It turns out that the install of R1 pretty much uses up close to 8GB, actually about 7, but who's counting. Thanks to Tim who left a comment to this effect.

Anyway, this doesn't leave enough room to do much of anything, including install future updates. For that reason I have increased the minimum drive size to 16 GB for R1 and change the lvcreate command to use '-l 100%FREE' which makes it a bit easier.

This does not affect the how-to that uses persistence.

Backtrack 4 - Bootable USB Thumb Drive with "Full" Disk Encryption



Minor Update to the Backtrack 4 How-tos

by kriggins on August 9, 2010

in Announcement, Tips

Both Backtrack 4 how-tos have had minor updates made. The Full Disk encryption how-to has had the boot partition increased to 120 MB and the USB/Persistent Changes/Nessus how-to has had the FAT partition increased to 2500 MB.

So far these are the only two changes that had to be made. There will be further updates coming in the near future to help with common problems and questions.

Backtrack 4 - Bootable USB Thumb Drive with "Full" Disk Encryption

Backtrack 4 - USB/Persistent Changes/Nessus



This is just a quick note to introduce the video I made using my Backtrack 4 - Bootable USB Thumb Drive with "Full" Disk Encryption how-to. You can find the video here.

As always, comments, corrections, and suggestions for improvement are welcome.


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I made some minor updates to to my Backtrack 4 – Bootable USB Thumb Drive with “Full” Disk Encryption.

I fixed a few typos and added a section towards the end that shows how to mount your encrypted volume from the Live CD/USB drive in the event you have issues and need to fix things.

I also added a bit that should get rid of the 'can't find modules.dep' warning that appears at boot time.


{ 1 comment }

I have made an important update to the Backtrack 4 USB "Full" Encryption How-to.

I forgot to include the step where you select the drive install the boot loader to. Missing this step can cause the operating system on the machine you are using to not boot. Please review the how-to.

Below are some links to instructions on repairing boot records for a few common operating systems in case I am too late with this update:

Windows XP:

Windows Vista/7:

Ubuntu Linux:

I apologize for any issues that may have occurred due to my oversight.



If you do any sort of technical writing on WordPress, you have likely run into the wonderful little quirk of it turning your lovingly formatted double dashes '--' into singe em dashes. Rather annoying.

To add insult to injury, the silly thing shows them as double dashes in the editor, but then renders them as em dashes when viewing the post, making it next to impossible to know what is going on.

I thought I had it fixed at one time, but apparently the behavior snuck back in. I finally got tired of writing "those are two dashes not one" all over the place and went in search of a better answer.

Lo and behold I found one. Peter Cooper had the same problem and figured out how to take care of it. You can see his post here. His is for WordPress 2.5, but it also works for 2.8.x. I have combined his directions along with some info from the comments on his post here just in case I need it again and can't find it 🙂

Update: After I posted this, one of my friends on twitter, Chris John Riley, offered up another option. Add an HTML comment with just a space between the dashes. You will have to do this in the HTML view instead of Visual view of the editor. It will look like this:

-<!-- -->-

As I said to him, definitely less intrusive, although, with the method below, I just double dash away and don't worry about it 🙂

Thanks Chris!

WordPress has a built-in function called wp_texturize(). The purpose of this function is to make your beautiful prose lovely to look at too. 🙂 Unfortunately, for those of use who do technical writing, it also completely mucks up some of our stuff.

To stop this from happening you need to edit the functions.php file in your current theme. This file is in your wp-content/themes/<your theme> directory.

All you have to do is add the following three lines to the end of the functions.php file.

<?php remove_filter('the_content', 'wptexturize'); ?>
<?php remove_filter('comment_text', 'wptexturize'); ?>
<?php remove_filter('the_rss_content', 'wptexturize'); ?>

These lines tell WordPress to quit mucking with punctuation in the main content, comments and rss feed. If you want to allow it to do so in any of the three, just omit the appropriate line.

Here is my functions.php file for reference:

  // Current version of K2
  define('K2_CURRENT', 'hidden cause you don't need to know');

  // Is this MU or no?
  define('K2_MU', (isset($wpmu_version) or (strpos($wp_version, 'wordpress-mu') !== false)));

  // Are we using K2 Styles?
  define('K2_CHILD_THEME', get_stylesheet() != get_template());

  // WordPress compatibility
  @define( 'WP_CONTENT_DIR', ABSPATH . 'wp-content' );
  @define( 'WP_CONTENT_URL', get_option('siteurl') . '/wp-content' )

  /* Blast you red baron! Initialise the k2 system */
  require_once(TEMPLATEPATH . '/app/classes/k2.php');
<?php remove_filter('the_content', 'wptexturize'); ?>
<?php remove_filter('comment_text', 'wptexturize'); ?>
<?php remove_filter('the_rss_content', 'wptexturize'); ?>

One final note, this also affects all other punctuation changes, so you won't get smart quotes, etc.



Why NAC Isn’t Everywhere

by kriggins on September 21, 2009

in General, Tips

Network Access Control (NAC) was touted to be the end-all be-all technology that would answer all the our prayers for a way to ensure that only authorized devices can access our networks. Several years later, NAC is still around, but not as prevalent as you would think it would be.

Jennifer Jabbusch, the author of Security Uncorked, has released a white paper that explains why and then goes on to offer some suggestions to the vendors of these products that might help them moving forward.

I was lucky enough to get to read the paper when it was in draft form. I strongly recommend you give it a look. It is well written and contains a lot of really good information.

Catching the Unicorn: A technical exploration of why NAC is failing


Catching the Unicorn:
A technical exploration of why NAC is failing

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Hi folks.

The Backtrack 4 USB Drive How-to has undergone a huge re-write. One of the largest changes is that we are no longer using UNetBootin except for one minor thing and then only if you want to. Everything is done from within Backtrack itself now.

Another change is that I have added instructions on setting up encryption with Truecrypt directly into the how-to. Finally, I have added some interesting tweaks such as mounting the Truecrypt volume on boot, changing root's home directory to the encrypted volume on the fly and setting nessus up to log to the encrypted directory.

It still lives in the same place.

If you were using the old how-to and don't want to start over, it is living here now. The parts of the new how-to on encryption and tweaks will still work with the old how-to if you just want to add that bit.

As always, let me know of any problems, typos, mistakes, etc. of which I am sure there are plenty. 🙂



I participated in the Nebraska CERT Conference this week and gave a talk on Building the Perfect Backtrack 4USB Thumb Drive. Below is the slide deck from my talk.

Let me know if you have any comments or questions.



Hi there folks.

With the final release of Backtrack 4 Final right around the corner, I thought I would get ahead of the curve and update the how-to. I have access to the pre-final via the Informer.

The updated version is where the original Beta instructions used to live. I have copied the Beta instructions to a new page. They can be found here.

So here you go.