Discover more from Cristi Vlad
The Insider Weekly #12 - Bounty Scripts | AI Tools Everywhere | Undisturbed Time
Worked on three pentests, refined my tools and scripts, simplified my cyber methodology, and played with more tools based on language models, including ChatPDF, Perplexity AI, and a few others.
This newsletter starts becoming a weekly log of my work and my life and I have to say, it doesn’t bother me at all. It’s not breaking news, earth-shattering, or anything in that ballpark, it’s just me.
Thus, the theme for the previous week (since last Friday) has been more inclined toward AI than cybersecurity.
I finished two pentests earlier in the week and now I’m working on another one. I have relaxed deadlines, which gives me the opportunity to spend more time on AI-related stuff.
With more time on hand, I looked over some of my most used scripts when it comes to bug bounty hunting and refined them. I spend a very small proportion of my time on a few private bounty programs because I have enough pentesting work that pays on a regular basis, and not only when I find something. I talked about automation in this Twitter thread.
I then found out about another tool called Katana, which is used for asset discovery. I simplified its use with a nice Bash script. I also started using two online platforms that help me with cybersecurity research. I may mention them in the future if I see fit and if they turn out helpful.
Switching over to AI-related stuff, there are a least a dozen new tools and models coming out every day. This is a field where you can try, but will never be able to keep up. It’s overwhelming, to say the least.
One of the more notable ones from this week is ChatPDF which currently allows you to upload PDFs up to 120 pages. After doing its AI magic (called embeddings) you can ask questions from that PDF. I’ve tested it out on some scientific papers and some lengthy documentation, and I’m impressed. My go-to AI companions for distilling and understanding scientific research are Elicit and Consensus, which I talked about in previous newsletters. ChatPDF is currently free and under development. In the future, it’s probably gonna allow larger-sized PDFs. I envision this to be helpful when you want to prospect books, to see if they’re worth reading or not.
Then there is Poe, a 4-in-1 convenient platform by Quora that puts 4 of the most powerful chatbots out there under the same roof. One of course is ChatGPT and another is Claude by Anthropic AI. Poe is the only place where you can use Claude. To my surprise, Poe’s implementation of ChatGPT is even faster than ChatGPT PRO for which I pay $20 a month. Best of all, Poe is currently free.
Another great mention is Perplexity AI, which comes as a browser extension, as well as an AI-powered search engine. So, you can conveniently access it on whatever page you’re on and you can even ask questions based on the content of that page. And yes, Perplexity AI is also free. Lucky us, the consumers!
Another one is BingChat, that now allows 10 messages per session and 120 daily total messages. I think this is sufficient, but I find I use it less, mostly because I need to use the Edge browser. I think Microsoft is on top of the AI chatbot game right now and I’m curious about what’s next.
I pretty much use all of these AI tools (and others) in the majority of my daily operations and I pleasantly find that they skyrocket my productivity by at least 10x.
The “Hacking 101 Mastering Vulnerabilities” prompt I published last week on PromptBase got 900+ views so far and 11 sales, which is not bad at all! If the numbers go up I might be working on other great prompts in the future. Prompt Engineering is definitely a career choice right now.
On another note, I’m very happy to say that I made further significant progress on building my AI-Cyber service/app. If things go well, I should have a beta rolling in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!
It’s been very quiet since I turned off all my notifications on my phone a few weeks ago. I also cleared out my YouTube subscription list from 400 to 92 channels. Then I massively unfollowed irrelevant accounts on Instagram and Twitter. For me, it’s an ongoing effort to increase my focus, minimize distractions and have peace of mind.
And it’s working. I get to spend high-quality time, focused and distraction-free on the things I really love. One downside of my undisturbed focus is occasionally losing track of time. I may realize that it is already 1 AM, and I should have gone to bed two hours ago…
Signing-off. ‘till next week, or earlier. Stay sane.