How to Get Started in Pentesting #infosec, #pentesting, #appsec, #security @j0emccray, @infosecaddicts, @ppentestlabs, @pentesterlab, @blackroomsec, @securitytube

Happy Hacking!

Today’s blog post will be on how to get started with pentesting… on a budget.

If you’re following or reading my twitter timeline (@devsecopsgrl007), you will know that I am currently taking SANS SEC542 – Web App Penetration Testing. I am doing this class OnDemand (online), and I have access to the training for 4 months, along with two practice tests, and the certification (once I pass, putting it into existence!) While this course is GREAT, it is EXPENSIVE!

I know if you’re a student, this is WAY out of your price range. So, I would like to list alternatives where you will learn the same content, but it might take you a bit longer.

So without further ado here’s my list:

  1. Skillshare has a Ethical Hacking package that is $19 for 8 courses. These courses original value was $1,273 – which is a 99% savings. You can buy the class HERE.
  2. There’s a book that is the holy grail for Web Pentesting called, “The Web Application Hacker’s Handbook: Finding and Exploiting Security Flaws” This book has a lab accompanied with the book that is $7/hour. You can buy the book HERE.
  3. Another book, Penetration Testing Essentials, is another GREAT book. It gives an overview of the different concepts of pentesting. You can buy the book HERE.
  4. Joe McCray has a Pentester Candidate Program that is also a GREAT program. Follow Joe on twitter (j0emccray) or his program – @infosecaddicts
  5. PentesterLab has a program – PentesterLabPro where you can pay $19.99/month, or pay for a year and get two months free. More information can be found HERE. PentesterLab also has a bootcamp which is free. More information can be found HERE.
  6. PentesterAcademy has a monthly subscription for $39.99/month. The good thing about PentesterAcademy is they have A LOT of information. Web App Pentesting, Python, etc. More information can be found HERE.
  7. PracticalPentestLab has a promotion where you can pay a one time fee of $42.99 to get the VIP content which has subjects in pentesting, windows exploit, etc. You can contact them on twitter @ppentestlabs. More information can be found HERE.
  8. Hacking-Lab is a free online platform where you can learn hacking skills. More information can be found HERE.
  9. Cybrary is another free website that has an assortment of courses. More information can be found HERE.
  10. PicoCTF is an online CTF platform that is geared towards high school students, but it’s open to anyone. All you need to do is sign-up. More information can be found HERE.

Another big piece is to practice the skills that you have learned.

To do this you will need vulnerable machines to hack 🙂

One of my favorites is HackTheBox which has an assortment of machines. More information can be found HERE. Note: That you will need to hack the site to get the invite code.

Another website that I love is VulnHub. VulnHub has an assortment of machines. The good thing about VulnHub is that some of the machines have been used in CTFs and other security conferences. More information can be found HERE.

The next website is my favorite, called OverTheWire. OverTheWire is a website that has multiple challenges in different areas, web app pentesting, linux, etc. More information can be found HERE.

There’s another website RootMe which is a free online platform to practice pentesting. More information can be found HERE.

I can’t stress enough that you will need to practice. The old adage holds true in this case, practice makes perfect.

Finally, please follow @blackroomsec on twitter who’s a sweetheart! She has a website that lists even more free or inexpensive opportunities to learn pentesting.


The BodgeIT Store Series #7, Change your Passwords via a GET Request – #bodgeit #infosec #pentest #appsec #webapp

Happy hacking!

Today’s blog post is #7 in the BodgeIt Store series.

To view the blog post #6 click HERE.

Today’s topic is we’re going to change our password via a GET request.

Let’s get started.

We were able to log into the application without supplying a password – click HERE to read it.

Logging into the application as’ OR ‘1’=’1

We get the following:


Clicking on the link we see:


Let’s view the page source of the webpage:


We see that the update password is looking for a POST, but we need to send it as a GET. How are we going to solve this?

Let’s do a right click on one of the text boxes and select “inspect element”.

From there we see:


Double clicking on the form method we’re going to change the method from POST to GET.


Going back to the password page, we can select the password to anything. I am going to use “hello”, and press “Submit”



We we’re able to change our password, through a GET request.

