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The Path to Hacker Mastery

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unicityd

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Post Wed Apr 25, 2012 3:07 pm

Re: The Path to Hacker Mastery

Which volumes of TCP/IP should I read? (Is the I vol. enough?)


Vol I is enough.  After that, you should read books that focus on other networking topics; either Cisco books or network security books.  TCP/IP Illustrated Vol. II is the source code for an actual TCP/IP stack implementation and is only useful if you are doing very low-level work and need to test or develop a custom TCP/IP stack.  Very few people have ever read it.  Vol III is mostly obsolete.

If you think your family will chafe at a career in "Ethical Hacking".  Just tell them you're getting into "Network Security" or "Information Security".  If they are hell bent on you being a doctor/lawyer/ballet dancer, they'll just have to be disappointed.
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Post Wed Apr 25, 2012 6:01 pm

Re: The Path to Hacker Mastery

Novice hacker wrote:@MaXe

Woah, that's the longest post I've ever seen in my life  :)


It's one of my standard post lengths when I have time and there's a good reason to do so  ;D

Novice hacker wrote:Thank you very very very much for posting all that info    :)

But, before I address it, I would like to make my position a bit more clear. You have misunderstood me. :(

I plan to come to the Infosec field purely because of my great interest and passion for hacking and security. I'm not doing it for the money but the reason why I posted those question was because

1) I feel that "rewards stimulate me a great deal".  

2) There will probably be pressure from my family to earn a lot when I choose an 'unconventional' field like ethical hacking. I feel as if i have to prove myself. But other than that, I joined this field ONLY because of the burning desire in my heart to learn hacking and my ULTIMATE dream is to become THE BEST or ONE OF THE BEST.....

I assure you that I am not doing it for the money alone   :(


No problem, and no I wasn't judging you  ;D Just wondering because you mentioned the salary in a few posts. But 1) Most ethical hacking jobs pays better than other non-management IT-jobs, plus it's a lot more fun imho, 2) You're going to have one of the coolest jobs in the world and the salary is often higher than other jobs in the IT-sector? If you want to use nice words, say IT-Security Consultant, as they may not understand at the moment that professional & legit hackers exist. (At least, some of my family denied that for several years, and some of them still do. Including friends requesting illegal services I of course deny, because they think all hackers are bad somewhere, but I don't think they would ask a cop to shoot someone just because they carry a gun. In this case, the mind of the hacker, is the gun.)

But IT-Security (or ICT-Security depending on where you are in the world), often pays quite good, especially if you're not a junior but on the "normal" or senior stage. Anything +50k is considered good, as you will earn more than most people. Tech Support, such as some of my previous dayjobs, has paid as low as 25k $USD per year, _before_ tax. It's one of the biggest IT-companies in the world and it was in a capital city in EU where they speak English, in fact, the company is IBM. It's not minimum wage salary, but it's close to, and there is a lot of tech support jobs, that are minimum wage, and getting any increases per year, is very hard, no matter how good you are at your job. So even 40k$ a year is nice. At another job I recently had they paid roughly 20% more, and this company is not very well known, it's still tech support, but the location is also in the middle of nowhere!  ;D

So just because a company is big, isn't equal to good salary, good work environment, or for that sake, many other things you will experience on your own perhaps. (I wish all the best for you of course.)

Novice hacker wrote:On a happier mood,

I know a few hackers who began with A+ and Security+ material, they turned out to be great.


Thanks! That is very encouraging :)

There's a book by Thomas Wilhelm on that. (Publisher: Syngress, they publish a lot of good books on hacking.)


I read the table of contents and it looks great but there were a couple of negative reviews saying "Unfortunately, PPT should be called "Professional Pen Testing Project Management." Have you personally read the book? Would you give it the thumbs up?( because it looks good to me)


I haven't read it, but I've participated in his classes at the Hacking Dojo, and he has quite a lot of experience with pentesting, plus I know that he's particularly good at putting on focus on the things people don't tend to attack in labs. He made an article on this website recently about this issue, that people would often target servers, etc., instead of routers too. (Meaning you should eventually try to hack routers and switches too, it's an important skill. Especially to know what you can do, and what you should avoid.)

