Security researcher, developer (OSSEC)
Who are you, and what do you do?
I am Daniel Cid. I am current the CTO of a security company called Sucuri. But don’t let the title fool you, since we are a small company, I do real work and I spend most of my time doing malware analysis, security research and trying to recover compromised servers for our clients.
In the past, I founded the OSSEC project (an intrusion detection system) and was the lead developer there for many years (2003-2011). In the meantime the project was acquired by Trend Micro in 2008 and I joined them and kept working solely on OSSEC until last year (2011).
What hardware do you use?
I am well known for not using any fancy hardware (yes, people make fun of me because of that). For many years (until 2010), my main development server was a very old PIII with very little memory that I just used to SSH in and do most of my work. It worked well and I took pride on being so backwards in time. I also had a SPARC server sitting under my feet that I used to help my posture and keep my feet up. It once got to more than 1,000 days without being shut down.
Unfortunately, the PIII died, so I had to buy a new one. The SPARC was very noisy and heavy, so I had to let it go.
Lately, I do all my work on my laptop (cheap HP Pavilion g) with 4G of ram. I don’t even use desktops anymore and I store all my work on a remote dedicated server.
Another important part of my hardware setup is my keyboard and chair. I avoid using the mouse as much as possible and since I have back/neck problems, I use that funny looking kneeling chair and it helps tremendously with my posture. For my keyboard, I can’t use anything but the Apple keyboard (even though I don’t use a Mac).
I am very lean in terms of hardware, and I don’t even use a watch or cell phone or any of the fancy new tools that most tech people like. If you checked my site a week ago, it would still be all in ASCII.
And what software?
I always ran OpenBSD on both my servers and desktop, but when my old PIII died, I got lazy and just installed Xubuntu on my laptop and have been using and enjoying it since. Very lightweight and simple. For my servers I have been using Linux CentOS.
For my servers, I keep the minimalistic setup, installing only the necessary. Apache for web (using Nginx as a proxy when necessary), PHP for dynamic content and qmail for email serving. I also (obviously) run OSSEC every where and love to monitor and watch all the logs coming through.
What would be your dream setup?
I don’t have much of a dream setup as long as everything works. But I would certainly like to have a more lightweight laptop that I could still use Xubuntu in there. Something like the MacBook Air, but without the Mac :)