This website section should be a starting point for students willing to do a thesis in the field of computer security at PELab.
I am writing these few notes because during the previous thesis activities I found out that there were recurring concepts I was finding myself teaching to every new student.
Hence, I decided to sum up these notes which I think can be useful to know before starting your thesis.
Basic knowledge related to a
It is important to understand the basics related to the OS you are using,
most probably in the PELab you will work with
*BSD, so it
is strongly suggested to know the following things:
- What are the main directories? What is each directory purpose? Look
- Understand that there are two big families of OS distros:
- Red Hat / CentOS (Red Hat is basically CentOS with support, so it's payed) There are other families or sparse distros, but the above mentioned ones, are the two biggest families
- Understand that Linux is a kernel, and different distros are not different
OSes, but what changes between different distros is basically:
- Origin distro family (debian based, centos based, gentoo based, ...)
- Package manager (hence, package names in some cases)
- Daemon manager
- Location of some files
- Different kernel patches and/or configurations
- Make sure you know basic regex writing/reading
Be sure to read this: Basic Unix
and to review/be comfortable with this: Command Line Crash Course
You should feel confident with these basic commands.
In addition, I suggest to create a personal knowledge base, and when softwares, parameters, options, arguments, configurations become too many or too difficult to remember, use cheatsheets.
A good collection of cheatsheets is found here: Cheat Sheets
Good to know
*nixutilities (cat, cd, ls, cp, find, uname, df, dh, ...)
- regexes (be sure to know these)
- bash scripting
Few words on Computer Security
Understand that computer security requires:
- patience, you will need a lot of this, really...
- Know how to read (it's not a joke), being able to read man page and manuals is fundamental
Computer security is quite a broad field, it includes many subjects covering very different aspects.
I am more interested in the technical aspects of offensive computer security, where broadly the subfields can be categorized into:
- Network Security
- Web Application Security
- Wireless Security
- Mobile Security
- Exploit Development
- Malware Analysis
- Social Engineering
- Open Source Intelligence (OSINT)
- Reverse Engineering (this is transversal to most of the others)
- Password analysis and cracking
Be sure to understand at a high level, what each of these fields is related to. This can be helpful to understand what are your interests and better address your thesis work.