Novice hacker wrote:
Learning how TCP/IP functions first is a good idea, as learning about Operating Systems in depth, can be a bit boring.


I went through(skimmed through ) MOS by Andrew Tannenbaum in the library today and it was kind of outdated, but I will talk more about that when I get to that step.  :)

Which volumes of TCP/IP should I read? (Is the I vol. enough?)

Haven't read that book, but TCP/IP hasn't generally been updated afaik (as far as I know), so even an old book, can be just as up2date as a new book about TCP/IP. The TCP/IP Illustrated book could be a good read, even though I've never read it. If you don't like "dry reading", avoid RFC's for now, but don't avoid them forever  :) (Check one out a day for e.g., a protocol you really like and want to know more about.)


Novice hacker wrote:
pays good enough to have an acceptable living where you can eat properly


;D

And I plan to go for 'corporate hacking' because as you already stated I get to work with it DAILY     :)


No matter how "good" you are, you have to be able to justify what you're worth, by knowledge but also in many cases proven experience. If you can't prove your knowledge besides saying you're really good, the company won't be able to know whether it is true or not. (If you on the other hand, have written several tools, advisories / pocs (0days), and much more, they can at least have some sort of picture even if you have no experience.)


I will try to do atleast one of these before I apply for a job......
Do you have anymore suggestions to prove my worth? (It would be very useful for me, thanks)

The more you learn, the bigger the picture will be


I like that the infosec field is a broad one too       :)

Oh and I will be ready for all things coming :)   (Regarding specialization)

And I have to thank you a ton for that mini-SQL lesson. I found that highly instructive as well as interesting to learn. (It was a great analogy, though it took me a few seconds to grasp what it meant)


For the moment no, you have much to learn and reflect about, and I don't want to overwhelm you with too much information at once. I've given my best advice for now.  :)

It's great to hear you learned something from the mini-SQL lesson, in fact it may make it easier for you to understand how SQL works in the future then.

Novice hacker wrote:
Dream companies, are those that perform real penetration testing, hires the good hackers, and knows what they're talking about. One of them could be: Rapid7 (they're sometimes hiring, mostly developer positions), but there's a lot of companies I can't remember the names of, that I know from friends' experience are more than great. Some of them have awesome bonuses and encourages research, others have crazy parties, some almost always go to the big conferences (Black Hat LV and Defcon, but also Derbycon too), and some will let you travel around the world.


WOW! That's my idea of a DREAM company! What you described is almost exactly what I want to do!! PLEASE tell me if you can remember the names of those companies and if you can contact your friends for the names. They seem to fit into my interests a lot.....:)    (Do you work for a similar company?)

Thanks for sharing your interests, it has kind of stimulated me to be more interested in Web App Security...its ok if I learn that last right?


As for correct info, I try to get my info from two sources or so.


What I described were several different companies, where most of them are located in the UK. This doesn't mean they exist in other countries though, as some of them were from USA, Australia, Denmark, etc., so the best way to find out, is when the time comes, read about the company and the job on their website, and perhaps during a phone interview if you get to this phase, ask about the benefits of working there, but not in a greedy way of course  :)

Currently I work in Tech Support, while I've done some freelancing (mostly voluntary), but I've also done some lighter research, and many other interesting things which I'm sure you'll discover, however I am actually going to relocate to another country soon to work with ethical hacking (including penetration testing) plus a few other things for a living. I honestly can't wait to get started  ;D

I'm glad to hear you've developed a deeper interest for Web App Security, but yes, you can learn it last if that is what you want. When I "talk" with new hackers, I ask them whether they want to become a hacker who specializes in web applications, or programs, and from there, perhaps sub-specializations like reverse engineering, malware analysis / research, 0days / zero days (reverse engineering comes into place here), vulnerability research (can be applied to web app sec too), and so forth.

