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First Look: Cybrary Free IT Training

| March 27, 2015

Cybrary - LogoAs a life-long learner, and someone who is passionate about both bettering myself and helping others to reach higher and achieve their goals, I’m constantly on the lookout for fresh educational materials particularly in the areas of IT Administration and Security. I’m always amazed at the breadth of knowledge that is available, albeit, often at a substantial cost. I’m even more amazed at the amount of free content available but can’t help but be anxious about the quality, validity and dubious characters claiming to be experts just because they have a YouTube Channel. I’ve recently had the opportunity to get an up-close look at Cybrary, a relatively new online training provider with some known instructors. Oh… And before I forget, I should mention – they’re FREE! Could this be the best of both worlds?

Cybrary’s goal is spelled out very clearly when they describe “Our Revolution” throughout their site. They state, “We believe IT and Cyber Security training should be free, for everyone, forever. We believe that everyone, everywhere, deserves the OPPORTUNITY to learn. What they do with the opportunity is up to them, but the opportunity should be available. Join us in demanding liberation, help us in forcing change.” That’s all well and good. But how’s the actual training?

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Get eLearnSecurity PTSv3 Training Free!

| March 12, 2015 | 6 Comments

eLearnSecurity PTSv3 eJPT Certification LogoeLearnSecurity has long been a trusted training provider with multiple courses on offer. They recently updated their Penetration Testing – Student (PTS) course. The eLearnSecurity PTSv3 course is tailored for beginners. In addition to a brand new version, they also made available a new pricing structure that includes an Elite Edition, a Standard Edition and a free Bare Bones Edition. The Bare Bones Edition includes lifetime access to the training materials as well as email tech support. For a full rundown of the difference between the editions, click here.

Unfortunately, this is available only to those with an invitation. Luckily, we scored 100 seats in the invite-only free version of the eLearnSecurity PTSv3 Course. And this time there are no gimmicks, no contests, no requirements. It is simply a first come, first served deal for EH-Netters. Read on for the code that gives you access as well as some more details on the new pentesting course. This is for a limited time, so HURRY!!

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Book Review: Hacking and Penetration Testing with Low Power Devices

| February 27, 2015

Hacking and Penetration Testing with Low Power Devices” by Philip Polstra is an excellent read.  The author bases this book on his experiences in both hardware, software and penetration testing and combines the various disciplines to both educate and enlighten the reader.  Ultimately, the subject matter revolves around using the BeagleBone Black and a customized ARM penetration testing Linux distro, which Polstra’s dubbed ‘The Deck,’ to perform various types of hacking activities. It’s described as, “A practical guide to performing penetration tests from a distance with low-cost, battery-powered devices.” Oh yeah… just what the doctor ordered.

Let me open by saying that this book struck my “techie geek” nerve.  Years and years ago, not too long after I became a computer guy, but far before becoming a professional penetration tester, I managed a Radio Shack store (sad to see they’re going away).  I guess you could say I was a maker before it was called that. This book, while discussing pentesting, code, automation and stealth, offers the reader a great experience as he brings them into a world of hardware manipulation, discussions of power consumption, radio communication, and other really cool topics.  It truly embraces the mindset of the hacker in a cross-disciplinary way and acts like a perfect bridge for those currently in the computer hacking arena into the exciting wider world of the maker movement. I’m excited to share this experience with you, so let’s get to it.

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Book Review: Python Forensics

| January 31, 2015

After a long love affair with Ruby, I was excited to get back into more Python in the new year. One of my main goals was to build additional skills with Python, and continue to build up skills in defense and response. When Python Forensics: A workbench for inventing and sharing digital forensic technology by Chet Hosmer came out, I was excited about all of the possibilities. There are a number of books about using Python for attacking, but a strong book on building forensics tools is a nice change of pace.

Python Forensics target audience is “anyone who has a desire to learn how to leverage the Python language to forensic and digital investigation problems.” Hosmer hits the target audience well by both having introductory sections that go over some Python basics as well as a number of cookbook-style chapters that have programs to perform a number of different forensic functions. Let’s take a closer look at this Syngress Publishing title.

