Why I recommend Hackthebox

If you have been following me for a while, you know I am a huge fan of Hackthebox. I have been playing hackthebox for almost 1 and half years now. Along the way, I have learned so much. So I though of talking about why I recommend it.

What is Hackthebox

This is an already answered question, but as google says:

Hack The Box is an online platform allowing you to test your penetration testing skills.

This is a great place for new and experienced hackers to train, test, and sharpen their skills. Lab machines (VMs) have been created to simulate real world scenarios , some leaning more towards a CTF style of challenges that you might face as a penetration tester, or even as a hacker.

How I got started

When I started Hackthebox way back in 2020, I had no idea of what hacking was. The first box I did from HTB, felt extremely hard to me even it was a easy box. So I had to give up and learn the basics first. After I was comfortable with the basic skills, I started with HTB again. Since then, I enjoyed every box and challenge I solved.

Hackthebox helped me to get an experience about real world hacking. Among all the great things about this platform, one of the things I loved was their community and staff. I got to know a lot of interesting people in the Cyber Security field.

If I am being honest, it was really hard for me when I got started. Even after I had learned about the basic methodologies of hacking. But now they have the infrastructure setup for all those who are new to hacking.

- Hackthebox Academy

You can get new skills, expand your knowledge, and sharpen your expertise with expert-led training from Hackthebox academy. You can learn step-by-step cybersecurity theory. All the way from guided to exploratory learning, learn how to hack and develop the hacking mindset that will enable you to assess and create secure systems.

Personally, this really benefitted me. I mainly got the basic knowledge about hacking through YouTube videos, reading articles and writeups. So I wasn’t able to learn about a specific topic in total. With academy, I was able to fill up all the gaps. Learned new skills and techniques that was missing in my skillset.

It’s got well structured modules which gives a broad overview and practice about different topics. I really love the fact that they are not just written content but includes hands-on practice labs as well.

- Labs

Hackthebox got a whole range of lab exercises for players to practice their skills. There are over 250+ boxes and challenges to try and practice. But to access the retired machine pool, you do have to have a VIP membership which is not that bad.

Unlike most of the other platforms, there is not only just boxes and challenges, but also there are some other real life simulations like Fortresses, Endgames and Battlegrounds.

These gave me a great experience of how real life attacks are done and how to defend against them. With exercises like battlegrounds, we can play as teams while developing both red teaming skills and blue teaming skills at the same time.

Personally, fortresses were the most fun to play. Instead of using two or three specific skills, these boxes require a variety of exploitation techniques to be done which is a lot more interesting and fun. The best part about these is that they are beginner friendly.

- Blog

They recently started a blog which I really love. They talk about CVEs, CTF writeups, tools, different attack vectors and many more. Articles are good at explaining things with examples, as well as give tips for newbies and explain security topics.

I personally enjoyed reading their blog posts. They post both technical and non technical type of articles there. I recommend it to anyone who is more comfortable with written content, like me.

All most all the articles are well written and easily understandable. I found them very informative and easy to digest in one reading. The blog is constantly updated and well maintained.

- Content creation

One of the best things I like about hackthebox is that they allow players to create vulnerable boxes and challenges for their platform. Its an excellent tool for training attacks and defense against real world threats. Most of the boxes already in their platform are created by the community.

Being able to create and submit a machine was a huge step for me. I learned a lot through the process. It helped me to level up my skills are broaden up my knowledge regarding different fields. It helped me to get a inside look of how things a configured and maintained.

I highly recommend you to try to make a machine or a challenge. Trust me, it will have a great impact on your skillset. This article from @ippsec will give you a great understanding of how this process is done.

- Community

Hackthebox being one of the largest Cyber security training companies, it’s got a massive community all over the world. Their Discord community is one of them.

Discord community is the best place to ask any of your questions and you will get an answer pretty soon. While I was in there, I’ve met a lot of awesome people and learned from them. Not just to learn, its great place to hangout.

They also have a forum which is a great place to discuss about technical and non technical things. Writeups and tutorials are posted there as well. Its well structured. The HTB forum is an excellent resource for anyone wanting to improve their skills or just see another perspective on how to get through those challenges.

- Staff

As a company, Hackthebox’s got an amazing staff who communicate with the community frequently. Staff member are very communicative and open. They ensure that all the players get an exceptional experience while having fun.

They also provide numerous methods to contact them if you ever need assistance. In my case I’ve personally reached out to some of the staff members to clarify certain things pertaining to the machine I was creating and they were very supportive.

They’re approachable, supportive, informative and still manage to be professional all at the same time.

- Careers

Once you are comfortable with your skills, you can apply to a job through Hackthebox. Its a best resource to discover and connect with cybersecurity experts jobs worldwide.

They maintain an updated list of job vacancies in their Job Board. Vacancies from companies like AWS, Context, Akerva and many more can be found here.

Having said these, its undebatable that Hackthebox is one of the best Cyber security training companies out there. The IT security field is constantly changing and growing, and this platform has helped me pin point my weaknesses and strengths and also exposed me to all shades of attacks that I have never seen or heard.

Hackthebox has been a great teacher and I can’t thank the platform enough, I am grateful for all the knowledge I have gotten along these years. There is still a lot I have to learn. But its nothing less than a great place to start your Infosec career.

Its a fact that I won’t be here where I am at without their help! So without no doubt I would 100% recommend Hackthebox to anyone who wants to start up their journey in the field of Cyber Security.

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Kavishka Gihan

Kavishka Gihan

Cyber Security Student — find me on instagram @_kavi.gihan