Hello and welcome to another installment of Knowing Null!
Housekeeping First this time:
First: If you’d like to toss your name in the voting pool, PLEASE LET ME KNOW. You do NOT need to be some uber-hacker to feel welcome in my interviews. You just gotta have some passion for what you do and have the guts to talk about it publicly!
Second: If you have any questions you’d like to see asked in future interviews, post them in a comment below!
Third: Vote Time!
Okay, so, first off. Can you tell us all a bit about you, your interests in infosec, and maybe a brief bit of your technical background?
Well I am a 19 year old mechatronics graduate from Belgium, and I am currently doing a specialisation in PLC programming, and maybe if this year goes well, I’ll do another specialisation in alarms & (physical) security techniques. Regarding infosec, I’m a true hobbyist, so I take in a lot of stuff without truly mastering anything, my main goal is to make the technological illiterate more security-aware.
As for my technical background, I think i answered a lot in the first question. I am an electrical technician with a passion power electrical installations and automation, so most of my time goes to this field in my free time, too
Where do you see the interplay in physical and digital security?
How do you see it in your own work?
Everything runs on a computer chip nowadays, whether we like it or not. Security alarms now have a digital interface so the end user can control the alarm from a distance. It is necessary that said connection is well secured, because a chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link. When i need to install cameras, digital configuration is always involved, such as login pages. It is a very sad fact that
Most of my colleague electrical technicians leave their camera’s at the default password, which makes for fun Shodan experiences ;). As such, people who work with physical security NEED to know some digital security. Likewise, red teamers for example need to be very knowledgeable about physical alarm systems, camera’s, IR sensors, etc. if they want to be successful in physical infiltration. IMO it is a 2-way street.
What sort of insight can those red teamers utilize in their infiltrations? Got a top list of tips?
1.) IR sensors detect heat. Try to give off as less heat as possible: wear isolating clothing, cover your face especially (the face gives off the most heat), and don’t move too much so your body temperature doesn’t rise
2.) almost all cameras today have some kind of interface. Try to get into a network first so you can shut them down. If you can’t login, blocking their MAC address from the network should suffice
3.) It is absolutely not uncommon that images from a camera get stored in some local (or remote) server. Whacking the camera does not mean they didn’t see you
That is all I can give I think, I am still a student when it comes to physical security, and I don’t want to hand out too much details in public under my name, you can always PM me on IRC if you would like to know more details
Regarding that: DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT IN ANY WAY RESPONSIBLE WHAT YOU DO WITH THESE TIPS. USE AT OWN RESPONSIBILITY
What’s the computer security field like in Belgium? Is it in the media as much as it is in other nations like the U.S. or U.K.?
It is at a terrible state, honestly, just like the rest of the country. Computer security is given little to no attention in the media, most people here fall for phishing easily, everyone of my friends connect to “free WiFi” networks like it’s nothing, and the FCCU (Federal Computer Crime Unit, basically Belgium’s NSA) receives very little funding. The only good things I have seen is that the FCCU
Once made a project, safeonweb.be, which teaches about phishing, but it of course got no attention in the media (maybe a small mention on the news, at best).
However, there are some good things, too:
There is a famous hacker living in Aalst, by the name of Inti De Ceukelaire, he is a man I respect a lot. He once tricked the majority of Belgium in a fake analytics test (Oilsjt analytica), and thus making the Belgians a bit more aware about Social Engineering. Furthermore, he hacked the Vatican website once, and made it play this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiEAmK99Brg
He did this because the Vatican refused to fix a bug he reported so he abused said bug
The song is a carnival song from Aalst, (“Oilsjt carnaval” is a big event here), and the title, “Onzjier es nen ajoin” basically means “god is an onion”, and the onion is the symbol of the carnival club of Aalst
So it was a great joke that became super famous here, thus raising awareness
In this aspect, I share the same mission as Inti: to make the average person more aware of their online security
Inti, if you’re reading this: YOU ARE AWESOME! KEEP ON GOING!
Nice bit of hacktivism there! It certainly is a big task trying to educate the public on responsible and secure digital habits
Yes it is, even at a small scale
Are you planning on taking your career more into the security side?
or continuing your current trajectory while staying security minded?
I will try to continue my current trajectory, while also trying to stay active within infosec as a hobbyist. I love electrical work & everything related to it WAYYY more than infosec, I would also not be suited for the job IMO, the electrical field is where I belong the most
I will try to continue my mission of educating the uneducated, though
So what does the life of a PLC programmer look like?
What kinds of software and hardware do you interact with?
Let’s break an illusion here: most PLC’s are not programmed using conventional programming languages. Most PLC’s use the “ladder diagram”. This language is a visual one and they have gone through that route for various reasons:
#1 PLC’s are critical infrastructure so they wanted to make the programming process as simple as possible
#2 the ladder diagram is very similar to conventional relay schematics, so very little re-training was needed for electricians, technicians, and engineers
The ladder diagram is not the only thing though:
The closest to conventional programming languages is the “instruction set”, but that one is dependent on the manufacturer and is not as universal as the ladder diagram
Furthermore there is function blocks, or FUB, most commonly known for their use in the LOGO! micro-PLC from Siemens.