When you learn how to specialize in web apps, you need to learn the appropriate protocols that serves a website, from HTTP (including some basic SSL), to DNS, routing, TCP, UDP, IP, ICMP, ARP (even FTP and some SSH too), and different physical and virtual topologies. (Such as a star-shaped ethernet network. It's not that important to know, but learning how the ethernet protocols functions, at least some point during your self-taught education, is very good to do.)

If you are going to learn vulnerability research and / or exploit development of programs, you need to learn things like reverse engineering (at least somewhat), basic assembly (the programming language), debugging, but also how to analyze protocols and e.g., build your own protocol fuzzer, which in some cases is not as hard as it may sound. (Building a basic fuzzer for the TFTP or HTTP protocol isn't that hard.) You will need to know about TCP, UDP, IP, ICMP, ARP, etc., here too, along with other protocols including routing.

Otherwise, how will you be able to know when looking at a traffic dump in Wireshark if you've done something horribly wrong?

Of course you will probably be using "canned exploits" for both, so that's why both of these areas covers the same protocols, and just because I said HTTP in the first, doesn't mean you shouldn't learn it in the second. It's just a requirement in the first, if you want to be effective and know what's really going on when you send an exploit.


So take it in the order you find most interesting, that is what matters when you're learning on your own  ;D But keep in mind, that for some topics, you should learn the basics / foundation first, before attempting fly without wings that haven't fully grown out yet  :)


I'm glad to hear you're using at least two sources, but keep in mind that two sources can be incorrect too, even professionals who has worked with IT for 10 or 20 years.

PS: Long replies are my speciality in some cases hehe  ;D
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Post Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:24 am

Re: The Path to Hacker Mastery

Hi!   


Thanks for the great responses again  :)

@unicityd

Thanks for the advice on the volume selection. It's easier and a great relief to know that I don't have to study material that won't help me.

I consider myself very lucky to have guys like you who are willing to help a newbie out :)

@MaXe

Thank you very much for that rich post choc-full of information  :)

I found it answered my questions very specifically and in detail. Though I don't have the time to give your post the special attention it deserves right now, I promise to reply to this post tomorrow 

Looking forward to tomorrow.....:)
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Post Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:18 am

Re: The Path to Hacker Mastery

MaXe wrote:I haven't read it, but I've participated in his classes at the Hacking Dojo, and he has quite a lot of experience with pentesting, plus I know that he's particularly good at putting on focus on the things people don't tend to attack in labs. He made an article on this website recently about this issue, that people would often target servers, etc., instead of routers too. (Meaning you should eventually try to hack routers and switches too, it's an important skill. Especially to know what you can do, and what you should avoid.)


I don't know why, but when I see people mention me in forums, it feels like people are talking about me as if I'm not there, even though I'm standing right next to them in the same room.  ;)

Thanks for the kudos, MaXe...
Ping me if you have any questions about the book or pentesting, Novice.
- Thomas Wilhelm, MSCS MSM
ISSMP CISSP SCSECA SCNA IEM

Web Site:
  • http://HackingDojo.com
Author:
  • Professional Penetration Testing
  • Ninja Hacking
  • Penetration Tester's Open Source Toolkit
  • Metasploit Toolkit for Penetration Testing
  • Netcat Power Tools
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dynamik

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Post Thu Apr 26, 2012 1:35 pm

Re: The Path to Hacker Mastery

Novice hacker wrote:
There's a book by Thomas Wilhelm on that. (Publisher: Syngress, they publish a lot of good books on hacking.)


I read the table of contents and it looks great but there were a couple of negative reviews saying "Unfortunately, PPT should be called "Professional Pen Testing Project Management." Have you personally read the book? Would you give it the thumbs up?( because it looks good to me)


Since Tom's apparently too humble to address it, I will.

