Programming.

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BlackSun
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Programming.

Post by BlackSun »

So Im starting college in the fall for Network Security. Computers are my life, I have been working at my old high school for about 2 years doing networking and PC repair. My ultimate goal is to finish college and find a job doing penetration testing. I setup a test lab in my room. It runs 1 server (server 2003) and 2 workstations. 1 PC running windows XP pro, and 1 laptop (wireless) also running XP pro. Windows for the simple fact, thats all we run at the corporation I work for, so I figured It would be best to know our own network inside out before any thing else. I practice on these as far just securing it the best I can. I understand to be good in my line of work Im going to need a firm understanding of programming, which I dont have at the moment. I tried reading some online tutorials but none of them have helped me at this point. I was wondering if any one can point me to some really newb friendly programming introduction. Books are also WAY more then welcome.

I was also curious. What language would you guys recommend me starting out on. A guy I work with said I should go with C++ for the simple fact, its so widely used and is a cross platform language. However, I have often heard its hard to jump right into C++ and some thing with Pearl or Python may be better to start understanding programming. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks a lot a head of time every one!

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CommonStray
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Post by CommonStray »

Hey BlackSun,

Good books to jump into programming are your "Learn Whatever in 21 days" and even "Whatever for Dummies" (whatever being whatever language you wish to start out with)

The best language to start with is basically determined by how much time you want to spend learning the basics, some are easy to learn (Visual Basic, Python, Perl etc...) RAD's (Rapid Application Development Platforms) are usually what these are called...if you want to start i suggest learning the basics of internet programming HTML(xHTML, difference is cleaner code) PHP and some javascript, learning these first will help you to get down the use of variables and constants wether Global, Public or Private as well as functions, usually the whole "consortium" of languages will allow a programmer to declare them in similiar ways, so start small and easy, these languages dont take months to learn and get a good understanding on whats going on and whats doing what.

i fine place to get samples of different source for a variety of different tools and programs for learning is

http://www.planetsourcecode.com

the site has a huge selection of downloadable sources for a multitude of different languages, and ie always found helpful

since your getting into network security, you may want to touch base with Linux and *nix systems, youll most likely be dealing with them alot in the future...keep your eyes open for our Wargames server, youll be allowed to "hack", stress test, or whatever this box free and legally, good practice stuff ;)

good luck

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DNR
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coders vs network engineer

Post by DNR »

As a Novell certified (4.x/5.0) and some Win2k AS, I like to point out that you don't have to be a coder to be a great network engineer/consultant/analyst. You can break down the processes of your computers and network without getting down to code. You say you want to perform penetration testing. Get Hacking Exposed (1 and 2) to get another idea of how to get those skills. Think of the nework in the 7 layers, code isn't on that list in a sense. right? :wink:

Why? There are twol kinds of hackers IMHO;

$Network Admins/Engineers
$programmers/coders

coding bores the piss out of me, I have done it and thats all I need to know. I hang out in the wardriving hacking forum, not the programmer's section, its just my interests.

Remember the complex nature of being elite in skillz has to be focused, you can have strong skills in networking, and a minor in coding, like html, C+/java. Build a library of software, books, and tuts, you can always reference code when you need it.

Don't waste time by spreading yourself thin.

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He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in Darkness, and Light dwells with him.

BlackSun
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Post by BlackSun »

Thanks DNR thats some really good advice. Lately I have lost all motivation to do any thing with computers. I usually find my self staying up late hours of the night reading and setting up every kind of server I can just to have the experience of doing it. In the last month I have found my self doing a lot of... well nothing. It feels like I have tried to cover so much ground that I have lost all the momentum to continue my real interests. I also hate programming, a lot. I only want to take the time to learn because I thought it would be a critical part of my career as a "White hate hacker" if thats what you want to call it. Networking is my passion and I love it. I could run cable and network an entire building just for fun. However, lately I have been doing stuff in video editing, photo editing, networking, programming, setting up servers (web, ftp, php) and a lot more. For some reason my mind set is, when I start to do some thing I have to know every thing there is to know about it. And I guess thats why I feel that becoming a penetration tester some how requires me to be a great programmer. I came here in hopes to get some direction and get my mind back on track and reset my ambitions. I hate to let what I love die.

So I guess my question to any one who will be kind enough to answer it is... Can I be at the top of my game as a penetration tester/network consultant with out knowing a lot of programming, or any for that matter. If this is the case I can change the mind set I currently have and refocus all my attention on networking. Pick back up the CISCO books and remember why I love doing this job. Thanks a lot for all the help I really appreciate it.

