[Article]-Insider`s View of Certified Expert Penetration Tester (CEPT)

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    • #1983
      Don Donzal

      Interesting points made in this opinion piece as the IACRB insiders give you a view of how their ethical hacking credential differs from the rest.

      Permanent Link: [Article]-Insider`s View of Certified Expert Penetration Tester (CEPT)

      When approaching security industry luminaries over the course of the last year about the CEPT certification, the typical first response I have received is usually quite blunt: “Oh great”, “YET ANOTHER CERTIFICATION. Just what the security industry needs”.  And, to this point, I do have to agree, the security industry does not need another certification that:

      – Tests a basic level of knowledge of INFOSEC subjects (ala the CISSP, SECURITY+, SCNP, ad infinitum.)
      – Only tests the ability to regurgitate memorized information over a 2-6 hour time period
      – Is easily compromised by cheaters downloading actual exam questions for $59.90 from “teh interwebs”
      – Or, even worse, cheaters that cheat the exam cheater companies by pirating a copy of exam questions from bittorrent

      All of this results in a large group of people that have achieved a specific certification, but, in reality, have no real understanding of the subjects tested OR, more importantly, the ability to perform job duties that the certification is CERTIFYING in the first place!

      Add your thoughts about the CEPT certification and its examination process,

      NOTE: In the interest of full disclosure, ChicagoCon, presented by The Ethical Hacker Network, is offering this course for the 2008s event. The IACRB is an educational sponsor and the InfoSec Institute is a Partner of the event.

      • This topic was modified 3 years, 2 months ago by Don Donzal.
    • #15484

      I’ve never heard of the IACRB before ???

      I know that InfoSec Institute has been teaching the course for CEPT for a while. Was the IACRB just recently formed and taken responsibility for governing this certification now?

      It’s a good idea though, one that’s been brought up in the past in many different places.

    • #15485

      That’s the CEPT. If you have it, you know pen testing in and out. Backwards and forwards. No doubt about it.

      thats a very very bold statement.  i know a couple of people that have taken the course, i’ll have to get them to validate that.

    • #15486

      I would be interested in learning more about the constraints of phase 2. Does this need to be a previously undiscovered vulnerability or is this in some kind of lab environment with plenty of vulnerabilities to choose from? How would they guard against plagiarism if the practical is take home? I would feel more comfortable with their bold statement that Chris mentioned if the work was done in a lab with a proctor versus someone at home with access to other people and the “interweb”

    • #15487

      its known vulnerable (to them) binaries, i think 1 or 2 windows and at least 1 linux and you have to reverse a binary. unproctored.

    • #15488

      I’ve recently completed the CEPT certification and I’ll say that it takes far too long to complete to be able to proctor it.

      One of the vulns that you had to discover in a Windows app was actually pretty well documented online (IIRC there’s a metasploit module).  I ended up finding and writing a custom exploit, but it would be possible to crib something from an external stie.  The other two were programs custom written and provided by IACRB so there wasn’t any direct help available online.  One was source code for an app that had to be installed on a Linux host then you had to write an exploit (so you had access to the source and the running service).  That program had a string format vulnerability, but the program was sufficiently complex that the straightforward tutorials on exploiting string format vulns were pretty useless in terms of cut-and-paste code development.  The other was a compiled Windows binary that was a simple program that didn’t really do anything (it asked for registration credentials).  You had to reverse engineer the application and modify it so it would accept any credentials as valid.  I don’t think you could get any help for that exercise from teh interwebs.

      I suppose you could collaborate with someone else on the practical, but someone would still have to do the legwork so I think the exercise would still be valuable in that case.  Spotting collaborators or someone who got the answers from another individual would probably be pretty easy given the nature of the exercises though (the possibility of two people turning in identical exploit code is pretty low if both copies were developed independently).

      I would heartily agree with statement that anyone with this certification really knows their stuff.  You have to be comfortable with C/C++, debuggers as well as with x86 memory architecture and assembly in order to complete the exercises (in addition to understanding the security concepts).  The certification demonstrates the holder not only understands the security concepts but can discover and apply their knowledge successfully.

      My only concern with the certification is that the IACRB isn’t very transparent and there isn’t much information about the organization available.  One can easily uncover it’s association with the InfoSec Institute, but beyond that it’s rather opaque.  For instance, there’s no way to know how many people the IACRB certifies or to easily verify a certification holder.


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