When you want to get good at something the best thing that you can do is practice. It does not matter what the topic is, if you want to be able to say that you do that particular topic well then you must practice at it. This of course goes with the world of security as well. There are too many people who are in the world of computer security without any real world experience. They just got a degree from college or some accreditation school and then went to work. If you really want to be able to both protect yourself and your employer then you need real world experience.
So how do you get real world experience?
Without actually being attacked the best thing that you can do is to use a VM to try and practice different security scenarios. What is a VM? The letters VM stand for Virtual Machine. It is a program that allows you to recreate your system while being housed in the host operating system. For example, if you run Windows you can still use Linux by running a VM on top of Windows. That way anytime you need to use Windows, you just minimize the VM and you are back to Windows.
Using a VM will allow you to have many different configurations that you can use. You can either practice the best security set up or you can prepare for different types of attacks. The best part about it all is that you do not have to worry about hurting your host computer. Since you are using a VM that means everything that happens inside of it stays inside. The host computer will not be damaged at all.
Another great thing about using a VM is that if you want to be lazy you can be. There are many VM’s out there right now that already have a security set up for you to practice on. You just pick the one that you want to
use and you are ready to go. No, you should not use these types of set up for real world security but they are great if you just want to practice.
If you are looking to get experience in trying to stop the bad guys then look no further than setting up a VM on your computer. It will give you all of the practice that you need.