Before I begin, I would like you to take note of the date in which this was published. If you are reading this in the future, there is a good chance some of this may change. I am attempting to make this post as evergreen as possible, just as precaution, your mileage may vary. So, for the past six months or so, I have been plugging away at the Western Governors University Master of Science, Cybersecurity and Information Assurance program during all my free time.
My Homelab is a work horse for me; I use it to train smaller machine learning (tensorflow) models on, mess around with Starcraft AI bots on it, along with doing Information Security research and some light malware analysis/ reverse engineering. Essentially, it is a jack-of-all trades, master of none type of workstation. Going in I had the following requirements: CHEAP… I want this to be under $300USD (not counting the GPU)
This will be a multiple part post outlining my opinions of homelabs and what you should consider when building your lab. I will also include a few resources I can vouch for and have used. Furthermore, I do not claim to have all the answers and your setup/needs will be different from mine. That being said, I will start off in a general sense and narrow done as these posts go on.
Many of my bigger projects have been placed on the back-burner as I have been focusing more on work, classes and spending time with my family. Although, I am not grokking down into the weeds on new technologies, I have stumbled across some nuggets worth sharing, even at the risk of sounding like a “lifestyle” blog. Infosec Think-Piece This essay has been making it’s rounds on infosec twitter however, I think it is worth reading to all those who are in infosec or are even curious about infosec/”cyber security”.
Recently, there has been an overwhelming amount of discussion over WhatApp’s non-existent “Government backdoor”, which can easily be debunked with the following statement: If Facebook wanted to allow any government to have a back door, they own the code base, they could just code one in. You wouldn’t know it. Additionally, the end points are still soft, you have to de-crypt the message to read it, which provides a much easier attack vector.
Ransomware, malicious software designed to encrypt a victim’s hard drive and charge a ransom for the recovered files, has been reigning terror or organizations and users for a number of years now. The business model has always been simple, infect the user through spam e-mail or other vectors of infection (i.e. online droppers), encrypt the hard drive and hold it hostage until the user pays the ransom in Bitcoin. Rinse and repeat.
Information Security, cybersecurity or any flavor of security plus technology interest has skyrocketed and expected to grow exponentially. The reason is justified, criminals have moved into this section and been successful in exploiting victims for money then cycling those funds into developing more profitable ways to exploit targets. Furthermore, the domain of information technology provides a great return on their investment just by the scale at which these criminals can attack.
Last month Dyn, an “internet performance management company” or a DNS provider, was attacked by what looks to be some flavor of the Mirai botnet. If you remember, the Mirai source code was dumped after the original users spread it to get rid of some law enforcement pressure. Furthermore, this botnet targets weak security in the form of backdoors/passwords put into the firmware of “internet of things” devices, like webcams and DVRs.