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What it means to be in the Cobalt Core

What does it mean to be in the Cobalt Core? I asked some of our Core Pentesters about their experiences in the Core and what has been most memorable for them.

The Cobalt Core is a diverse community full of pentesters from different countries with different security skill sets. The Core provides an opportunity for them to be in a community of talented peers who they can learn from and share their own knowledge. Our pentesters, on average, have been working in security for 8 1/2 years, and 85% of them hold at least one relevant certificate. We sat down with some of our Core Pentesters to ask them what being a part of the Core community means to them. 

What has been your most memorable experience at Cobalt?

 

Harsh Bothra (2 years at Cobalt): 

Well, what could be better than your first pentest? It's been two years since I did my first pentest, and the team formulation was great. I was surprised to see the level of support the Cobalt team was putting in to ensure my first pentest was successful. The lead was super friendly and helpful. We found amazing vulnerabilities, which was enough to boost my confidence in my approach at Cobalt. Since then, never looked back and has been a great working experience at Cobalt.

Shubham Chaskar (1 year at Cobalt):

Probably, the finding and exploiting One-Click RCE on one of the thick client applications. My colleagues previously tested the application, so it was always a challenge in front of me. The small moments I felt during the exploitation will remain memorable to me.

Herane (1 1/2 years):

The most memorable experience for me was finding a Remote Code Execution on a production environment of a client's application and getting that fixed with the client in a couple of hours. The finding definitely gave me an adrenaline rush, and the smooth conversation with the client to get the bug fixed was the cherry on the cake.

Nilesh Sapariya (1 1/2 years):

First day of onboarding on Cobalt Core and getting the first project is a memorable moment for me. Also, the support I got on my first project from the Cobalt team and the lead is remarkably amazing, as it helped me understand the approach and methodology. Apart from that, getting my first "Cobalt Core Welcome Swag Pack " and then getting the "Cobalt Core Zip Up/Hoodie Pack" is one of the best memorable moments for me.

What has been your favorite part of being in the Core? 

 

Harsh Bothra:

It's hard to differentiate one good experience when you have so many. I am always amazed to see how our TPMs and leadership teams jump in for help immediately when we ask and help us get to some resolution.

Shubham Chaskar:

There is always something new to learn in each pentest, and some test cases are specific to a particular technology. In this environment, everyone has the opportunity to learn and collaborate so they can grow as a professional.

Herane:

It is amazing to be a part of the Core! Getting to know different people, their interests, sharing our experiences, and learning from each other all add to my favorite part of being at Cobalt. Not only do I get to share experiences with other hackers, but the fact that I get to interact with the TPMs, Content Team, Product team, Clients, etc is a wonderful experience.

What have you learned?

 

Harsh Bothra:

I have improved my team management and leadership skills to a great extent. I feel better at communicating technical things to a non-technical audience. I also learned from the experience of other pentester how they approach a specific issue or a bypass.

Shubham Chaskar:

The quality updates are provided during pentest engagements by the other core members. This allows me to learn and expand my test cases for any pentest engagement. Also, continuously seek constructive feedback to improve my technical and professional skills.

Core Pentester:

A lot of things, technical skills, communication, dedication, teamwork, and setting up for success.

Filip (2 years): 

I have learned to be lean and effective. Also, I learned that building soft skills is as important as building technical skills and staying up to date.

Thrivikram (1 1/2 years):

  1. Different attack techniques from other testers
  2. Increased my communication skills regarding customer interaction
  3. Working with different technologies

Herane:

I am a big advocate of teamwork, and by working with different people I have learned to handle various situations - technical and non-technical. Every person I interact with is unique and brings something different to the table. I believe that learning is a continuous process that should never stop. Being a Lead Pentester, I have learned to handle big and small teams.

Nilesh Sapariya:

I have almost 10 years of experience in the cybersecurity field. Without Cobalt, I wouldn't be able to try my skills on different technologies used by various clients and get exposure to collaborate with new pentesters. So, to sum it up, I learned:

  • Exposure to working with various clients and the technologies they work on. 
  • New skill sets from my colleagues.

In your own words, what does being in the Core mean to you?

 

Harsh Bothra:

Cobalt Core is an amazing place to collaborate with like-minded researchers across the globe. While working on different projects, you learn a lot from their experience, approach, and how they chase a particular issue.

In the past 2 years, Cobalt provided me with an opportunity to lead teams and improve my overall leadership skills to provide better results. I also got opportunities to publish my content, get direct feedback on reports from the reviewers to understand how to improve on technical writing, and, most importantly, I have made many friends.

Everyone at the core is amazing at what they do, and it's been a great pleasure to work with such folks. Two years down and looking forward to many more.

Shubham Chaskar:

I am and will be thankful to Cobalt for the opportunities. The flexibility I have to schedule my pentesting is one of the benefits of working for Cobalt. In addition, a significant aspect of the Cobalt Core team is their unity and support. So ask your question and get a response within minutes worldwide. As a core member, there is a guaranteed growth of both professional and personal skills. Also, you get awesome swag. 😉

Core Pentester:

It means to be part of a great group of human beings, a family. To give back and contribute with the best version of yourself.

It means that this commitment to the core can take us way further, and we have to stay on continuous learning and improvements. We can achieve great things by working together as a team and pushing forward.

Filip:

Cobalt Core is like a family. It always makes me so proud to be a member and gives me confidence that I'm a part of a big community that makes the internet safe and secure. Also, sharing knowledge within the community keeps me up to date. As a part Cobalt Core Team, I feel confident and safe. Because I always feel that I will get support in case of need.

Thrivikram:

Being a core team member allows me to work with such a talented group of security professionals. From the day I joined to the present, it has always been an enjoyable experience. I feel so fortunate to be able to work at a company I enjoy so much. The Cobalt Platform offers a variety of types of pentests. This provides me with the opportunity to work with a variety of technologies and industries.

Moreover, I always enjoyed learning new attack techniques from other pentesters, which helped me to enhance my skills. Community support was also an important factor. There is likely to be at least one individual who has worked on the particular technology you require assistance with in any security area.

Herane: 

Being a part of Cobalt Core is like being a part of a big family! We have fun, learn from each other, and share our experiences. Everyone at cobalt is professional and also super friendly 😀 And, of course, it goes without saying that I love the Cobalt Swag!!

Nilesh Sapariya:

Being a member of Cobalt Core is like a home to me; I have many family members who are all my colleagues/team members and the amazing Cobalt team who are always looking forward to our growth and progress. It's an honor to be part of the Cobalt Core Family 😀

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About Shelby Matthews
Shelby Matthews is a Community Content Associate at Cobalt. She works on content created for the Cobalt Core and content that is about them. More By Shelby Matthews