If you go to the review itself and not just glance at the excerpt on the main page, you will see that Tom actually responded to it: http://www.amazon.com/review/R3QRU5AA4K ... U5AA4KVT4B

While I don't think that Bejtlich's points are necessarily inaccurate, it does seem like his expectations were off. It's a book that introduces the professional side of hacking; it's not a book that claims to make you an expert-level penetration tester. I paged through a copy that was in the company library at my previous employer, and I think this is a great read for anyone looking to make a career out of penetration testing, such as yourself ;)
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Post Thu Apr 26, 2012 1:50 pm

Re: The Path to Hacker Mastery

Novice hacker wrote:@MaXe

Thank you very much for that rich post choc-full of information   :)

I found it answered my questions very specifically and in detail. Though I don't have the time to give your post the special attention it deserves right now, I promise to reply to this post tomorrow  

Looking forward to tomorrow.....:)



No problem, glad to hear it answered your questions. No need to prepare a long reply as I will be extremely busy over the next week or so.


Grendel wrote:
MaXe wrote:I don't know why, but when I see people mention me in forums, it feels like people are talking about me as if I'm not there, even though I'm standing right next to them in the same room.  ;)

Thanks for the kudos, MaXe...
Ping me if you have any questions about the book or pentesting, Novice.


I figured you were busy with your job, etc., since I referred to you as not being often around  :) And no problem about the kudos  ;D (Fyi I only give kudos to those I believe in.)
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Post Fri Apr 27, 2012 8:28 am

Re: The Path to Hacker Mastery

Tomorrow has finally come...........:)

I think I've overdone the smileys in my last few messages so this one isn't going to have any except for the first one.

Anyways,

@unicityd

I think I should clarify to be fair to my family. My dad is OK with me being an ethical hacker (He actually knows what a hacker is) (My Mom won't object to it but will probably be concerned on how much income it generates, while my sister still scorns my capability to become one.....)

Regarding my plan, I am extremely busy but I have still managed to read about 50 pages A+ material and 30 pages python.

So far so good.....

@ MaXe
It's one of my standard post lengths when I have time and there's a good reason to do so 

Thanks!

plus it's a lot more fun imho

+1
IT-Security Consultant

How about "Cyber Security Expert"  (Kind of sounds cool)
Anything +50k is considered good, as you will earn more than most people. Tech Support, such as some of my previous dayjobs, has paid as low as 25k $USD per year, _before_ tax.

I'm not being greedy or anything but if you check this out you will find why I was going for like $100,000.

You can find the link here:http://ittrainingblog.com/2011/05/16/average-salary-of-someone-with-the-certified-ethical-hacker-ceh-certification/#comment-52
Check it out and please tell me your opinion(s).

He made an article on this website recently about this issue, that people would often target servers, etc., instead of routers too. (Meaning you should eventually try to hack routers and switches too, it's an important skill. Especially to know what you can do, and what you should avoid.)


That would be "A rant on hacking labs, right? I already pasted the link to a word document called "How to create a Hacking lab". It contains links to pages that instruct about hacking labs.

(Check one out a day for e.g., a protocol you really like and want to know more about.)

Will keep that in mind.
It's great to hear you learned something from the mini-SQL lesson, in fact it may make it easier for you to understand how SQL works in the future then.

I'm pretty sure it will 
so the best way to find out, is when the time comes, read about the company and the job on their website, and perhaps during a phone interview if you get to this phase, ask about the benefits of working there, but not in a greedy way of course

I will do that when I get to that point but I will keep that in mind for inspiration.


Regarding choosing a specialization, I will do that as soon as I gain a bit more knowledge of what those specializations really mean. Does anybody have an idea of what specialization will be in demand in 10 years? (I'm not saying I'm going to follow it, its just to get an idea)

So take it in the order you find most interesting, that is what matters when you're learning on your own  But keep in mind, that for some topics, you should learn the basics / foundation first, before attempting fly without wings that haven't fully grown out yet 


Thanks for the good advice  :)  (Couldn't resist)

I know you said that I didn't have to send a long reply but I couldn't  resist.

@Grendel

Wow! I didn't know that you were a part of this community!!

You must have loads of experience with pen-testing and probably worked with top professionals....I don't want to bother you with questions but what would your No:1 advice be to a novice like me?

(I've sent you a pm regarding the book.)

