Monday, 26 July 2010

Infosec Institute Advanced Ethical Hacking

A while ago I made a post about Infosec Institute's 10 Day Penetration Testing Course . I had some not so great things to say about the first half of the course. I think, in retrospect, the first week would be good for someone just starting out in the field to get their feet wet. There are some things I definitely think I would change, to bring it more in line with that concept, but it's hard for me to judge since I was already outside of that target audience. I have finally had the time to delve into the second week of the training course. This portion of the course focuses on the real meat and potatoes of penetration testing and exploiting. There is still some tool-centric material at the beginning, but the course jumps pretty quickly into the good stuff. It starts covering program memory structure, and how buffer overflows really work. Pretty soon you find yourself writing basic shellcode, and doing memory analysis to perform true exploits.

There are ties back to tools, but mostly in how they can make your life easier. Everything this part f the course covers is done manually before they show you how to use a tool. In my opinion, this is exactly what they should be doing. I do not have an assembly background so some of this is valuable information I have been missing so far. From buffer overflows it moves on to format strings and heap overflows. There are sections on on fuzzing, fault injection and more that I have not gotten to yet. I hope to be finishing up the course in the next few days.

There are some benefits to the online version of this course, such as being able to set your own pace. That being said, I think this particular course would be worth paying the extra money for the classroom experience. These are much more complicated topics than the first week, and if you don't already have experience in assembly and memory structure you may find yourself wanting to ask questions that you will have to answer all on your own. There is nothing wrong with this, of course, but I personally prefer active discussion to simply reading things online.

All in all, my impression of the second half of this training is very different from the first. Anyone who has experience with penetration testing, but wants to delve into the real heart of the subject should take a course like this.

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