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Re: All of the things you need to learn to be a pen-tester (Re: Pen t est basic needs)
From: Bernhard Mueller <research () sec-consult com>
Date: Thu, 04 Aug 2005 10:27:52 +0200

Daniel Miessler wrote:

Being a good cracker is about patience, knowledge, intuition, 
knowledge, experience,
knowledge and most importantly, all of the above.

Amen, brother.

FYI, FOUR semesters of Graduate Level network infrastructure,  network
and "information warfare" classes didn't come close to covering all 
of this

I would not put too much emphasis on "knowledge". I mean, there's so
much stuff around that you can't just be an expert in everything.
practically, we face new and different hard- and software combinations
with every test.
IMHO what makes a good pentester is creativity and the skill to look at
things in the right way, i.e. the "cracker" way.
for example, even a non-guru-java-programmer can be able to spot any
vulnerability in a java application when doing a code review, if he has
a good understanding of programming languages and knows what to look for.
Personally, I don't give much on any "hacking classes" or "hacker
certificates". My approach to "becoming a cracker" is the following:

1) find a task i want to solve (pentest, idea for a new tool/
vulnerability research, etc..)
2) gather all information needed in books, google and newsgroups
3) solve the task

Certainly, as a pentester you need a profound basic knowledge of
networking protocols, OSes, programming etc. But the learning process
will never stop, and you can never ever know every detail of everything.
When conducting a pentest, i think creativity and intuition is most
important. it's just not enough to rely on reports from automatic
security scanners. i'm relatively new to this business, yet my
experience has shown that 90% of all networks can be compromised even if
nessus reports no critical vulnerabilites. specific things may be not be
a flaw in one context but can be important in another one.
IMHO, a pentester must have the ability to recognize any vulnerability
if he sees one, and to creatively conduct custom attacks tailored to the
system he is working with.
the only way to learn this skill of "seeing things from an attacker
perspective" is to practice cracking systems, where "systems" includes
any OS/application/protocol/bla available.



~  DI (FH) Bernhard Mueller
~  IT Security Consultant

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