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Re: Pen Testing for investigators
From: Security Professional <redteamer () gmail com>
Date: Tue, 20 Sep 2005 08:31:56 -0400

    I changed the subject in my response because to be honest, I don't
think investigators, law enforcement officers, and the like need to
focus as much on pen testing, as they do with forensic analysis
(hardware and network), Intrusion analysis, law, etc.
    Traditionally, pen testing is left to a whole other group.  That
being said, it is still somewhat understandable that you would still
want to provide an overview of pen testing to broaden horizons.
    So, here is my opinion on a few courses and classes (most of which
I have taken and recommend):
1) Intrusion Detection Training and Packet Analysis - This to me is
one of the most important pieces of training if you are in the field
of incident handling or intrusion detection.    To me, there is one
class which stands up above the rest and that is the SANS Track 3
course.  Now, opinions aside on what they have done recently with the
certification (GCIA) requirements, this class is one of the most
intense courses I have gone through.  The amount of packet level
analysis and IDS analysis that you do will make your head hurt.  I
highly recommend this class to everyone I meet.
2) Forensic Analysis (Hardware) - Since we are mostly an Encase shop,
I can only speak about Encase training.  I do know that SANS also
offers a Forensics course (I think it is Track 8), but I have not been
so I cannot speak on that one.  That being said, I would go to
whatever vendor you decide to use for software, and ask them for
training.  This is probably your best best for understanding the
software that your guys will be using in the field.  Sorry, not a lot
of help here on this one.
3) Malcode analysis - I don't know if you guys will be getting into
this, but if you are, there are two options I would suggest here.  One
is a SANS certification called GREM (
http://www.giac.org/certifications/security/grem.php).  A few of my
colleagues have gotten this certification and it seems to have helped
them a great deal.  Also, if you are looking for a cheaper alternative
to this, you can do what many of us have done and train yourself. 
Quite honestly, the best way I feel to learn how different malcode
works / operates is to play with it yourself.  Get yourself a copy of
regmon, filemon, Tripwire, etc., and set up a little test LAN with a
router and simulate a normal network environment.  Run the code,
analyze the packets, look at what registry settings are changed, see
what files are created, changed, or accessed, and you will be well on
your way.  Please keep in mind that this is a very technically
oriented job duty and is not for the everyday Joe just wanting to
4) Pen Testing - This is what your original question was asking for,
but as I stated earlier, I don't know if you really understand what
you were asking (please take no offense...this is just my opinion). 
Pen Testing and classes that supposedly teach it have become all the
rage lately and quite frankly, I have yet to see a class that truly
teaches someone how to be a Pen Tester.  That being said, there are a
few courses out there that will allow your guys to get their feet wet
and get a base knowledge if that is what you are looking for.  The
best Intro course I have attended to date was the CEH class (Certified
Ethical Hacker).  This class does not delve deep into the advanced
techniques, but does provide a broad sweep and understanding into how
a Pen Test is performed and the every day tools used in the process. 
Also, I recently attended NSA's IAM and IEM courses which in my
opinion, give a nice overall view on a methodology to use when doing
an evaluation.  Also, ISECOM offers two classes based on the OSTMM
that teach a somewhat different methodology.
Again, please keep in mind that it is somewhat not the norm when you
use the words Law Enforcement Officer, Forensics Analyst, and Pen
Tester in the same sentence.  These are usually three, at the least
two, completely separate job functions that are performed within an
organization.  I have yet to stumble across an employer who wants
their badge waivers to also be Pen Testers, Intrusion Analysts, and
Forensics Analysts at the same time (at least in the Govt. side of
I hope this helps you out a bit.  Everyone has their own opinions on
all these courses and subject matter, so please take this as an
OPINION and nothing more.  In no way am I saying that this is the path
you should follow.  Take care.
- Brian Bartholomew

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