Re: Aspiring Pen-Tester Seeking Advice

hello rajat,

Frankly even i was in ur groove when i started me.. this
and many mailing list have seen a flood of my questions..and people
got so bored answering.. pheww.....

but let me give u a little tip.... 1) the people who reply to u in
this mailin list are pretty much take thier word for
2) U need a really broad idea of the big picture.... i mean.. hacker's
mindset is a good place to start....but as u go up...(in a 1st or 2nd
pen-test)..u must be able to switch between a hacker's and a
Management's and a sysadmin's Mindset... its easier said than
3) technical knowledge of CONCEPTS and the tip above (2) is very very
important especially when u write a high quality pen-testing report.(
its the report that counts and makes the difference between the money
they spend on u and money they spend on burgers)

4)tools are good... for starters tools are god-like...... dont
worry... with experience u will become a tool-independent pen-tester.

5)the holy grail of hacking is getting "root"...but holy grail of
pen-testing is ANALYSING the 'HOW' of getting root. Also we need to
give cure


On 8/10/07, rajat swarup <rajats@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
On 8/8/07, Ryan <phaleproof@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Hello all - long-time lurker, first-time poster,

I'm about 2 quarters away from finishing my education (majoring in
network security and systems administration), and I'm currently
interning at a company, doing monitoring IDS and SOX compliance.

I've always been interested in security, and now that I've got some
spare time I would really like to start getting prepared for a potential
position doing penetration testing.

My school offers a few courses in security, however I've always been of
the mind-set that it's better to explore it yourself than try to have
someone teach it to you.

That being said, I was wondering if anyone would be kind enough to give
a novice some helpful pointers on how to get started.

I've downloaded VMware and I've got a Windows XP, Ubuntu, and shortly a
Fedora Core 7 VM - I also plan on downloaded Windows Server 2003 with my
MSDNAA license. I've downloaded a copy of BackTrack2 and I'm in the
process of trying to turn that into a VM as well.

I installed nmap on both systems, as well as nessus, and soon
metasploit. I've played around with the former a little bit at work (I
must say, it's the most amazing tool I've used - not that I have much

I'm really interested in getting into the 'hacker' mindset and walking
through the steps they use to find, conduct, and cover-up their attacks.
Surely, it's not all point and chick, and I'm having a little difficulty
getting into the groove.

I was also hoping the more experienced users might suggest a few tools
to check out first (I've already bookmarked the list but
there is just so many).

Additionally, can anyone suggest a bunch of good books to read
pertaining to penetration testing? Someone recommended Counter-Hack, and
another person said Hacking Exposed, as well as a few others.

All that being said, are there some limitations of VM that I should be
aware of when conducting my research? I would be very interested in
seeing if there's a way to get router and network-like functionality
from a VM since it would seem like currently VMware is essentially
acting like a hub and a lot of the attacks (ARP spoofing, etc) don't
seem possible the way I've currently got it implemented.

I know there is a "Basics" mailing list, however since I am interested
specifically in pen testing, I figured it was probably more appropriate
to post to this list. If I am incorrect, then I apologize. If not, then
thanks in advance for tolerating my noobiness and for helping out an
aspiring pen-tester!

Best Regards,

i liked reading when I started off.
also check out

Rajat Swarup

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