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Showing posts from 2012

Zero Slides @ IrissCon

So if you're unlucky enough to follow me on Twitter, you'll have seen that I had a conundrum with my presentation at IrissCon :) After a little work yesterday morning, during IrissCon, I tweaked the presentation and reduced the number of slides and successfully tested my "Security Onion in EC2" demo over the hotel wifi. I even managed to show a few others what I was going to do and received good feedback :) To add to my preparation, during lunch I hooked up my laptop to the main screen in the conference and everything looked sweet, even the "live" demo ( @BrianHonan took some nice pictures also). I was so relaxed this year in comparison to previous years (I only had a 30 minute talk to do, right). Looking at Jason and the Honeyn3t lads (organisers of the CTF this year) , I recognised the bloodshot eyes and I could see the amount of stunning work that they had done (the world map of domination was simply awesome).  My relaxation was commented upon

Dublin GTUG

So last night I spoke at the Dublin Google Development Group , which is held in the Google Offices in Barrow Street . For all the times I've passed those offices, either by foot or train, I've never actually been in there and usually looked enviously upon their facilities (I believe they've now got a 25m pool, which for me would be, well, awesome). I was invited by Eoin Bailey (from Trinity), who up until last night (I believe), has been running the group and interestingly, the "head" of the group cannot be a Google employee. Apart from the slick, professional set-up there's also food and non-alcoholic drinks beforehand with a potential retirement to the Schoolhouse afterwards. The facilities were obviously excellent, sweet theatre ("What's up Doc" was the name I believe) with excellent seating, screens etc as you'd expect. The group were seemed interested in my talk but I think I lost most folk when I began talking about sharding, possib

Being a Support Engineer @ 10gen - Part 2

So back in July, I wrote a blog post talking about my experiences being a so-called "phone jockey", i.e. a support engineer, for 10gen. For those cynics out there, it wasn't written by HR, modified by marketing or requested by management or anyone in our recruiting team - I wrote it off my own back because I've a tendency to do things off my own back I wanted to explain what being a "support engineer" actually meant and more specifically, what it entailed in a small, innovative, fun company like 10gen I now have somewhere to point people too when they ask my what life as a "support engineer" in 10gen is like to get kudos within 10gen and please management When I wrote the blog post, I intended it to be a once-off (why would anyone agree to writing a multi-part blog series) but I was encouraged to at least write a second post by @francium and she's very cool so I let it slide and agreed!!! One of the ideas that I had was talking

Simple Script to test Sharding on MongoDB

Sharding, eh? There's so many questions on a daily basis about sharding - What is sharding? How do I do shard? When do I do shard? How do I know I need to shard? How many shards do I need? What shard key should I use? Can I change my shard key? What's a hotspot? How many shards do I need? Do I have a replica set within a shard? etc  and everyone is unique with a different use-case so the answer isn't always the same. Here's the official documents page (on sharding) and Kristina's blog , which is simply excellent on so many levels - I recommend reading both links (btw, it'll take a while :). Kristina uses some awesome analogies to explain sharding. This blog post isn't about the technicalities of sharding, there are much more intelligent people than me who can explain that. I wrote a simple script to learn a bit more sharding and for reproducing issues and I thought I'd share it. It's written in bash beca

Help, someone's trying to hack my Facebook account!

So I received a phone call with a friend saying the exact words in the title. This friend suddenly started receiving password notifications for several of their social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter etc) and other applications. The more interesting aspect is that this friend has an upcoming legal case so the multiple password notifications from independent applications and sites was a little more than conincidental. Given all the incorrect uses of the word "hacker", I refuse to call this person or people "hacker(s)" and really, what he/she/they did is not that subtle. I had some advice for my friend, which I first bounced off another good friend, Brian Honan , who was extremely helpful as always and had some awesome additions. So this post is not intended to tell you how to be safe on the Internet or how to harden your laptop/destop/phone. I simply thought I'd publicise this advice in case anyone-else ran into the same scenario (bear in mind that this

Being a Support Engineer @ 10gen - Part 1

There's a mis-conception around the role of a "Support Engineer".  As a clue, it's not what Urban Dictionary   says   - A person whose job is to answer calls from customers of a small- to large-sized company...... They are teathered to a their desk all day via phone headset........ phone jockeys usually hate their jobs.......they are are paid well enough..........until they completely burn out, and hate everyone.   and doesn't always involve this - Image Source: As you can see  here , there's lots of open roles in  10gen  and more specifically with 10gen, in  Dublin . I thought I'd write this quick blog to explain what Support Engineers actually do and why I joined 10gen as a "Support Engineer". I could be wrong but didn't Google come up with term " Site Reliability Engineer " to do away with the stigma associated with being a

Eurotash GSE

So I'd the pleasure of talking with Chris John Riley, from Eurotrash , on the night of Sunday, July 1st (yes, Chris isn't a football fan so I good-heartedly missed the half-time discussion of Spain's titi-taka brillance). Chris wanted to chat with me about my experience sitting the GIAC GSE exam and lab earlier this year. As always, I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with Chris and I hope it's not too painful listening to me on the podcast . I don't know much but what I would say is stay hydrated, eat as well as you can, prepare Source: properly and have fun!! There's a reason that the GSE has a low pass rate, so going in relaxed makes a huge difference. Enjoy the podcast and if you've any questions on the GSE, just shout :)

SecurityOnion on a netbook with port mirroring on WRT54g

So firstly, this quick blog post is for Scott Runnels as he asked for it, I suppose that's what you get for saying you'll help out on an open source project :) All good! I'd a spare Dell netbook (8gb disk, 2gb ram & 1.6gb Intel Atom CPU) lying around so I figured I'd see if I could try running Security Onion off it.

WAF versus DPI Firewall

This is a question, I've frequently been asked in recent years and in the last month, o n one of the internal mailing lists, in my old company, the following question was posted – In simple terms, what tasks is a Web Application Firewall (WAF) able to do that a Deep Inspection Firewall can't and why ? by one of my colleagues. Many of you may be surprised (I know I was initially) but this question still comes up an awful lot. Having answered the email (as a warning, I went into a lot of detail and plugged the awesome Security Onion ), I was requested to write a technical blog on the subject, but as I left the company soon after, the blog was never published. Therefore, to save me answering the question again, I thought I’d publish it so I can just reference the link in future J

Doing The GSE

So, as many folks know, I went to Orlando towards the end of March to attempt the GSE lab. Both before and afterwards, I received several questions about the GSE :) Therefore, instead of destroying my fingers and typing multiple individual respones, I figured I'd write a short blog on my experiences with the lab section, whilst my thoughts on the written section can be found here . Apologies, this post started off short. Firstly, let me say, that once I overcome the initial nerves (I was bricking it on the first morning), I had a great time. @Chris_Mohan and @asho_relaxo both told me that I'd have fun but I didn't believe them (in fairness, they're not trustworthy characters). Most folk enjoy the first day the most, but I loved the second morning, it was a blast, especially when you come back to that problem that you couldn't figure out and then you nail it :)