Listen! (Size 2.12 MBs, Running Time 2m10s)
Today's podcast is inspired by the Dog Days Of Podcasting (#DDOP).  It is a single focus recommendation on why I have NMAP in my security toolkit and why you should consider it.

Feel free to follow along with Steve Holden at: Twitter and/or Google+.  For technology news only updates follow TechNewsRadio @ Twitter.

Review Of The Acer C720-3605 Chromebook

Last summer (2014) I picked up a Asus C720-2802 Chromebook and posted a review on

I recently updated to a newer version (same form factor) -- the Acer C720-3605.  I had originally ordered the Acer C720-3404  (which is the Canadian version), but ended up with the U.S. version: C720-3605.  They appear at least on the specification pages on Acer to be exactly the same other than model number (PDF spec analysis). I might have missed something so if there is a difference then please let me know.

The main reasons for upgrading:

  1. Improved Performance (faster processor with dual-core)
  2. Additional RAM (4-GB vs. 2-GBs)
  3. Better HDMI output (for hooking up to a large monitor @ my home desk).
  4. More Local Storage (32-GBs vs. 16-GBs -- excellent for watching more digital content)
  5. Needed a another computer @home for my daughter to use

Here are some stats using Octane 2.0 test:


While I wasn't having any real performance issues with the 2802-series, I've found that I can experience the difference in browsing and streaming media with the 3605-series.  The hardware updates are definitely an improvement in real world usage from my perspective.

All-in-all I have been very happy with Chrome OS and these two Chromebooks (the old one is now my daughter's main system).  For me the key selling points: great battery (more than 8 hours); excellent small form factor; responsive & comfortable keyboard; integration with Google services; and the simple OS updates & patches.

I look forward to using it again as my main note taking system for DEFCON 23.

 You can order your own via this Amazon Acer C720-3605 link or this Amazon Acer C720-3404 link.  Prices seem to be all over the board so make sure you are comfortable with ordering the right model number at the right price.

Review - Logitech Wireless Combo Mk520 With Keyboard and Mouse


I recently picked up a Logitech Wireless Combo Mk520 With Keyboard and Mouse to use full time with my Acer Chromebook when I'm using it in desktop computer mode.  

When I am in this mode I usually use the setup with a SAMSUNG T24C550 monitor as the primary monitor and the Acer's laptop monitor as my 2nd monitor off to the right-hand side.

I like this setup because it enables wireless access to both the keyboard and the mouse using one USB port.  Previously I had a dedicated wireless mouse and then a bluetooth keyboard. However the bluetooth keyboard wasn't completely full-size, would periodically drop off connectivity, and was better suited to short-term typing like like periodic emails responses on my Nexus 7.

The only draw back with the Mk520 is that the Function (F) keys are not ideally setup to match the icons on them.

The keyboard uses the basic standard keyboard layout on most Chromebooks. So ESC is ESC (Escape) and:

  • F1: Go to the previous page in your browser history
  • F2: Go to the next page in your browser history
  • F3: Reload your current page.
  • F4: Open your page in full-screen mode
  • F5: Switch to your next window
  • F6: Decrease screen brightness
  • F7: Increase screen brightness
  • F8: Mute
  • F9: Decrease system volume
  • F10: Increase system volume

At the very top of the keyboard is a media control area (3 keys): back, play/stop, forward. Those don't seem to work with videos.  But the sound control area (3 keys): mute, decrease sound, and increase sound do work.  And the WINDOWS button is a dedicated SEARCH button; the STAR button brings up the BOOKMARKS page list; and the CALCULATOR button goes into FULL SCREEN MODE.

Over all the keyboard feel when typing is very good, and I like the pressure the keys have. In addition, I like the ability to tilt up the keyboard and to have it stand-up at 90-degrees for using your desk area for writing if needed.  I would recommend the keyboard if someone is looking for the same feature set.



Updated CISSP Domains


The CISSP Domains (Effective April 15, 2015) will be changing:

  1. Security and Risk Management (Security, Risk, Compliance, Law, Regulations, Business Continuity)
  2. Asset Security (Protecting Security of Assets)
  3. Security Engineering (Engineering and Management of Security)
  4. Communications and Network Security (Designing and Protecting Network Security)
  5. Identity and Access Management (Controlling Access and Managing Identity)
  6. Security Assessment and Testing (Designing, Performing, and Analyzing Security Testing)
  7. Security Operations (Foundational Concepts, Investigations, Incident Management, Disaster Recovery)
  8. Software Development Security (Understanding, Applying, and Enforcing Software Security) 

DEFCON 22 2014 Conference Report


A detailed conference report of the sessions attended has been posted: DEFCON22 (PDF).