Let’s see if our solution was accepted.


Our solution was accepted (as the challenge is now green)!

The BodgeIT Store Series #6, Access Someone Else’s Basket – #bodgeit #infosec #pentest #appsec #webapp

Happy Hacking!

Today’s post is #6 in the BodgeIt Store series.

To view post #5 in the BodgeIt Store series click HERE.

The topic for today is to access someone else’s basket.

First, let’s go to the admin page, and notice the different basket ids:


We see that for each user – there’s a corresponding basket id.

Let’s go to the Your Basket page. Going there we see the following:

Let’s open Burp and see if our traffic will reveal anything to us.

After opening Burp, and clicking on the “Update Basket” button we see:


Hmm.. we see there’s a cookie value of b_id. Could this possibly be basket id?

Let’s try changing the value from 8 to 0 (which is the admin basket).



OK… we see that the basket has been updated and we received a system error. This let’s me know that admin basket didn’t work too good.

Let’s go back and try another basket id of 1 which is the user1 account.




OK, changing the basket from 8 to 1 (user1 account) we see that our basket has been updated to show the user1 basket.

Let’s go back to the scoring page and see if we have successfully solved the challenge.


We solved the challenge successfully!

The BodgeIT Store Series #5, Login as a Different User?! – #bodgeit #infosec #sqli #pentest #appsec #webapp

Happy hacking!

Today’s blog post is #5 in the BodgeIt Store series.

To view blog post #4, click HERE.

The challenges we’re going to solve are the following:

  1. Log into the application as
  2. Log into the application as
  3. Log into the application as

Let’s begin.

Going to the application let’s go to the login page – screenshot:


Reviewing the objectives we have the username (email), but we don’t have the password… Meaning we can’t log into the application… well let’s see.

We already know the application is buggy (our favorite!) so it will not be hard to deduce that the application is not sanitizing our input. Meaning we can append certain characters in the username box and bypass entering a password to log into the application.

What possibly are these characters?

We know that for a valid login there has to be an back-end database that is used to test the username and password. We have the username, but what if we trick the database with a true statement and allow us to log into the application without entering a password.

The topic that I am talking about is SQL Injection. Doing a Google search you will see there are plenty websites dedicated to this topic.

Let’s imagine that the back-end database is the following:

SELECT valid_login FROM customers WHERE username=uname AND password=passwd;

Note: valid_login will return a boolean (TRUE/FALSE)

The username is the email that we have plus the appended characters –>’ OR ‘1’=’1

Password is going to be blank.

So the above line will be:

SELECT valid_login FROM customers WHERE username=’’ OR ‘1’=’1 AND password=<blank>;

The password is going to be blank.

Let’s break down the above statement

We’re closing the expression, and then we’re going to include a new expression using the OR statement. The next expression is 1=1 which will ALWAYS evaluate to true (1 does equal 1).


Try it in the application and see what happens.

First, let’s configure our browser to listen through our Burp proxy.

Going to the login page, let’s add the username of’ OR ‘1’=’1′, with no password, and press the Login button.

See screenshots:




We’ve successfully logged in without a valid password!

Let’s see if we can do this with the second username:




We were able to log into the application as user1, without supplying a valid password!

Let’s try username:

Going back to the login page, let’s enter the username as without supplying a password.




We were able to log into the application as an admin without supplying a valid password.

Hmm… we see with the admin login we have a new link – Comments. We’ll come back to this in another post.

Going back to the scoreboard we see:


All of the login challenges are now complete (green)!

The BodgeIT Store Series #4, Find Diagnostic Data – #bodgeit #infosec #pentest #appsec #webapp

Happy hacking!

Today’s blog post is #4 in the BodgeIt Store series.

If you want to view post #3 click HERE.

In today’s post we’re going to find diagnostic data.

So exactly what is diagnostic data?

In this case, we’re looking for a webpage inside the store that will reveal debugging data.

What exactly is debugging data?

Debugging data is used by developers who want to make sure their application is working correctly.

The problem is that the developers do not turn off the debugging feature before moving their application to production (live).

Let’s get started.

