OFCP – Offensive Security Certification

I joined a security mailing list some time ago, recently they got to talking about what the ‘best’ certification to get for security training is. A certification to be a professional hacker? Who knew there was such a thing? One of the most notable ones they mentioned was OFCP (Offensive Security Certification). I took a look at their website, there are a couple good demos on there and the price to get certified appears reasonable enough. Apparently passing the test is difficult with “90% of people failing the first time”, or so says one of the folks on the mailing list.

Check it out:

Here are a couple more sites they shared that look interesting:
Hacker High School


How to ‘hack’ an excel spreadsheet

Something many people don’t seem to realize is once a person has physical access to a database the only thing seperating them from getting into it is a little knowledge.  This is why web apps are much more easily secured than downloadable apps could ever be.

Such is the situation with excel spreadsheets.  They use such laughably easy to break encryption that even the slowest computers can be into them in seconds.  If you’ve ever forgotten your password to an excel spreadsheet check out the macro posted on McGimpsey’s website.

The philosophy of programming

The philosophy of programming

From time to time I’ve thought about posting about what I consider to be the philosophical aspects to programming. It’s a thought I’ve struggled with as I feel it muddies the waters a bit. Do I want this blog to be a focused source of programming tips? Do I really want to mix in the political bits?

Today I stumbled upon an article that’s a good read, it’s something of a defense of programmers.  I am all too familiar with the particular challenges that are the normal day to day occurances in the career of a programmer.  Here is a great read on the topic of trusting your programmers. Let me know what you think!

The Quality Reduced Product

I have to thank a fellow blogster, Miles Ashton for his article on The Quality Reduced Product. I had wanted to do a post on this topic for a while now but I think his sums my thoughts up quite well. Definitely some of my latest favourite quotes on his site:

“[quality] concessions are extremely painful to developers as their self-esteem and enjoyment are undermined by the necessity of building a product of clearly lower quality than they are capable of. An early casualty of quality reduction is whatever team identification the group has been able to build.”

“Developers want to build software that not only works, but is maintainable; something they can take pride in. This is not in-line with product development’s goals, which are for developers to build software that works, and nothing more.

The first thing to go when time is tight is quality and maintainability. Being forced to build crap is one of the worst things you can do to a craftsman. Delivering a project on-time but knowing it’s a piece of crap feels a heck of a lot like failure to someone who takes pride in what they build.”

Well done Miles, well done.