Forum Thread: How Do You Know Your Skills

White hack hackers do not infiltrate real systems unless performing penetration tests. However, since real world hacking is illegal and they don't participate in this, how do they know their skills are up to snuff if they aren't penetration testers? Have most of them even hacked anything? And how can they possibly, legally learn these skills when real world experience is illegal? How can they know if they are skilled? How can they become penetration testers?

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2 Responses

They can set up their own servers or computers to hack, primarily through Virtual Box or Virtual Machine.

However a majority of "cybersecurity" engineers lack any experience hacking, hence why security jobs are hot.

As for your other questions, I'm not sure how to answer them. A majority of "white hats" are not as skilled as they should be, but technology is always advancing and so they have to continuously learn new things.

Problem solving capabilities is key.

Developing that and coupling it with your technical knowledge is the best way to go about it. It's been said before by myself, OTW, and many others; problem solving is a critical skill to have for hacking.

Labs are a good option to test your hacking, as well as bug bounties to develop your zero day exploit finding skills, et cetera.

There are many ways to develop yourself that isn't just "hack this and you get better" and in fact, sometimes that isn't even the best way.

The worst thing to happen in a lesson, is for you to have no problems to solve. What if, for instance, you hack a website and it goes off without a hitch? You've not gotten better, you've learnt nothing.

The reason a lot of security professionals are maybe not as good as they'd like to be, is because their only experience, the only way they've dealt with security is defensively. However, learning how your opponents will attack you is critical. It's just like warfare, know your enemy. Having this knowledge will have you much better equipped to defend against attacks because you know what their next steps are likely to be, therefore, you can stay a step ahead.

This is why we're all here, this is what I try to explain to everyone. We can give you all the answers, and that's all well and good, but you learn very little that way. Learn to solve the problems you're faced with, and you're then that much better equipped to deal with future problems.


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