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DNR
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make a plan

Post by DNR »

BlackSun
Its really nice to meet you, I hope you stick around.

With limited time, let me first address your problem in lack of motivation.
In older post I have been discussing the 'hacker personality'. I believe it is a strong personality that makes one a better intellectual person, it drives the person to study harder than other personalities. This idea I actually found in the early 90's on the national computer security center webring by some psychologist trying to explain to the military why a hacker is such a unique threat. He basically defined the hacker as a "disorganized, lazy, antisocial- except when with his peers, messy, obsessive-compulsive, and very intelligent." This is not to put down hackers, but it is true, I am all of those things. My obsession-compulsion with cracking networks and computers got me into trouble, until I reconised I had a 'problem' that had to be controlled. I am not so disorganized because I compensate for it. I am antisocial, but it is discrete and I am very professional.
Another problem with the hacker mind - we need to keep reaching for a higher level of study. I quit jobs because I quickly reach maximum potential within a year. Everyone at my job loves me, I have saved countless of lives in my first year of medical work. I am amazed too. But I am getting bored, and that is a danger sign. It was actually depressing to hear my boss say "Wow, you have accomplished in one year what it takes most to learn in five years!" I was depressed, because I felt that meant "you have learned all there is here, there is nothing new for the next five years" I have lost jobs, resigned, or quit because I started to break rules when I got bored. I reconised the danger signs again, and made changes. Hack yourself, means to explore and make yourself a more secure, smooth functioning machine. Security begins with physical security remember :wink:

As long as you love computers you will always come back to it.
You have to make a clear effort to obtain a job, a career. Planning is important, and stick with it, don't let your obsession/compulsion make you quit, like all those other projects you started and never finished.

With all my skills, I am now working in a hospital, probably going to go back to school to be a Nurse, or a Physician's Assistant. Hacking is anywhere, anything, and yourself.

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He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in Darkness, and Light dwells with him.

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i can help if needed

Post by Floodhound »

As a programmer my self I offer assistance to anyone that needs it. I unfortunately love to program and have been doing it since the Commodore 64 (1980’s.) Just soot me a message and we can hook up on a messenger program I made or go for Yahoo, MSN. I can teach you all you want to know. I am fluent in Visual Basic, C, C++ ,Basic and PBasic just to mention a few. I must admit that reverse engineering is the most rewarding for me so I am very strong in Assembly, plus as electronics engineer it allows for me to program processors. If you are just learning I would suggest an object oriented language like VB. If you need a compiler to start coding let me know and I can get you pointed in the right direction (free of course). It is great you’re learning about networking and networks in general, yeah coding is not necessary, but can help in understanding the big picture. Any how I am here for who ever may need my assistance, just like others that helped me.

₣£ΘΘÐĦΘŮŊÐ

BlackSun
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Post by BlackSun »

Thanks a lot DNR, I completely understand what you mean by 'hacking your self.' I feel thats what I may need to do, I need to hack my own mind, if you will. I need to show my self what all of this really means to me. I too like you, have heard all of those things. I got hired at my high school when I was going from 10th grade into 11th to help secure their network.(they thought I hacked their network, but I didnt. Upon looking into my background they found out that I knew a lot more than other people my age and offered me a job) I have obviously took on a few other hats during the time I have been working there but I guess I dont mind, at times. I hear all the time those same things "Oh youre so smart I cant believe you know so much" All of those things and I have never let them go to my head rather, like those things did to you they are rather disheartening. The people around me at my work with bachelors degree's tell me they are really impressed by how much I know and that they feel I am in some way equal to their degrees in my knowledge. Thats really disappointing because that makes me feel like when I finish college with a bachelors degree I will gain very little I didnt already have. Ok sure I will be set when it comes to finding a job... But that isnt my main goal in college. I picked this degree because I wanted to expand what I already know on the subject, not just for a job. I get frustrated and try to read and constantly seek a higher education in 'hacking' because I constantly feel that I am behind in some way. In my mind although I know more than most people my age, it still isnt enough. I have a really bad drive to be competitive, to be better than every one else at every thing I do.

Floodhound thanks a lot for the offer. I may need to think on that for a little bit and decide if programming is what I really need, or even want. I need to keep reading and get my mind 'back in the game' if thats what you want to say.

By the way DNR, its also nice to meet some one like you who can understand where Im coming from.

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DNR
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you're welcome

Post by DNR »

:wink: Its all same-same brah.

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