@ajohnson

Thanks for providing the link. It kind of 'cleared up' the matter. Plus, thanks also for providing your opinion on the book. I think that's good enough for me to buy it.

Just one question, can I read it now? Or should I wait until completing any no. of steps?

Once again, thanks a ton for sharing your vast reserves of knowledge guys        :)    (Couldn't resist again)

With each day, I feel I'm inching forward.

Until tomorrow........
                                                                      -NH
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Post Fri Apr 27, 2012 10:07 am

Re: The Path to Hacker Mastery

Novice hacker wrote:@ajohnson

Thanks for providing the link. It kind of 'cleared up' the matter. Plus, thanks also for providing your opinion on the book. I think that's good enough for me to buy it.

Just one question, can I read it now? Or should I wait until completing any no. of steps?


As with most your questions at this point, the answer is going to be "it depends." It will obviously be beneficial when you get closer to the point of actually being able to pen test, but it could also be useful now to give you an overview of everything that's involved with pen testing. It's not just hacking. You do need to perform project management, interface with management, write reports, etc. It might be good to get an idea of everything you're getting yourself into. You might find you prefer to go into a research or engineering role instead.

I think you have more than enough to work with for the foreseeable future, and you can probably ease back on adding new resources to your list for awhile. If you think you may not get to something for a year or two, don't even worry about it now. Technology changes quickly and there may be a new version or different resource available by the time you need it. Throwing out an untouched $50 book when the new version arrives always stings.
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Post Fri Apr 27, 2012 12:19 pm

Re: The Path to Hacker Mastery

@ajohnson:
Thanks for pointing out my response. I prefer to stay out of such conversations, since I don't want to sound defensive. I appreciate readers (even those who peruse the book) to state their opinions. Thanks again.

@novice:
I'm actually addressing the community with my response, so take my reply with glasses filtered with your own experience.

The one thing I say over and over again (to hammer the point home), is that to become a good (not even great) pentester, you have to be a guru in something. Whether that something is system administration, network administration, or programming is immaterial, but should be selected based on interest. It is possible to learn such topics as you go along during your pentest journey, but it's simpler and less overwhelming being a guru at something beforehand.

Once you have the "guru" title under your belt, then move onto pentesting. And even then, pick a specialty (network, web, RE), with the idea you'll add on new skills from the other categories as you progress - You will need to intermingle each of those specialties in your own career path, but pick one and take it to its natural conclusion.

Also, don't rush things - that makes for shallow learning across all topics. What you need to do is have an in-depth understanding of each topic (e.g. You may understand what a packet is, but have you seen what it looks like going across the wire?), not just an understanding of security/networking/programming/systems that is an inch deep and a mile wide. This means your first cert shouldn't be a security one, but perhaps something from Solaris or Cisco or Microsoft. Once you have a solid base, you can move into pen testing.

And regarding salaries, think about this - people don't make six figures simply because they have a cert, like the CEH; the experience and background of the person makes the salary - not the cert. Meaning, the broader and deeper the knowledge and hand-on experience, the better the salary. Certs are simply a method of getting past HR during a job hunt.

Hope that has helped. I will respond to your PM shortly.

Good luck!
- Thomas Wilhelm, MSCS MSM
ISSMP CISSP SCSECA SCNA IEM

Web Site:
  • http://HackingDojo.com
Author:
  • Professional Penetration Testing
  • Ninja Hacking
  • Penetration Tester's Open Source Toolkit
  • Metasploit Toolkit for Penetration Testing
  • Netcat Power Tools
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Post Sat Apr 28, 2012 6:20 am

Re: The Path to Hacker Mastery

@ajohnson

Thanks for the reply    ;D

It kind of opened my eyes on a lot of matters along with Grendel's post. I'm pretty sure that the book won't help me out regarding performing an actual pen-test or building a hacking lab.......BUT I have decided to buy it      ;D

Like you said, it will give me an overview of what pen-testing is all about. No, I don't have any plans to change my decision but it could serve as a heads up to what I'm getting myself into.

