Building My Home Lab: Part 1

I have been collecting old computers from friends and family for some time, and I always said that I was going to stand up a lab. I have…

I have been collecting old computers from friends and family for some time, and I always said that I was going to stand up a lab. I have finally started to put this in motion. Right now, I have a new (to me) iMac, Dell XPS laptop, and HP laptop (all thanks to Adrian Sanabria) as well as three old HP laptops from my mom and late uncle. I also have an old Toshiba Portege netbook and 2 HP desktop replacement (17” laptops).

Limitations and Interim

Until I buy a proper switch, I am using two old wireless routers (I will flash one with DD-WRT) that I am going to reconfigure to act as switches. I also got a Ubiquiti Edge Router X from Adrian to deploy. I will also be attaching a 2TB and a 6TB external hard drive to systems as network storage. I have two old Apple Xserves, but I need to get RAM and Hard Drives for them (not to mention a rack and better cooling than a home A/C system and a ceiling fan).

My plan as it is right now is to install Ubuntu on each system. I will be running DHCP, DNS (with sinkhole), and NTP from one host (likely the one with the least processing power) and a SEIM on another. I am unsure if I will install GrayLog (h/t Lennart Koopmans maybe I should for namesake alone), OSSIM, or Elastic Search.

Current Home Network Configuration

I am currently using the sub-optimal modem provided by my ISP. I have a Netgear Nighthawk CM1200, but my ISP is not allowing personally owned devices on their 940Mbps connections. Bummer.

I have a Ubiquiti AmpliFi mesh wireless system. I am running two distinct networks on both 2.4 and 5 GHz, one for general computing and the other for IOT toys. I will be using wired connections for the lab.

I also plan to buy a Netgate pfSense appliance to put in-line with my home connection, so that will alleviate some burden off the other systems.

What will I do once I get everything configured and running?

First, I need to replace a few cables (power and USB) then I will retrieve any relevant data then overwrite the hard drives with Ubuntu, I am using 18.04 right now. After that, I will examine distributed computing models for various projects that I am working on in my free time. I am working on beefing up my Python skills and want to learn more about Machine Learning and Natural Language processing, which both tie into my current project, the DECEPTICON Bot (more details on that soon).

I may also do some research with Go as well. I don’t want to experiment with Blockchain or Cryptocurrency right now, so I would need to find another good use of lightweight code and inexpensive devices.

I plan to do some security research (offensive and defensive) as well as more ML, NLP, and other buzz word research.

That’s all I have got for now. Stay tuned for the next installment.