Red Teaming

5 min read

The Hacker Mindset... Think Outside of the Box!

The hacker mindset is a powerful way to think. Here's how Hack The Box can help you learn.

KimCrawley avatar

Jul 20

Here at Hack The Box, we’re proud of all of the fully interactive ways we teach hackers to improve their skills. We’ve got lots of vulnerable machines to attack in our Hacking Labs and Pro Labs. We’ve got CTFs (Capture The Flag competitions) where groups of hackers compete to find metaphorical flags that are hidden in virtualized networks. We also have our Hacking Battlegrounds, which is an innovative new way of upskilling while competing in intense hacking games with other hackers.

Do you notice a trend here? Hack The Box is all about teaching by doing. Hack The Box is all about thinking outside of the box! Because you have to be inventive and creative if you want to “hack the box.”

The hacker mindset

In “why hackers are the good guys,” I explained that hackers are people who invent new ways to use computer technology. Hackers are people like Steve Wozniak and Tim Berners-Lee (the inventor of the World Wide Web). Hackers are also people like Hack The Box CEO Haris Pylarinos, CCO Aris Zikopoulous, and CTO James Hooker. Haris founded Hack The Box because he understands that the most effective learning is done hands-on. And of course, everyone else at Hack The Box is a hacker, too. That includes employees and our HTB Community who are learning through our platform. The beautiful and beneficial aspects of hacking are what we’re all about.

As Haris Pylarinos said:

“One of the reasons I decided to create Hack The Box was that as a cybersecurity professional I wanted to advance my pentesting skills and my ability to "think outside the box". Throughout my career the most knowledge I gained was from moments where I didn’t know what to do, how to proceed. This is what Hack The Box “forces” its users to do, rather than holding their hands or guiding them, our Hacking Labs throw them in the deep, where they will either swim or drown. Not everyone will swim but those that will, get the chance to hone their hacking skills in action.”

I write books about cybersecurity, and I love reading and writing. But even I know that some things can’t be taught with books. Try learning how to ride a bicycle or drive a car only with books. Theory can only go so far. You have to think critically and creatively, and see what happens when you try to do things. That’s what our platform is designed to facilitate.

At Hack The Box, we help you to develop the hacker mindset. So what is the hacker mindset all about?

The hacker mindset is about thinking about all of the possibilities in any situation. It’s about thinking of all the ways you can use a clay brick. You can use it to build a wall, use it as a paperweight, use it as a doorstop, use it to prevent a hot frying pan from melting a plastic table covering. And so on and so forth. Here at Hack The Box, you will learn how to use and exploit software in unintended ways. That thinking is crucial, because you must think like a cyber attacker in order to prevent cyber attacks.

Training at Hack The Box is about teaching mindset, not commands. Perseverance and out-of-the-box thinking are the core hacking skills that result in true expertise, not memorizing handbooks and uncritically following instructions. Our training platform builds hacking mindsets and helps players obtain the muscle memory needed when in front of an attack.

The result? We show you how to push yourself to the limits and build a true hacking mindset. No handbooks, no instructions. Things are getting real. Can you think outside the box?

Recommended read: The ethics of ethical hacking: checklist for junior pentesters

Here’s a problem organizations have when it comes to preventing and responding to cyber attacks. While they usually have proper procedures in place to combat cyber incidents, they often lack the “muscle memory” to respond to such incidents promptly and effectively. With captivating, hands-on training that goes beyond theory, they acquire exactly that. The “muscle memory” they need to evaluate the attack in real-time, and know what needs to be done to prevent it.

Train your hacking skills like a pro!

Ways to develop the hacker mindset with Hack The Box

Check out our Hacking Labs! Here, we have virtual machines for hackers of all skill levels, from n00bs to advanced level hackers. Whether you’re just starting to improve your computer skills or you’ve been hacking for a while, we have something for everyone here.

What are Hacking Labs?

“A massive pool of virtual penetration testing labs, simulating up-to-date security
vulnerabilities and misconfigurations. New labs are added every week, ensuring the
content is always up-to-date and the fun is unlimited. Players can learn all the latest attack paths and exploit techniques.”

Have you been totally pwning all the Hacking Labs you’ve tried so far and are you looking for a greater challenge? Try our Pro Labs. Pro Labs feature advanced simulated cyber exploits based on real-life cyber threats.

What are Pro Labs?

“Interactive, hands-on, complex scenarios that give players the chance to penetrate enterprise infrastructure and hone their offensive engagement skills. Pick any of our Pro Labs, own it, and get your certificate of completion.”

Once you’re ready to play exciting and challenging games against other hackers such as Hacking Battlegrounds and our CTFs. Read “What is CTF?” on our blog to learn more.

Hack The Box CTF Events:

“Looking for hacking challenges that will enable you to compete with others and take your cybersecurity skills to the next level? You are at the right place. From Jeopardy-style challenges (web, crypto, pwn, reversing, forensics, blockchain, etc.) to Full Pwn Machines and AD Labs, it’s all here!”

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