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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 Copenhagen 2017 Sep 25 - Sep 30, 2017  
SANS London September 2017 Sep 25 - Sep 30, 2017  
SANS SEC504 at Cyber Security Week 2017 Sep 25 - Sep 30, 2017  
SANS DFIR Prague Summit & Training 2017 Oct 02 - Oct 08, 2017  
SANS Oslo Autumn 2017 Oct 02 - Oct 07, 2017  
SANS Brussels Autumn 2017 Oct 16 - Oct 21, 2017  
SANS Berlin 2017 Oct 23 - Oct 28, 2017  
SANS Gulf Region 2017 Nov 04 - Nov 16, 2017  
SANS Amsterdam 2017 Nov 06 - Nov 11, 2017  
SANS Milan November 2017 Nov 06 - Nov 11, 2017  
SANS Paris November 2017 Nov 13 - Nov 18, 2017  
SANS London November 2017 Nov 27 - Dec 02, 2017  
SANS Khobar 2017 Dec 02 - Dec 07, 2017  
European Security Awareness Summit & Training 2017 Dec 04 - Dec 07, 2017  
SANS Munich December 2017 Dec 04 - Dec 09, 2017  
SANS Frankfurt 2017 Dec 11 - Dec 16, 2017  
SANS Amsterdam January 2018 Jan 15 - Jan 20, 2018  
SANS London February 2018 Feb 05 - Feb 10, 2018  
SANS Oslo 2018 Feb 05 - Feb 10, 2018  
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