Threat Level: green Handler on Duty: Xavier Mertens

SANS ISC: Internet Storm Center - SANS Internet Storm Center Internet Storm Center

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Using a Travel Packing App for Infosec Purpose

Published: 2019-06-20
Last Updated: 2019-06-20 10:57:15 UTC
by Xavier Mertens (Version: 1)
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My today's diary will not be technical but could help you to better organize your next travel. This week, like many SANS ISC Handlers, I'm in Washington DC to attend SANSFIRE[1]. Based on our daily jobs, we have to travel quite often and, in my case, I’m always afraid to forget something important when I’m packing to visit a customer or to attend a security conference. When I'm attending a security conference, I’m always carrying a lot of electronics gadgets and stuff to be sure to be (safely) connected once in my hotel room: portable firewall, cables, adapters, etc. When you need to visit a customer for a specific mission, it’s even more important to not forget a device or piece of software to perform your tasks in good conditions. 

I’m using a travel packing apps to organize my travels. Based on the destination (country, climate, the period of the year) and duration (number of t-shirts, underwear, …), it generates a list of stuff to bring with you. Usually, this kind of applications has a pre-built list for holidays, business trips, sports activities etc.

I'm not promoting any application, I just bought the "pro" version of PackPoint (for a few $). This version allows to create custom packing lists. I created some based on my business tasks:

  • Incident Handling
  • Pentesting
  • Infosec conference

Let’s take the incident handling list as an example. You must be sure to bring everything with you to work in an efficient way. From a technical point of view: have the right tools, enough storage, licences. But also from an administrative point of view: on-site contacts, authorizations, documents, etc. Here is an example of a list of stuff to bring with you:

  • Contact information for people inside and outside the organizations.
  • Mobile phone and spare batteries
  • Camera
  • SIMM cards with data subscription
  • Powerful laptop(s) with enough CPU/RAM/storage
  • External performant storage (SSD/USB-3)
  • Portable hypervisor (like an Intel Nuc)
  • Raspberry Pi
  • Software (on CD/DVD, USB)
  • Network tap
  • Switch/cables/adapters
  • HD Write blocker
  • Blank media (USB, DVD/CD
  • Notebooks / pens
  • Tools (screwdrivers, cutters, tape)
  • Console cable (USB2Serial)
  • Forms (for evidence list and chain of custody)
  • Plastic bags
  • Live CDs
  • Food, water, jacket, sweet, spare t-shirt, deodorant (remember the "3-2-1 rule": 3 hours of sleep, 2 meals, 1 shower

With the help of this kind of app, you are able to keep your packing list up to date and not miss important stuff when you need to leave in emergency!

If you are attending SANSFIRE, come to say hello, handlers are easy to find, we usually have our "black shirts"! 


Xavier Mertens (@xme)
Senior ISC Handler - Freelance Cyber Security Consultant

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