Exploit Developer

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Although no U.S. government source has officially acknowledged targeting foreign civilians or military organizations with malicious code or other cyber attacks, it’s clear that it is no longer sufficient to have a defensive posture when it comes to cybersecurity: offensive cyberwarfare has begun and there is a demand to develop cyber weapons and to expand offensive operations. Enter the 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
  • conducting Penetration Testing and Ethical Hacking activities
  • analyzing systems for potential vulnerabilities that may result from improper system configuration, hardware or software flaws, or operational weaknesses
  • providing proof-of-concept exploits for custom applications
  • working to discover and exploit zero-day vulnerabilities
  • porting exploit code to Metasploit for internally discovered zero-day vulnerabilities
  • setting up virtual test environments to replicate vulnerable conditions and perform quality assurance tasks
  • developing working exploits for the aforementioned vulnerabilities
  • documenting the exploit code developed and any underlying flaws


General Educational Requirements

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 Qualifications

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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