AppSec Training Pathway

Phase 1: Foundations of Application Security and Pentesting

Objective: To establish a strong understanding of basic security concepts, web technologies, and introductory penetration testing techniques.

1. Understanding Basic Security Concepts

  • Resource: OWASP Foundation

    • Purpose: Introduces core security principles, common vulnerabilities (like those listed in the OWASP Top Ten), and the importance of application security.

  • Topics: Basic security principles, OWASP Top Ten, threat modeling.

2. Introduction to Web Technologies

  • Resource: Mozilla Developer Network (MDN) Web Docs

    • Purpose: Provides comprehensive tutorials and documentation on HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and other web technologies.

  • Topics: HTML/CSS, JavaScript basics, client-server architecture.

3. Basic Penetration Testing and Tools

  • Resource: TryHackMe

    • Purpose: Offers beginner-friendly modules and virtual labs to practice penetration testing skills in a safe environment.

  • Topics: Introduction to penetration testing, basic use of tools like Nmap, Wireshark.

4. Interactive Learning and Challenges

  • Resource: Hack The Box

    • Purpose: Provides practical hands-on experience through various real-world scenarios and challenges.

  • Topics: Basic CTF (Capture The Flag) challenges, networking basics, simple system exploits.

5. Web Application Security Basics

  • Resource: PortSwigger Web Security Academy

    • Purpose: Detailed tutorials and labs focusing on web application vulnerabilities and their exploitation.

  • Topics: OWASP Top 10 exploitation and mitigation

Expected Outcome:

By the end of this phase, learners should have a solid understanding of basic security concepts, web technologies, and initial hands-on experience in identifying and exploiting simple vulnerabilities.

Phase 2: Intermediate Application Security and Penetration Testing


To build upon the foundational knowledge by diving deeper into more complex security vulnerabilities and advanced penetration testing techniques.

1. Advanced Web Application Security

  • Resource: PortSwigger Web Security Academy

    • Purpose: Advanced modules focusing on complex vulnerabilities and their exploitation.

  • Topics: Advanced SQL Injection, Authentication vulnerabilities, Business logic flaws.

2. Network Security and Penetration Testing

  • Resource: Hack The Box

    • Purpose: Intermediate to advanced challenges that involve network exploitation and system security.

  • Topics: Network scanning and enumeration, buffer overflows, privilege escalation.

3. Real-world Simulation and Practice

  • Resource: PentesterLab

    • Purpose: Hands-on exercises and labs that mimic real-world scenarios for in-depth learning.

  • Topics: Web application attacks, Unix/Linux security, exploiting CVEs (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures).

4. Open Source Intelligence (OSINT)

  • Resource: TryHackMe

    • Purpose: Introduction to OSINT techniques and tools.

  • Topics: Information gathering, reconnaissance, using tools like Maltego.

5. Using OWASP Vulnerable Applications for Practice

  • Resource: OWASP Vulnerable Web Applications Directory

    • Purpose: Practice on intentionally vulnerable web applications designed for learning and training.

  • Topics: Hands-on exploitation of various vulnerabilities, understanding the mitigation techniques.

Expected Outcome:

Learners will gain intermediate to advanced skills in web application security, network penetration testing, and will be able to handle more complex security scenarios.

Phase 3: Advanced Application Security and Offensive Techniques


To master advanced offensive cybersecurity techniques, focusing on complex attack vectors, scripting for automation, and real-world scenario simulations.

1. Advanced Exploitation Techniques

  • Resource: Hack The Box (Harder Labs)

    • Purpose: Challenging exercises that require advanced exploitation skills.

  • Topics: Advanced system exploitation, post-exploitation techniques, pivoting and lateral movement.

2. Scripting and Automation in Pentesting

  • Resource: Custom Scripts (using languages like Python, Bash)

    • Purpose: Writing and utilizing scripts to automate various pentesting tasks.

  • Topics: Scripting for automation, custom exploit development, tool creation.

3. In-Depth Application Vulnerability Analysis

  • Resource: OWASP Testing Guide

    • Purpose: Comprehensive guide to testing the security of web applications.

  • Topics: In-depth testing methodologies, advanced vulnerability analysis, secure coding practices.

4. Mobile Application Pentesting

  • Resource: OWASP Mobile Security Project

    • Purpose: Focuses on security in mobile applications and platforms.

  • Topics: Mobile app vulnerabilities, Android/iOS specific security issues, mobile pentesting tools.

5. Specialization in Key Areas

  • Resource: PentesterLab

    • Purpose: Provides modules for specialization like mobile security, web applications, scripting for pentesting.

  • Topics: Choose areas of specialization such as mobile security, API security, or scripting.

6. Web Application Firewall (WAF) Bypass Techniques

  • Resource: PortSwigger Web Security Academy

    • Purpose: Learn how to identify and bypass web application firewalls.

  • Topics: WAF detection, evasion techniques, advanced bypass methods.

7. Advanced Penetration Testing and Exploit Development

  • Resource: Offensive Security's Exploit Database

    • Purpose: To learn about the latest exploits and practice writing your own.

  • Topics: Advanced exploitation techniques, writing and customizing exploits, reverse engineering.

8. Application Security Automation

  • Resource: GitHub - Awesome AppSec

    • Purpose: To learn about tools and practices for automating application security testing.

  • Topics: Static and dynamic analysis tools, integrating security into CI/CD pipelines.

9. Cloud Security and Penetration Testing

  • Resource: Cloud Security Alliance (CSA)

    • Purpose: To understand the security challenges and best practices in cloud environments.

  • Topics: Cloud infrastructure vulnerabilities, AWS/Azure/GCP security, cloud-specific attack vectors.

10. Bug Bounty Hunting and Ethical Hacking

  • Resource: HackerOne and Bugcrowd

    • Purpose: Real-world application of pentesting skills in bug bounty programs.

  • Topics: Finding and reporting vulnerabilities, responsible disclosure, building a reputation in the bug bounty community.

11. Compliance and Reporting

  • Resource: OWASP Guidelines

    • Purpose: Understand the importance of compliance with security standards and effective reporting.

  • Topics: Security compliance (like PCI DSS, HIPAA), writing penetration test reports.

Expected Outcome:

At the end of this phase, learners will be equipped with advanced skills in application security and offensive cybersecurity, ready for real-world pentesting or red team engagements.

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