Recent Articles

Course Review: Offensive Security AWE (Advanced Windows Exploitation)

| February 21, 2014 | 3 Comments

Offensive Security AWE - Logo BoxIn terms of training, Offensive Security is best known for their Pentesting with BackTrack/Kali (PWK) and Cracking the Perimeter (CTP) courses. While PWK and CTP have reputations for being intense, grueling courses that require months of sacrifice and dedication, the word “Advanced” is conspicuously absent from their titles. This fact alone should emphasize where Offensive Security AWE falls in relation to these other courses.

After registering for the course, the student must complete a reversing challenge to ensure he or she has a basic understanding of the foundation concepts that are required to digest the course content. The material in the course is far more advanced than the challenge, and successfully completing the challenge is no guarantee that the student is fully prepared for the course. However, if the student is unable to complete this challenge, or has extreme difficulty with it, there is a significant gap in requisite knowledge, and it is recommended to pursue the course at a later date after additional preparation. Did I mention “Advanced?”

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Book Review: The Basics of Hacking and Penetration Testing 2nd Edition

| December 19, 2013 | 0 Comments

The Basics of Hacking and Penetration Testing, 2nd Edition, Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing Made Easy” by Patrick Engebretson covers the essentials.  The introduction should not be skipped, because, first and foremost, it conveys that the book is intended for people that are new to pentesting and the hacking scene.  It also gives a generic overview of a lot of tools in the book that “might” strongly come in handy even to those not so new to the industry.  Additionally, he covers what is needed to follow along in the book, which transforms this work from being just a book into more of a “hands-on” reference guide.

The title by Syngress Publishing is divided into chapters that define each part of the standard methodology that should be used in every pentest.  This is important because every good security professional knows that having a methodology or plan of action is the key to making sure that the pentest is successful every time.  The “methodology” is covered in the meat of the book which includes Chapters 2 through 7.  Most pentesting books have a “What is Pentesting” chapter, so naturally Chapter 1 starts here.  The book ends in a great way, because the author covers the most important part of a penetration testing: the report. Now that it is known that the author covers the requisite topics, let’s see how he handles the details of delivering this message.

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Using Cold Boot Attacks and Other Forensic Techniques in Penetration Tests

| December 14, 2013 | 2 Comments

Using Cold Boot Attacks and Other Forensic Techniques in Penetration Tests - Frozen RAMIt’s a Thursday evening, and happy hour begins in a few minutes.  You’re ready to get out of the office, as quickly as possible.  You’ve been working on a report, and you know you still have work to do in the morning.  So you lock your machine.  It’s safe enough, right?  You’ve got a strong password and full disk encryption.  Ophcrack or a bootable Linux distro like Kali won’t work.  You’d think you’d be fine, but you’d be wrong. More and more, attackers are using blended attacks to get the good stuff, and that includes utilizing the latest in forensic techniques.

There is a single section of your computer full of unencrypted sensitive information any attacker would love to get their hands on: your active memory.  The system stores all manner of valuable information in memory for easy reference.  Full disk encryption mechanisms must store encryption keys within memory somewhere.  The same is true for Wi-Fi encryption keys.  Windows keeps the registry hives in memory, and consequently the System and SAM hives.  Most clipboards are stored within memory.  Many applications keep passwords within memory.  The point is, memory houses much of the valuable information that the system needs at a moment’s notice.  Getting to it requires using some of the same forensics techniques employed by attackers.  This article helps add some of those techniques to your pentesting toolkit.

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Course Review: SANS SEC 760 Advanced Exploit Development for Penetration Testers

| November 27, 2013 | 1 Comment

Course Review: SANS SEC 760 - SANS LogoPenetration testing is a multi-staged process by which an authorized consultant tests information systems and software for security vulnerabilities, and in turn demonstrates how they can be exploited. Penetration testing has become more and more challenging as vendors, developers and administrators become more aware of the threats and vulnerabilities to their information systems and software. As such, penetration testers have to stay abreast of the cutting-edge techniques used to compromise even the most modern information systems and associated mitigations. In this light, SANS Institute has developed their most technically intense course, SANS SEC 760 Advanced Exploit Development for Penetration Testers.

SANS SEC 760 Advanced Exploit Development for Penetration Testers is a six-day course that teaches the advanced techniques that are needed to compromise modern information systems.  The course description states that, “Few security professionals have the skillset to discover let alone even understand at a fundamental level why the vulnerability exists and how to write an exploit to compromise it.” Therefore, topics such as threat modeling, IDA Pro, Heap Overflows, Return Oriented Shellcode, and Binary Diffing are just a few of the topics that are covered extensively.  This article provides a day-to-day review of the live, in-person course which also happens to be taught by the courseware developer himself, Stephen Sims.

