Goodness, how time flies! As of this post, I’ve got two days left in the PWK labs, and I’ve rooted 37 systems in the network. I feel significantly more prepared than I was two months ago, when I first took the OSCP exam. I’ve learned so much cool stuff, and I look forward to opportunities to use my skills in the wild (legally, of course).

One of the key elements of the OSCP exam (as well as the PWK lab) is the pentest report. I’ve heard plenty of pentesters grumble about how report-writing is their least-favorite part of a penetration test. For me, it’s the opposite… I’ve genuinely enjoyed writing my lab report! By writing the report as I carry out the pentest I’m not only saving myself the headache of trying to compile all that data after the pentest, but I’m also reinforcing my understanding of the systems and techniques I’m learning. In addition, when I have to set my work aside and return to it later, I’ve got a log of what I’ve done so far, and what I was working on when I left. My report kept me organized and on-target.

And the best part? I get to keep it. Due to the non-disclosure agreements involved in the PWK/OSCP course, I can never share my reports with anyone else. But they still serve as a personal reference, showing all the various techniques I employed in the lab.

At present, my lab report weighs in at 330 pages. (It’s mostly pictures.) I will revise and re-work the report for brevity and accuracy, and I’ll remove all but 10 systems from the final revision (as per the course requirements). The other 27 will be re-included in my personal “director’s cut” reference copy. This will be my job in the coming week; revise every page until the final product shines.

My test is on the 17th of October. I’m nervous, as ever, but I feel a good deal better prepared now than I was two months ago.

Don’t worry. I’ll keep you posted.