Information Security Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for information security professionals. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am looking for some security related project in which I can contribute and also learn something. Since I am new with this stuff It will be better if that project is less complex and digestible for a beginner. I was searching for such project in GSoC and found a opensource sandbox project called "Cuckoobox".

I tried to get hold of its source code but that proved to be futile attempt.I realized that first i need to know the windows OS environment and API and why they are so susceptible to infection, common methods and tools for attacking such DLL injection and solution for them. Please point me to some study material to get all the basics required to be able to contribute to such projects.

I have one more question. Which OS should I start with, Linux or Windows?. I think Windows should be the one as it is the most widely used OS and also the most widely infected (compared to Linux).

share|improve this question
Is there a question here? I suggest you edit your post to clarify what it is you're asking. – AviD Mar 26 '11 at 21:50
+1 as AviD says, what is the question? Cuckoobox isn't open source - speak to Claudio Guarnieri for more info on it - but in any case it isn't your best bet to learn about malware; it is aimed much more at experienced malware investigators, to speed up the investigation process. Can you do secure code development as part of your course? – Rory Alsop Mar 27 '11 at 16:24
@AviD♦:I want to find some open source project in security which i can contribute and thereby learn something. And if cuckoobox is not something for starters then please recommend some other security project for newbie. – gkt Mar 30 '11 at 13:27
@Rory Alsop: cuckoobox website says it is open source and links to a git repository. – Stephen Paulger May 25 '11 at 15:41
@Rory Alsop: I have no idea of what you're talking about. Cuckoo Sandbox has always been Open Source since the very beginning. Don't make wrong statements on things you don't know about please. – user2713 Jun 2 '11 at 7:11
up vote 12 down vote accepted

Microsoft has had a horrific security track record. But the real problem in 2011 isn't operating systems, its web applications and web browsers. You should explore projects like Damn Vulnerable Web App, OWASP WebGoat and especially Google Gruyere. You can find pre-built VM's for all of them, and Google is hosting theirs so you don't have to install anything.

share|improve this answer
+1 for WebGoat - it is a great starting point. – Rory Alsop Mar 28 '11 at 11:19
The reason I wish to do window project is because I think it is simpler and more apt for the beginners to start with as compared to the complex and more difficult web securities.Please correct me if I am wrong. – gkt Mar 30 '11 at 13:30
1, you're wrong about that - it's a lot easier for a beginner to get into the basics of web attacks, its (usually) based on a very simple, transparent protocol which is easy to play with. Getting into current windows vulns will often force you to go down to reverse engineering and kernel debugging. Not very beginner-friendly. Definitely +1 for WebGoat, I use it for beginner training all the time. – AviD Mar 30 '11 at 13:43 yeah I agree with Avid, most operating system attacks are by far the most complex attacks around. Web application by contrast are the most simple, CSRF, XSS and SQL Injection are pretty trivial. There are some exceptions like H.D. Moores DLL hijacking is pretty simple, but that's almost dead. Stick with web apps. – rook Mar 30 '11 at 16:32
1 Metasploitable is another option for a known insecure VM. – Stephen Paulger May 25 '11 at 15:50

A fantastic book on rootkits and exploiting Win32 systems via them is, "The Rootkit Arsenal: Escape and Evasion in the Dark Corners of the System." It has extremely in depth information about rootkits and the process behind them. Be forewarned though, in order to fully appreciate the book, a background in C is highly recommended.

share|improve this answer
Thanks for pointing the books. I am reading it and enjoying it a lot. – gkt Apr 2 '11 at 13:55

Googles Gruyere is definitely the way to go when you speak of novice.
As @Rook wrote, web apps is what you should be seeing today. You don't have to worry about concepts, as you go way down the Gruyere, they explain the concepts before you enter the particular exploit. I am learning my way with Gruyere, as we speak here now :)

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.