Generating Data with Mockaroo

What is Mockaroo?

Imagine you make an application, database or any other place that needs data. Generating test data can be a huge hassle, or need actual programming to accomplish. What Mockaroo allows you to do, completely for free, is generate almost all common formats of data.

This allows for the simple generation of realistic looking data to use for any purpose. Main use case being the testing of applications, databases and such. Say for example you’re building a database that holds customer data. You can use Mockaroo to fill this with any type of date you want. Even using API’s.

Creative Ways to use Mockaroo

So what creative other things can we do with this? One of the ways I have used Mockaroo, is to create fake data to put in OSINT CTF Challenges. Given it can create names, IP addresses, email, coordinates and other interesting data, it can be used to either obfuscate the real data, or create massive rabbit holes for people to go through.

You could also use mock data like this to generate the fake personality of a sock puppet really quickly. Or make the profile for non existent companies, including infrastructure and fake certificates.

How do I start using Mockaroo?

Head over to https://www.mockaroo.com/ and register for an account. Either use Single-Sign-On, or use your own email address (or a sock puppet). It is completely possible to use this tool without registering, though saving your custom datasets and such won’t be possible.

In our example we will make a mock dataset for secret agents and their safehouse coordinates.

Upon opening or logging into Mockaroo, we are greeted with the schema overview, here you can modify the data you want to generate. Or add additiona fields, remove fields and preview your data.

Let’s start modifying our dataset. We have a total of 157 different types of data available to generate. All neatly ordered into categories. I will add the coordinates of fake safe houses and other data I think would make for a nice rabbit hole.

So we have our dataset ready, let’s preview what this looks like using the preview option.

Looks great, we now have a fun rabbit hole for people to go into. Or something to fill up a database, for example used for world building in a game setting.

Other Options in Mockaroo

Schemas

You can create your own schema’s for later use. This comes in handy if you want to generate the same types of data more often. Let’s say you make websites for clients and need to fill up booking systems more often, you can have certain schemas ready to make this easy.

Datasets

If you have pre-defined datasets in the form of CSV files, you can upload these to Mockaroo and make them into schemas. For example, a client gives you a sample set of data, but you don’t want to use the real personal information. You can upload the dataset and make the columns into a schema, without using the actual personal data.

Mock API’s

Making sure your data works with common API’s or with your own, you can write Mock API’s to test the effects of your data when using an API. This is great if there’s a lack of staging environments and you don’t want to throw your mock data at a production environment.

Scenarios

Scenarios allow you to shape numeric distributions based on other columns in your schema. For example, let’s say your want to generate a file where each row represents the sale of a car including the model, region, sale price, and date of sale. This means that if the generated data isn’t realistic enough, you can set scenarios after more realistic modeling, to create more believable datasets.

Projects

Allowing for collaboration and to segment the datasets, schemas, API’s in Mockaroo. You can make projects that you share with others. For example, having a project with your customer allows for collaboration in making realistic test data.

In Conclusion

This was just a quick overview of a neat tool that can be used with great creativity. I personally use Mockaroo to generate data for CTF’s, or to test databases. But the possibilities of generating realistic looking fake datasets are almost endless. Play around with Mockaroo and look around in your own work and personal interests what creative solutions this can be used for. Being free to use for most of the important functionality, it can be a great asset in your toolbox.

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