Humans Need Not Apply

Watched this video this morning and it reminded me of a time when I went to visit a relative in the hospital.  I noticed the hallway had a number of small antennas sticking out of the ceiling every few feet.  I figured “Hey that’s some pretty extreme wi-fi coverage!”  A few minutes later an automated medicine cabinet came rolling down the hallway.  It stopped at every room and dispensed meds to the patients.  If you stood in front of it, it would wait for you to move before continuing.  And this was probably over 5 years ago!  So yes the age of automation is clearly underway.

So this post may not be very security focused, but it will apply to us just as much as it applies to the nurse or pharmacy tech that was replaced by that robot.  As costs go down to utilize automated bots (both software and hardware) so does the need for humans in those positions.  The video covers it well, so take the 15 minutes to watch.  In IT we are seeing this happen on a regular basis, hell some of us probably wrote some nifty scheduled tasks to free us up from doing all those repetitive sys admin jobs.  We may have even written someone out of a job by automating the management of users.  And we certainly should because that frees us up for concentrating on more long term goals, upgrade plans, new hardening techniques… etc.  Heck, back in the day, it would take us weeks to bring a new server online, fully patched, hardened and tested.  Now I can log into AWS or Azure and spin entire remote AD environment up in a couple hours (depending on specs).  That includes a site-to-site VPN with the virtual network I just setup as well.  All that could even be automated as all of it can be done through Powershell.  As for testing the systems, well that is also being automated more and more.  Netflix employs their Chaos Monkey to bring systems down during business hours so that they can make sure their apps continue running if such a thing happens when no one is around to fix.

So the days of clicking “Next.. Next.. Next… Finish” are over.  If you are not picking up a scripting language to help with your job or learning to make LEDs blink on the breadboard, you may become obsolete.  If you have kids, it would be wise to push them towards the math and sciences.  Get them Lego Mindstorm sets!  Show them Codecademy!  Bring them to a maker fair and let them see the cool things done with 3D printers, laser-cutters, and robots!  We once taught a bunch of kids how to pick locks, don’t worry we told their parents that locks don’t work anyway.

So the bots are coming, you could either be the one creating them or the one being replaced by them.  Either way, the years to come will be interesting!

Apologize for lack of Activity

Due to some issues with time, availability and overall meetup participation, I have chosen to close out the meetup site. At the end of September it will be shutdown. From this point on any Nutmeg InfoSec activities will be announced here and on the twitter page.

I still believe there are people out there who enjoy discussing and collaborating on InfoSec and hackery.  If you need your fix of hacking and geeking out head over to NESIT Hackerspace.  They typically have public nights on Monday/Wednesday.  Activities include hardware hacking, 3D printing, woodworking, and even cooking.  I once learned to make LEDs blink using Arduino!

So keep an eye out here for any possible meetups or events.  Until then check out Security BSides for upcoming local events.  These are a great events to meet others in the InfoSec community, not to mention the talks are top notch and you usually don’t have to wade through thousands of people to get into. They also cost very little to attend.

RTFM – Installing the update doesn’t automatically fix the vulnerability

Recently I was going through my vulnerability scan report and noticed one of the top 5 plugins was in regards to MS15-011.  Reading through the report it mentioned that the patch KB3000483 was installed but UNC Hardened Access was not enabled via Group Policy.  After further reading of the KB article, I realized what needed to be done.  Microsoft was nice to give some recommendations and such.  So I enabled the UNC Hardened Access on the SYSVOL and NETLOGON shares for the domain.  I did not do it for the file shares as we tend to use multiple OS platforms.  Though I would recommend doing so if you are running in a single platform environment (All Windows).

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“But I need have local admin to run this!”

March is finally here!  The walls of snow are melting down quickly here in New England.  I can finally see grass!  Well ok… it is more like torn up chunks of sod from completely missing the side walk with the snow blower, but it has remnants of grass.

During my hibernation, I remembered some conversations from the past.  Mainly they had to do with “discussions” with users about their needs on their systems.  They commonly revolved around the requirement of administrative rights on their local workstations.  Which of course lead them to believe their current user account was the one that needed those rights.  Well most of us in security, as well as many others in the Systems Admin side of things, know that this is bad and should never be granted without a really good reason.  But does this mean it isn’t possible to grant these users their wishes? Continue reading

Network Security Protections when not in the office…

So in a previous life, I worked for a large enterprise which had many laptop users and a good size remote workforce. When I first took my laptop home for the night, I realized that for one, I could connect to any wireless network… and two I was no longer behind my web filtering servers. This article reminded me on how often this issue is overlooked: Postal Service Suspends Telecommuting

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Build your own Tor Router with a Raspberry Pi

In a recent episode of the Paul’s Security Weekly podcast, they covered a tech segment on how to build your own Raspberry Pi Tor router. There have been quite of few of these popping up ever since the Anonabox debacle that happened a few weeks ago. In any event, I decided to give this version a go. I had the Pi lying around, so it seemed like a fun project to try.

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Last Week’s Meetup

We had a couple new faces come out to the kickoff of Nutmeg InfoSec Meetup. We discussed the state of the CT InfoSec community over some beer and pizza. Thankfully we all seem to believe that it exists and just needs a push to get more people involved. We eventually moved over to the classroom to a talk about  The slides will be posted shortly, but you will get more out of actually checking it out and searching the “Internet of Things.”

If you couldn’t make it out to last week’s meetup, don’t worry!  We plan to do this every month.  We will most likely finish out the year at NESIT Hackerspace, but after the holidays we will look at moving around the State.  If you happen to know of  a good location between Hartford and New Haven, let us know!

Looking forward to the next one!