Wild West Hackin’ Fest training is awesome.
My last few posts have touched on how I’m finishing up my Master’s in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance at WGU. I recently had to do the CEH as part of the program, which was my last course for the term (knocked out a bunch by accelerating). Since I knew I would have about 2 months of downtime, I wanted to keep up my momentum by learning through additional sources before starting my next term. This led me to Black Hills Information Security and the Wild West Hackin’ Fest training courses they offer.
The courses are pretty incredible and they are “Pay what you can”, including nothing if $$$ is tight but you still want to learn. Personally, I haven’t seen anything like this before and think this model is genius. I watched a John Strand interview on Gerald Auger’s YouTube channel where he explains that the classes are set up this way in order to help break down the barriers to entry for Cybersecurity. This is incredibly dope because some of the infosec training out there is EXTREMELY expensive, any if you don’t have a job that is willing to cover it you’re pretty much SOL.
I signed up for the “Getting Started in Security with BHIS and MITRE ATT&CK” course, which is 16 hours (4 days, 4 hour sessions) and is taught by John Strand himself. Prior to the start date, you receive access to a VM that contains the lab environment that will be used throughout the course. I’m on a macbook, so ran mine on VMware Fusion because they noted there are issues trying it with VirtualBox, but you might need to use VMware Player, Hyper-V, etc. depending on the system you are using. You also get access to their discord channel for the course after signing up, which includes a tech support chat if you get stuck along the way.
If you are trying to break into the infosec space, I HIGHLY recommend checking one of these courses out. I dig my degree program, but some of material is clearly outdated. I don’t blame them, because things move so fast in IT in general..but they should do something about programs not keeping up. Anyway, on day one of this course I learned a TON and was able to re-enforce everything with the hands-on lab environment. John has a way of explaining things that just works. He’s not boring, droning on about topics, he just tells it how it is and I think that is the best way to teach. More importantly, during the course of each day he actively answering questions students ask in the discord channel. That’s pretty awesome. We even had an impromptu Raccine lab to demonstrate how to prevent a ransomware attack, which wasn’t apart of the schedule! FREAKING AWESOME STUFF. Oh, and you have access to the virtual machine forever.
I wish all programs were taught like this. Up-to-date material based on actual attacks that are affecting organizations everywhere. I’m looking forward to the Active Defense & Cyber Deception training this June!