Security – Blue Team – Building a security project on a budget

How to Create and Build a Security Profile for Your Network on a Budget – Part 1

Start with Building a Foundation (or use an existing good one).

Credit to Kyle Bubp &

Use a Base Framework for your security project. There are a lot of standards available and the NIST government standards are a good solid foundation:

  • NIST 800-53
  • NIST Cybersecurity Framework
  • NIST CSF Tool
  • CIS Critical Security Controls
  • NIST-CSF tool – this is a nice visual tool – graphical interface for the stages of building a security program

Document everything

A core documentation repository is critical when setting up a security project – others will follow you and will need to look up the information you have recorded. It’s best to have a security incident response ticketing system and documentation before you need it. Have these tools up and ready.

For policy, procedure, how-tos, etc:

  • MediaWiki(free)
  • Atlassian Confluence ($10 for 10 users) – glyfee plugin for confluence
  • OneNote/SharePoint – not every company is entirely open source

Incident Response Ticketing/Documentation systems:

Map out your entire network

  • NetDB – Uses ARP tables and MAC databases on your network gear. (use a service account and NetDB will use ssh/telnet to find every device connected, will give a nice http interface. You can setup a cron job that will scan NetDB database every hour. You can pipe new device connections to an email address. Knowing if something comes onto your network is critical.

.ova is available at

Supports the following: Cisco, Palo Alto, JunoOS, Aruba, Dell Powerconnect

  • nmap scans + ndiff/yandiff – not just for red teams; export results, diff for changes. Alert if something changed.
  • NetDisco – uses SNMP to inventory your network devices.

  • Map your network – create a Visio document and have a good network map.


Facebook-developed osquery and this tool can give you all you need.

Agents for MacOS, Windows, Linux

Deploy across your enterprise w/ Chef, Puppet, or SCCM

Do fun things like search for IoC’s (FBI file hashes, processes) – pipe the data into ElasticStack for visibility & search-ability

User Data Discovery

OpenDLP – (github) or (download an .ova) – will scan file shares and using a normal user account you can scan for available shares and data. Run over the weekend and see what you can find. Find the data owners and determine where the data should reside.

Hardening Your Network

CIS Benchmarks – Center for Internet Security Benchmarks: 100+ configuration guidelines for various technology groups to safeguard systems against today’s evolving cyber threats.

Out of the box, windows 10 is 22% for the CIS benchmark.

It’s difficult to secure your network if everything is a snowflake. While not exciting, configuration management is important. Deploy configs across your org using tools like GPO, Chef, or Puppet.

Change management is also important – use git repo for trackign changes to your config scripts.

Safety vs. Risk

Scanning for Vulnerabilities:

OpenVAS (greenbone) is a fork of Nessus which is still maintained, is the default vulnerability scanner in AlienVault. It does a great job in comparison with commercial products. Be careful, do some safe scans first and it’s not recommended to scan critical life-support equipment for example in a hospital.

Scan web apps:

Arachni Framework – for finding bugs in your developer’s code

OWASP ZAP (Zed Attack Proxy)

Nikto2 (Server config scanner)

Portswigger Burp Suite (not free – $350)

Harden your web servers:

Fail2ban – python-based IPS that runs off of Apache Logs

ModSecurity – Open source WAF for Apache & IIS




Test USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 thumb flash drive on Windows 10 read write speeds

How to test USB thumb drives for USB 3.0, USB 2.0, and test Read and Write Speeds on Windows 10

Determine if USB Port is 2.0 or 3.0 in Windows 10:

Below are some directions and screenshots of how you can tell if a USB drive is connected to Windows 10 with USB 3.0 or USB 2.0., first insert the drive into a USB port on your Windows 10 computer.

Click on the Start Button > then click on the Settings gear icon > in the “Find a Setting” box > type “Connected Devices” > then click on the “Connected Device Settings” icon. The USB 3.0 will show “Connected to USB 3.0”, the USB 2.0 drives will not display these words:

Testing Read and Write speeds of USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 with SpeedOut utility and  Windows 10.

