Erratum Er*ra”tum, n.; pl. Errata. [L., fr. errare, erratum,
to wander, err. See Err.]
An error or mistake in writing or printing.
[1913 Webster]

Using OSINT for Competitive Research

using osint for competitive research

Pixabay at Pexels

I love competition, but I hate spam.

As a lover of the “free flow of information”, I also love debate and competition. But, something I cannot stand is spam.

Spam can be so bad that it can make it impossible to find the actual information you’re looking for. If you’ve ever tried to research “ring-spun cotton” on Google, you know what I mean. I was writing an SEO optimized blog post, to try to drive semi-relevant traffic towards my girlfriend’s father’s t-shirt store and Wikipedia was all the way back on like page 13 at the time. Everything else was competition. I chose to write a different article.

Don’t berate people, while you’re trying to sell them something.

Aggressive sales tactics do work for a lot of people, but it’s risky. Because, people like me fuckin’ hate it.

So, I’m digging through my inbox earlier today and I see a reminder from another business. Curious, as the sender had dropped the entire mail thread, and annoyed as the individual had decided to take a tone with me about my lack of action thus far. He complained that I had “promised to reply the other night”, which is fine. Except when you’re just sending a follow up email to a potential lead. And, doubly not fine, because wondering why I hadn’t replied, I dug up his original email.

Turns out, the reason I hadn’t replied was that, the email was unsolicited. I didn’t require his services. He’d offered some keyword ranking services, which is something that I offer too. So, I had jokingly replied with a bunch of short-tail keywords that he would also want to rank for. I had, mistakenly, assumed that he’d notice this and not take me seriously. That is, until he responded with a proposal. I was taken aback. I assumed I’d missed something. So, I told him I’d look at it his original offering later that evening and then forgot about it entirely.

At this point, we’ve come full circle as the next email I opened was the one I’m whining about above. Originally, I was going to kindly reply and inform him that he’s a direct competitor and wish him good luck. But, since he been aggressively foolish, I decided to go ahead and do my competitive research first. To me, this is fair, he’s had several opportunities to notice that I am not a potential client. The first one being that I didn’t sign up to receive mail from him in the first place.

Who is the competition? Using OSINT for competitive research.

While his site loaded quickly and looked pretty nice, it immediately stood out to me that I specifically didn’t setup my site like that because it’s disingenuous. There’s no real content on the page, it looks like every other business. And, it also kept listing this local United States contact number, but an address in India for the business address. I’m aware VOIP exists, but are you advertising towards India or the United States? I could tell something was up, there was also no mention of prices and the language was all broken English. I figured, it wouldn’t hurt to see if they could code at all or if they were just buying other themes and configuring them for clients. Turns out.. probably neither.

/*
Theme Name: Betheme (Shared on MafiaShare.net)
Theme URI: http://www.mafiashare.net
Description: Betheme – Premium WordPress Theme
Tags: one-column, two-columns, left-sidebar, right-sidebar, custom-background, custom-header, custom-menu, editor-style, featured-image-header, featured-images, post-formats, responsive-layout, theme-options, translation-ready
Author: Muffin group
Author URI: http://www.mafiashare.netm
License: GNU General Public License version 3.0
License URI: http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-3.0.html
Version: 6.1

All css files are placed in /css/ folder.
If you want to add your own css code, please do it in /css/custom.css

*/
@media screen and (max-width: 800px) {
.tabswork{
font-size: 15px;
color: #212121;
font-weight: 900;
margin-bottom: 20px;
}

}
@media screen and (min-width: 800px) {
.tabswork{
font-size: 36px;
color: #212121;
font-weight: 900;
margin-bottom: 20px;
}

}

using-osint-to-perform-competitive-research-wpscan.png

using-osint-to-perform-competitive-research-wpscan.png

And, I thought they had so much potential.. Turns out, they’re not competition at all. Just spammers who are using pirated themes to try and scam people. I should’ve picked up on that sooner. Even still, I was going to just mark the email as spam, delete it and be on my way, until one final detail brought out the gray hat hacker in me.

https://www.sawebtech.com/wp-content/themes/sawebtech/css/custom.css
/* If you want to add your own CSS code, please do it in this file */

Yeah.. they don’t write any code, at all. It’s safe to assume their SEO services are worthless also. Don’t be hood winked by idiots and don’t mess with gray hats. They’ve been reported to their web host for both, spamming and using stolen software in a business setting. As well, I used my OSINT skills to go track down a proper email for the rights holder and informed them of this infraction. It’s unclear if they’ll bother sending notice to put a stop to this one individual. Clearly, they’d prefer to get their stolen theme taken down from where ever these scrubs got it. But, it never hurts to make a spammers life just a little more difficult.

That being said. I do offer OSINT services to my clients, should you have a need for them. I just don’t advertise it, because it’s generally part of a larger service, like a penetration test or some kind of investigation.

2020-07-07T02:15:22-04:00June 30th, 2020|Categories: Errata|Tags: , , , , , , |

Okay.. I’m Back and Ready to Hack! :)

What’s up everybody?