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Reverse Engineering 101 – Newbie Contest and Webcast with eLearnSecurity

| November 15, 2013 | 15 Comments

Reverse Engineering 101 - Newbie Contest and Webcast with eLearnSecurity - eLS ARES LogoDetails on the new training course from eLearnSecurity is out! There’s been some buzz about the new eLS course and what it could possibly be. As the above title indicates, one of the premier online training organizations is getting into RE. If you are interested in Software Reverse Engineering, either driven by curiosity or by the dream to become a professional in this subject, then the Advanced Reverse Engineering of Software (ARES) course is just what you need to get all the theoretical and practical knowledge to start your journey into the world of RE. And it starts right here with Reverse Engineering 101.

It’s been a while since we’ve had a webcast or a hacking contest, so why not combine them into one big EH-Net Special Event? And to get your Holiday Season rolling in proper EH-Net fashion, we’re also able to offer 5% Off with Coupon Code: EH-Net-5-eLS, even before the official launch date of Nov 26. So go reserve your seat now.

So here’s what we’ve cooked up for all of you EH-Netters out there. Just like you, eLS is also driven by passion, so they prepared a small challenge for their future students. Below is an executable just begging to be broken. You’ll have until Monday Dec 9 to break it. If you do, you’ll be entered into a pool of candidates where one of you will win the entire ARES course + Certification Exam for free! Then stay tuned for a future article with a full write-up as well as a video containing an Intro to RE, the solution to the challenge and the announcement of the winner. Good Luck.

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Book Review: The Basics of Web Hacking

| October 10, 2013 | 0 Comments


The Basics of Web Hacking: Tools and Techniques to Attack the Web
by Josh Pauli was recently released by Syngress Publishing in July of 2013. Dr. Pauli’s resume includes several academic journals, but this appears to be his first published book. But, do not be dissuaded. As you might expect, this first work shows the love of an eager first-time author who has an obvious passion about the subject matter. Dr. Pauli gives a nod to other topical works in the area of web application penetration testing and offers gracious thanks to his influences in the security community.

In the introduction Dr. Pauli is quick to explain the niche that his contribution to the topic fills within the available body of knowledge. He states that the intent of this book is to provide the fundamentals of web hacking for people who have no previous knowledge of web hacking, and that this book might act as an introduction that prepares people to consume some of the more thorough and advanced books on the subject. Keep reading after the break to see if he succeeded.

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Hack First, Policy Second – A Mobile Device Story

| August 30, 2013 | 1 Comment

Hack First, Policy Second - Apple Hack with a CleaverLike many of you I was extremely excited when my organization started allowing purchases of iPhones and Android devices.  With the entire buzz around “the consumerization of IT” and “Bring Your Own Device (BYOD),” it wasn’t long before these devices started becoming a necessity for business rather than simply the coolest new gadget.  Syncing my email and calendar was a great first start, although I have to admit the electronic leash has become quite long in the past few years.  When I was able to make travel reservations, submit expense reports, attend internal web conferences, review Statements of Work (SoW) and presentations all without opening my laptop, I became a huge fan. Policy never came to mind much less a hack first mentality.

If you’ve read any of my previous articles, then you will realize I come from a hacking background first and foremost.  Therefore, when I began to delve into mobile security, I didn’t start with learning best practices or how to develop secure mobile applications.  And a corporate policy was definitely the last thing on my mind. I simply wanted to start breaking things.  However, as it wouldn’t do to brick a corporate device, I explored the possibility of purchasing an iPhone/iPad/iPod without a data plan to use as a hardware testing platform.  This was not only a stroke of genius for learning mobile application security, but it led to this article.  So let’s look at a practical business decision, but, from the get-go, approach it as a hacking exercise.

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Course Review: eLearnSecurity Web Application Penetration Testing (WAPT)

| August 23, 2013 | 5 Comments

eLearnSecurity Web Application Penetration Testing Review - Course LogoAs security testers and ethical hackers, we are all looking for a better and more efficient way to infiltrate our clients’ target networks. For some time now, breaching an organization from the external-facing network has been much more difficult, as security has been more tightly controlled. Next Generation Firewalls (NGFW), Intrusion Detection/Prevention Systems (IDP/IPS), Demilitarized Zones (DMZ), and other implementations of layered security have become increasingly prevalent in security conscious organizations. As the defense has adapted, so has the offense. Both the good and the bad guys alike have turned more attention towards attacking weak web applications and are finding that these websites are the gateways into the network of the target organization. To keep up with this trend and to provide the required knowledge and skills to those responsible for testing web security, new courses have arisen with a focus on web applications. Enter eLearnSecurity Web Application Penetration Testing (WAPT), a new course by the provider of online security training.

EH-Net Exclusive 10% discount with code: WAPT-10P3M
Expires August 31st 11.59 PM PST

Most high profile attacks in the news these days happened because not only is web and cloud usage skyrocketing, but it has also become the low hanging fruit in many organizations. Web vulnerabilities may lead to information disclosure, session hijacking, stolen sensitive information, and even system compromise. Is your organization ready to handle these types of attacks? Do you have newer employees that need to get up to speed with their co-workers? Are you a seasoned professional looking to keep up with the latest attack trends? Stick with us after the break as we take an extensive look into the latest online course and certification for web application security.

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