Mac Setups: The Desk of a Cyber Security Professional

Nov 24, 2013 - 31 Comments

Full Mac and PC desk setup of a cybersecurity professional

This weeks featured Mac setup is the amazing office configuration of a cybersecurity professional. As you’ll see it’s an absolute whopper full of awesome hardware, with plenty of Macs, iOS devices, and PC’s too. Due to the sensitive nature of their work they have requested their name be withheld, so instead we’ll refer to the owner of this awesome Mac setup by their alias, “EnigmaFX”. Don’t miss the productivity app recommendations for iOS and OS X, and the great SFTP trick too…

What hardware does your current Mac setup consist of?

Focusing primarily on the Mac side of things, the hardware includes:

27″ iMac (2012)

  • 3.4GHz Core i7 CPU
  • 32GB RAM
  • Custom install twin 1TB Crucial m500 SSD’s running raid 0 (VERY FAST)
  • Two Apple 27″ Thunderbolt Cinema Displays

15″ Retina MacBook Pro (2013)

  • 2.6GHz Core i7 CPU
  • 16GB RAM
  • 1TB PCIe-Based Flash Storage

13″ MacBook Air (2013)

  • 1.7GHz Dual-Core Core i7
  • 8GB RAM
  • 512GB Flash Storage

17″ MacBook Pro (2011)

  • 2.8GHz Core i7 CPU
  • 16GB RAM
  • 480GB Crucial M500 SSD

You’ll also find a variety of iOS devices around including several iPhone and iPads, and there is a lot of PC hardware mixed throughout the office, including a full fledged server setup too.

Dual displays and an iMac

MacBooks and iOS devices

iOS gear of a cybersecurity pro

Server room for a cybersecurity professional

(click this last image for full size version)
The desk and office computer setup of a Cybersecurity professional

What do you use this great Apple gear for?

My primary focus is cyber security, but I am a jack of many trades. That includes cryptanalytics, security administration, analysis, architecture, development, and deployment. Due to the nature of my profession I can’t go into too much detail about commitments, but what I do helps to make the internet a safer place. My Apple gear is essential to almost every aspect of my day to day workflow, it really is the backbone of my infrastructure and workflow, both professionally and personally.

What apps could you not do without for Mac OS X and for iOS?

It’s hard to discern what apps I use the most as it depends on what I am working on. If I had to narrow it down to a few “productivity” apps that I use every day and could not live without though, here they are:

Productivity apps for Mac:

Productivity apps for iOS:

Do you have any Apple tips or productivity tricks you want to share?

I could write you a book! But I will focus on one thing that I know every single OS X and iOS user has a gripe with; getting data from one device to another! Sure, we have everything from DropBox to AirDrop, but one of the most overlooked and underrated features of OS X is that every single Mac has a built in SFTP/FTP server which can be enabled with a single click.

This brings me back to one of my favorite apps for iOS that I mentioned earlier, FTPonTheGo Pro (though technically any FTP client will do). Once you have your Mac setup as an FTP server, you now have unfettered access to EVERY single file, picture, movie, and document on the Mac from anywhere – but it gets better, because you now also have the ability to transfer data from your iPhone/iPad directly to any folder on your Mac, from anywhere.

To give an example that is outside of the obvious of moving pictures and data between iOS and OS X, you can create AppleScripts and Folder Actions to automate almost anything in OS X. For instance, let’s take iPhoto; you can create a new folder action (with Automator) to import all photos uploaded to to a specific folder directly into iPhoto – no more having to manually sync a device or open iPhoto to import your pictures, instead you can update your photo library from anywhere in the world with direct SFTP uploads and folder actions.

The SFTP ability comes built into OS X is probably the most overlooked and underrated feature of OS X, but having a fully accessible SFTP server is invaluable, especially in a day and age where everyone is chasing the “cloud”. We seem to have forgotten that some of the most secure and best solutions are right there under our noses, available at no extra cost. With a little creativity, you can use your data the way you want while keeping it entirely under your control.

Do you have a great Apple setup or Mac desk you want to share? Answer a couple of questions about your Apple gear, take a few good pictures, and send it to us! We can’t post everything submitted, but we’ll pick one of the best to share every weekend. Looking for some desk and setup inspiration? You can browse through some of our past sweet Apple setups posts here.


Related articles:

Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac Setups


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  1. Antimatter says:

    Do a cyber security pro need a powerful computer? Like dual Intel Xeon, Nvidia Tesla card?

  2. Josh says:

    What is the application that is showing all of the activity that is going on in the network?

  3. Doomsday, Inc. says:

    Awesome setup!! Let the haters hate. I, for one, love that the setups are back, and this one is SUPER impressive! BTW, what apps are running on the pic of the mobile devices?? Looks fun!

    Great work!

  4. fk2106 says:

    @EnigmaFX I am interested in using the computer as a FTP server however, how do I solve the issue of having a dynamic ip address? I mainly have a laptop that I carry to multiple places (home, school, work etc…).

