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Becoming a Pentester

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Sam Kennedy

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Post Sun Jun 17, 2012 2:19 pm

Becoming a Pentester

I still have a couple of years to decide, but right now I'm thinking about a job as a pentester.

I live in the UK, so was hoping for advice specific to jobs in this country.

What path do I need to follow in order to get a job? Which qualifications will I need (The OSCP and OSCE courses look particularly interesting), which courses should I think of taking at University?

I've looked at the ethical hacking course at my local uni, but it seems more like a computer science course with a couple of security modules thrown in, I doubt it would teach anyone to actually hack, I'll do a bit more research but it looks pretty weak.

Is there any way to get experience now? Such as voluntary work etc.?

Thank You :)
-Sam Kennedy
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UNIX

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Post Sun Jun 17, 2012 2:51 pm

Re: Becoming a Pentester

If you are located in the UK, you should take a look at CREST, CHECK and Tiger Scheme.

To get your hands dirty, you could play around with some premade vulnerable images, such as DVL, De-ICE, DVWA, WebGoat, Metasploitable, etc.

To which university are you referring to?
Is there a specific field in IT security that you are interested in?
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Sam Kennedy

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Post Sun Jun 17, 2012 3:49 pm

Re: Becoming a Pentester

I've used Metasploitable and WebGoat, but I haven't used any of the others, looks like I will be very busy, thank you :)

I was referring to Northumbria University, however I will partly retract my previous statement, it looks like it will build a good foundation, but it doesn't look like it would prepare someone for hacking a real network.

I'm not sure on a specific field, I've lately enjoyed playing around with buffer overflows, and written a generic return address brute force tool. I found it really interesting, however I don't know which field this would be included in.

I also enjoy the whole process of penetration testing, from gathering information through to exploitation and covering tracks.

How does the metasploitable server compare to real world targets? It seemed way too easy, which do you think would give the best feel for testing the security of a real company?

Thank You :)
-Sam
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UNIX

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Post Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:04 am

Re: Becoming a Pentester

Sam Kennedy wrote:I was referring to Northumbria University, however I will partly retract my previous statement, it looks like it will build a good foundation, but it doesn't look like it would prepare someone for hacking a real network.


I'd just concentrate on the basics and concepts - attacking a target will be much easier then and feels more natural. If one understands the very basics, understanding attack vectors on top of it shouldn't be much of a problem. :)

Sam Kennedy wrote:How does the metasploitable server compare to real world targets? It seemed way too easy, which do you think would give the best feel for testing the security of a real company?


I haven't played around with Metasploitable 2, but personally I don't think that any premade vulnerable image can mimic a real target/network/infrastructure 100%. As you said, they are usually rather easy to root and aim to demonstrate specific attack vectors. Of course you will find in real pentests low-hanging fruits as well or can use a single exploit to do a mass pwnage, but often it's much more complicated or needs multiple stages of exploitation in order to get to your desired data.

If you meet the requirements you will most probably enjoy the labs from Offensive Security.
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Sam Kennedy

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Post Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:25 pm

Re: Becoming a Pentester

I didn't see a list of requirements on the website (I have seen them posted somewhere though)

Looking at the syllabus, I'm comfortable with the majority of the content, I don't think I would have any problems with the course (other than paying for it haha)

My exams will be over shortly, I will see if I could get any IT/network related jobs over the summer just to get experience.
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UNIX

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Post Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:38 pm

Re: Becoming a Pentester

I was just referring to this:

Penetration Testing with BackTrack is an entry-level course but still requires students to have certain knowledge prior to attending the class. A solid understanding of TCP/IP, networking, and reasonable Linux skills are required. This course is not for the faint of heart; it requires practice, testing, and the ability to want to learn in a manner that will grow your career in the information security field and defeat any learning plateau.
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Sam Kennedy

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Post Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:52 pm

Re: Becoming a Pentester

Oh Yeah, I guess I meet those requirements. I'm definitely going to give this a go even if I don't end up with an information security related job, from what I've read it sounds really fun!
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smokey

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Post Sun Jul 29, 2012 1:23 pm

Re: Becoming a Pentester

I also am hoping to get a job as a pen tester one day. I'm majoring in computer science at the local university. I'm still taking my core requirements, not into the actual cs stuff just yet, although I will be taking 1 class this fall on sql programming. I'm just reading books at home and I have set up an old computer and am running it as a server and trying out things on it that I'm learning from my books. Right now I'm reading "The Basics of Hacking and Pen Testing" by Pat Engebretson. I also have Ninja Hacking which I haven't gotten started in yet. I hope to teach myself a bit of the security stuff as I go through college since they don't offer a security major here. Then after I finish my bachelors I may enroll somewhere and work on getting my masters in security. I'm just working with what's available to me, so hopefully, I'll be able to make it all work out for me. Good luck to you Sam Kennedy in your journey to becoming a pen tester! I hope you are successful!
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Post Tue Jul 31, 2012 3:27 am

Re: Becoming a Pentester

Hi Sam,

I know a few that went through the Northumbria Uni course (unfortunately I graduated before this course was available), some mixed opinions, but it should provide a good foundation. If you're staying local to the NE, let me know and I can make some introductions/suggestions to the local IT scene if of interest.

Degree aside, I'd definitely take a look at the OSCP course as it provides a good technical foundation across most common tools and attack vectors. After that, the TigerScheme QSTM can build on the basics, whilst providing an accreditation which is valued by employers/clients within the UK market.

Good look going forwards.
Andrew
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Jamie.R

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Post Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:09 am

Re: Becoming a Pentester

Hi Sam,

I would say do a course in security if you can there are a lot of places that offer good security course in the UK.

I would also try get involved and make contact by attending events in the UK if you can afford it go to 44con.

CREST adn TIGER  are the main cert you want to get in the UK but they come in at pretty price I think to get team member for Tiger its about 2k.

There are lots cool website that contain free information and lots of security groups. If you dont have one already build your own lab to pratice any skills you gain.

Hope this helps......
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