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SANS Pen Testing Coins

SANS' Pen Test Challenge Coins are awarded to students and practitioners who excel in the field of pen testing. Read about the coins' story, significance, and how to achieve one.

SANS' Penetration Testing Curriculum is designed to equip students with the technical skills needed to conduct high-value, safe pen tests across different technologies.

In all, there are 12 SANS Courses that fall under the Pen Test Curriculum.

To celebrate students who have mastered their craft, SANS Instructors award Pen Test Coins.

Pen Testing Coins

History of SANS Pen Test Coins

SANS Pen Test Coins have become an integral part of SANS' Pen Test Training lore.

Our Pen Test Curriculum is led by Ed Skoudis - a SANS Fellow. Ed found himself challenged by Rob Lee, Curriculum Lead for SANS' Forensics Curriculum (Rob is also a Fellow).

Rob created the SANS Digital Forensicator Coin - a prize he awards to exceptional DFIR students and to proponents who contribute, beyond the call of duty, to the global forensics community.

Lee goaded Skoudis: "Where are your coins?" And, spurred by pride and professional rivalry, Skoudis set to work. Working with a designer, Skoudis created a family of 8 SANS Pen Test Coins.

What Do SANS Pen Test Coins Signify?

Every SANS Pen Test Curriculum's core courses have a corresponding coin.

Each coin is embossed with the name of the SANS Course, the courses' number and an insignia that captures the curriculum's purpose, spirit and attitude. The coins are as follows:

Course Coin
SEC504: Hacker Tools, Techniques, Exploits and Incident Handling Super Heroes Coin
SEC542: Web App Penetration Testing and Ethical Hacking Spider and Fly Coin
SEC560: Network Penetration Testing and Ethical Hacking Ninja Coin
SEC575: Mobile Device Security and Ethical Hacking Reptile Monster Movie Coin (the monster is called Gamera and first appeared in the 1956 Japanese movie of the same name)
SEC617: Wireless Ethical Hacking, Penetration Testing, and Defence Reptile Monster Movie Coin (The monster is Guiron, from 1969's Gamera vs Guiron)
SEC642: Advanced Web App Penetrations Testing and Ethical Hacking Samurai and Dragon Coin
SEC660: Advance Penetration Testing, Exploit Writing, and Ethical Hacking Conan the Barbarian Coin
NetWars: The World Coin

On the back of each coin is a note congratulating its winner and an inspiration quote, calling on the new owner to do still greater things.

There's also a cipher. Each cipher is different. Some pay homage to classic modes of cryptography while other are push the science of secret writing.

Win all of the coins and complete all of the cryptographic challenges and there's a secret prize.

How Can I Earn A Pen Test Coin?

At the end of each core Pen Testing Training Event there's a capture the flag challenge.

The student who wins the capture the flag challenge, wins a coin. The challenges are tough and competitors are always up against skilled adversaries from their course. Winning a Pen Test Coin is a real honour.

SANS Instructors can award Coins for other reasons too. Students who make a strong contribution to the class can, for example, be awarded a coin at the Instructor's discretion.

Finally, SANS holds Pen Test Hackfests. They're a great opportunity to win coins for courses students may not have attended.

Read what previous students taking SANS Pen Test training say on our Testimonials. If you have any questions about training please see our FAQs or email

Training Events Offering Penetration Testing Courses
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SANS Brussels February 2018 Feb 19 - Feb 24, 2018  
SANS London March 2018 Mar 05 - Mar 10, 2018  
SANS Paris March 2018 Mar 12 - Mar 17, 2018  
SANS Munich March 2018 Mar 19 - Mar 24, 2018  
SANS Zurich 2018 Apr 16 - Apr 21, 2018  
SANS London April 2018 Apr 16 - Apr 21, 2018  
SANS Riyadh April 2018 Apr 28 - May 03, 2018  
SANS Doha 2018 Apr 28 - May 03, 2018  
SANS Amsterdam May 2018 May 28 - Jun 02, 2018  
SANS London June 2018 Jun 04 - Jun 12, 2018  
SANS Oslo June 2018 Jun 18 - Jun 23, 2018  
SANS Paris June 2018 Jun 25 - Jun 30, 2018  
SANS London July 2018 Jul 02 - Jul 07, 2018  
SANS Pen Test Berlin 2018 Jul 23 - Jul 28, 2018  
SANS Prague 2018 Aug 20 - Aug 25, 2018  
SANS Krakow 2018 Aug 20 - Aug 25, 2018  
SANS Amsterdam September 2018 Sep 03 - Sep 08, 2018  
SANS Munich September 2018 Sep 16 - Sep 22, 2018  
SANS London September 2018 Sep 17 - Sep 22, 2018  
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