I picked up a couple thumb drives this weekend that were on sale at Frys. I like to have both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 drives on hand in case a computer doesn’t recognize USB 3.0 as a boot drive. I wanted to determine the Read and Write speeds of my USB drives to test if they actually display a difference according to their listed specs (spoiler alert: numbers can be deceiving.) My PC workstation has an Intel SSD drive and USB 3.0 ports.  I downloaded and ran the SpeedOut v0.5 utility against 4 different USB thumb drives:

  1. Patriot Memory Flash PSF32GBLZ3USB 32GB USB3.0 BLITZ with a yellow plastic case.
  2. Hyundai USB 2.0 Bravo 16GB with a metal case.
  3. Kingston USB 2.0 DTS E9 Data Traveller 16GB with a metal case.
  4. SanDisk Ultra USB 3.0 32GB SDCZ48-032G with a plastic case.

All four drives were formatted FAT32 (and I tested the Patriot drive as NTFS.) The way you know if a device is connected to 3.0 USB in windows 10: Start > Settings > Search “Find a setting” : type in “devices” > Show all results > Connected Device Settings > Other devices > Find your USB drive and it should say “Connected to USB 3.0”. More details on where to find this setting at the bottom of the article.

Anyway, I ran SpeedOut utility against the Patriot USB 3.0 drive first, and the results were: 23.7 MB/s READ and 27.8 MB/s.

I ran the same SpeedOut test against on the same USB port using a HYUNDAI USB 2.0 BRAVO 16GB drive (wasn’t recognized as USB3.0 by Windows 10) and it’s results were: 21.9 READ and 10.5 WRITE.

Then I ran the same SpeedOut test again using a Kingston DTS E9 Data Traveler and it’s results were 17.158 READ and 9.8 MB/s WRITE.

Lastly I ran the same SpeedOut test again using a SanDisk Ultra USB 3.0 32GB drive and the results were: 128.04 MB/s READ and 52.47 MB/s WRITE.

I gave the Patriot USB 3.0 drive another chance the results of a 2nd read write test against the drive were pretty good:

This test gave me hope that the drive would have decent write speeds but upon testing the copy of an ubuntu-16.10-server-amd64.iso (684.032 MB) file from my SSD drive to the Patriot USB 3.0 Drive, the results show surprisingly slow speeds after an initial burst of speed:

I thought perhaps this may have to do with the drive formatted as Fat32, so I formatted the drive as NTFS and tried again. Here is the SpeedOut result first:

Now the same Ubuntu.iso copy and it’s results:

Same results. The write speed would alternate between 6.24 MB/s and 12 MB/s which is in all reality pretty abysmal for a USB 3.0 drive! The total copy time for the 684MB file was 55.12 seconds…

The total copy time for the HYUNDAI USB drive for the same ubuntu .iso was 1:10.02 seconds.

The USB Patriot USB 3.0 drive did not fare much better than the Hyundai USB 2.0 drive, but I did notice that there is an initial speed burst when copying data to the Patriot drive. To test this I copied a 100MB file to the Patriot drive and while the first copy of the 94MB file did quickly finish at around 60 MB/s, however subsequent tests were very low again in the 6-12MB/sec range. The Patriot drive is no other way to describe than flaky; fast sometimes for a little while, but ultimately pretty slow – just a little better than the USB 2.0 drives.

Lastly I tested the copy speed of the same Ubuntu .iso file to the SanDisk Ultra 3.0 32 GB drive formatted Fat32 and the amount of time to copy was  14.59 seconds!

