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OSCP And Me!

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January 1, 2016

Hey everyone, this is my first time posting on the forum. I am a mid level computer scientist that works with software testing in high assurance systems and have also recently been appointed to run a cyber security lab for our blue team. I was given several options to do for training (CISSP, CISM, GSLC) etc for my level 3 cert but I pushed for something I could use and was able to get approval for OSCP. I start on July 16 so my question is this...I am a little rusty on Linux in general and watching through the Kali classes on here as well as the linux + so I am hoping that will help. It has also mentioned using python, perl etc and I think I am going with python and starting to focus on that just because cybrary has it and I really enjoy the stuff on here. So any tips, reading material etc would be greatly appreciated. Being married with 4 kids I told my wife the next 6 months will be a tough one for me. Good luck with PWK, you're going to enjoy it, even though it's a challenge. Here are my thoughts after taking it (got my OSCP in 2015): For reading or just having as a reference, I would recommend Georgia Weidman's book, the Red Team Field Manual, the Nmap Reference Guide (online) or the Nmap Network Scanning Guide book. Look up some of the tutorials on Fuzzy Security (especially the Windows Privilege Escalation Fundamentals one). For Basic Linux Privilege Escalation, g0tmi1k's blog post is really good. Read the OffSec forums, even though there may not be a lot of overt hints there. Participate, or at least monitor the IRC channel. I would recommend going through all of the course material first then jump into the labs. I didn't do that, I tried to do both at the same time and that made me miss some things, confuse myself, etc. Keep very good notes while you're going through the material and lab machines. If you think you might need it, or need to reference it, write it down. Do not wait until after the course and exam to write your lab report. What I found very helpful to me was to work on the labs during the evening/night, then when I had down time at work the next day I'd go back through my notes and write up that portion of the report. That helped keep the information fresh, helped me continue my research, and meant I didn't have to kill myself getting my report completed when I was cramming for my exam or trying to get my exam report done. I went a bit overboard in my lab report, but I don't think that was a bad thing. Finally: enumerate, enumerate, enumerate, enumerate, and enumerate again....rinse/repeat. When it comes time to the exam, that might be a good time to have the wife and kids go visit relatives out of state (I'm only partially kidding...). When I took my exam I scheduled it to start on a Saturday morning (9AM local I believe) that way I didn't have to take any time off of work and that gave me all day Sunday (well, kind of, I had to stop working on my exam at 4AM Sunday morning because I couldn't stay awake any longer...) to write the exam report without any interruptions. During the exam, take breaks, go for a walk, clear your head, stay hydrated, etc. If you are signing up for the pen testing course let me tell you one important thing I learned from a friend. I have not taken this test but my friend did. 1. You are not allowed to use metasploit for the exam portion. I mean you can try but you will need to write your own exploits or use other tools to root the machines on the exam That's not quite correct. Based on the exam documentation you are allowed to use Metasploit on only one machine (of your choosing) during the exam. That being said, do not get to the point where you rely upon Metasploit. It's a good tool to learn and use, but don't use it as a crutch, and don't make it your focus. Otherwise, yes, it is up to you to do the research to figure out how to exploit the machines by other means. Don't let the "write your own exploits" scare you off. There could very well be some modifications that will need to be made to existing exploits to get them to work in the lab and/or exam, but developing an exploit from scratch is somewhat outside of the scope of PWK...I think they save that for the follow on courses (like the CTP, etc). Do you feel that any type of programming language is more beneficial over another? This is all fairly new but I am educated enough to figure out and fight my way through anything. I am really excited and have no issues w/ digging deep and pushing through it. For the OSCP, no, I do not necessarily feel that any type of programming language is more beneficial over another. The skill that I feel is really needed is the ability to read code (regardless of language) and figure out or understand what is going on in it. It's helpful to be able to do some code modification should you find an existing exploit and need to tweak it, but that is pretty straight forward to research the appropriate syntax. That being said, they will walk you through some basic Linux shell scripting. This is a skill that can be handy should you want to automate some things on your own during the course. Also, with the prevalence of Python these days, that might not be a bad language to look into. Later, if you want to move out of the scripting languages, and don't have a deep programming background, I would recommend starting with C to learn the fundamentals of structured programming then move on to C++ in order to learn Object Oriented Programming. Though from what I'm learning with Python, there's a fair amount of basic structure there. Others may disagree with this approach, but that's what worked for me. Article to read: Thanks everyone, Mijke that article was really good. I am using it to study up and get as much under my belt int he next two weeks before the course starts. @trebin are you still working on this? I'd love to hear your progress input thus far. @Trebin Sorry for being late to the party. When you say "Level 3" Cert, are you referring to the DOD 8570/8140 IT/Cyber Security Workforce system? As I type this OSCP is not on the list of valid security certs (like the ones you mentioned). On the other hand, I am prepping to take the OSCP and the OffSec website makes the test syllabus available--I'm using that as a guide to study. -Derek Yeah, I am actually about a month or a little over a month in to it now. I have made it to the end of the Active Information gathering stage. I have to admit that this is a hard class but I have learned a ton already. Before I started I didn't remember/know much about bash scripting and linux commands but I sure do now. I need to brush up on python to help make things run a bit easier but I am excited to finish this module and move on to the next one.
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