The Life of Josh

Computer Engineer, Security Consultant, and Tech Nerd.



Easy SSL Cert for testing

Have you ever needed to test something with a web server that you stand up quickly, but don’t have an SSL cert for it, and don’t have access to a wildcard cert for the domain? Check out and be prepared to quickly and easily get an SSL cert. 

On a RaspberryPi system you start by installing certbot  via “sudo apt-get install python-certbot-apache” and then I ran in to some trouble trying to just use certbot’s automagic apache mechanism so I did this;

  1. Enable SSL on Apache with “sudo a2enmod ssl”
  2. Stop Apache with “sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 stop”
  3. “sudo certbot certonly –standalone” to go through the process. It will launch a process that the certificate authority will connect to on TCP 80 to verify you control the DNS name you are trying to make a cert for so that name should resolve to this server.
  4. Edit /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/default-ssl.conf to point to your SSL certs. These 3 settings must be changed and make sure the path matches where your files are stored;
SSLCertificateFile /etc/letsencrypt/live/
SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/letsencrypt/live/
SSLCertificateChainFile /etc/letsencrypt/live/

Now you need to start Apache back up with “sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 start” and hopefully it should load. I don’t believe any steps are missing here, but please do let me know in the comments if you tried this and were totally stuck. Remember you’ll have to renew your certs each year, but certbot has a renew function as well. Super simple. 


Protecting a RespberryPi

So I had a need for work to setup an Apache server to test a feature of our product. It was easy enough to get it going;

  1. Install Noobs to SD card
  2. Boot up RaspberryPi 3B+ with Noobs
  3. Install Raspian
  4. Use apt-get to install apache2
  5. Port Forward 80 and 443 to my RPi
  6. Use DynDNS to direct a DNS name to my home IP

So all that was super easy. Next I started to worry about protecting my little pocket computer. I looked at DenyHosts, but it seems like the version in apt-get was super old and even the latest seems not maintained. So I did “apt-get install fail2ban” because that seems fairly current. So this is more of a question post than a helpful post for others. My question is if fail2ban via apt-get needs certain config changes or if it is good with default settings? If you read this and can comment with guidance it would help me, and hopefully others. If the steps above seem complicated and anyone wants a step by step posted then I’m happy to do so. If you’d like to try to beat up on my little computer that’s cool too. Nothing private is on it. is the Apache2 instance.

LazyKali reboot

I am making available the beginning of a re-write of what I think is a helpful utility for Kali Linux systems. These systems are used for penetration testing, and are not typically day-to-day systems. I find myself doing the same installs and maintenance with every re-install of Kali so I wanted to create a tool to simplify this. It appears that until about 3 years ago someone else had a similar idea, but they seem to have abandoned it. If anyone knows if there is a current version of lazykali out there in the Interweb could you please point me to it so that I might contribute to that instead of maintaining this fork. If Reaperz73 sees this please contact me to let me know you are out there.

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Kali Linux install on a Lenovo T430s

I have been working with Kali Linux lately for the pentest tools, and to keep my skills current. To that end I wanted to put the latest version of Kali on a Lenovo T430s laptop. I started with the kali-linux-2016.1-amd64.iso download. Then I wrote that to a USB key using Universal USB Installer ( ) and tried to install Kali on my laptop.

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Hacking made easy and good reads

I was just watching Mr. Robot … an excellent TV show that any security person should find interest in, and they use actual hacking tools and techniques in the show. I saw the Social Engineering Toolkit used on S2 E1. I’ve used Kali Linux before, but never gave much thought to the SET application. If you have 22 minutes to spare and want to see how easy it is to social engineer your way to compromise credentials then watch this…

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NewsBlur Subscriptions to share

To help my IT friends at my job I’m leaving, I’m trying to share things that will help them. Below is a link to my NewsBlur subscriptions. I have A LOT of Mac stuff in here. The NewsBlur system costs $2/month ($3 if you are feeling it is worth it and have spare $). It is extremely worthwhile especially since the demise of Google Reader. There’s also an iPhone and iPad app you can use on the go. The stuff in the Engineering – Mac feeds will help someone do most of what I do.

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Microsoft Security update MS10-015 broke your computer

If your Windows computer stopped working in the past week or so then you may have had a type of virus called a Rootkit on your system. Microsoft released a security update this month that unintentionally made a machine stop booting if you were infected. Your best bet if you are not technical is to have someone come copy your data off and setup your machine fresh. There are articles about removing the patch that breaks your machine but if you do that you will simply have a virus infected machine.

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Hack attempts from Afghanistan

I have a couple of servers that sit out on the Internet, and every day I get a little report on how they are doing, and if someone is trying to break in to them. Today I got this report;

Authentication Failures:
root ( 1353 Time(s)
unknown ( 1148 Time(s)
root ( 582 Time(s)
root ( 165 Time(s)
root ( 99 Time(s)
unknown ( 93 Time(s)
unknown ( 60 Time(s)
unknown ( 42 Time(s)
root ( 23 Time(s)
adm ( 6 Time(s)
bin ( 3 Time(s)
dbus ( 3 Time(s)
ftp ( 3 Time(s)
games ( 3 Time(s)
gopher ( 3 Time(s)
halt ( 3 Time(s)
lp ( 3 Time(s)
mail ( 3 Time(s)
mailnull ( 3 Time(s)
mysql ( 3 Time(s)
mysql ( 3 Time(s)
named ( 3 Time(s)
news ( 3 Time(s)
nobody ( 3 Time(s)
nscd ( 3 Time(s)
operator ( 3 Time(s)
pcap ( 3 Time(s)
root ( 3 Time(s)
rpc ( 3 Time(s)
shutdown ( 3 Time(s)
smmsp ( 3 Time(s)
sshd ( 3 Time(s)
sync ( 3 Time(s)
unknown ( 3 Time(s)
uucp ( 3 Time(s)
nfsnobody ( 2 Time(s)
rpcuser ( 2 Time(s)
haldaemon ( 1 Time(s)
unknown ( 1 Time(s)

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False positives in Symantec Endpoint Security

The other day I started noticing that our SEP clients were saying that install_flash_player.exe was a Trojan Horse. I got a lot of alerts like the below;

 At least one security risk found: 

Risk name: Trojan Horse
File path: C:\Documents and Settings\username\My Documents\Downloads\install_flash_player.exe
Event time: 2010-01-28 09:35:13 GMT
Database insert time: 2010-01-28 15:25:05 GMT
IP Address:
Domain: system
Client Group: My Company\XXXX
Action taken on risk: Quarantined

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