Is there such a thing as an ethical hacker? Do all hackers use their skills to attack infrastructures? If you’re interested in ethical hacking and penetration testing, this is the episode for you.
Today’s guest is Ed Skoudis. Ed has taught upwards of 20,000 security professionals globally and his contributions to information security have had an immense impact on the community. His courses distill the essence of real world frontline case studies he accumulates, because he is consistently one of the first authorities brought in to provide post-attack analysis on major breeches. He’s not just an expert in the field, he’s created many of the founding methodologies empowered by governments and organizations around the world to test and secure their infrastructures.
Ed is the founder of the SANS Penetration Testing Curriculum and Counter Hack; leads the team that builds NetWars, Holiday Hack, and CyberCity; and serves on the Board of Directors for the SANS Technology Institute. A consummate presenter, Ed is a keynote speaker appearing internationally at conferences, and is an Advisory Board member for RSA.“I view the world as a hacker. Not a nefarious criminal but as someone who likes to explore and learn and see what is beyond the edges.” - Ed Skoudis Click To Tweet
- [1:14] – Ed introduces himself as a penetration tester and hacker. He does expert witness work on large scale breeches and incident response.
- [1:37] – He started this path as hacking for phone companies. He explains how he started and why he was hired.
- [3:55] – Ed describes what penetration testing (or pen testing) is. It is when he models the techniques used by real world attackers and then apply them in structured fashion to help protect companies from future attacks.
- [4:53] – Pen tests can be used by an organization for a specific reason or can be done as a “check-up” to make sure everything is okay.
- [5:40] – Zero Day is researching vulnerabilities that aren’t known yet. It is called Zero Day because it has been known for zero days.
- [6:18] – Ed never believed the cybersecurity industry would be as huge as it is today and explains some of the more recent issues we’ve been seeing through Covid.
- [7:52] – Security is now a part of the process and is becoming less of an afterthought. Ed shares this idea long-term, but sees the same vulnerabilities repeatedly.
- [8:49] – There is no such thing as 100% safe and secure. The goal is to raise the bar to make things more difficult for an attacker.
- [9:31] – With ransomware, attackers have figured out a really reliable way to get paid for their malware.
- [10:08] – Ransomware is a real problem and have even attacked hospitals and local governments.
- [12:37] – There is so much that we do that leaves us vulnerable.
- [13:29] – One major piece of advice that Ed gives in regards to general consumer security is to keep all of your devices patched and updated.
- [14:18] – Another area to be aware of is always spear phishing. Don’t click unless you are confident in the link.
- [15:19] – Ed has a separate computer that is separate and independent that he only uses for financial transactions.
- [17:17] – Chris and Ed discuss routers that consumers buy from their ISP.
- [19:01] – Ed shares how “Live Off the Land” attacks work by using what is already installed on a computer. These are harder to detect.
- [20:18] – With ransomware, organizations have to think about what is best for the business. Is it better to give the attacker the money or spend the time and money to fix the problem?
- [22:27] – The dominant trend in technology today is cloud storage.
- [24:18] – Ed describes how this works and some of the various problems associated with it.
- [25:39] – The US Army, Tesla, and Uber are a few organizations that have lost data to this common vulnerability.
- [26:10] – Ed describes the Holiday Hack Challenge and the fun way he has modeled this problem to educate users.
- [28:03] – Although there are some security risks if not managed properly, Ed shares that cloud data storage is a very cost effective option for small to medium sized businesses.
- [29:24] – Most organizations use multiple cloud services. Cloud migration is good if a different service is necessary, but the previous cloud service is left alone and vulnerable.
- [31:01] – The Holiday Hack Challenge is a free educational event that Ed and his team have created to solve cybersecurity challenges. This is a worldwide event.
- [34:02] – The Holiday Hack Challenge is something that some people participate in with their kids due to the video game aspect. There is also a social aspect to it with the chat feature.
- [35:29] – Not only is the Holiday Hack Challenge free, but all of the past challenges are free and accessible to play. This can build your skills.
- [36:30] – Chris asks if Holiday Hack Challenge has ever been compromised. Ed admits that there are three people who have hacked their way in as players, but there were no purposeful attacks.
- [39:43] – Ed admits that he sees the world through the eyes of an ethical hacker because he likes to explore and see what’s beyond the edges.
- [40:48] – Chris and Ed discuss Bug Bounty Programs and can be useful.
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