Throwing out an untouched $50 book when the new version arrives always stings.


You're right. So I plan to continue with my step by step procedure with slight modifications. I should probably finish creating a foundation before I start cranking up the building. Thanks for making me realize this  :)

@grendel

Thank you very, very much for your post      ;D

I assure you it really brought me to my senses on some issues.

The prospect of becoming a guru in something interests me a great deal. I''m thinking programming would probably be my choice.

As for the specialty after going into pen-testing. I think networking would probably be my first choice.

Also, don't rush things - that makes for shallow learning across all topics. What you need to do is have an in-depth understanding of each topic (e.g. You may understand what a packet is, but have you seen what it looks like going across the wire?), not just an understanding of security/networking/programming/systems that is an inch deep and a mile wide. This means your first cert shouldn't be a security one, but perhaps something from Solaris or Cisco or Microsoft. Once you have a solid base, you can move into pen testing.


I truly consider this to be PRICELESS advice. I also consider myself very lucky to have received this sooner than later. Everything seems to be falling in place now...

the experience and background of the person makes the salary - not the cert. Meaning, the broader and deeper the knowledge and hand-on experience, the better the salary. Certs are simply a method of getting past HR during a job hunt.


I have a feeling of being 'blind' up to this point,
I understand everything you said perfectly.
For probably the first time, I don't have any questions regarding the topics mentioned above.

Once again thank you very much for opening my eyes,

The path to mastery just got a lot brighter....... ;D
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Post Sun Apr 29, 2012 3:40 am

Re: The Path to Hacker Mastery

I was just re-reading my post and thought I ought to be a bit clearer.

I'm pretty sure that the book won't help me out regarding performing an actual pen-test or building a hacking lab


I mean RIGHT NOW. I shouldn't be concentrating on that when I haven't yet mastered the basics.

And I forgot to add this

@MaXe

I wanted to wish you the best of luck in your future ethical hacking travels.      ;D

And just one small question too.

How are pen-testers recruited and will I get a chance to showcase my skills to my employer?

Thanks again,

                                                              -NH
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Post Sun Apr 29, 2012 5:55 pm

Re: The Path to Hacker Mastery

About using "Cyber Security Expert" instead of IT-Security Consultant, yes you can do that too, it doesn't sound evil. But don't use the "expert" too much if you're not seen as an expert in your field  :) (You can of course tell them you're training to become one and eventually will become one.)

Novice hacker wrote:And I forgot to add this

@MaXe

I wanted to wish you the best of luck in your future ethical hacking travels.       ;D

And just one small question too.

How are pen-testers recruited and will I get a chance to showcase my skills to my employer?

Thanks again,
  -NH


Thanks and you too! It isn't long before I'm starting at my new job, can't wait  ;D (This time it's infosec and pentesting.)

There are several ways, just like other jobs. 1) Meet / talk with companies at (infosec) conferences, maybe they're looking for people. 2) Apply for jobs via company websites or use an agent (that specializes in infosec / pentesting jobs) to help you. 3) Become headhunted by companies and / or agents.

Sometimes the headhunter agents may think you want tech support jobs though, in case your experience says mostly tech support. Also, these agents doesn't often know exactly what pentesting is about, but they know which companies to contact, etc. If you use one of these, make sure you get a list of companies they send your CV to, and preferably start with using only one, that doesn't spam your CV to all companies there is, but rather targets specific companies that matches your profile.

Getting headhunted by a company on the other hand, requires in most cases that I know of, that they somehow find you interesting and a potential asset to their company in case they hire you, meaning you either have to display a decent background, or for that sake, other things such as presentations (from e.g., conferences and / or "chapters"), certs, open source tools, advisories, etc., that tells them you know your stuff and you burn for this type of job.

So when you have something to show, use LinkedIn and make sure they can read your profile. Don't put private details you don't want on the Internet, but put everything else available to the public, so the companies can see you're there. You may have to rewrite your profile several times over the months or years you have it, while you have e.g., other IT-jobs that aren't infosec related.


