[Owasp-leaders] Thinking out Loud: Evaluating Talent

Juan Carlos Calderon Rojas juan.calderon at softtek.com
Mon Nov 9 09:54:26 EST 2009


IMO the biggest issue - as we saw in Portugal summit - regarding a certification coming from OWASP is "openness". As OWASP is open, all the information related to the project including questions AND answers MUST be at public sight (AKA OWASP wiki). James attempts on certification were frustrated by this issue, If I remember correctly.

How do you make a certification with open questions? maybe you would generate an absurdly large number of questions (thousands?) for people to not simply copy and paste. The effort for that would be huge and the effort to maintain that monster would be even larger.

One idea I mentioned was to "delay" the access to the answers, like WebGoat, you have to go though all the hits to get the answer or you have to see all the videos. But that eventually is not really a big deterrent, someone with some time to spend will simply collect the answers and put them in the same place and that's it.

Any idea on how to walk around this "openness" issue Ofer?

Juan Carlos Calderon, 

De: Ofer Maor
Enviado el: Lun 09/11/2009 2:23
Para: owasp-leaders at lists.owasp.org
Asunto: Re: [Owasp-leaders] Thinking out Loud: Evaluating Talent

This is exactly why I think we should seriously consider doing it as part of OWASP, and not throw it on a commercial group that would just look to how they can profit from it rather than keeping it credible. When it becomes commercial, all the certifier is interested in, past the point they reach a certain branding, is to sell as much as they can.  However, we can probably team up with some vendors that could do the work (and make some profit out if it), as long as the quality is regulated by OWASP. 
In any case, I'm looking forward to hear what are the outcomes of the DC Summit. Unfortunately I won't be able to attend, but I'll keep track J
From: owasp-leaders-bounces at lists.owasp.org [mailto:owasp-leaders-bounces at lists.owasp.org] On Behalf Of daniel cuthbert
Sent: Monday, November 09, 2009 9:33 AM
To: owasp-leaders at lists.owasp.org
Subject: Re: [Owasp-leaders] Thinking out Loud: Evaluating Talent
The CISSP comes to mind, it's not exactly the most respected cert available in this industry of ours, alongside the CEH.

It can be done, however, a careful balance between what the candidate knows and needs to know has to be struck. There is no point having a certification that isn't respected by all for being too much of a mickey mouse fan club badge, 

Partnering with an organisation to take care of the logistical nightmare of the certification process is a must. The actual developing of training content and exam questions isn't that hard, it's something i've been doing for the past 5 years and have a fair whack of experience with. 

2009/11/9 Eoin <eoin.keary at owasp.org>
Agreed, certification is an expensive investment to set up which would require a full-time resource. Best to partner with a third party on this but which one? Exclusivity deals do not give me a comfortable feeling.
Making a "migs picky" of this would not do OWASP any favors, it's a one shot deal. 
It can easily go to two extremes (I've seen both); 
Either the certification is a joke, too easy, not realistic and a weak barometer of what we are trying to do OR it can be too hard, pass rate is very low, appropriate support for examinations is low and therefore uptake shall be minimal also.
(see u in DC?)
2009/11/7 Stephen Craig Evans <stephencraig.evans at gmail.com>
>From my experience, I can contribute to OWASP in spurts and short
stints. Except for some titans that continuously toil tirelessly for
OWASP, I think that many other contributors are the same as me.

Taking care of certification in any form requires a continuous effort
which does not lend itself to bursts of work. I would think that to be
successful, there would have to be a commercial wing of OWASP with
paid workers which is not a bad thing at all, it's just that we
already have so many open and unfinished endeavors as it is.

Just my $0.02 worth,

On Sat, Nov 7, 2009 at 8:12 PM, Seba <seba at owasp.org> wrote:
> Hi,
> We have been talking about this for some months now within the Education
> Committee.
> ISC2 even approached us with a very concrete proposal to set up a
> certification (besides CSSLP), but we do not want to set up one 'exclusive'
> certification scheme.
> Therefore we came up with the idea to have an OWASP 'certification
> framework' where we define the criteria and potential 'body if knowledge'
> for 3rd party organisations to certify developers and other actors in the
> This certification framework is one point we want to discuss with you during
> the upcoming GEC workshop at the DC Summit
> http://www.owasp.org/index.php/Summit_2009
> regards
> Seba
> On Sat, Nov 7, 2009 at 12:59 PM, John Wilander <john.wilander at owasp.org>
> wrote:
>> 2009/11/7 Ofer Maor <ofer.maor at owasp.org>
>> I definitely think this market is starting to be mature enough and big
>> enough to call for a serious certification. And I think OWASP is the right
>> body to it. There are already chapters all around the world to help promote
>> this, and I think we should push for such certification, and urge customers
>> to require all testers who work for them to have this certification.
>> The problem exists and gives a lot of pain to customers who hire
>> consultants. I've had customers who wanted our help in assessing developers'
>> appsec skills along with other project requirements such as documented
>> threat modeling, the use of a code escrow, and more.
>> There have been discussions previously on this list. It seems the OWASP
>> leaders are divided into people who say "Why don't we take on the
>> responsibility to define what a pentester and an appsec aware developer
>> should know?" and people who say "OWASP is open and welcoming for newbies as
>> well as the planet's finest. We should not become judges over competence."
>> Apart from that there have been a number of practical issues.
>> * Should we cooperate with an established assessment provider such as
>> Prometric?
>> * Should OWASP provide taylormade training for the certification?
>> * Can we require chapter leaders to manage this on a
>> local/regional/national level without paying them?
>> * Should we cooperate or even try to merge with existing certifications
>> such as GSSP or CSSLP?
>> Personally, I like the idea of an independent OWASP certifications
>> (perhaps two - one for developers and one for testers). But I'm not sure how
>> we should deal with the practical issues.
>>    Regards, John (Sweden)
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Eoin Keary

OWASP Code Review Guide Lead Author
OWASP Ireland Chapter Lead
OWASP Global Committee Member (Industry)


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