I wanted to do a quick review on this course to give some initial thoughts. I want to say I’m only familiar with Matt Kiely aka HuskyHacks due to his blog for the eCPPT. https://huskyhacks.dev/2020/04/24/elsptp/. I enjoyed his other blog posts and ended up following him on twitter https://twitter.com/HuskyHacksMK which is how I became aware of the course.
I was pretty shocked to see that he had developed a whole course on malware analysis just because I didn’t know it was in the making. I skimmed through the syllabus and it seemed to have a lot of good topics. I’ve recently been going through the Blue Team Level 2 course https://securityblue.team and thought it might be a good supplement to that course. Without much thought I quickly set up an account and purchased it. https://academy.tcm-sec.com/p/practical-malware-analysis-triage I did have a moment of “what have I just purchased?” because typically I wait for people’s reviews before just jumping into paying for training material. A little foreshadowing, I don’t regret it at all.
One of the first things I really appreciate is that the training material is actual videos, not just text or a slide show. For me, I’m a visual learner so even at the start where he talks about basic concepts like setting up your malware analysis lab, it’s nice to see how the virtual machines are set up and how they work together.
Since I’m more of an audio/visual person, certain aspects, especially audio, can turn me off to training. For example if the instructor is constantly using ‘um’, ‘uh’ or ‘so’, I get distracted and suddenly have an urge to count them. This might not seem like a huge selling point but Matt Kiely’s communication skills are great. I can’t recall him using any filler words while going through the videos; it all felt very professional. The second thing that relates to audio is how clear he is. Since he’s so clear with his communication and thoughts I could easily watch sections that I was less interested in at 2x and not wonder if I missed something important.
The third thing and probably the most important question…how’s the material? This is definitely more of a level 1 course but he sets up the fundamentals great and gives you a path to start exploring yourself. For example, mobile malware isn’t something I’m that interested in, but if for some reason I wanted to go down that path I’m confident I could review that section, set up a lab and be starting off at a good spot. He also talks about writing a report and automation that can be done which other training glosses over. Comparing it to the Blue Team Level 2 course for the malware section, I feel like Matt Kiely just delivered it way better from my perspective.
Now for the cons. This section is kind of weird to me. Often I can find something to critique or something I wish was done differently. I’m critical of my training because I often pay for it out of my own pocket. When it comes to cons for this course, I have none. I’m a little shocked to even say that. It delivers what it promises and does it in a great fashion.
So, is this course worth purchasing? Absolutely! For the price tag and material you get, it’s a great course even if you’re only slightly interested in the topic. Like I said, I was a little worried at first but now going through the whole course, I feel like it’s just a staple for any SOC analyst training material. I will definitely be recommending this course for other analysts.
Editor: Emily Domedion