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15 Vulnerable Sites To (Legally) Practice Your Hacking Skills

As technology grows, so does the risk of getting hacked. So, it should come as no surprise that InfoSec skills are becoming more important and more in demand. No matter if you’re a beginner or an expert, nor if you’re a security manager, developer, auditor, or pentester – you can now get started by using these 15 sites to practice your hacking skills – legally. They say the best defense is a good offense – and it’s no different in the InfoSec world. Here’s our updated list of 15 sites to practice your hacking skills so you can be the best defender you can – whether you’re a developer, security manager, auditor or pen-tester. And remember – practice makes perfect! Are there any other sites you’d like to add to this list? Let us know below!

1 bWAPP

bWAPP, which stands for Buggy Web Application, is “a free and open source deliberately insecure web application” created by Malik Messelem, @MME_IT. Vulnerabilities to keep an eye out for include over 100 common issues derived from the OWASP Top 10.bWAPP is built in PHP and uses MySQL. Download the project here. For more advanced users, bWAPP also offers what Malik calls a bee-box, a custom Linux VM that comes pre-installed with bWAPP.

2 Damn Vulnerable iOS App (DVIA)

Recently re-released as a free download by InfoSec Engineer @prateekg147, DVIA was built as an especially insecure mobile app for iOS 7 and above. For mobile app developers the platform is especially helpful, because while there are numerous sites to practice hacking web applications, mobile apps that can be legally hacked are much harder to come by!Get going with DVIA by watching this YouTube video and reading the ‘Getting Started‘ guide.

3 Game of Hacks

Alright, this one isn’t exactly a vulnerable web app – but it’s another engaging way of learning to spot application security vulnerabilities, so we thought we’d throw it in. Call it shameless self-promotion, but we’ve received amazing feedback from security pros and developers alike, so we’re happy to share it with you, too! The game is designed to test your AppSec skills and each question offers a chunk of code which may or may not have a security vulnerability – it’s up to you to figure it out before the clock runs out. A leaderboard makes Game of Hacks just that much more enticing.

4 Google Gruyere

This ‘cheesy’ vulnerable site is full of holes and aimed for those just starting to learn application security. The goal of the labs are threefold:

  • Learn how hackers find security vulnerabilities
  • Learn how hackers exploit web applications
  • Learn how hackers find security vulnerabilities
  • Learn how to stop hackers from finding and exploiting vulnerabilities

“‘Unfortunately,’ Gruyere has multiple security bugs ranging from cross-site scripting and cross-site request forgery, to information disclosure, denial of service, and remote code execution,” the website states. “The goal of this code lab is to guide you through discovering some of these bugs and learning ways to fix them both in Gruyere and in general.”

Written in Python, Gruyere offers opportunities for both black box and white box testing so “hackers” have the chance to play on both sides of the fence.

Get started here: http://google-gruyere.appspot.com/

5 HackThis!!

HackThis!! was designed to teach how hacks, dumps, and defacement are done, and how you can secure your website against hackers. HackThis!! offers over 50 levels with various difficulty levels, in addition to a lively and active online community making this a great source of hacking and security news and articles.
Get started with HackThis!! here.

6 Hack This Site

HackThisSite! is a legal and safe place for anyone to test their hacking skills. The hub offers hacking news, articles, forums, and tutorials and aims to teach users to learn and practice hacking through skills developed by completing challenges.Start your training on HackThisSite here

7 Hellbound Hackers

Hellbound Hackers, the hands-on approach to computer security, offers a wide array of challenges with the aim to teach how to identify exploits and suggest the code to patch it. And Hellbound Hackers really is the ultimate site for hacking tutorials, covering a large range of topics from encryption and application cracking, to social engineering and rooting. With a community of nearly 100k registered members, it’s also one of the biggest hacking communities out there.
Read more and get started here.

