What We Learned From PhD Security’s Bug Bounty Recon Course

Bug Bounty Recon Course

What We Learned From PhD Security’s Bug Bounty Recon Course

Every now and then, we’re blown away by how much free knowledge there is on the web. Recently, we came across this amazing YouTube video on bug bounty hunting reconnaissance.

Reconnaissance, or recon, is arguably the most important phase of bug bounty hunting. Carefully and systematically mapping out the attack surface of a target website is essential preparation before diving into actually testing and hacking a site.

Without rigorous recon, bug bounty hunters and ethical hackers are essentially flying blind, dramatically lowering their chances of successfully discovering valid vulnerabilities.

This 1.5-hour course provides a comprehensive overview of the tools and techniques needed to thoroughly conduct reconnaissance on a target website. The instructor, PhD Security, not only explains the purpose of each tool but walks through practical examples and demos to equip viewers with the knowledge to integrate them into their own bug bounty programs. Any aspiring or experienced bug bounty hunter will gain immense value from the clear methodology and actionable insights provided.

Watch The Bug Bounty Recon Course

The instructor, PhD Security, provides a comprehensive overview of tools and techniques to thoroughly map your target’s attack surface.

Key Takeaways

Here are our biggest takeaways from the 1.5-hour course:

  1. Subdomains are important attack surfaces that beginners often overlook. Tools like amass and crt.sh can help discover subdomains.
  2. The Wayback Machine archives old web pages and can reveal forgotten subdomains or pages that may contain vulnerabilities.
  3. Analyzing URLs for parameters, directories, etc, can reveal potential attack vectors. Fuzzing tools like ffuf and gobuster can find hidden directories.
  4. Understanding how DNS works helps with DNS enumeration tools like dig and DNS zone transfers.
  5. Tools like Wappalyzer, BuiltWith, and Chrome DevTools can identify technologies used on websites to guide testing.
  6. Nmap scans ports and services and grabs banners to fingerprint servers. Useful in recon.
  7. Taking organized notes helps keep track of recon findings, methodology, checklists, etc. CherryTree is a good Linux tool.
  8. Picking programs in scope with large scopes you’re familiar with improves the chances of finding valid bugs.
  9. Following developers on social media can reveal insider info on new subdomains, code pushes, etc.
  10. Recon is critical and takes patience. The more surface area covered, the better chance of finding overlooked bugs.

Our Thoughts

We were really impressed by the depth and quality of this reconnaissance course.

The instructor clearly has tremendous real-world experience that he distills into practical tutorials and advice. We appreciated the focus on open-source tools that anyone can leverage rather than expensive paid solutions.

While the course covers a lot of ground, the instructor paces the content well and re-enforces key learnings. The production quality exceeded our expectations for a free YouTube video. We will definitely be on the lookout for more content from PhD Security in the future and recommend that any cybersecurity enthusiast invest the time to watch this training. The foundational recon knowledge is invaluable for aspiring and experienced bug bounty hunters.

Check out our detailed post for additional bug bounty courses and certifications to continue learning.