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  • A Brief Hiatus

    Posted on Sep 3, 2019 in Site-updates by Michael | Target Audience: Everyone
     site-updates 

    It has been roughly six months since my last post, and I wanted to provide a brief update before diving back into articles. I have been very busy the past six months with a lot of life changes which is why I haven’t written in a while. While I do not normally blog about personal things, I am making a bit of an exception in this post.

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  • Bits and Bytes - Episode 11

    Posted on Mar 17, 2019 in Webcasts by Michael | Target Audience: Everyone
     webcasts bitsandbytes 

    It’s been a few weeks since we did a Bits and Bytes, but this time I show off a new travel router along with our discussion of this week’s news.


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  • Bits and Bytes - Episode 10

    Posted on Feb 24, 2019 in Webcasts by Michael | Target Audience: Everyone
     webcasts bitsandbytes 

    On this week’s Bits and Bytes we take a step back from security to discuss privacy concerns, operating system easter eggs, and bush babies!


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  • Bits and Bytes - Episode 0F

    Posted on Feb 17, 2019 in Webcasts by Michael | Target Audience: Everyone
     webcasts bitsandbytes 

    Once again, Charlie and I bring you Bits and Bytes, now with theme music and a fancy splash screen.


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  • Bits and Bytes - Episode 0E

    Posted on Jan 13, 2019 in Webcasts by Michael | Target Audience: Everyone
     webcasts bitsandbytes 

    Finally, Charlie and I had time to do another Bits and Bytes webcast.


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  • Solo Webcast with Security News

    Posted on Oct 30, 2018 in Webcasts by Michael | Target Audience: Everyone
     webcasts 

    We have not streamed a Bits and Bytes for about 3 weeks, and I wanted to go back and do some solo videos covering the past news topics. Here is the news from the week of 10-08-18


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  • Techno Bits and Bytes - Episode 0D

    Posted on Oct 8, 2018 in Webcasts by Michael | Target Audience: Everyone
     webcasts bitsandbytes 

    Yet another episode of bits and bytes! Lots of good discussions this week.


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  • Techno Bits and Bytes - Episode 0C

    Posted on Oct 1, 2018 in Webcasts by Michael | Target Audience: Everyone
     webcasts bitsandbytes 

    I was cohost again this past week for Bits and Bytes. Charlie, Drew, and I have discussions about this past week’s dumpster fire of tech and security news.


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  • Techno Bits and Bytes - Episode 0B

    Posted on Sep 24, 2018 in Webcasts by Michael | Target Audience: Everyone
     webcasts bitsandbytes 

    I was cohost again this past week for Bits and Bytes. We also had another regular on this webcast as well. Not as much exciting news in this episode as the last one, but still good discussions.


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  • Techno Bits and Bytes - Episode 0A

    Posted on Sep 15, 2018 in Webcasts by Michael | Target Audience: Everyone
     webcasts bitsandbytes 

    I was cohost on Techno Bits and Bytes again this week for some security/tech news review. I have a better camera, better position, and we are using my main rig, so I’m more facing the audience. Apologies for the coughing fits throughout the video as I am currently battling a cold.

    We discuss a variety of topics on this episode ranging from file types, to credit freezes. Please check it out and be sure to like/share as you see fit.


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  • Docker GitLab Upgrade

    Posted on Sep 10, 2018 in Projects by Michael | Target Audience: Technical
     projects docker gitlab 

    One of my more recent small projects has been upgrading an old Gitlab server to the latest version and migrating it to a new server. Now as much as we preach trying to keep systems up to date; unfortunately, sometimes internal servers slip through the cracks, and as a result they end up outdated. Sometimes they are outdated to a point where it makes more sense to just build a new server and migrate the data - this is one of those stories.

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  • Guest Appearance on Techno Bits and Bytes

    Posted on Sep 9, 2018 in Webcasts by Michael | Target Audience: Everyone
     webcasts bitsandbytes 

    Yesterday I participated in my first live streaming event. A long time friend of mine invited me to be a guest on his webcast “Techno Bits and Bytes”. While there were occasional hiccups, it was our first attempt doing it with a remote guest, and the first time I’ve really done a webcast. It was a lot of fun just discussing random tech things, and I am looking forward to doing it again.


