Help | Writing reports / writeups

Hey everyone,

I know that in real life it’s a requirement to write a proof of concept or a report when performing pentesting, and it’s not really a habit of mine.

Is there a specific order to organise the stuff you write?
How do you know what to screenshot or include and what not?
Is there a methodology or some tips to writing reports?
How to get into the habit of taking screenshots and taking organized notes?

Thanks for your feedback?

btw i luv ur pfp XDDD


You can try the following:

  1. Start by screen capturing something important. (enum result? anything trigger ur next step?)
  2. Left a message in the forums says “I am willing to help for this box/challenge”
  3. Friends will ask u some boxes u solved >1 month ago
  4. Yes, you will forget the detail of that box
  5. Use the screen capture to recall ur memory and help them

You will start to capture/write down sth everyone asking/ critical point in ur notes. You will also write it in an organized way if u will read it again.

I hope it helps.

I hate writing reports, and I’m not organized at all so I would either forget I hacked something or start writing the report and realize I don’t have a screenshot of something and have to go back and do everything all over again.

so when I start doing HTB I forced myself to take better notes

  • Use cherry tree to take notes of how each machine was hacked. I also have a node for useful linux commands and windows.
  • try to write a tutorial for machines you hack. read other tutorials and see how they are written, likes/dislikes and try that with your tutorial. write it as you go like if you find a user hash take a screenshot and put it in your report, don’t wait until you root the machine and then write the report.

I also started using it’s nice if you want to have your notes anywhere and if you want to share them.

When it comes to notetaking stuff I actually do pretty much what ippsec does in his videos (probably like 99% of people) but to the Nth degree.

I also use Cherrytree, and organise notes hierarchically, e.g I have the box name with sub-nodes that, usually, reflect notes, credentials and anything else I consider Interesting. The use of the sub-nodes keeps everything neat. I try and keep the “interesting” things separate from my main set notes as that, eventually, will depict the path I took to root minus all the fluff encountered along the way. That way, when I’m done, I essentially have a full walk-though for reference.

When it comes to what you should note: in this subject area, imo, everything is interesting until you prove that it isn’t and I usually note it as such.

I don’t use screenshots as much as I should - although, to be fair, I think as long as you have the relevant information, be it in a screenshot or text form, that’s all you really need. One thing I didn’t consider: I’d imagine there’s a difference between stuff you notate for yourself and stuff you’d notate for clients in a professional setting. Including things like screenshots is probably good practice for the IRL stuff, as it acts as a visual aid to data you may present, and who doesn’t like a good screenshot?

As for making it into a habit; like with anything, practice makes perfect. We’re creatures of habit, so it should be natural given a bit of time.

Thanks @5ysk3y @r0xas @4an7o, your feedback is much appreciated :slight_smile:

At the time, I usually write very quick shorthand notes; enough that I can understand when I look back a few minutes later, but nothing expansive (especially if it’s a new box). When I write-up my boxes fully, I come at it from the perspective of someone who knows nothing about the box, and write each step in order, with a short explanation.