What is an exploit developer?

An exploit is a piece of software, a chunk of data, or a sequence of commands that takes advantage of a bug or vulnerability in order to cause unintended or unanticipated behavior to occur on computer software, hardware, or something electronic (usually computerized). Such behavior frequently includes things like gaining control of a computer system, allowing privilege escalation, or a denial-of-service attack.

When doing exploit development, the process always relies on memory address from the victim’s machine.

As an exploit developer, you will have to setup an environment of attacker\victim machines and try on it. The main leads for the exploit developer in his journey toward getting a shell from the vulnerable app are the memory address (DLLs and buffer locations mainly) which he gets from attaching the app to a debugger (usually pointed to by CPU registers such as EIP , ESP , etc).

Exploit Developer who is responsible not just for analyzing software for vulnerabilities but also for developing exploit code for the enterprise or for personal computers and mobile device operating systems.

A good Exploit Developer must have experience with memory corruption vulnerabilities, an ability to conduct vulnerability assessments and penetration testing, experience assessing system information security policies and components, and the knowledge to present recommendations for mitigation or a technical solution for any vulnerability discovered. It is very helpful for an Exploit Developer to have previous experience in cyber exercises as a player or planner.

The experienced Exploit Developer generally is responsible for the following:

  • Developing exploit code and supporting documentation for software vulnerabilities.
  • Providing proof-of-concept exploits for custom applications.
  • Analyzing systems for potential vulnerabilities that may result from improper system configuration, hardware or software flaws, or operational weaknesses.
  • Conducting Penetration Testing and Ethical Hacking activities.
  • Working to discover and exploit zero-day vulnerabilities.
  • Porting exploit code to Metasploit for internally discovered zero-day vulnerabilities.
  • Developing working exploits for the aforementioned vulnerabilities.
  • Setting up virtual test environments to replicate vulnerable conditions and perform quality assurance tasks.
  • Documenting the exploit code developed and any underlying flaws.

General Educational Requirements to become an exploit developer:

The minimum educational requirement for this position generally is a Bachelors Degree in a technical field. Many employers require up to ten years of progressively responsible experience in the field, and many require a Masters Degree in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, or Physics. Relevant industry certification is required by most employers, and many employers may require a government clearance.

Additional Skills required for an exploit developer:

An effective Exploit Developer must have the ability to develop briefing materials and to provide administrative and logistics support. Therefore, the Developer must demonstrate excellent writing skills and an ability to communicate effectively including when speaking in public and briefing senior staff.

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