Sans Retraining

Just spreading the word!

This is a fantastic opportunity.

For anyone wanting to get into security and is able to pass the assessments needed to qualify, this will give you a good grounding and set you on the path of a fun career.

I very much enjoy working in security, so much to constantly learn, but this is what makes the whole experience fun.

Sans 503 Certified!

In what feels like a long time coming I passed the sans 503 exam today.  One thing I learned is that my index could have been better.  How I set it up and thought would help me, was not really the case.  I started off really well, being able to find and rely upon my index to help me out in the area’s I needed to check my books, just to confirm my answers.  30 questions in I’m at 96%, so far so good.  90 questions in 84% – still good at this point, more than half way I’m feeling confident and have about 2 hours left at this point.

Then I seemed to have several questions based on information I could not find in my index, and on area’s that are weaker for me, like DNS.  My impression was soon as it discovered a weaker area, you would be asked several questions in this area – at least that is how it felt.

If I had studied other sans exams before this one, I would have been able to create a better index and no doubt scored a better mark.  All things considered, this is my first certification in many years and I’m happy that I have passed with a 77%, not the score I was aiming for, but towards the end all I wanted to do was finish those questions and get out of there.

I have the 401 exam booked for 4 weeks time, I now need to create my index for this one, with it being an easier exam content wise, and now my experience gained from this one, I should hopefully be able to score very well.

Time will tell.

Sans 503 Certification Time – or so I hope!

Tomorrow I have my sans 503 exam.  I’ve prepared as best I can, but feel I could do better.  My original goal was to attempt to achieve more than 90% however I do not feel that this is attainable anymore.  I’m confident I will pass, but not achieve my initial goal.

I took a test exam today so I would be in the right frame of mind and allow me to get some last minute revision on the area’s that need strengthening and I scored 80%, so now going to focus on those that let me down, and hopefully it goes well.

What I have realised is that I spend the last couple months indexing the books, and found that I hardly used them at all.  The most important thing for me was my cheat sheets for the headers.  This are invaluable and I can very much recommend them.  I need to make a snort cheat sheet for the configuration side of things, I’m more than happy with therules, but I was thrown off when I was asked configuration questions, so that is what I am doing this evening!

On a few other occasions when I did reference the book, and re-read a section and then answered the question, to still get it wrong….I guess the morale is that you need to know the content, rather than rely on the book to give you the answer.

This is my first Sans exam, and it’s invaluable lessons learned for future exams.  I have the 401 scheduled for a months time, and at the very least I can take what I have learned from this index and use it for my next one.

Anyhow….back to the last few steps of preparation!

Nine Inch Nails and Gary Numan

I’m currently studying for the SANS 503 certification and have my exam comign up shortly.  It has made me realise that I have never been an academic type!  I really do find the studying or reading through text books laborious. So I will get there…eventually.

I’m more of a hands on guy, give me a task or something to figure out and I will happy go off and do it without any kind of instructions, i will figure it out myself or use some type of resource (google) to find partial answers and put the rest together in my head, this is how I finally worked out to teach myself.

Studying is not for me.  So I need something to break up the monotony of study.  So I have to take frequent breaks, and listen to some music.

I’ve always been partial Nine Inch Nail’s and can relate to so many of the songs.  It’s pretty amazing, they have been around since I was like 12 or so and still going strong today and making music that I still like and can relate too.

Amazing song and performance!

Hex and Binary

I intend to build up this guide into a series of more complex “lessons” so eventually we can read packets as they are on the wire and you will be able to interpret what you are seeing without too much difficulty.

Time to start with the basics.  In order to understand and read packets, we need to know the fundamentals.  How do computers and network communicate?  Essentially by binary and hexadecimal.  This is a series of zero’s and one’s and the numbers 0 to 9 with the letters A to F.

When I was taught this in school, some 20ish years ago, I honestly found it a bit complicated, but looking back it was only complicated due to the way it was taught.  Hopefully this methodolgy is simple for you to understand.

Counting in binary is not too difficult, the values can only be a 0 or a 1, an off or on value.  However what the off or on values represent is the important ‘bit’.

You essentially have 8 bits in a byte and this makes binary reasonably straight forward, for counting I find it best to create a quick table, this allows me to visually count, rarther than attempting to work out everything in my head.

binaryhexchart Continue reading “Hex and Binary”

Individual Goals

These past few weeks or so I’ve been taking a long hard look at myself and what I have accomplished and achieved so far.  I’ve come to the conclusion, that even though I would consider myself reasonably happy in where I am at (professionally), I could be doing so much  more.

I enjoy the career path I chose to follow, and I would say that I am pretty good at it, simply because of the very fact that I enjoy it and see it as more than just a job that pays with bills, however with that said I do not believe I have done as much as I could and should be doing to help myself.  Whereas up until this point I thought I was doing a good job in that area, I came to the conclusion that I can be doing so much more, and this is only going to exponentially increase my knowledge and growth rate, if I follow a few simple steps!

Step one is to read, read a lot of books.  So I am going to make the effort to read a hell of a lot more books, the last week alone I have read 3 books, well 2 and a half, still reading the 3rd.

Spamnation by Brian Krebs – This was a good read and very interesting, about spam emails that we all receive and hate, what I really enjoyed about it, is the fact that I can relate and recall seeing all those damn emails in my inbox, as I still have my old ntlworld email address, which is around 15 years old and receives a crazy amount of spam still!

The Dark Net byJamie Bartlett – I started off the first several chapters and was enjoying this book, however the last half of the book was not about the dark net at all, it covered area’s with how people make money from cam websites and the like, not really interesting and a bit misleading, however over all a decent read.

We are Anonymous by Parmy Olson – I am several chapters into this book and I’m really enjoying it so far, a good bit of insight into the Anonymous group, how they started and what they stand up for.

I’m now at the point where I am making a far greater effort to educate myself and have fun doing it, I have grand plans for myself in the immediate future, it currently feels that I do not have enough time to implement these changes in my life, I just know I will get there, and turn this site into something which will hopefully be beneficial to others!