If you will have the chance to showcase your skills, that depends on the company. Most companies I've had interviews with, will have a technical test over the phone as a second part of the entire interview process. (There is typically 2-3 parts minimum. The first is introduction, if you pass this you move to technical test, if you pass this, IRL interview which can include a test too.)

This technical test (second part), can variate quite a lot. In some cases they would ask if I knew what SQL Injection or for that sake XSS is, which I know pretty well and where I had plenty of demo material and knowledge ready at hand, and most of them were pretty easy to me. (Easy is after all, relative.) There was one technical interview, where I was asked a lot about protocols and other things, that I had learned during my education but never used afterward, and that was where I had a hard time, because I can't remember everything I've learned, if I'm not using it at least just once in a while. In this case, I only had a faint idea in some cases where I was afraid of saying the wrong thing. I did pass that interview though, and it went really well when we moved onto the pentesting part.

One question I have been asked a lot, is "how would you conduct a pentest?", it's a rather interesting question, as it shows. Do you actually know how a pentest is done? Or do you know, at least the standard way? (You don't have to learn about the OSSTMM yet, but knowing it exists is a good idea as more and more companies are using it.)

What matters is you shouldn't exaggerate or lie during a technical interview, as the interviewer will know right away in most cases  :) Sometimes you may of course think, you know a lot about a topic, and then the interviewer may have a much deeper understanding, meaning you talk past each other.


In some cases, after the technical interview, I have heard of people getting real tests. Some of those I've heard about were: 1) Analyze (or disassemble) a bot (from a botnet) and hack the C&C server. (In this case it wasn't a bot used for malicious purposes but rather a test where the bot can't spread.)
2) Go to this URL and hack this website, you have 24 hours to do so.
3) Analyze this web application (i.e., review the PHP source code), we're talking about 100'000 lines at least in this case.

And well, I can't remember any others at the moment, but there has been a few.

You may also be subject to background investigations, and in case you're applying for a job in the government, you can expect that you need a security clearance  :)
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Post Tue May 01, 2012 6:11 am

Re: The Path to Hacker Mastery

@MaXe

Thanks for the post        :)

Sorry about the late reply but I was kind of got caught up with work at school.


Insert Quote
About using "Cyber Security Expert" instead of IT-Security Consultant, yes you can do that too, it doesn't sound evil. But don't use the "expert" too much if you're not seen as an expert in your field  (You can of course tell them you're training to become one and eventually will become one.)


  Ok, I will keep it s a future 'title'.

It isn't long before I'm starting at my new job, can't wait  (This time it's infosec and pentesting.)


I can see that pen-testing excites you a lot too. ;D I hope you do well! 

Thanks for the suggestions regarding recruitment.  :)

I plan to become highly skilled and then market myself.

Those tests you mentioned at the end were very interesting but also seemed very difficult.....Are pen-testers asked to perform such tests  regarding web applications? And do you have any idea whether there are any 'challenges' to land a job? Like competitions? I'm really interested in participating in these competitions......:)

Finally, just a few questions regarding my current stand:

1) How far do I have to be familiar with computer hardware and A+ material. I've read about 200 pages of the Kate Chase handbook and I want to know if I should be ready to install a new CPU,motherboard etc. and should have experience assembling a computer and stuff. So, please mention to what extent I should possess knowledge of A+ material (only the hardware part)

2) Have you ever played CTF? It seems to be a lot of fun  :)

Once again thanks for replying and remember to have loads of fun at your new job ;D
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Post Tue May 01, 2012 3:03 pm

Re: The Path to Hacker Mastery

Novice hacker wrote:@MaXe

Thanks for the post         :)

Sorry about the late reply but I was kind of got caught up with work at school.

I plan to become highly skilled and then market myself.

Thanks and no problem, I'm relatively quite busy IRL these days too.