In addition, here is a summary of DEFCON 22 related news articles of potential interest:

Here are pointers to previous reports: DEFCON 18, DEFCON 19, DEFCON 20, and DEFCON 21.

Review - Asus C720-2802 Chromebook

I recently picked up via Craigslist a "new in the box" Asus C720-2802 Chromebook to use as my new primary system for  The main reason was that DEFCON22 is coming up soon in Las Vegas and I needed a "relatively" secure system to attend sessions and take notes for ~8 hours a day.  


My previous note taking system was relatively old ThinkPad that I had 3 sets of extra batteries for. So, I dropped about 6 pounds by moving to the C720.  And I don't have to configure a fresh system to take to DEFCON and then scrub after.

This version (2802) seems like the middle build release (~Feb2014) from the original that was in late 2013 and the most current $199 version that uses the Intel Celeron 2955U processor (2848).  There is also a newer more expensive C720 with an Intel Core i3 processor available.

The positivies:

  1. Keyboard is great.
  2. Integration with my Google account was flawless.
  3. Integration with all my core online services was flawless.
  4. Working offline seems to work as expected.

The negatives:

  1. Can't seem to check IMAP email with an extension or a native Chrome application.

The still to be determined:

  1. Will it get hacked at DEFCON?
  2. How to edit audio?
  3. Will it let me take notes all day at DEFCON?

POST DEFCON REPORT: There is now an IMAP client - CloudMagic.  I am pretty sure I didn't get hacked at DEFCON.  I was able to take notes all day long at DEFCON without any issues.  I have not found a good solution for editing audio.

Tracking News Related To TrueCrypt

Here are some links to stories about TrueCrypt shutting down:

TrueCrypt is a key tool in our toolkit for protecting data and we use it everyday.  If it is actually going to go away then it will leave a big whole in end-user security options for data encryption.


Solar Power Review - Keeping Your Tech Powered While Camping

I recently picked up from Harbor Freight Tools the following solar power kit: 45W Solar Power Kit (#68751) for just over $150 (including tax).


Over the course of the last couple of months I've been able to try out the kit on several camping trips were there was no easy electrical grid access.  The camping environment was pretty sunny but not always 100% full sun.  The time of year for all the trips was summer and the location was Southern California.  I ended up setting up the kit on the top of our small camper.

The main reason I picked up the kit was to keep all of my tech gear charged so I could keep tabs on email, news, and any tech issue with my sites.  This was usually less than 1 hour a day which worked out well for my needs, and expectations related to being on a camping trip.

The gear I was able to keep operational using the kit included: cell phone, tablet, WIFI card, and a laptop during trips lasting up to 7 days.

I was suprised during the main daylight hours that the inverter could charge directly: the cell phone, tablet, and WIFI card.  To keep my laptop charged I needed to capture to an emergency car battery system, and then use 3rd party car charger/inverter to get the right power levels to keep the laptop charged.  I was also able to keep charged a USB battery pack so I could run my WIFI card during non-daylight hours when needed.

One other lesson learned, was to turn off all electronics while sleeping.  This helped keep all the devices more readily available the next day then keeping them in standby/sleep mode overnight.

All in all the system worked very well and I'd recommend it.

Updated: 3/16/2014

DEFCON 21 (and 20 oops!)

Defcon-21-badge+stuffDEFCON 21 was in Las Vegas, NV from August 02-04, 2013 and we were there.  Our real-time posts, references, and links are available over on @Technewsradio on Twitter.  

We have a detailed report (PDF) from the sessions attended if you are interested.  Just drop us an email to get the full report or a request via message on Twitter.  A podcast summary is planned but not promised at this time.

Things that we are "worried about" from an Enterprise computing perspective:

  • Social Engineering against users is like a hot knife cutting butter. Only defense seems to be training and awareness. Traditional information assurance (IA) protections: virus scanning, IDS, firewall, etc are not effective.
  • You can't secure what you don't manage.
  • Basic system administration tools and infrastructure services in the Microsoft Windows world can be used for evil: PowerShell, .NET, DNS, browsers, PKI, and SCOM.
  • USB is not your friend.
  • Mobile computing and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) are really not your friend.
  • Cloud computing could be your friend but probably won't.
  • Developers writing code for an organization without a security focus is just asking for trouble.
  • If you think your stuff is secure just because you have it behind a lock and a key you are in denial.
  • In a year or less, penetration testing is going to include inexpensive mobile assault options via semi-autonomous very-small drones and robots.