Just because something says USB 3.0 and is on sale, doesn’t mean you’re going to get true USB 3.0 speeds reliably…


Dell Latitude 3570 SSD HDD upgrade procedure reinstall reset recover Windows 10 on blank disk from DVD

So you received a Dell Latitude e3570 for business and the laptop already has a downgrade Windows 7 Pro Operating System installed on the existing 500GB 7200RPM hard drive. You want to make the machine faster and upgrade to Windows 10, so you decide to install a 120GB SSD HDD (or a Samsung M.2) and then install Windows 10 Pro from scratch. You already have the Dell Windows 10 Pro DVD. The problem is that you don’t have a hard disk image, clone image, cloning software, or machine to clone from the old HDD to the new SSD, nor do you even want to use an existing Operating System image. You don’t want to go through the steps of an upgrade from Windows 7 Pro to Windows 10 Pro and then perform a clone as well. Well, that’s what happened to me and I usually prefer to perform a clean installation from a certified Dell Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit DVD for use with a licensed Dell computer like the one in the picture below. After banging my head over what amounts to a relatively simple solution, and doing some research, I thought I’d spare someone else the pain of what I went through by documenting the solution here.

So, you gleefully pop open the back of the laptop by loosening the cover screws, replace the SATA HDD with your new SSD HDD, and close up the cover again. With an external USB DVD drive, power on the laptop, hit F12, select the Dell DVD as your boot device, and hit a brick wall with the following sequence:

Language > Country > Choose option: Troubleshoot > Reset this PC > Reset this PC: Remove everything :

Error: Reset this PC – Unable to reset your PC. A required drive partition is missing. (cancel)

In this event, what the setup is doing is that it’s assuming you already have Windows 10 installed on the hard drive, and that perhaps it’s corrupted, and you are choosing to have the installer find the default recovery partition that’s already on the hard drive (which it isn’t because it’s a brand new-wiped-clean-by-the-factory SSD). Also, you’d already probably know that if you DID already have the recovery partition on the hard drive that you’d choose the “Repair my computer” option in the boot menu by hitting F12 when starting…

So the problem is actually not difficult to resolve because, in summary, the solution is you merely need to choose the following sequence instead and perform a “Recover from a drive“, not “Reset this PC”. *Note: if you do this, your BIOS may still hold non-recommended Boot and Drive configurations for Windows 10, so be sure to follow the instructions after the screenshots that your BIOS and new SSD HDD is set up for correct secure-boot operations.

Language > Country > Choose option: Troubleshoot > Recover from a drive > Fully clean the drive

At this point, if you have replaced an M2 hard drive, you may have received the following error:  “Unable to reset your pc. The system drive cannot be found.” If this is the case, skip to the bottom of this post to find new information.

Like I said, it’s a good idea to check some BIOS settings and secure your new SSD HDD boot device prior to running the system Recover > Fully clean the drive operation.

  1. First hit F12 and select OTHER OPTIONS: BIOS Setup
  2. Next under General > Boot Sequence, set the Boot List Option to UEFI
  3. Next, under General heading, select Advanced Boot Options and uncheck “Enable Legacy Option ROMs”
  4. Next, under System Configuration, make sure SATA Operation is set to AHCI:
  5. Next, go to the heading Secure Boot and set Secure Boot Enable to Enabled:
  6. Now save all the changes to the BIOS and restart/Save, and hit F12 again, where at the next menu you will use the UEFI BOOT: to your external USB/DVD drive:
  7. Now go ahead and go back to the Troubleshoot > Recover from a drive > Fully clean the drive. *Note: this action will completely destroy anything that is already on the hard drive so before you do this action, be sure you have a backup of what was previously on the drive; if anything.
  8. Once the procedure runs and the machine reboots, you should see the “Recovering this PC” and a percentage status.
  9. The machine will complete the procedure and you may receive the following warning: A configuration change was requested to enable, activate, clear, enable, and activate the TPM – This action will clear and turn on the computer’s TPM (Trusted Platform Module) – WARNING: This request will remove any keys stored in the TPM: Press F12 to enable, activate, clear, enable, and activate the TPM or Press Esc to reject this change request and continue. Unless you have stored keys and want to retain them, go ahead and hit F12. 
  10. The machine will restart a couple more times and finally, you should be prompted with the traditional setup:
  11. Complete the setup, remove the DVD from the computer, restart and enjoy your newly installed Windows 10 Pro on your Latitude 3570 with an SSD hard drive. In my opinion, this is a very worthwhile upgrade and the speed difference between Windows 7 Pro on a spinning HDD as compared to Windows 10 on an SSD is like night and day.


