I’m humbled to finally be able to say that I am an OSCP! I was able to get 80/100 points on my second exam attempt last Friday and received the pass email on the following Monday.
I wanted to take some time and post about my experience and the way I personally managed the exam itself. There are already a significant amount of blog posts from extremely talented individuals talking about their methods to their success and although I will touch on that, I really wanted to focus on exam management. Essentially, how I set up my pre-exam workspace in order to make my flow and reporting easier. This was critical to passing the second time around. Having a single one-stop place to view the systems, their enumeration, and their exploits were incredibly helpful in pivoting and exam reporting.
OSCP PWK Course and Exam Review:
Incredible. Purely incredible! Over the last year and a half, I have been teaching myself this skillset but, there’s a point you reach where a more formal approach to building this skillset is needed. Well, at least I needed that. OSCP gave me that and then some. Long story short, if you are looking for something extremely challenging that is practical, no bullshit, with a straight up prove yourself then this is the path you want to go down. Let’s talk about the Exam process a bit more during my second attempt:
Before the Exam:
My first Exam attempt was a 10:00 and I burned myself too fast. My second attempt I started my exam at 16:00. This was way better than an early morning start, for me at least. But, a few hours before my second exam I set up everything ahead of time and I suggest everyone do the same.
- Start your Kali box and verify network connectivity and disk space on the VM.
- Create a full snapshot of the VM a few hours before the exam.
- Create the directory you will be working from for the whole exam:
/opt/OSCP/EXAM_2–> this was mine
- Start necessary services you may need and verify logins/auth works:
- FTP, TFTP, SSH, etc.
- Open Firefox, Burpsuite, Terminal w/ TMUX, and Sparta.
- Open up CherryTree and generate your Box Flow, I did it on a per-node basis like so:
- (25) <IP_ADDR>
- (25) <IP_ADDR>
- (20) <IP_ADDR>
- (20) <IP_ADDR>
- (10) <IP_ADDR>
- In Terminal, have a TMUX window for NMAP Scans and generate your NMAP syntax in different frames on the same window.
This is how I organized the whole exam from start to finish. Anytime I compromised a host, I changed the color of the host from black to green in Cherrytree, saved my screenshots for everything, and made sure I have the proofs.txt/local.txt and continued on.
When 16:00 rolled around, I had my headphones on and started working directly on a 25 point box and within 30 min, I had compromised one (1) 25 pointer. A few hours later I had knocked out the 10 pointer and a 20 pointer for a total of 55 points. I had three (3) boxes compromised and decided to take 15 min and get some food. When I came back I started working on the second 25 point host and by 23:00 local, I had it buttoned up for a total of 80 points. I backed up all my progress, made sure I had ample proof and screenshots and went to bed. I got up around 08:00 and told myself I would work on the last host (20 points) until 12:00 and if I didn’t get it, I would start on my report. I did this because I had to fly out early on Sunday morning for some work stuff and would not have time to compile the report on Sunday. Well, I could not figure out the last box so I started on the report and worked on it from 12:00 on Saturday afternoon to 01:00 on Sunday morning. Monday afternoon, I got word from Offensive Security that I had passed and holy shit I am still PUMPED about it!
OSCP was an amazing experience that the folks at Offensive Security put a shit ton of effort into (maybe passion is the more accurate term). There’s nothing else like it out there! Without a doubt, I could not recommend the course and certification path more. If you’re still reading this and have not jumped into the PWK course let me just say this, there will never be a “good” time to start and you are not going to be 100% ready. We all work, a lot of us have kids and families, but this is worth the work!
OSCE, here I come.
SamAugust 24, 2019at3:08 pm
Do you have any advice? I have the exam on September 6, 2019 where during the LABS I popped just 11 machines because of time limitation. I have been practicing some other skills before the exam, your BO is nice and well explained btw.
JoshuaSeptember 9, 2019at2:21 pm
Take your time, don’t over think it! The exam is meant to be passed in the time allotted. Have enumerations tools running in the background at all times to catch things you may miss as well as something to fallback on when you get stuck. The biggest thing is just to take your time, be thorough, and have a good time. Also, a good Spotify playlist doesn’t hurt!