8 McAfee HacMe Sites

Foundstone, a practice within McAfee’s Professional Services, launched a series of sites in 2006 aimed for pen testers and security professionals looking to increase their InfoSec chops. Each simulated app offers a “real-world” experience, built with “real-world” vulnerabilities. From mobile bank apps to apps designed to take reservations, these projects cover a wide array of security issues to help any security-minded professional stay ahead of the hackers.
The group of sites include:

9 Mutillidae

Yet another OWASP project on our list, Mutillidae is another deliberately vulnerable web application built for Linux and Windows. This project is actually a set of PHP scripts containing all the OWASP Top Ten vulnerabilities and more and is armed with hints to help users get started.
Get started with Mutillidae here, and be sure to check out the projects dedicated YouTube channel and Twitter account, run by Mutillidae’s second-generation developer, Jeremy Druin.

10 OverTheWire

OverTheWire is great for developers and security professionals of all experience levels to learn and practice security concepts. This pracrice comes in form of fun-filled wargames – beginners should start with “Bandit”,. where the basics are taught, and will progress to higher levels and to advanced games all with more complex bugs and exploits to patch as you go.Jump in the game here

11 Peruggia

Peruggia is a safe environment for security professionals and developers to learn and test common attacks on web applications. Peruggia is set as an image gallery in which you can download projects to help you learn how to locate and limit potential issues and threats.Download Peruggia here.

12 Root Me

Root Me is a great way to challenge and improve your hacking skills and web security knowledge through over 200 hacking challenges and 50 virtual environments. Check out Root Me here.

13 Try2Hack

Created by ra.phid.ae and considered one of the oldest challenge sites still around, Try2Hack offers multiple security challenges.
The game features diverse levels which are sorted by difficulty, all created to practice hacking for your entertainment. There is an IRC channel for beginners where you can join the community and ask for help, in addition to a full walkthrough based on GitHub.Try2Hack is available here.

14 Vicnum

An OWASP project, Vicnum is a series of basic and obviously web apps based on games “commonly used to kill time.” Because of their simple frameworks, the applications can be tailored for different needs, making Vicnum a great choice for security managers looking to help teach developers AppSec in a fun way.

The goal of Vicnum is “to strengthen the security of web applications by educating different groups (students, management, users, developers, auditors) as to what might go wrong in a web app, the site says. “And of course it’s OK to have a little fun.”

Check out the site, developed by Mordecai Kraushar here to find the games and available CTFs for download.

15 WebGoat

One of the most popular OWASP projects is WebGoat. This insecure app provides a realistic teaching and learning environment with lessons designed to teach users about complex application security issues. WebGoat is aimed for developers looking to learn more about web app security. The name WebGoat is a scapegoat reference: “Even the best programmers make security errors. What they need is a scapegoat, right? Just blame it on the ‘Goat!’”
Installs are available for Windows, OSX Tiger and Linux and has separate downloads for J2EE and .NET environments. There is an “easy-run” version as well as a “source distribution” version that allows users to modify the source code.

Check out the OWASP project page here or the GitHub page to get started with WebGoat.

For help with the lessons, take a look at this series of videos available for download.

Interconnected smart toys “can be weaponised”

An audience of security experts attending a cybersecurity conference at the World Forum in The Hague (The Netherlands) on Tuesday were shocked when a demonstration done by an 11-year-old “cyber ninja” showed the dismal cyber security standards that are prevailing in technology. He hacked into the Bluetooth devices to manipulate a teddy bear and show how interconnected smart toys “can be weaponised”.

The wonder kid in question is American Reuben Paul, a cyber security expert and white hat hacker who’s currently studying in the sixth standard of a school in Austin, Texas. Techworm had reported about the hacking skills of Reuben way back in 2015 when he warned an audience about the dangers of smartphone hacking while delivering a keynote address as a 9-year-old.

“From airplanes to automobiles, from smartphones to smart homes, anything or any toy can be part of the” Internet of Things (IOT),” Reuben told the crowd. “From terminators to teddy bears, anything or any toy can be weaponised.”

As part of his live demonstration and to prove his point, Reuben deployed his cuddly looking teddy bear ‘Bob’, which connects to the iCloud via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth smart technology to receive and transmit messages.

He then plugged a “Raspberry Pi” – a tiny and low cost computer – into his laptop on stage and started scanning the hall for available Bluetooth devices. To the astonishment of everyone in the hall, Reuben was able to download dozens of numbers including some of top officials.

Then, using the programming language called Python, he went on to hack into his Internet-connected teddy bear via one of the numbers and turned on Bob’s lights and transferred a recorded message from the audience through to the bear.