First, I’m sorry for the lack of post updates recently. Without pouring over way too many coronavirus details, like everyone else. I’ll simply say that I live in Atlanta, Georgia and that my social circle accurately predicted Governor Kemp’s move to be a very bad one.

My loved ones, as well as myself are all okay. We show each other that we love and respect one another by continuing to practice social distancing and trying our very hardest to follow the guidelines.

That being said, we are still forced to return to dangerous working conditions against our will. So, I’ve been busy trying to finish the redesign. As well as ramp back up with clients, many of whom are still surviving off of relief funds.

If you might have work for me, please fill out this form for a free quote. Or, email me.

The belt is tight for a little while. But, in the interest of my sanity, I decided to subscribe to TryHackMe. I wanted something to play with, since work has had me stuck in ecommerce hell.

Educational walkthroughs coming soon.

2020-07-01T15:58:08-04:00June 28th, 2020|Categories: Errata|

WooCommerce Makes a Mess

Saying Goodbye to WooCommerce

Regretfully, I have to admit that WooCommerce makes a mess of the WordPress database. And, since promoting partner products is not the goal of this website. I am separating it from this installation of WordPress.

Do not misunderstand me. WooCommerce is a great and solid product. I enjoy working with it, as much as anything. But, since I need this website to drive leads more than partner sales. I’m giving my partners their own store, off-site.

Sorry for the mess, recently. This will make things much more manageable for me and hopefully easier for you. Now, I only hope Google doesn’t ding me too hard for temporarily 301 redirecting all 404s to my front page (where this is sticky). It’s a price I will just have to pay for a month.

woocommerce is back already
WooCommerce is back already?!

Saying Hello Again to WooCommerce

You can find all of your Acer, TigerDirect and Tech4Less discounts at https://shop.grayhatfreelancing.com.

That being said, let me make a few things clear about the store. The store is just promotional links to my partner’s products. I do not have access to your orders or payment information. The purpose is to allow my clients, potential clients and readers a chance to browse the offers my partners are wanting me to promote. A lot of them are very good deals for very solid products.

Let me be very clear. The shop is NOT a drop ship. Clicking on the product will take you to a product page with a brief description and provide other useful information like prices. Clicking on any of the buy buttons will take you directly to their official store and automatically apply my partner code for you.

I do benefit from the transaction. But, this is one of the few cases where it comes out of their end, not yours.

Enjoy!

2020-07-01T16:05:03-04:00May 27th, 2020|Categories: Errata|Tags: , |

WordPress Deploy from Termux, Hilarious

WordPress Deploy from Termux

Here I am, using performing a wordpress deploy from termux. Using only my cell phone, I launch termux and SSH into my laptop. I create a linux debian virtual machine. Then I connect to that machine, update linux debian 9 aka “buster” to current, linux debian 10 aka “sid”.

wordpress deploy from termux
WordPress Deploy from Termux & Debian Buster Updated to Sid

LAMP Installation and Configuration from Termux

From there, I turn it into a LAMP server. This means I install Apache, MariaDB (a stand-in for MySQL) and PHP. I configure Apache for php-fpm and mpm_event (in a rough way), the I install all the PHP modules required to run WordPress.

MySQL Administration from Android Linux

I also lockdown MariaDB with mysql_secure_installation. I use mysql from command line to create a SQL database and a password protect SQL database user, give the SQL database user access to the SQL database.

I proceed to downloading wordpress and extract it to web root. I set the write file ownership and file permissions for the Apache web server. Finally, I open a browser and configure wordpress’s install script and run it. Followed by creating an administrative user. Completing the first half of my adventure doing a wordpress deploy from termux

wordpress deploy from termux
wordpress deploy from termux

WordPress Installation from a Mobile Phone

I forgot my wordpress administrative password. So, I backup the files and database. Power down the virtual machine. Destroy it. And then I build a new one. But, this time I upgrade linux debian 9 “buster” to linux debian 10 “sid”, or the “bleeding edge”. It’s also known as the unstable branch. I, again, turn it into a LAMP server. And, finally I restore wordpress, from the backup that I made, in the exact same way that you’d recover wordpress from a disaster. Like, if you were hacked or suffered a similar disruption.

WordPress Disaster Recovery

Essential WordPress disaster recovery. And I do it all from my smart phone, using Termux on Android.

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Network and Systems Engineering from a Linux Android device
Freelance Gray Hat Hacker for Hire
2020-04-19T02:42:34-04:00April 19th, 2020|Categories: Engineering, Errata|Tags: , |

Jeet Kune Crypto

Kung Foo: Jeet Kune Crypto

Jeet Kun Crypto isn’t a real thing, just a term I’m applying a new section of one-liners that are strictly security related. In that sense, I mean to say they’re penetration test, or at least vulnerability discovery related. It’s a joke. A play on an old tendency to refer to skillfully written and security related code as “kung foo”.

2020-06-19T12:26:31-04:00April 5th, 2020|Categories: Errata|