Help | Writing reports / writeups

Hey everyone,

I know that in real life it's a requirement to write a proof of concept or a report when performing pentesting, and it's not really a habit of mine.

Is there a specific order to organise the stuff you write?
How do you know what to screenshot or include and what not?
Is there a methodology or some tips to writing reports?
How to get into the habit of taking screenshots and taking *organized* notes?

Thanks for your feedback?


  • You can try the following:
    1. Start by screen capturing something important. (enum result? anything trigger ur next step?)
    2. Left a message in the forums says "I am willing to help for this box/challenge"
    3. Friends will ask u some boxes u solved >1 month ago
    4. Yes, you will forget the detail of that box
    5. Use the screen capture to recall ur memory and help them

    You will start to capture/write down sth everyone asking/ critical point in ur notes. You will also write it in an organized way if u will read it again.

    I hope it helps.

    Hack The Box
    ++Repect If you think I help =]

  • I hate writing reports, and I'm not organized at all so I would either forget I hacked something or start writing the report and realize I don't have a screenshot of something and have to go back and do everything all over again.

    so when I start doing HTB I forced myself to take better notes

    • Use cherry tree to take notes of how each machine was hacked. I also have a node for useful linux commands and windows.
    • try to write a tutorial for machines you hack. read other tutorials and see how they are written, likes/dislikes and try that with your tutorial. write it as you go like if you find a user hash take a screenshot and put it in your report, don't wait until you root the machine and then write the report.

    I also started using it's nice if you want to have your notes anywhere and if you want to share them.

  • When it comes to notetaking stuff I actually do pretty much what ippsec does in his videos (probably like 99% of people) but to the Nth degree.

    I also use Cherrytree, and organise notes hierarchically, e.g I have the box name with sub-nodes that, usually, reflect notes, credentials and anything else I consider Interesting. The use of the sub-nodes keeps everything neat. I try and keep the "interesting" things separate from my main set notes as that, eventually, will depict the path I took to root minus all the fluff encountered along the way. That way, when I'm done, I essentially have a full walk-though for reference.

    When it comes to what you should note: in this subject area, imo, everything is interesting until you prove that it isn't and I usually note it as such.

    I don't use screenshots as much as I should - although, to be fair, I think as long as you have the relevant information, be it in a screenshot or text form, that's all you really need. One thing I didn't consider: I'd imagine there's a difference between stuff you notate for yourself and stuff you'd notate for clients in a professional setting. Including things like screenshots is probably good practice for the IRL stuff, as it acts as a visual aid to data you may present, and who doesn't like a good screenshot?

    As for making it into a habit; like with anything, practice makes perfect. We're creatures of habit, so it should be natural given a bit of time.


    For assistance:

    1) Plz msg me via the main HTB messaging system, not the forums or my wall
    2) Give me some insight as to what you've tried already, or ideas you've moved past
    3) Don't expect me to give you the answer-- that defeats the object of being here.

    If you find my assistance useful, in any case, please consider clicking that awesome respect button on my profile!

  • At the time, I usually write very quick shorthand notes; enough that I can understand when I look back a few minutes later, but nothing expansive (especially if it's a new box). When I write-up my boxes fully, I come at it from the perspective of someone who knows nothing about the box, and write each step in order, with a short explanation.


    • GCIH
      If you need help with something, PM me how far you've got already, what you've tried etc (I won't respond to profile comments, or on box release night). And remember to +respect me if I helped you ; )
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