“Most internet-connected things have a blue-tooth functionality … I basically showed how I could connect to it, and send commands to it, by recording audio and playing the light,” he told AFP explaining his demonstration.

“IOT home appliances, things that can be used in our everyday lives, our cars, lights refrigerators, everything like this that is connected can be used and weaponised to spy on us or harm us.”

For instance, they could be used to steal private information such as passwords, as remote surveillance devices to spy on kids, or to locate a person using GPS.

More terrifyingly, toys could even be programmed to say “meet me at this location and I will pick you up,” Reuben said.

Besides being a cyber-ninja, Reuben is also the youngest American to earn a black belt in Shaolin Kung Fu. With the help from his family, Reuben has set up a non-profit organisation called CyberShaolin whose purpose is to spread awareness about “the dangers of cyber-insecurity”.

Since his talk, Reuben has been receiving congratulatory messages on Twitter from various experts in the infosec community applauding his work.

Reuben’s father, Mano Paul, an IT expert, said that his kid’s cyber skills emerged at the age of six, when he began exploring how software systems worked.

“He has always surprised us. Every moment when we teach him something he’s usually the one who ends up teaching us,” he told the AFP.

Reuben hopes to study cyber-security at either CalTech or MIT universities.

TechWorm

3 Cybersecurity Practices That Small Businesses Need to Consider Now

All businesses, regardless of size, are susceptible to a cyberattack. Anyone associated with a company, from executive to customer, can be a potential target. The hacking threat is particularly dangerous to small businesses who may not have the resources to protect against an attack let alone ransomware.

Norman Guadagno, a senior marketing officer at Carbonite, has said that “almost one in five small business owners say their company has had a loss of data in the past year,” with each data hack costing anything ranging $100,000 to $400,000 [about ₦37,500,000 to ₦150,000,000]. It, therefore, pays to understand cybersecurity to better protect you and your business.

Ransomeware Risks
Ransomware attacks can be especially devastating for small business owners. When hackers seize your data, encrypt it, and demand money in exchange for the key to unlock that data, you are truly at the mercy of the criminals.

Given that smaller businesses are likely to have weaker protection than larger ones, it is important that adequate steps are taken to properly secure your information. Ensure that software and hardware is up to date and change passwords often.

Cloud-Based Security
Using some sort of central data vault is a popular solution for business security. There are a great many companies which provide this service, from the large Nokia Networks to smaller bespoke groups.

The advantage of this approach is that you will have access to the cyber expertise of the vault company while also possessing a significant degree of control over the cloud system you will be using. The disadvantage is that adopting this approach does not make your company immune to hackers since there are points of attack either at the vault company or at your own. But you are at least in expert hands.

Biometric Security
Smartphones are already using thumbprints for user identification purposes, but 2017 promises to deliver even more advancements along these lines. Biometric systems will be able to analyze and evaluate every part of your company’s security features. Touch pads will have sensors able to identify a user from their computer habits like typing speed and even online browsing taste.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is such that security measures are under increasing scrutiny as multiple devices, over ever-expanding distances, can be linked together. This facilitates speedier data sharing and storage as the hardware (and the businesses using the hardware) becomes more familiar to users. But it also means that device-level security must be effective if it is to minimize the risk of an effective cyber attack – multiple-factor authentication is needed.

Increased Automation Assists Security Staff
Biometrics, the cloud, and the increasing prevalence of the IoT are signposting an expanding role for automation in cybersecurity. When the smart systems already mentioned combined with the human element of a security process, a strong deterrent against criminals can be created. Automated technology constantly reviews your protection arrangements, looking for possible gaps and plugging them. The use of these systems complements the work of your staff and safeguards your business against all but the most determined attackers.

Cybersecurity is evolving as it tries to keep pace with increasingly sophisticated hack attacks. This is why it is important to secure your business effectively by taking expert advice. The cost to businesses of cyberattacks is already monumental, and it is growing. Consumers are also becoming more aware of the dangers of computer crime and they will often take their custom to those businesses which take data security seriously. Being small is no excuse for businesses – they must pay heed to industry advice and ensure that they are properly protected against cybercrime in 2017.

Tech.co