Sounds great that is your plan, as that way you have the highest chance of succeeding in landing a job. But don't be afraid to take other jobs while you hunt for an infosec job.  ;D


Novice hacker wrote:Those tests you mentioned at the end were very interesting but also seemed very difficult.....Are pen-testers asked to perform such tests  regarding web applications? And do you have any idea whether there are any 'challenges' to land a job? Like competitions? I'm really interested in participating in these competitions......:)

Finally, just a few questions regarding my current stand:

1) How far do I have to be familiar with computer hardware and A+ material. I've read about 200 pages of the Kate Chase handbook and I want to know if I should be ready to install a new CPU,motherboard etc. and should have experience assembling a computer and stuff. So, please mention to what extent I should possess knowledge of A+ material (only the hardware part)


Interesting yes. Difficult, that's relatively yes and no (for some it's hard, for some it's easy, but generally I'd say intermediate at least)  :) I could've passed all of those with enough time (I wasn't the person doing them though, but rather it was friends that they were assigned to), but the one about analyzing a web app was harder than expected, even though the person who was doing it, actually did very well.

You could be asked to do such a test, but it isn't always. Most junior pentesters are often nowadays expected to know about web app sec, but it is not a requirement. If your skillset says reverse engineer, I'm sure they would like to give you another task instead.

There are challenges that can help you get a job, but not guarantee one. It's rarely I see a company host these, but there are both the Cyber Security Challenge (one for US and one for UK) and DC3 (US, but hackers from other parts of the world can participate too). Both of them are held yearly.

The first part of the Cyber Security Challenge is generally quite easy, but it is often / mostly just web application security (web app sec), while second part is a CTF.

About 1), it depends on what you want to know. Generally you don't really need to know much about computer hardware, except the difference between CPU's and their instruction sets. But knowing how to assemble a computer is not bad, and it is relatively easy as long as you get the right CPU for the right motherboard socket, and of course cooling paste. Besides that there's the bus-speed, important too, but besides that, along with ram and a graphic card, and of course PSU (Power Supply Unit), there isn't much to know.

So knowing this can be useful, but you won't use it that much in pentesting, besides different CPU's and instruction sets, in case you're building custom shellcode for various types of CPU's or perhaps, reverse engineering some of the hidden features in the CPU's. (Don't read too much about that for now.)

As I've never read A+, I can't honestly say (how much you need to read). But I do know that the people I know, that have read these books that doesn't exist in Scandinavia, usually knows all the basics that makes it a lot easier to conversate about computers, but also to learn the other basics.

The more you know of the basics, the easier it is to learn several other specialized topics. If you know how to make one type of bread, you can more easily learn how to make any type of bread.

Novice hacker wrote:2) Have you ever played CTF? It seems to be a lot of fun  :)

Once again thanks for replying and remember to have loads of fun at your new job ;D


Yes, even though we won because of a penalty I used, while I was awake at the right time, and near the computer at the right moment. You can read more here: http://p6drad-teel.net/~windo/wargame/? ... e&gameid=8

I have however, created a few wargames / CTFs myself:
Info: http://forum.intern0t.org/intern0t-contests/
Videos: http://guides.intern0t.org/

Some wargames / CTFs are hard, but the hardest thing about many "hacker challenges" in my opinion, is that they're unrealistic when they use 'regular expressions' to match user-input against a particular type of attack. (For example let's say you must XSS a target website. <img src="x:x" onerror="alert(0)" /> would work, but in this case, only <script>alert(0)</script> works because a regular expression must be met. This is why I don't do a lot of hacker challenges, as most of those I've looked at, has either nothing to do with real hacking, or are unrealistic  :)

The InterN0T challenges on the other hand, uses both realistic targets, but to make it more fun and challenging, a few random extras has been installed, so it isn't "just another challenge".
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Post Wed May 02, 2012 6:39 am

Re: The Path to Hacker Mastery

@MaXe


But don't be afraid to take other jobs while you hunt for an infosec job. 


How many years of experience do you need in an IT job before you can land an infosec one?

Thanks for the remaining answer and those links too  :)

I'm still improving slowly, but it seems that Web Security turns up everywhere I turn....guess I will have to sharpen my skills on that?

Is it possible to just stick to systems, networks etc?

Or not?

.....
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