So if your error encountered during a “Recover from Drive” was:  “Unable to reset your pc. The system drive cannot be found.” then you’ll want to take note. The Purple DVD you are trying to recover from may not include the required M2 Hard drive drivers in order for the installer to find your new hard drive. “Extra Fudge” found some success by downloading the drivers manually (which did not solve the problem for me – more below…) from Intel (if you’re installing an Intel M2 HDD, that is) and that information can be found here:

Dell Recovery disc not working. “Unable to reset your pc. The system drive cannot be found”

The link to the updated drivers in this post can be found here:

Like I said earlier, this fix and was not successful (perhaps because I was installing a Samsung NVMe SSD 960 EVO M.2 drive.)

Finally what solved my problem was to use the new Dell Operating System Imaging Tool, which assumably has the correct M.2 drivers baked into the image.

You’ll need an 8GB or larger drive USB thumb drive to complete this task. Go to Dell support, enter in the Service Tag, Select find Drivers Myself, > Select OS Windows 10, and then download the Operating System Image tool.

Next, run the tool and the rest is pretty self-explanatory.


How to run Mac OS X El Capitan on Windows 7 or Windows 10 – How to build a Hackintosh VM Virtual Machine

Here is a guide to show how to build an OS X El Capitan virtual machine that runs on top of Windows 7 or Windows 10. Thanks to this video, (where only the first 3:30 minutes are relevant to this guide,) I wrote a step by step solution to building a hackintosh virtual machine that runs on top of Windows. Once you have OS X El Capitan running on Windows you can easily build a bootable OS X USB drive to further install the latest OS X operating system on a normal Mac. Building a hackintosh may be against the OS X terms of use so I don’t advise selling such a machine/solution and this guide is only for your testing and troubleshooting.

  1. Download VMware Player from official VMware website (30 day free trial):
  2. Download OS X El Capitan:
  3. Download latest Unlocker app at
  4. Unpack Unlocker and copy to the same directory as your unpacked OS X El Cap.vmdk files.
  5. Run the unlocker file named “Win-Install”
  6. Create a new folder on the desktop and name El Cap Install Folder.
  7. Open VMWare Player -> New VM -> Typical -> Install OS Later -> Mac OS 10.11 -> Install to new El Cap Install folder you created. Store as single file -> Edit VM -> Set more ram and CPU -> Select HDD and remove -> Add new HDD -> SATA -> Use existing HDD -> Browse to El Cap.vmdk you downloaded and unpacked-> Keep existing format > Remove CD/DVD -> Show all USB devices -> finish ->
  8. Open the new Virtual Machine configuration file (OS X 10.11.vmx) inside your your “El Cap Install” folder, and open with notepad.

    vmx edit
    vmx edit
  9. At the end of the file add the line:
    smc.version = "0"
  10. Save
  11. Power on the OS X VM!

*Note, if you go on to build a USB bootable os x installation drive, after you insert your USB key drive into the computer, it may not show up on your OS X desktop. To fix this, click on the USB drive icon at the bottom right-hand corner of the vmware player frame.


powershell – Find all computers in a domain or OU running a service

Sometimes you need to find all the computers on a domain that are running a certain particular service. By using Active Directory, supplying your canonical domain name, and define an output file, you can easily create a list of computers running a service.