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  • Who am I and What do I do

    Posted on Sep 1, 2018 in Careers by Michael | Target Audience: Everyone
     careers programming networking security 

    One of the things I have discovered about working in IT for several years is that most people have no idea what I do for a living. Unfortunately, it can be very difficult trying to explain this to people, especially considering there are so many different specializations in our field. A lot of people often think that if you work in IT, you know pretty much everything about anything more complex than an Abacus, but this simply isn’t true. To elaborate on this, it is like assuming that someone who does the work on their own automobile understands how every function works on anything mechanical including submarines and stealth aircraft without having specialized training or study. Sure, concepts are somewhat consistent, but that is for the most part simply not the case. Still I find other people that think a lot of complex systems in IT are very rudimentary and simple (I personally blame Hollywood) which is also simply not true. Hopefully throughout the course of this miniseries, I will be able to debunk some of these thoughts.

    As far the specializations I mentioned, I have three main areas of expertise: programming, networking, and security. Unfortunately, these are VERY broad categories, and for those who are not very tech savvy, these likely mean nothing to them.

    This leads to why I am writing this miniseries of articles. I want to try and put into words what exactly each of these mean, at least in my career, so that friends, family, and nontechnical people can understand what it means to work in any of these categories. Additionally, for those who are looking at a career in IT, I’m hoping this will help explain some of what they can expect from working in one of these fields.

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  • New Theme and Features

    Posted on Aug 13, 2018 in Site-updates by Michael | Target Audience: Everyone
     site-updates 

    Finally the site is really starting to come back together! For starters, I finally have a nice looking theme.

    As I stated in the last post I prefer dark themed designs. Perhaps it is because I spend greater than eight hours a day staring at a screen and I find it easier on the eyes, or maybe it’s just because I like darker colors. It didn’t take me very long before I decided to go with a dark theme. Since I use Twitter Bootstrap as the front end design framework, I looked at a few different pre-designed color schemes and opted for one from Bootswatch. I will go into using Twitter Bootstrap later on in my article on working as a programmer. I also added a sidebar to the right with some easier to find groupings (categories and tags). I also made a few changes to the default page to make it look a little nicer. I also added navigation to the top; however, I have not done anything with the pages up there yet.

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  • Migration Complete, Next Steps...

    Posted on Aug 10, 2018 in Site-updates by Michael | Target Audience: Everyone
     site-updates 

    I have completed migrating the old blog articles into this one. They are now all capable of being read and commented on. Google Analytics is added, but being tempermental, so I still need to work on that. However, I’m not very concerned on that as it’s mainly just to make sure the blog is actually being visited, not for marketing/sales purposes. To be clear, I’m not selling anything, not even your data.

    So what’s next? Well, time to make this site look a little less, well bland… It looks like I barely even added any styles.

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  • Site Encryption & Comments Enabled

    Posted on Aug 1, 2018 in Site-updates by Michael | Target Audience: Everyone
     site-updates security 

    As of today, the site is now secured with Let’s Encrypt again. The old site the cert had expired for, and since I planned to migrate it to Jekyll and a new server, I didn’t bother renewing (hence the expired cert for a while).

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  • New Site Reboot

    Posted on Jul 29, 2018 in Site-updates by Michael | Target Audience: Everyone
     site-updates jekyll 

    So yet again we find outselves at a site reboot. This post will be brief, as I don’t really want to spend too much time on this.

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  • MikroTik Vulnerability 2018 - Part 1

    Posted on Apr 10, 2018 in Vulnerabilities by Michael | Target Audience: Everyone
     vulnerabilities mikrotik 

    A couple weeks ago I mentioned that I was in the process of researching vulnerabilities that are being actively targeted on MikroTik devices. This is part one of a four part blog series surrounding this research project, and the scope of the vulnerability’s potential impact.

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  • Have You Tried Turning it Off and Back On?

