPOSE 80/tcp 443/tcp

Build it

docker build -t yourname/imagename path/to/theDockerfile 

(don’t actually put ‘Dockerfile’ in the path). Do change ‘imagename’ to something apropos, such as ‘kali’

Run it

docker run -ti -p 80:80 -p 443:443 -v /Users/yourname/Desktop:/root yourname/imagename

The above examples require you to replace ‘yourname’ with your Mac username

Indicates that we want a tty and to keep STDIN open for interactive processes

Expose the listed ports

Mount the defined folders to be shared from host to docker.

Hope that’s useful to someone!

Hat tip:

Protect Your Phone In These 3 Ways

For most people, their phone is pretty much a constant companion throughout their daily lives. But if you are keen to make sure that you are going to be able to keep it as such, then you need to know that you are looking after it properly. Most people don’t really think too much about how to protect their phone, but it is something that all of us could benefit from looking into to some degree. As it happens, there are a lot of things you can do to make sure that your phone is truly and fully protected, and in this article we are going to take a look at just a few of them. Here are three of the best ways in which you might be able to ensure that you protect your phone as well as possible.

Track It

One of the biggest concerns with phones is that they can get lost. When this happens, it can be a surprisingly disastrous affair. For most people, it will mean that their life will be significantly uprooted for a while, and you will at the very least have to worry about trying to find it again as soon as possible – or replacing it, should it come to that. One of the best solutions for this particular problem is to find a way to track your phone, which you can now do easier than ever. So long as you have some Gadget Trackers attached to it, you will always be able to find it, no matter how far it has gone. You might not always be in a position to retrieve it, but you can at least know where it is – and more often than not, it is pretty close to home anyway, and you will be able to find it and get it back – which could save you a huge headache.

Cover It

You should also think about getting something for the screen, so that you don’t have to worry about it becoming scratched. This is important for a number of reasons. Most of all, you will be able to keep its value fairly high, which could be important if you ever hope to sell it on after you are done with it. But it will also mean that the usage of it for you personally is much better, as you won’t be having to worry about scratches and cracks and so on. You can easily get a screen protector these days, and it is definitely a good idea to get one – along with a case too, for some added extra protection.

Insure It

You never quite know what is going to happen to your phone, so insuring it is often one of the best things you can do. If you insure your phone, you should find that you are able to have more confidence and less worry surrounding it, and if nothing else that makes using it much nicer. Of course, you should shop around for an insurance policy which you feel is actually going to work out well enough for your purposes.

The Effects of Social Media on Mental Health

While social media is a bridge to greater connectivity and community, studies have often shown just how damaging it is for mental health. The rise in anxiety, depression and eating disorders have risen significantly and contributes to other negative feelings such as loneliness, jealousy and stress. Ultimately, reliance on social media had lead to people feeling more and more unhappy

Being active social media presents a number of challenges, such as online bullying, toxic comparisons and the increasing inability to socialize in the real world. Read on to learn more about the effects social media has on mental health.

Rise in depression and anxiety

A study by The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found that the young adults who spent a lot of time on social media were more likely to report sleeping problems and symptoms of depression. Those who experienced cyberbullying on social media saw an increase in feelings of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.

Frequent social media users also have a tendency to make comparisons about physical appearances, vacations and successes, even though only the highlight reels are presented on social media. This leads to the belief that everyone else’s life is better or cooler than the user’s, when this is in fact a false reality. By placing their sense of worth based on how they are doing compared to others, they go down a social comparison spiral bound for depression and anxiety.

Negative body image

The need to get “likes” on social media for validation and approval leads the user to engage in risky and unhealthy behaviours, including altering their appearances, to gain more interaction on their social media. A study by the University of Pittsburgh found that those who spent more time on social media had 2.2 times greater risk of developing eating and body disorders. Women in particular have been proven to feel worse about themselves and more dissatisfied with their bodies when scrolling through the Instagram of someone they perceive to be more attractive than them. When toxic comparison leads to body dysmorphia, depression or anxiety, it is important to reach out to healthcare professionals or a licensed therapist and get help.

False sense of socialization

Though a user may have hundreds to thousands of friends or followers on social media, it can contribute to FOMO, or fear of missing out, when a user sees their friends attending events or parties that they didn’t get to go to. This leads to feelings of loneliness, anxiety and jealousy. Having a lot of online friends or followers does not make up for deep, connected and meaningful connections that are needed for a fulfilling and healthy life. Real human interaction is key to knowing how to communicate well, learning empathy and compassion and is vital to good mental health. However, more people are engaged with online personas than real people.

The upsides of social media

Young adults who have difficulty face-to-face socializing or finding acceptance within their social circles benefit from the fast, easy and non-threatening nature of social media. Those from the LGBTQ community or who struggle with mental illness have also motivation and friendships through online spaces. It is empowering for them to find like-minded people who encourage their progress and support them through challenges which they would otherwise face in isolation

One of the keys to good mental health in this modern, fast-paced world is balance. Social media can be good for you and even helpful, but so is real-life friendships and engaging in the present moment. We may not need to quit social media completely, but by using less social media and disconnecting in moments of real human connection, there may be a decrease feelings in depression and ironically, loneliness.


Marie Miguel


Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with
mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.

Ways to Make Your Working Day More Efficient

Are you tired of lagging behind and not getting the amount of work done that you had expected to get done at the start of the day? It’s a common issue but not everyone suffers from it. You need to learn from the habits and working techniques of people who manage to stay efficient and on track every day of the week. Here are some of the ways in which they achieve efficiency.

Create a Structured Schedule

It’s important to have some sort of structured schedule in place so that you can stick to what needs to be done and not end up wasting time on things that aren’t as important. The schedule will guide you throughout the way and provide you with a quick way of noticing when you’ve started to lag behind. You can then immediately get back on track and back to work.

Use Dictation Software

One thing that many people find is that they’re able to talk much faster than they type. That’s pretty normal for most people; so why not make the most of that fact and start using dictation software? It could help you to get work done much faster than ever before. Head to a site like to find out more about it and then decide whether you would benefit.

Stop Multitasking All the Time

Efficiency is pretty hard to achieve if you’re insisting upon multitasking all the time. It’s never a good way to get things done because you actually end up wasting time rather than preserving it more often than not.  So instead, just aim to get things done one thing at a time and don’t worry about doing multiple things at once. It’s never an efficient way to approach work.

Learn to Delegate if Possible

If you work in a management position or you run a small business, you should avoid falling into the trap of wanting to do everything yourself. Instead, you should learn to delegate in an effective way. People who delegate tasks are able to focus on the important things that they need to do themselves, freeing up time and allowing them to produce work of a higher standard.

Block Out Distractions

Lastly, you should do whatever you can to block out distractions in the workplace. That could mean finding a working area that’s quite and away from people who you know might distract you. Or you could block certain websites on your browser so you’re not tempted to visit them and procrastinate during the day. It’s a good way of staying focused on the things that really matter and not losing track of time on websites not related to your work.

If you want to be more efficient while working each day, these are the sorts of things you should be focusing on and trying to get right. Each of the points made above will make it possible for you to work in a more efficient way and get more done each day at the office, so make the most of them.