Course content: 18/18
Lab machines: 23.5/55
I managed to get through 2 lab machines this week, which is a little less than what I have done in usual weeks. However, there is a reason for this. I decided to go back through the course material, reading it through and completing some of the exercises I had missed or wasn’t able to do initially. After I felt the lab exercises were completed sufficiently, I then completed the optional lab report. This includes clear documentation of 10 lab machines and all the lab exercises, so it’s not a small task to complete this. I can see why so many past and current OSCP takers decide against completing their lab report, but I personally feel the effort was worth it. You also get 5 ‘bonus points’ as a head start to go towards your OSCP exam, which may well come in handy once the exam rolls around.
The completed report is pretty impressive, if I say so myself. Mine is sitting pretty at just under 80 pages, and is a detailed report containing a lot of screenshots and accompanying captions or commentary. I put a lot of work into this report, and it was a great feeling to see it finally compiled and ready for submission.
I can distinctly recall a particular lab exercise being a ‘weekly low’ early on in this series, and it came back to haunt me this week. I spent days stuck on making a public exploit work as part of the lab exercises, but kept running into a range of different errors. Finally, I was able to make it work – albeit in ways I’m not sure were completely intended. I think the OSCP course materials could really use some updating, this module in particular. The only solace I could find is that the Student Forums are filled with people having similar difficulties, so at the very least I wasn’t alone in struggling my way through. I honestly think getting this lab exercise to work was harder than anything I’ve experienced in the labs, which is a bit bizarre when Offensive Security recommend students complete the lab exercises before starting to work on the labs.
I’ll be back on the lab machines from next week, hoping to creep closer toward that 30 mark. I’ve set 30 lab machines as a reasonable target for me to hit before my lab time ends, and I am confident I will be able to get there. I have a couple of weeks spare between my lab time ending and my exam date, so I also need to start thinking about how to make the best use of that time to prepare myself without access to the lab environment. At this stage I’m looking at a mixture of HackTheBox and IppSec’s YouTube guides.