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Book Review: Penetration Testing: A Hands-On Introduction to Hacking

| December 31, 2014 | 0 Comments

“Georgia, Georgia…” The tune “Georgia on My Mind” was spinning through my head when I was given the chance to review “Penetration Testing: A Hands-On Introduction to Hacking,” a book by Georgia Weidman from No Starch Press. Having watched some of her conference presentations online and knowing the work she’s put into the Smartphone Pentest Framework (SPF), I’ve been looking forward to the opportunity to dive into the book for a while now, and her enthusiasm and efforts made it a worthwhile wait.   Amazon’s book description includes the following:

“In Penetration Testing, security expert, researcher, and trainer Georgia Weidman introduces you to the core skills and techniques that every pentester needs. Using a virtual machine-based lab that includes Kali Linux and vulnerable operating systems, you’ll run through a series of practical lessons with tools like Wireshark, Nmap, and Burp Suite. As you follow along with the labs and launch attacks, you’ll experience the key stages of an actual assessment – including information gathering, finding exploitable vulnerabilities, gaining access to systems, post exploitation, and more.”

So with the new year upon us, this gives everyone the opportunity to dive into a topic whether it be for advancing your current career, jumping into a new one or simply to amaze your friends and families. Hacking news both good and bad are everywhere these days. It’s time for you to get into the game. Find out how Ms. Weidman can help.

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Course Review: Dark Side Ops – Custom Penetration Testing

| December 22, 2014 | 4 Comments

Silent Break Security - LogoRecently, I took the Dark Side Ops: Custom Penetration Testing course taught by Brady Bloxham of Silent Break Security at Black Hat Trainings. In their words:

Dark Side Ops: Custom Penetration Testing enables participants to “break through” to the next level by removing their dependence on 3rd-party penetration testing tools, allowing for outside-the-box thinking and custom tool development designed specifically for the target environment.

Dark Side Ops (DSO) is a course on targeted attacks, evasion, and advanced post exploitation… with a twist. The thesis of DSO is this: if you want to credibly simulate a real world attacker, you need advanced capability. You can’t do this with unmodified open source tools. This course teaches students how to build and modify advanced capabilities. Let’s take a closer look.

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Book Review: Applied Network Security Monitoring

| October 31, 2014 | 1 Comment

As books go, I’m a lifelong reader, so when offered the chance to do more ‘regular’ reviews for The Ethical Hacker Network (EH-Net), I jumped at the opportunity.  The past few weeks, I’ve been buried in a GREAT read.  Applied Network Security Monitoring: Collection, Detection, and Analysis by Chris Sanders and Jason Smith is an extremely informative dive into the realm of network security data collection and analysis.  Fitting for both the offensive and defensive sides of security, the book looks closely at the various concepts, practices and tools that combine to create functional and cost-effective Network Security Monitoring (NSM) solutions for IT environments of all shapes and sizes.  For the offensive-security minded, it gives an insight into the tools and techniques used to monitor the network, and allows one to consider how best to circumvent those methods.  For the defensive-security minded, the authors do a fantastic job of equipping the reader with not only methodologies but also with tools and realistic examples.

Bear with me on this review, as this book at 496 pages is a long one, but in my opinion, an excellent resource.  I’ll do my best to give a thorough overview of the material while keeping things as concise as possible.  Hopefully, you’ll see that it’s a worthwhile read in giving a running start into the world of NSM.

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Book Review: Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing Guide

| September 30, 2014


When asked by CRC Press to review a recently released book, Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing Guide by Rafay Baloch, a closer look was in order before agreeing. The book description reads, “Requiring no prior hacking experience, Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing Guide supplies a complete introduction to the steps required to complete a penetration test, or ethical hack, from beginning to end. You will learn how to properly utilize and interpret the results of modern-day hacking tools, which are required to complete a penetration test.” A brief review of the Table of Contents and Description from Amazon piqued my interest, so I accepted the request and got to reading.

The book was written to take people with some technical but little to no ‘hacking’ background, and introduce them to tools, techniques and methodology in order to familiarize them with pentesting. As there are quite a few books on the subject, I was a bit skeptical at first, as I’m always looking for something ‘groundbreakingly new’ or with some extra insights that other books may not have. I can say, with certainty, that while this wasn’t an overhaul of other books on the market, it was well organized and contained plenty of good information for a newcomer to get started into their learning.

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