So how are we going to find the debug data? We’re going to add the following in the URL address bar: ?debug=true

Let’s start with the home page:


We added the debug command, and it the page rendered the same. No debugging code on this page.

Let’s try the about us page.

Adding the debug command, the page rendered the same. No debugging code on this page.



Let’s try the contact us page.

Adding the debug command, the page rendered the same. No debugging code on this page.


Let’s try the login page.

Adding the debug command… the page rendered:


If you view the top of the page, you will see the new line – DEBUG: Clear.

This is an example of debugged code!

We were able to find diagnostic code in the application.

Let’s try the Your Basket page, and see what we get:


We found another page that has diagnostic data! In this case the debugged line says – DEBUG basketid = 5.

Let’s try search page, and see what we get:


No diagnostic data here.

Let’s see what the scoreboard says:


We have successfully completed the find diagnostic data challenge (it’s green)!

The BodgeIT Store Series #3, Get the Store to Owe You Money – #bodgeit #infosec #pentest #appsec #webapp

Happy hacking!

Today’s post is #3 in a series of solving the BodgeIt Store.

If you want to check post #2, click HERE.

In today’s challenge we will make the store owe us money.

Before continuing on, you will need an interception proxy.

Two of the most popular interception proxies are ZAP and Burp.

I am going to use the free version of Burp (Community Edition) which can be downloaded HERE.

After downloading and installing Burp we need to set our proxy to have Burp intercept the traffic.

Note: I am using Chrome, but the steps are VERY similar between browsers (IE, Chrome, and Firefox)

When opening Burp, and clicking on the Proxy –> Options tab we see that the Proxy Listener is listening on, port 8080.


Going to your browser, go to Options.

In Chrome, click the three dots, and select Settings

You should see the following screen:


In the search settings type in “proxy” which will show the following:


Clicking on the last option – Open proxy setting we see:


Clicking on the Connections tab, we see:


Clicking the LAN settings button, make the settings look like the following screenshot and press “OK”.


To summarize: We’re setting the proxy in Chrome (or IE, Firefox, depending on the browser) to send traffic through our Burp proxy which is listening on

Going back to Burp, make sure that the intercept is on –  see screenshot:burp_intercept

Refreshing the BodgeIt page, we see:


Yay! our traffic is being trapped properly through Burp.

Click Forward until the Raw tab is blank, and turn the intercept off.  Click the intercept is on box once and it will turn off the interception.

OK… now let’s earn some $$$!!!

Navigating to the home page, click on any of the items on the left side. I am going to click on Doodah’s (first item), and I see the following:


I am going to click on the most expensive item which in this case is Doo dah day, and I see:


OK, let’s turn on the interception back on. Click the intercept is off button once to turn the interception back on.

After the interception is on, click on the basket button. I see:


Changing the quantity to -10 (which is a negative value, and should not be permitted as you can’t purchase a NEGATIVE item) we see:


Going back to BodgeIt…

We have successfully made the store owe us money!!!


Going back to the scoreboard…


we see this challenge is now complete (green)!

The BodgeIT Store Series #2, Find Hidden Content as a Non-Admin User – #bodgeit #infosec #pentest #appsec #webapp

Happy Hacking!

Today’s post is #2 in a series of solving the BodgeIt Store vulnerability.

If you want to read the initial post, click HERE.

As the title says, we’re going to solve the vulnerability of finding hidden content as a non-admin user.

Let’s begin.

Going back to the Scoring Page (About Us –> Scoring Page Link) we see the following. Pay attention to our username, right now we’re logged in as a guest user.


Going to the home page we see the following:


What would happen if we view the HTML source of the page? Let’s try it.

Right clicking the page, and select View Page Source we see:


Hmm… we see a commented code on line 41 (green line) that shows a link to an admin page. What will happen if we navigated to this page?

Navigating to this page we see the following:

We found a hidden page! This page lists the different user, and their role. Along with their BasketId, ProductId, and Quantity.

Let’s bookmark this page because I am sure we will need this page later for the other vulnerabilities.

Going back to the scoring page we see:

The hidden content as a non admin user is now complete (green)!