Over the years our Penetration Testing with Kali Linux (PWK) course, previously known as Pentesting with BackTrack (PWB), has earned a reputation of being the de-facto standard for educational content intended for individuals who are at the beginning of their Information Security careers. As such, the accompanying OSCP certification has become a highly desired and valuable proof of one’s knowledge and technical ability. The extensive practical nature of the PWK course and its exam serve as the solid foundation for the value the OSCP certification carries.
We have had the privilege of engaging with a wide variety of students with various degrees of prior technical knowledge. While some students have extensive traditional IT careers when they first take PWK, others do not. Therefore, their learning styles can also differ. Nevertheless, one thing that has not changed since the very inception of PWK, which applies to all students, is the need for sufficient hands-on practice with target machines that properly prepare them for the exam.
Although there are a number of online labs that our students use to prepare for the OSCP exam, including our very own PG Practice, we firmly believe that our PWK labs are the best practice environment for that purpose due to the tight integration of courseware with the labs. In order to provide our students with even more high-quality preparation material, we have decided to make a meaningful change to the existing PWK labs IT network.
Starting today, the PWK labs IT network will contain 5 RECENTLY retired (2019 and newer) OSCP exam machines which students can use to practice their skills prior to taking the OSCP exam. Furthermore, in the near future, we will introduce another set of recently retired OSCP exam machines into the Dev network as well. Our goal is to consistently rotate these exam machines on a regular basis so that students with access to PWK labs, will always have very recent retired exam machines at their disposal to practice on. We strongly believe that these additional machines will allow students to even better prepare for the exam and therefore increase their likelihood of earning their OSCP certification.
As our PWK content and the OSCP exam evolve over time, this design decision will also allow us to propagate any necessary changes to the student practice materials more frequently, thereby continuing to ensure that our students have access to the extensive and best practice materials.
However, it is important to stress the fact that although the retired exam machines are a great practice material supplement, they are only a supplement nevertheless. They do NOT replace the need for students to practice their skills on traditional lab machines as well. As we have seen from our previous analysis of the usage data in our PWK labs, the students who practice more, i.e. submit more hashes from targeted machines, increase their chance of succeeding in the OSCP exam. This should not come as a surprise to anyone.
We hope that adding recently retired OSCP exam machines to the PWK labs will be well received by our students and that they will see this as an additional way to help them in their OSCP journey. As always, feedback is more than welcome and we look forward to seeing many more students earn their OSCP certification and progress in their professional careers.