First, start PowerShell as administrator, and import active-directory powershell components with the following command:

Import-Module ActiveDirectory

Then, open PowerShell ISE and copy in the following into a new .ps1 script:

$ou = "OU=Computers,OU=finance,DC=east,DC=contoso,DC=com"

$servers = Get-ADComputer -Filter * -SearchBase $ou | select-object 
-expandproperty name

Foreach ($server in $servers){
$Data = Get-Service -ServiceName *SAVService* -ComputerName $server | 
select machinename,name | sort machinename | format-table -AutoSize 

Write($Data) | Out-File .\machinesrunningSAVService.txt -Append

Run the script, and your output file will look similar to the following:

MachineName Name      
----------- ----      
hostname1   SAVService

MachineName Name      
----------- ----      
hostname2   SAVService

MachineName Name      
----------- ----      
hostname3   SAVService



How to enable RDP remotely with psexec pstools

How to enable RDP remotely with psexec pstools

If a computer is on your network, but RDP is not enabled, you can create a group policy to enable it and then restart the computer. Or instead, you can use psexec to remotely enable RDP.

Below are a couple one-line scripts to enable RDP on a remote computer from a different computer on the same domain. Keep in mind you need to be an administrator and you will only enable RDP for yourself, not an entire security group.

  1. Download the pstools to your computer from here and unzip them into a folder named pstools at the root of your c: drive.
  2. Open the command prompt as administrator.
  3. Change directory into c:\pstools then run the command:
psexec \\ reg add "hklm\system\currentcontrolset\control\terminal server" /f /v fDenyTSConnections /t REG_DWORD /d 0

4. Run another command to open the required ports in the firewall on the remote machine

psexec \\ netsh firewall set service remoteadmin enable

5. RDP into the remote machine with mstsc.exe successfully!


How to format a large external usb hard drive for use between both an OS X Mac and a Windows 10 PC

All versions of Windows since Windows Vista should be able to access a GUID drive. Because OS X is able to partition a GUID partition, we want to partition our large external hard drives with this compatible partition table. So, any modern computer since 2006 should be compatible. GUID doesn’t suffer from the restriction of a maximum partition size of 2TB, so if we have a hard drive larger than 2TB, we won’t be required to build multiple partitions with MBR.

Here’s a good quote for other important features regarding GUID (GPT stands for GUID Partition Table).

“On an MBR disk, the partitioning and boot data is stored in one place. If this data is overwritten or corrupted, you’re in trouble. In contrast, GPT stores multiple copies of this data across the disk, so it’s much more robust and can recover if the data is corrupted. GPT also stores cyclic redundancy check (CRC) values to check that its data is intact — if the data is corrupted, GPT can notice the problem and attempt to recover the damaged data from another location on the disk. MBR had no way of knowing if its data was corrupted — you’d only see there was a problem when the boot process failed or your drive’s partitions vanished.”

exFAT was released in 2006 as well, but Microsoft added backwards-compatibility to previous Windows versions from before Vista. The main benefit to it is that it doesn’t have the file size restrictions of FAT32, so individual files with exFAT can be larger than 4GB each. It probably isn’t super important for smaller files, but it could be a necessity for people working on larger files like videos or disk images.

Below is a step-by-step procedure for formatting a large External USB drive which can be used by both a Mac and a PC. This setup will utilize the newest, most fault-tolerant partition tables, and allows for the largest volume and file size capabilities. In my case I am formatting an 8TB Seagate Backup Plus+ USB 3.0 external HDD hard drive.

First, plug a new USB drive into a Mac:

