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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 Paris November 2018 Nov 19 - Nov 24, 2018  
SANS Stockholm 2018 Nov 26 - Dec 01, 2018  
SANS Dublin 2018 Dec 03 - Dec 08, 2018  
SANS Frankfurt 2018 Dec 10 - Dec 15, 2018  
SANS Amsterdam January 2019 Jan 14 - Jan 19, 2019  
SANS Threat Hunting London 2019 Jan 14 - Jan 19, 2019  
SANS Dubai January 2019 Jan 26 - Jan 31, 2019  
SANS London February 2019 Feb 11 - Feb 16, 2019  
SANS Zurich February 2019 Feb 18 - Feb 23, 2019  
SANS Riyadh February 2019 Feb 23 - Feb 28, 2019  
SANS Brussels February 2019 Feb 25 - Mar 02, 2019  
SANS London March 2019 Mar 11 - Mar 16, 2019  
SANS Munich March 2019 Mar 18 - Mar 23, 2019  
SANS Jeddah March 2019 Mar 23 - Mar 28, 2019  
SANS Madrid March 2019 Mar 25 - Mar 30, 2019  
SANS Cyber Security Middle East Summit Apr 04 - Apr 11, 2019  
SANS London April 2019 Apr 08 - Apr 13, 2019  
SANS Riyadh April 2019 Apr 13 - Apr 18, 2019  
SANS Muscat April 2019 Apr 27 - May 02, 2019  
SANS Stockholm May 2019 May 13 - May 18, 2019  
SANS Dublin May 2019 May 13 - May 18, 2019  
SANS Amsterdam May 2019 May 20 - May 25, 2019  
SANS Krakow May 2019 May 27 - Jun 01, 2019  
SANS London June 2019 Jun 03 - Jun 08, 2019  
SANS Paris July 2019 Jul 01 - Jul 06, 2019  
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