    Posted on Mar 9, 2018 in Site-updates by Michael | Target Audience: Everyone
     site-updates 

    The scenario is simple, some electronic device (be it your TV, VCR, cassette player…oh wait 2018…right… your Smart Phone, Laptop, Router, Smart TV, etc) is not behaving correctly, and you hop on the phone – rotary dial; oops , I mean touch dial…oh yea 2018…scroll through your contacts (hopefully this isn’t the smart phone causing issues) and contact the family tech guru (computer wizard as my father calls him…me) or call that company’s tech support, and what’s the first thing they ask – “have you tried turning it off and back on again?”

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  • Security for a New Year Part II – Security Questions

    Posted on Apr 2, 2015 in Passwords by Michael | Target Audience: Everyone
     security-questions passwords 

    This is Part II of the Security for a New Year series.

    This topic was originally requested by a reader at my former employer, his question was simply, “what are your thoughts on security questions?” Well, considering that the topic for part one of this series was passwords, it seemed appropriate to make this part two. Security questions are a very sticky subject when it comes to security. Security questions are used to ‘verify’ your identity by using something typically more ‘complex’ than your password. There are generally two instances when you encounter security questions: the first, and most common, is to reset your password if it has been forgotten, and the second is in the form of additional identity verification such as for a banking login.

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  • Security for a New Year Part I – Strong Passwords – Part 3

    Posted on Mar 9, 2015 in Passwords by Michael | Target Audience: Everyone
     passwords 

    This is the third and final part of Strong Passwords for the Security for a New Year series.

    Security for a New Year Part I: Strong Passwords – Part 1

    Security for a New Year Part I: Strong Passwords – Part 2

    In part 1 of strong passwords I covered the use of entropy and character space to create strong passwords and how the length of the password is the best defense against a brute force attack. In part 2 of strong passwords I covered methods for creating a high entropy password that is resilient to almost any dictionary attack. In both parts I mentioned that the second problem that comes with passwords is remembering them.

    The memory problem leads to typically two very bad password practices. The first of which is writing the passwords down in a convenient place. While there are many arguments for both sides of this, but for security purposes (thus the reasoning for passwords in the first place), you should never write passwords down, at least not in any place that is easily accessible. The primary places where people keep their passwords are in one of the following locations:

    • On a post it note on the computer desk or monitor
    • On a piece of paper on the desk
    • On a piece of paper under the keyboard
    • In a notebook on their computer desk
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  • Security for a New Year Part I – Strong Passwords – Part 2

    Posted on Mar 2, 2015 in Passwords by Michael | Target Audience: Everyone
     passwords 

    This is part 2 of Strong Passwords of the Security for a New Year series.

    Security for a New Year Part I: Strong Passwords – Part 1

    In part 1 of strong passwords, I discussed the use of character sets and character spaces and how they impact the overall strength of the password. I primarily discussed how the use of a longer password is significantly harder to brute force than that of a shorter one regardless of how many character sets are used. Typically longer passwords expand beyond the use of single words, and as a result they are referred to in many places as passphrases. Personally, since they serve the exact same purpose as far as authentication is concerned, I use the term password to refer to both single and multi-word passwords. The term passphrase; however, may help you expand your view on what a password can consist of. While most people may use a single word as their password, a password can also consist of several related or unrelated words, or even a complete sentence. This can be a great way to significantly increase the length of your password.

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  • Security for a New Year Part I – Strong Passwords – Part 1

    Posted on Feb 23, 2015 in Passwords by Michael | Target Audience: Everyone
     passwords 

    To relaunch Open Intel, I decided to refresh the Security for a New Year series. This will be the first part of a several post series on good security practices. Today’s topic: strong passwords.

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  • Site Move & Migration

    Posted on Feb 22, 2015 in Site-updates by Michael | Target Audience: Everyone
     site-updates 

    Welcome all (or few) followers of the inconsistent security/developer blog of Michael. I have made some massive changes to the site this weekend. Since my previous attempt at restructuring the domain layout and file system failed miserably (site broke or at least anything clickable did). I decided to nuke the site from orbit and start from scratch. The site is now happily hosted at Digital Ocean, and there will be more details to come for that soon. I have the site backed up locally and I will be going through and reposting the relevant articles after briefly freshening them up over the next week or two. Hopefully with job transitions out of the way I can start being regularly active on here (I know, I know…if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times…).

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