P.S. x 1: We were also at DEFCON 20 and have that report available if you are interested. Just drop us an email or message on Twitter for a link.

P.S. x 2: There are also DEFCON 18 and DEFCON 19 reports.  They are surprisingly still relevant IMHO -- same bat channel.

Prepping For Next Tech News Radio (TNR) Podcast

EDITED on 8/2/2014

The most current podcast has been released Tech News Radio #373

The following are items currently in the queue for being included in a future podcast (no ETA):

The following are currently items of interest but probably not something we will cover in the next podcast (they propobably will be posted on @technewsradio):

  • The 'new' eXploit magazine is devoted to learning about and examining exploits.  The first edition is focused on: Metasploit, PMI, WSDL, SOAP, DoS
  • Wickr is a secure communications app for Apple iOS that has no central repository of msgs & includes a msg self-destruct option
  • Path is a "social network" that limits your social circle to no more than 150 people (aka Dunbar's number)
  • Pair is an mobile application that only allows for communication between just two people

Updates from Twitter - iPad, DEFCON 19, Podcasts, Mobile, Amazon, Etc

The following items were recently posted on @technewsradio:

  • USB hub allows simultaneous syncing of 49 iPads
  • DEFCON 19 Podcast Review #security #news #research #hacker #conference
  • gets about 1000 new programs every day & they are looking for curators of categories to make the content more organized
  • BigBlueButton is a open source collaboration and training system that integrates a bunch of open source projects  
  • PC World has more details on the recent news from Qualcomm about their planned updated Snapdragon mobile processor  
  • YouTube has a great overview presentation on how "Prezi for iPad" works  
  • Amazon EC2 is now supporting Virtual Machine (VM) Import to Amazon EC2 instances  
  • IObit has announced a freeware version of Game Booster v2 for Windows that is geared for improving game performance  
  • Via ... you can get e-signatures features via DocuSign services integrated with documents stored on  
  • Getting started with project management? - "scope, time & "cost" - a good reference at Wikipedia  
  • "Heroes of the Computer Revolution" original book looked at hackers & nerds from the late 1950s to the early 1980s   
  • - a graph visualization library using web workers and jQuery

DEFCON 19 Podcast Review


DEFCON 19 was in Las Vegas, NV from August 4-5, 2011.  This yearly computer network security and hacker conference is full of cutting-edge research, detailed demos, awesome presentations, and a lot of partying. The podcast coverage was pretty good also. Here are my recommendations:

If you are interested in hearing my thoughts about DEFCON 19 then check out the podcast (08-11-2011).  I am the boring "IT Guy" trying to avoid the topic of "hot" women visiting the booth.  If you'd like to see a copy of my notes (13+ pages) then drop me a personal email to: "s h o l d e n"

Here is a Picasa collage from the Network Security Podcast meet-up at DEFCON 19 that was "infected" by Paul & Larry @'s little red balls from one of thier sponsors:


Another Week Of Recommended Podcasts Worth A Listen

Podcast-recommendations-01 Looking through my listened to podcast list for this past week, I'm going to recommend the following as potentially interesting:


@technewsradio Posts You Might Have Missed

Here are some posts recently to @technewsradio on Twitter that you might have missed:

  • SitePoint has announced "Build Your Own Wicked WordPress Themes - Create Versatile WordPress Themes That Really Sell"
  • iPhone: The Missing Manual, 4th Edition (by David Pogue) covers iPhone 4 & All Other Models with iOS 4 Software
  • Some great web-based cipher (i.e. encryption) tools posted to:
  • Franklin Covey's Plan Plus Online has been updated for business workgroups that allows for team so collaborate between team members
  • DJ Amber's latest CD release -- neo.maximal -- is available at
  • O'Reilly & Josh Clark have teamed up for a new Apple iOS programming & user interface design book called Tapworthy
  • Oracle has released VirtualBox 4.1.2 which improves stability and fixes regressions. Download via:
  • Roku has announced upgraded Roku 2 hardware: HD ($60), XD ($80) & XS ($100) #besthomevideostreaming
  • Change your logon screen for Mac OS X Lion via these tips on MacRumors:
  • Want to display your hard drives on your Mac OS Lion desktop? Tip here:
  • Are smash & grab tactics going to be something that grows? I don't think an adversary cares one way or the other