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Preparing for a workshop on ethical hacking involves refreshing the basic information about operating systems, programs and some rarer techniques that are used during penetration testing. Depending on the goal of the workshop — whether it is to prepare for the Certified Ethical Hacking (CEH) exam or to review changes to current technologies — different elements of hacking will need to be reviewed. A workshop for the CEH certification exam requires immediate familiarity with the different operating systems, terminologies and network protocols. Alternately, a workshop that is introducing new features or security issues with existing technology requires brushing up on the latest techniques, the newest versions of standard tools such as scanning software, and a general sense of how the industry is being developing.
One common way to prepare for any workshop on ethical hacking is to study the different operating systems. Knowing the latest vulnerabilities and exploitable security holes can help to give a broader understanding of how the operating systems are pieced together and how the developers are approaching problems. When testing for network security, this knowledge can assist in predicting the behaviors of intruders and allow the information presented in the workshop to become immediately more applicable.
Another aspect that can help when preparing for a workshop on ethical hacking is studying how the hardware interfaces with the software and how it functions in general. There are certain exploits that can be performed because of idiosyncrasies in the protocols or interfaces for certain devices. While there are some common elements, the specific details of some standard pieces of hardware — such as routers or external storage media devices — can be very useful in discerning how a malicious hacker might penetrate a system.
For a workshop on ethical hacking that involves updating or exploring new ideas and techniques, it is beneficial to look at current trade magazines and websites to see what developments are approaching on the horizon. The computer security industry is constantly creating new and innovative methods to counteract hackers, and knowing the direction in which both intruders and the countermeasures are going can better prepare a penetration tester for the new challenges that will arise. Trade magazines and news articles are both good sources for this type of information.
When preparing for a workshop on ethical hacking, valuable skills to revisit could include math, algorithms and cryptography. Understanding how an encryption algorithm — a formula that uses complex math to circulate through common password combinations — works can help to develop methods that can be used to stop those intrusion techniques. Even though there are constantly evolving algorithms that are variants on classical equations, it doesn't hurt to look at the original sources again.
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