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RE: What is being a pen tester really like?
From: "Arian J. Evans" <arian.evans () anachronic com>
Date: Tue, 1 Aug 2006 14:57:57 -0500

Was this post a successful troll, or is the level of
technical competence in the pen-testing space so
commoditized that "nor does it require deep technical
skill" == 2006 pen testing?

Wow.

I struggle regularly to explain the difference between
a "vulnerability assessment" and a pen test, due to the
fact that too many folks pimp pen test offerings that
are just automated VA with a personal touch, like Paul
described. That, however, is the problem, not the answer.

It is not pen-testing if there is no penetration.

</charlatan>

Forgive me, mom, for that sentence,

-ae 

-----Original Message-----
From: Paul Melson [mailto:pmelson () gmail com] 
Sent: Friday, July 28, 2006 2:28 PM
To: rahul.joshi2 () googlemail com
Cc: pen-test () securityfocus com
Subject: RE: What is being a pen tester really like?

-----Original Message-----
Subject: What is being a pen tester really like?

rahul.joshi2 () googlemail com wrote:

I am currently a Java developer but I'm seriously thinking 
of changing
paths to 
a career in security and pen testing. 

What I would like to know is what is being a pen tester really like?

Despite what you may have heard, being a successful 
pen-tester (meaning, you
get hired and make a living at it) is not very hard, nor does 
it require a
lot of very deep technical skill.  What it really requires is 
good verbal
and written communication skills, the ability to work well 
with clients, and
the ability to explain security (even inaccurately) in terms 
of business
value.  Do those things, and you can be successful.

The dirty truth about pen testers is that most of them have a 
handful of
tools and scripts (like Nessus and Retina) and run them with the same
configs against every customer and have the same canned 
recommendations
based on the results that their tools spit out.  Hell, most 
vuln scanners
spit out their own remediation recommendations for the pen 
tester to simply
hand over to their customers.  Additionally, for a pen test 
to have the
appearance of being successful, it only needs to find some of the
vulnerabilities present on a network or in an application.  
Unlike being a
network engineer or an sysadmin where your work has to stand 
up to the 24/7
scrutiny of a live environment, being a pen tester means only 
needing to be
right more often than you're wrong.  

Not to take away from the skills or experience of any 
individual pen testers
out there.  There are some Mario Andretti's out there driving 
school busses,
if I may.  


PaulM



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