Pre learning material for HTB?

Trying to study for OSCP, been smashing THM got top 1% ranked 4000 something and I thought my methodology was almost down pat. Started to do HTB Academy and thought I’d finally start to do some machines…

First box I tried to hit was Driver… Rated EASY!.. I exhausted my entire methodology and still couldn’t find the foothold. After ages of re trying different things I decided to peak at the walkthrough and found something I didn’t know existed.

*** SPOILER***

SCF… I felt so stupid, something so easily like this, but yet I had no idea this exploit even existed, any ideas on what I can study before going onto HTB machines? or reckon I just keep at the easy boxes on there and push through?


You shouldn’t feel stupid. You can’t know what you don’t know, feeling down for that isn’t fair to yourself.

The breadth of knowledge and skills that goes into this stuff is so vast it is impossible to be aware of it all. That’s also the point of doing these things, so you can learn stuff. If you think you need to know everything there is to know before attempting a box, then can I ask what is the point of doing the box? Is it just for validation of your skill level? That doesn’t seem like the healthiest approach. If you fail at an easy box then you suck, and that’s bed for your self esteem, and if you succeed at a harder box then you feel like you are awesome, but that too isn’t good for your self esteem. You are tying your worth to arbitrary and subjective ratings that don’t really mean anything or present any sort of accurate representation of your experience and knowledge and how you apply them. Skill at these things ins’t something you can sum up neatly, because the set of skills that is involved is so vast and varied, everyone has wildly different strengths and weaknesses.

It’s only natural to want to rate and compare yourself, because you enjoy doing this stuff and you want indicators that your skill is increasing, but you can get those in a more productive way. Did you learn something doing this box? yeah you did, look at what you know now compared to what you knew before! Yet you feel shitty about the fact you didn’t know it, when instead you should feel excited about the fact you learned something new, and have tangible proof that you just increased your knowledge and thus your skill. You should be excited when you are struggling with something, because that means it’s an opportunity to learn something new or to get better at something. You’re only going to feel negative about those moments if you are comparing yourself to what you perceive other people at your “skill” would or can do. And since you are told “hey this box is easy” you think anyone who is as good as you want to be isn’t going to have problems with it, so when you struggle it’s not “sweet, im about to learn something new!” it’s “ugh, this is supposed to be easy, these other people won’t struggle with this”.

Ask yourself how you would have felt about this box if it had been rated medium or hard? I bet you’d feel wildly different about the entire experience, yet the only thing that would have changed is the arbitrary rating someone gave it.

Look to yourself, the only question that matters is “did I get better today?”, and feel good about your personal growth. Otherwise it’s too easy to feel bad all the time, even your victories aren’t’ victories because it’s “That was easy, I shouldn’t feel good about that” and your sturggles aren’t signs of what to work on and improve or opportunities for growth they are “ugh, see I suck, I can’t do this”.


■■■■! I needed this advice thanks Hilbert

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Good Stuff Hilbert!

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Thank you Hilbert for your thoughtful reply.
I feel better after reading your comment, I am definitely judging and comparing myself too harshly and need to change my mindset of how I approach situations like this.

I will be definitely looking at it from the perspective of I learned something new and something to add to my toolkit that I didn’t have before instead of thinking I failed.

Really gotta stop comparing myself, what you said about “You can’t know what you don’t know” could never be more true, I will endeavor to remind myself of this.
Excited to tackle the rest of the Easy boxes and see what I can learn!

Much appreciated for your response. :slightly_smiling_face:


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You are great hibert…

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