How do your difficulty levels work?

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Our labs are organised into nine difficulty levels, ranging from Straightforward to Ninja. The harder the lab, the more points you can earn. Each lab is listed with its difficulty level.

Straightforward labs offer 10 points and can be completed without guesswork or research. These labs tend to be focused on basic cyber concepts and awareness, like this one on Ethics, which introduces the different types of hacker, the ethical issues they face and the legalities surrounding all things cyber.

Novice labs come in at 20 points per lab and are perfect if you are new to the industry. They use simple terms and reward basic self-research. OPSEC on the Dark Web is one such example, where you learn how to investigate on the dark web without malicious users collecting information on you.

Rookie labs are a little more lucrative at 40 points per lab. These are ideal if you’re keen to progress in the platform and develop new skills, though you will need perseverance and a good search engine. A great example is one of our Immersive Originals labs, Immersive Power Episode 1, in which you are asked to gather information from the CISO of a power plant as part of a Red Team assessment.

Technical I labs come in at 100 points apiece and are primarily for those interested in getting hands-on with more practical labs – including command shell, desktops, tools and operating systems. To unlock these points, you’ll likely have some technical interests but may be unfamiliar with Linux, packet capture etc. For example, the Windows File Permissions lab at this level is about developing and validating skills using Windows NTFS file permissions. It’s also CREST-accredited and can help you work towards one of their qualifications. More information on this is available below this video.

Technical II labs are worth 200 points; they require some research and analytical thinking to progress. You should be familiar with command line usage in one or more operating systems and understand the basics of networking and IP addresses. Take a look at our Log Finder lab, for example, which is part of the Cyber SOC Analyst skill. You’ll be asked to identify nefarious activity from logs, which is a key part of investigating suspected or confirmed security events.

Technical III labs can earn you 300 points. If you’re working in a cyber-related role or have spent time developing your cyber skills, these labs will be perfect for you. You’ll be familiar with the concepts of IT, networking and coding, and will understand the need for the skillset (although you may not yet be well versed with it). Banking APK is an interesting example which asks you to identify malicious content within a clone of a legitimate banking app.

Specialized I labs offer 400 points per lab and are ideal for those who already have some experience in one or more elements of technical security. If you’re at this level, have a go at tackling the Linux Privilege Escalation and Routing Modifications lab.

Specialized II labs are some of our most rewarding, with a whopping 600 points per lab available. If you are familiar with a wide range of concepts and technical skills in multiple areas, i.e. attack and defend, then these labs are for you. They appeal most to those who are keen to stay up to date with the latest issues and develop cross-discipline skills, e.g. more blue/red/secure coding. Our Immersive Power Episode 6 lab is at this level and asks you to plunge our real life (mini) power station into darkness. It’s all hooked up to a webcam so you can actually see the fruit of your labours…

Ninja labs are pretty damn tough – but the rewards are worth it. If you can take them on and prove you truly are a cyber ninja, then you can earn over 1000 points per lab. Have a go at our Cyber Experts labs, which have been written by people at the very top of the cyber game.

Good luck!

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