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We’re excited to be presenting our Hacking By Numbers Combat course again at Black Hat USA this year. SensePost’s resident German haxor dude Georg-Christian Pranschke will be presenting this year’s course. Combat fits in right at the top of our course offerings. No messing about, this really is the course where your sole aim is to pwn as much of the infrastructure and applications as possible. It is for the security professional looking to hone their skill-set, or to think like those in Unit 61398. There are a few assumptions though:

  • you have an excellent grounding in terms of infrastructure – and application assessments
  • you aren’t scared of tackling systems that aren’t easily owned using Metasploit
  • gaining root is an almost OCD-like obsession
  • there are no basic introductions into linux, shells, pivoting etc.

As we’ve always said, it is quite literally an all-hack, no-talk course. We are not going to dictate what tools or technologies get used by students. We don’t care if you use ruby or perl or python to break something (we do, actually – we don’t like ruby), just as long as it gets broken. The Combat course itself is a series of between 12 and 15 (depending on time) capture the flag type exercises presented over a period of two days. The exercises include infrastructure, reverse engineering and crypto.

These targets come from real life assessments we’ve faced at SensePost, it’s about as real as you can get without having to do the report at the end of it. How it works is that candidates are presented with a specific goal. If the presenter is feeling generous at the time, they may even get a description of the technology. After that, they’ll have time to solve the puzzle. Afterwards, there will be a discussion about the failings, takeaways and alternate approaches adopted by the class. The latter is normally fascinating as (as anybody in the industry knows), there are virtually a limitless number of different ways to solve specific problems. This means that even the instructor gets to learn a couple of new tricks (we also have prizes for those who teach them enough new tricks).

In 2012, Combat underwent a massive rework and we presented a virtually new course which went down excellently. We’re aiming to do the same this year, and to make it the best Combat course ever. So if you’re interested in spending two days’ worth of intense thinking solving some fairly unique puzzles and shelling boxen, join us for HBN Combat at BlackHat USA.