I was recently presented with a packet capture file to perform some forensics on it as a challenge and see if I could find the hidden message. Naturally, it being a packet capture I fired up Wireshark only to be faced with a very bland single colour screen, quite different from the usual network captures most would be used to when using Wireshark (see Figure 1 below). There was none of the usual indication of different protocols broken down by colour. This was going to be a different type of challenge, and one I was going to learn a lot from, I knew I would enjoy it, and I sure did!
So you need a timeline chart and you need it for work. No worries, services exist for creating beautiful charts online, Lucidchart being one of the best examples (not a sponsor). But… You need the chart for work, you need it to contain sensitive data for internal use only, you may even need to include the dreaded PII (Personally Identifiable Information).
Now, are any of these chart producing services going to leak your data? It’s not likely to be honest. Am I saying don’t trust Lucidchart for example? Not necessarily. But I am particularly sensitive to the risk of data leaks due to having come from a Law Enforcement background where a PII leak could lead to loss of employment. Also I have recently completed a course in Cyber Security. These are both huge factors in my sensitivity to the risk of a data breach that could occur by using a third party service. Just think, if Lucidchart were to suffer a breach that in turn led to breach of data contained in charts created by you on that service, you might in turn also have to report a breach, it’s all very complicated at that stage.
The solution? Roll your own, read on for a relatively easy way to create your own timeline chart without ever having to reach out to an online service with data you don’t want exposed.
This post is inspired by a problem I was too busy/lazy to solve when I initially had it, but was also solved by finding an easier solution. Nevertheless, I’ve come back to it because there are times that the available easier solutions won’t go far enough to giving access to the types of data you might want to work with.
So the problem was, I wanted to have access to a store of data to practice working with Jupyter Notebook. At the time I had none to work with so I thought about a way to generate some random(ish) data to work with in order to get my practice in. This solution is kind of meta, I use Jupyter Notebook to generate data, so that I can work on the data in Jupyter Notebook.