Huzzah! After a year full of academic endeavors I can finally say I am done with my Master’s work and ready to rejoin society. What follows below is a recap of some of the interesting things I created or bumped into these last twelve months, in-between family, work and paper submissions.

TL;DR: The work itself focused on creating an automation tool to perform attacks and grab forensical artifacts (e.g. logs / PCAPs) to create and validate security detections.

The delivered tool can be found on Github, as well as a DNS-tunnel and a DoH-tunnel dataset. The thesis itself can be found on the TalTech webpage here.

This year I attended USENIX ‘22 virtually. It was on my conferences-to-attend bucket list for a while and it was quite satisfying to finally be able to attend this high-pace academical event. While the time difference was occasionally painful, it definitely delivered due to the variety of ideas and projects being discussed.

Unfortunately I’ve not had the pleasure to attend Wild West Hackin Fest in person but many of their Youtube playlist entries were fantastic and kept me occupied these last few months. If you’re looking for actionable, in-depth technical talks on all sorts of infosec related topics this was my goto this year. A personal favorite was FalconForce’s Olaf Hartong with his talk called Lifting the Veil, a Look at MDE Under the Hood.

Books and Articles
Michal Zalewski’s doomsday prep book had an unfortunate albeit appropriate timing, its release coinciding with the February 24th invasion of Ukraine. Its down-to-earth introduction to the prepper community was a welcome nightly read during the chaos of the first few months of the year.

Practical Doomsday - A User’s Guide to the End of the World

Kim Zetter’s account of the Stuxnet saga was gripping and while a bit technical at times should not exclude anyone from reading it.

Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World’s First Digital Weapon

The Phoenix Project was a tale of DevOps and Agile propaganda, one I wanted to dislike but one that I needed to hear and which won me over.

The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win

This year I also discovered Paul Graham twice through two separate short essays, namely Maker’s schedule and Life is Short. These were thought provoking and gave me insights on the value of my time as well as time management, things I need to be reminded of once in a while. I am looking forward to go over some of his other work this coming year.

Two final personal discoveries for this year were:

  1. Detection Challenging Paradigms is a critical podcast about detection engineering and infosec in general. I am 7 episodes in and learning new things each time I listen to one.

  2. SpecterOps develops Bloodhound, a toolset to enumerate a domain and calculate attack paths that lead to become domain administrator. Their talk on detecting their own tool shows how to do detection engineering proper.