Tactical Exploitation

Val Smith, Attack Research

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USA 2011 Weekday Training Session //August 1-2


Penetration testing often focuses on individual vulnerabilities and services, but the quickest ways to exploit are often hands on and brute force. This two-day course introduces a tactical approach that does not rely on exploiting known vulnerabilities. Using a combination of new tools and lesser-known techniques, attendees will learn how hackers compromise systems without depending on standard exploits. The class alternates between lectures and hands-on testing, providing attendees with an opportunity to try the techniques discussed. A virtual target network will be provided, along with all of the software needed to participate in the labs.

In the first half of the course, attendees will investigate a wide variety of information gathering and footprinting techniques, many of which are critical to a successful penetration test. The Metasploit Framework will be used as a development platform for building custom discovery tools.

In the second half of the course, the focus will shift from information discovery to information exploitation. Attendees will learn how to compromise common operating systems, and once in, how to gain access to the rest of the network.

This course is well-suited to penetration testers of any skill level and all security professionals who have a basic grasp of networking and software exploits. This course differs from a typical ethical hacking program in that the focus is on techniques that are not affected by patch levels. A portion of the class will be dedicated to building new tools, on the fly, to solve the challenges posed by a difficult penetration test.

What to bring:

Students should bring a laptop capable of running the Metasploit framework.

Students should be familiar with Windows and at least one Unix-like environment (OS X, Linux, Solaris, etc).

Students should have a general understanding of scripting languages such as Perl, Python, and Ruby.

Students should be comfortable with a variety of common networking tasks, such as assigning an IP address and troubleshooting connectivity.


Experience with Metasploit Framework

Experience with network sniffers, such as Wireshark

Experience programming in the Ruby language

Experience with low-level IP networking tools (hping, nmap, etc)


Val Smith has been involved in the computer security community and industry for over ten years. He currently works as a professional security researcher on a variety of problems in the security community. He specializes in penetration testing (over 40,000 machines assessed), reverse engineering and malware research. He works on the Metasploit Project development team as well as other vulnerability development efforts. Most recently Val Smith founded Attack Research which is devoted to deep understanding of the mechanics of computer attack. Previously Val Smith founded Offensive Computing, a public, open source malware research project.

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