  1. The Mac will automatically prompt if you want to use the drive as a Time Machine backup Disk – click “Don’t Use”
  2. Open Disk Utility
  3. On the left side of Disk Utility, under External, you should see your drive listed.
  4. Select the “highest-level” of the drive, not the partitions located underneath. In my case, Seagate Backup+ Desk Media.PC Mac External drive format (1)
  5. At the top of Disk Utility, click the “Erase” button.PC Mac External drive format (2)
  6. Name your disk, such as “JC-External”.
  7. Under “Format” drop-down menu, select “ExFAT”
  8. Under “Scheme” drop-down menu, select “GUID Partition Map”PC Mac External drive format (3)
  9. Click “Erase”
  10. Once the drive has been erased, again, Time Machine will prompt to use as a backup disk – select “Don’t Use”PC Mac External drive format (4)
  11. Click “Done”
  12. Your drive should now be listed under Devices in the Finder.PC Mac External drive format (5)
  13. Control-click or right-click on the device in the Finder, and click “Get Info”.  You can see that indeed it created an 8TB ExFAT Volume, but the Sharing and Permissions cannot be modified. Permissions can only be set if the drive is formatted with  “OS X Extended”. Also, notice that the Created/Modified dates may not be accurate, however, files and folders contained in the drive will display accurate modified dates/times.PC Mac External drive format (6)
  14. One thing to note, is after initially formatting the drive on a Mac, and then attaching the external drive to a Windows 10 PC, the drive may not immediately display with a drive letter by default in the Windows File Explorer. Go into Windows 10 Disk Management and find the drive listed in the discovered drives, but you may find that a drive letter is not associated with the volume.
  15. To fix this, in Disk Management, right-click on the large/unidentified new data volume and click “Change Drive Letter and Paths…”. Next, click the Add.. button, assign a drive letter (D:) and then OK. You should now find your external drive listed in Windows Explorer and see the files and folders you copied into it while it had been connected to your Mac.


Windows 10 Best Free Video Screen Capture Open Broadcaster Software Install Tutorial

This video demonstrates how to use Open Broadcaster Software for capturing your desktop into a record-able video. OBS is free software that you can also use to record your gaming sessions to never miss that moment during your computer game. Here is a good post on describing how to set up OBS for capturing your game with a 20 second “buffer” so you can show your frags on youtube or convert them to a gif. But for now, below I put together a tutorial on how to setup OBS to record your desktop screen and audio to make videos like the one here:


How to Setup User Account for Child on Windows 10 Tutorial

This video shows you how to setup a user account for your kid/child without creating an email address. Windows 10 wants you to use an email address to create a user account. When you try to setup an account, it asks you to use an existing email and if not, it tries to force you to sign up for an account. This video shows you how to bypass the Windows User account setup and use Computer Management to create a normal/local user account on the computer for your kids.

Solved – Dell Optiplex 790 2nd HDD disk drive not found in Windows 10 Disk Management but BIOS sees the drive


I have a Dell Optiplex I’m putting together for an IP Camera security system. The security cameras use a lot of disk space, so I connected a 2nd Seagate 2TB drive to the black SATA port labeled SATA1. The BIOS sees the drive, but when I logged into Windows 10 and looked in Disk Management, the drive wasn’t found. If the new hard drive isn’t in Disk Management, but the BIOS does see the drive, there’s something wrong with either the BIOS / SATA / RAID configuration, or there’s something wrong with the drive itself. I attempted to Scan for Hardware Changes in the Device Manager – no luck. I also went into Disk Management -> Action -> Rescan Disks -> no luck.

Here is the SATA Port layout:

SATA 0 (Blue) – Primary HDD 500GB Seagate ST3500413AS

SATA 1 (Black) – Secondary  HDD 2TB Seagate ST2000DM001-1CH164

SATA 2 (White) – CD / DVD

SATA 3 (White) – empty

I went to Dell’s support website, ran the System Detect (for some reason entering the Service Tag didn’t work) and then went to look at the available drivers. I was thinking of updating the BIOS from A09 to A18, but then noticed under Serial ATA there is a Seagate Firmware update named – unpacked is 2 folders, DOS and Windows, in the Windows folder is the file B7032100.exe – this is the file I installed. During the setup, the computer is restarted, and like most firmware utilities (I love these), you get a nice old-school 8-bit text interface with a resounding SUCCESS in big blue letters when it’s done.

So this was really all I did, and after flashing the Seagate Firmware, and logging into windows, immediately the drive was detected and prompted me to initialize and format the disk. So I did just that; initialized the drive as MBR, then changed the CD-ROM to drive letter E:, and formatted the new drive as NTFS on drive letter D: labelled as “Data”. Life is good again. Hopefully this post will be found by someone else having difficulty when their computer doesn’t see the new 2nd disk drive and save them a little time and frustration in the process.