I have made challenges for the LOGO! on the site, but cancelled them because they were very unpopular, but @lkw solved all of them, you should check out his solutions for a clean sense of FUB
Do you have a favorite example link or image for readers at home?
If you want to have a look at ladder diagram: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7P4gGCvgNnk
For instruction sets, there are so many examples out there i challenge 0x00sec to look for themselves
Ss for the hardware: there are many variations, but I have worked mostly with Siemens and Saia
Do you have a favorite project you’ve worked on?
Yes, my end project for the last 2017-2018 school year. I had to make a game using a LOGO!, using an inductive (metal) sensor and a 3-phase asynchronous motor. It ended up being one of those respond-quick games: The motor drives a piece of metal near the sensor and you have to press the button in time, if you do so the motor spins faster (using a frequency drive), if you miss a number of times the machine shuts down. Everything in it is controlled using the LOGO! and the program for it is pretty massive: approximately 310 function blocks. I unfortunately can’t share it with the community because of an NDA of my school (they recycle the project for the next year)
312 blocks*, i just checked it
The fun thing about it is that i built it from the ground up: the pre-research, the actual research, documentation, wiring, programming, mounting, testing… I did it all, and it was a hell of an educative experience
Wow that sounds pretty cool. A great “all around” experience
Okay, let’s dig into the human behind the nickname. Who is Phoenix750? What other hobbies do you have, outside of infosec and your work?
I’ve got a dog, a border collie, and I do agility trials with her, she is a true prodigy. Makes me wonder why her previous owners abandoned her. I also really like history, especially from WW1 to the modern day. I am also an occasional gamer. Furthermore, I help in my local community with my skills: if someone needs a new outlet placed or a light bulb replaced, I’m always there to help
Let’s do some quick questions! First, Windows, Mac or Linux?
What are you running at home?
I run a dual boot between Linux (Arch) and Windows 10: Linux for infosec and general purposes, Windows for school & work, because much of the software I need doesn’t run on Linux and aren’t that great on a VM or wine
Do you use a mechanical keyboard?
Yes, Corsair STRAFE
Favorite book/movie/video game?
Favorite movie: band of brothers, even though it’s technically a series. Favorite game: it depends, but I play Hearts of Iron IV a lot lately. I don’t have a favorite book, I don’t read a lot
Do you have a favorite Meme?
My own memes
Nice. Alright, let’s talk 0x00sec. What brought you here? How’d you find us?
I helped make 0x00sec. I was on Null-Byte far before @pry0cc even was there, and I was known there. When we gained our independence from Null-Byte, pry0cc, oaktree, and unh0ly made 0x00sec in the background while I ignited a revolution on Null-Byte to get as many people shipped to 0x00sec as possible: the operation was a big success, clearly :D. As you can see, I was all about the community from the start: that is why I resigned as a moderator on the website and I only want IRC op when it is absolutely necessary and I am quickly to resign it. My primary service is to the people of 0x00sec, not any of the staff, you’re all my children in my eyes, because I have been here the longest in terms of activity: almost 4 years I’d say.
TL;DR: I didn’t find 0x00sec, 0x00sec found me
What’s it been like for you watching us continue to grow?
it was one epic ride. 0x00sec started out as a small github repo where articles were published through pull requests, and look at it now! Need I say more?
Also, I want to make a big shoutout to @pry0cc for his service to 0x00sec and to me: he knows how much i care about the people on here and he has always reviewed advice I have given with care, he is a true leader.
0x00sec wouldn’t have become what it is today without him, but that is not to say oaktree and unh0ly didn’t do anything, they did a lot too
Awesome. Any advice for members out there looking to get into PLC and electrical systems?
yes: guys, you NEED to get a degree, there is no way around it. Electrical work is so dangerous that companies can’t afford taking risks, so degrees are really valued in the industry, unlike infosec for example. IT has backups, when a transformer blows up, it blows up (and kills people sometimes, too).
there are many after-hour schools that teach you how to be an electrician, and you can work up to technician from there
Safety First! Any other shout outs to the community?
THAT is always the top priority, indeed!
yes, I want to sincerely thank EVERY SINGLE ONE of you for being here with us, contributing with us, and helping each other. 0x00sec is a machine, and you all are a vital piece to keep the machine in good condition.
A few people in particular:
@exploit for his unseen skill and willingness to help, @fraq for being an experienced leader and advice-giver for many, @L0k1 for giving us our IRC server, @ricksanchez for the good times, @_py for being a very good friend of me back in time when I was not as good as I am now, @Cry0l1t3 for the great ideas he is developing, and to everyone else thanks for helping to build the 0x00sec-machine that it is today
Furthermore: newcomers, DO NOT be afraid to contribute! 0x00sec has set itself apart from other communities in the sense that it is friendly to newcomers. Go ahead and post what you find interesting!
Awesome. Now, last question! What’s your ‘hat’ color?
My hat color? that depends on the situation. Usually it is something like #ff8928
Well thank you so much for participating, Phoenix750!
looking forward to the title