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You've got your Security+. Now what?

2023-02-26 12:55:17

On /r/comptia and Discord, there's a lot of people hopeful to break into cybersecurity. The get their Security+ (because CompTIA's marketing promises a lot of jobs), but... then what?

Here's something I told someone on Discord the other day.

CompTIA will have a big list of options in their marketing fluff, but as I said I personally don't believe Sec+ preps you for any particular roles.

That doesn't mean it's not valuable! Quite the opposite! Having passed Sec+ means you bring fundamental InfoSec knowledge to any role you'll work in, be that user support, systems administration, network operations, DevOps, IAM, risk management, or whatever.

Career wise, it makes sense to define short and longterm goals for yourself. Investigate what different jobs in your local marketplace mean, what the work involved actually is and check their requirements.

${Deity}, I'm saying the things I hated hearing twenty years ago, but here we are.

Next to those goals, also investigate the options available to you in your local marketplace. Also take stock of your current set of experience and skills. This information will help you figure out what kind of tools are at your disposal to meet your goals.

For example, say that your long term goal is to have a hardcore technical role in cyber security. Like pen-tester maybe, DevSecOps engineer or cloud security engineer.

From that you would start figuring out which of those roles sound best to you and figure out what you need to learn to get there. This will help you define short term goals... mile stones, if you will.

For example, if you already have some prior IT experience and you've dabbled with programming and Linux, then you could aim for junior devops or sysadmin roles for the short term. If you've already done a lot of TryHackMe, HackTheBox then a junior pentesting role, or junior devsecops.

Now, if you have zero IT experience, then you're going to have to take a different route. One option is to start way lower in the IT ladder, like IT support. Another option is to go for a soft-skills based role! Like user awareness training, or risk management.

Here's a very long Reddit thread about why it's hard to break into InfoSec right from the start.

Which reminds me of a solid tip: check your local market for MSSPs: managed security service providers. They are often in a position to train juniors with little IT experience into the job. They need warm bodies to take care of the low-level work influx and can help you build experience and knowledge on the job. tags: ,

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Preparing for Server+: labs?

2023-02-26 11:56:00

On the CompTIA sub-reddit, people often ask for labs to work through while prepping for an exam. For Linux+, I've made all the labs for my class freely available on Github. 

Server+ is a less common CompTIA exam, which focuses on sysadmin / data center admin roles. There's quite some overlap between A+, Linux+ and Security+; I kinda liked it!

Here's a few suggestions which I gave for practice for SK0-005 Server+

Unfortunately a lot of the aspects of Server+ relate to actually working in a data center, so it'll be hard to have labs for those sections.

Most of objective 1 you will need to have actual hardware for. If you're in the US, you can check LabGopher to find gear for your homelab. Otherwise, check your local nerdery forums or just eBay. A Dell R410 or R420 with Perc and RAID controller will set you back 100-400 dollars depending on specs and if hardware is included.

If you're already in IT, you can also ask your server admin team if they'd be willing to show you the ropes for objective 1.

Many of the topics in objective 2 can be practiced if you have a few VMs that run Windows, Windows Server and Linux to try out the various related tools. You can run these VMs on just about any recent laptop with 8GB or more of RAM and an i5/i7/i9 or similar Zen2 processor.

Virtual networking on objective 2 can be practiced with VMWare ESXi and pfSense.

The good part is that the software mentioned so far can be gotten for free legally. Windows is available for free use on 180-day licenses (which can be renewed multiple times). VMWare ESXi can be gotten on a free license, also for studying/lab purposes.

Licensing and asset management are mostly theoretical on Server+

Objective 3 is partially theoretical/conceptual, but there's a few practical aspects as well. Server hardening is something you can practice with the aforementioned VMs by reading and applying STIGs or CIS Benchmarks. If you're familiar with Ansible, you can even dive into the relevant playbooks. IAM can be practiced with Active Directory and/or Azure AD.

Objective 4 again is a nice mix of theory and practice. LogHub is a nice resource to read through all types of different log files. A lot of the other troubleshooting objectives can be exercised with the lab VMs and hardware I mentioned simply by trying to get it all to work :D That can sometimes already be a struggle, so you're troubleshooting!

Multiple objectives relate to services which you can run, configure and test on Linux VMs. NTP and SSH are two common ones, which I also include in my Linux+ labs. Ditto for the networking config + troubleshooting. tags: ,

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