  5. Interpola says:

    This is an absolutely amazing setup.

    Anyone ragging on anything here is obviously envious, but keep in mind this is the mans job! If your career is technology, you will have a lot of technology. The latest and greatest of everything, you must have for testing purposes and research.

    Keep them coming!

  6. Darian says:

    A cybersecurity expert who uses 1password! Oh please, tell me another one.

    • alexandernsa says:

      Due to the sensitive nature of their work they have requested their name be withheld…

      with 20 screens showing it ;) lol

    • Ex2Bot says:

      What’s wrong with 1Password?

      • EnigmaFX says:

        Ex2bot nothing is wrong with 1 password my friend ignore the ignorant, some people just have an easier time putting others down In in an attempt to make them selfs feel more sufficient :)

    • EnigmaFX says:

      Your right you figured me out! This is a scam I’m not really a security expert ,truth be told I’m not even human! I’m actually big orange Popsicle!

  7. _alex says:

    One Screen for every manpage lol

    I own a similar hackintosh, 6 Core Xeon driving two NEC 27″ Display and wonder how to Setup a 2nd GPU as i wish i had a 3rd (or maybe 4th) Display connected sometimes. Any Idea?

  8. Toby says:

    I own FTPontheGo Pro, but I can only get it to access the iMac internal drive, not the attached raid drive which is where all my files really reside. Is there a way around this?

    • EnigmaFX says:

      toby i had this issue as well the simplest work around was to create a symbolic link to the directory and place the created symbolic link in your “root” directory. this works for all ftp clients and i found it easier then mapping everything manually, if you don’t know what symbolic links are google is your friend if you still have a hard time making a symbolic link from terminal use this its a simple GUI for the creation of Symbolic links —->

      hope that helps

  9. Mike says:

    I don’t understand the obsession with desk setups. What a trivial thing to have a regular feature about.

    • Matt says:

      I happen to like the setups feature. Seeing how others do things gives me ideas on what I can do to help my own workspace/workflows. I’m happy to see the feature brought back.

  10. Bilbo says:

    I’m curious if each device and each screen has a defined purpose, or if you are partially a gadget junkie with the means to satisfy your desire. Honest question!

    • EnigmaFX says:

      Partially a gadget junky?! lol I haven’t exactly done the math as it is irrelevant to me but there is probably around a 100k worth of tech in my home at any given time there is nothing partial about it! i am the epitomy of a gadget junky witch brings this around 2 fold the reason i have the means to satisfy my desire is because I am said junky lol

  11. DennisKim527 says:

    Dude. That is a 2008/2009 MBA. Not 2013. I own that one in home.

  12. EnigmaFX says:

    @ DotCom, Ja ich bin ‘s! 837 ist Sie?! 😜 lol

  13. EnigmaFX says:

    @ Rio Del Verde the rest if my setup consists of:

    -one 55″ samsung 7 series LED ,
    -four 32″ samsung 7 series LEDs,
    -two 21″ Samsung sync masters,
    -one 64TB server (Personal),
    -one 90TB server (work),
    -powering the the 7 monitor setup is:
    ( i7 6-core CPU over clocked @ 4.6GHz , Two Nvidia 6GB Titan GPU’s, 64GB Ram, two crucial m4 512 SSD’s running in Raid 0, multi-boot os’s hackintosh,various Linux distros,win7 & win8)

    When I get a chance I’ll dig up the apple script I created and post it for you

  14. EnigmaFX says:

    @Bryanzak Lol yeah only the big one that you can click on at the bottom is a high enough resolution that zooming in would be legible the rest Blur as you zoom, in try it mate :) “the best form of anonimaty is hidden in plain site” lol the truth is there is nothing on the screens that is perticulalry damning so no worries either way

  15. Denus says:

    I’m wondering: I have the same iMac end 2012 (but with 16GB ram instead of 32GB) and a Fusion drive (quite fast too).

    How did you install the “Custom install twin 1TB Crucial m500 SSD’s running raid 0” on the system?
    Do you use an external thunderbolt HDD bay or….?

    • joe says:

      just remove the HDD put in second SSD
      OWC should have the right mounts, i think its called Drive Doubler.
      I put a 256GB SSD into my aging 2009 iMac, I removed the DVD and replaced it with the SSD.

  16. bryanzak says:

    You didn’t blur all the computer screens in all the photos…

    • Paul says:

      I blurred a few in the high res version (without asking EnigmaFX), but when it shrank down to 2000x pixels it was found to be unnecessary anyway.

  17. DotCom says:

    Fefe? Bist Du das?

  18. Rio Del Verde says:

    Amazing setup. I know it’s slightly off the Apple topic but I would be be curious to know about the Linux (backtrack!) and PC configs too.

    Any chance we could get a sample of the Automator folder action described to send a folder to iPhoto too?

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