Previously on “Patrick does OffSec Courses”


This blog post tells a rather funny and weird story about how I ended up attending the Advanced Windows Exploitation course by OffSec in London. This will be the first part of yet another “Journey to OSEE” writeup, but with a way funnier intro. Believe me.

Leaving OSED and concluding OSCE³

So after concluding my 3yr plan on becoming an OSCE³ and passing the OSED I was ambivalent about how to feel. I really had fun with all the exploiting while doing OSED but on the other hand I was really glad that I got over with it. So I was asking myself if I would be willing to go through a way harder course and exam to become an OSEE. And well, I decided I am not. So the story should end here. At least I thought and I was fine with it. Completely.

The opportunity

Fast forward a few weeks and see me sitting in my weekly online meeting at work. Then all of the sudden a topic pops up. Turns out the company has 3 tickets for the AWE session in London on the 19th of Febuary 2024. And by a happy coincidence one of the 3 ticket owners left the company. So there is now one free slot. As I was asked if I would attend I was like: “Well yes, if there isn’t anyone else who want’s to go I would. Better than wasting the money on the ticket”. So time passed by and I forgot about the ticket.

Some more time passed and I was attending an internal course at work called “Introduction to kernel exploitation in Windows” as all of the sudden it was decided that between all the attendees of that course one will be picked at random to go to London. Okay then, I thought to myself. Maybe I will be picked and then go to London. If so fine, if not also fine. So after lunch every attendee was asked if he would possibly go to London and almost everyone bailed immediately. Except one guy and me. So now chances are 50% that I’ll go. Exciting.

We wrote our names on a piece of paper and threw it into a cup. The excitment grew as one piece was drawn from the cup. It felt like I was almost near a heartattack as the paper got unfolded. And … and … the other guy got drawn. Alright. Fate has decided. I will not attend the training and this, as I said already, is perfectly fine. The other guy was at least as eager as me to go to the training. It was fair game so no reason to complain.

My 16th of February

So time has passed and I am basically going on with my life, working, being a loving husband and father of 2, awaiting a third in May, doing things. You know. So all of the sudden I got a call from one of ours in the company that I missed. So as soon as I recognized I called back. At the other end of the line I was told, that the guy that was drawn from the cup is now sic and definitely is not being able to go to London for the training. I was asked if I would still be interested in going. Without hesitation I went downstairs to my wife and told her what happend. She looked at me in an omniscient way and said: “You know, I already knew it is going to be you.” And I’m like: “How would you have been able to know. There is just no chance.” And shes like: “I just knew.”

So the course is on the 19th and the flight goes on the 18th and also I will need to prepare a client and also I will need to have a travel power adapter and also I need this and that. Can you feel that while reading? Can you feel the panic that was slowly creeping into my mind and my body. But okay, one thing at a time.

Flight and hotel. Those two my employer was managing. So soon I was presented with flight tickets and hotel reservation. Alright.

Client wise I had this Dell Inspiron 15 laying around unused. So I booted it just to figure out that my SSD would be too small for the requirements. Also my RAM was only 16GB so this could be more. One of the guys that will fly with me to the training was offering me 32GB of RAM and he would bring them to London where I could upgrade mine. So okay, need to pack a screwdriver then. SSD wise I just went to the next PC store and bought a bigger one. Then I installed Windows and VMWare Workstation onto the Dell. Thats another checkmark. Done.

Power adapter I would be able to buy at the airport and also the guy bringing the RAM had a spare one he offered to also bring. So this is basically done.

Well, so far so good. Only thing left is packing up and fly to London right? With this in mind I left my working space well assured that everything will go according to plan.

My 17th of February

For today it was planned to go to a playground where the kids can play and the parents are able to order coffee and food. This is going to be a very calm Saturday, right?

So after breakfast and shortly before we were about to leave for the playground my mother-in-law came by. And we were talking about how funny all the things turned out and I am flying to London the next day. And she is like: “All you have to do is pack and grab your passport and you are good to go.”

Well, all of the sudden it hit me hard, directly to the face. MY PASSPORT? Well yes. Flying from Germany to UK will require a passport. As the UK left the EU in 01/2020 now Germans are required to have a passport to enter the country. Guess what I do not have and never had. A PASSPORT!

So now what? I cannot fly to the UK as they simply won’t let me in. But now it is Saturday and no town office will be opened to get an emergency passport, right? Is this really how it will end? Is fate tricking me once again?

Well lucky me. I live in a town with around 8000 citizens which is rather small. And in a small town like that you know a lot of people. And lucky me again I know the major and have his phone number. So I call him, tell him what has happened and he provided me with the private number of the lady that is managing the passport stuff at our town office.

So I called said lady and told her what has happened and she is like: “Well, how about you come by at 1pm and we then create an emergency passport for you?”. Boy was that a relieve. You cannot imagine.

You will have to book a slot for that playground we wanted to go with the kids and the slot was booked for 12:30. As we only do have one car this is going to be a tight race. So I drove the wife and the kids to the playground, then drove back (both 30 min drives) and went to the town office just in time. I brought a little flower with me to show my appreciation to the lady who came to the town office on a Saturday to help me out. After I finally got my emergency passport I drove back to the playground to join the kids and my wife.

So we had fun and the Saturday came slowely to an end.

My 18th of February

For today the plan was to pack my things and to have another adventure with the kids, before leaving for the airport and flying to London. And this time nothing unexpected happend. We just had a great outdoor time. We went for lunch. Then we drove to the airport early and watched some airplanes land and take off before we said our goodbyes. Then I left for London.

At the airport I met a buddy of on of the two other guys, who would also attend the course.

After landing in London at Heathrow airport we united with the two other guys, grabbed our bags and drove to the hotel. Before hitting bed we went to the lobby for some drinks and I changed RAM on my machine. So now we are ready for the course.

The start of my 19th of Febuary

So what started really funny and weird and unexpected and also challenging at first ended in me attending the course of AWE in London on the 19th of February.

OSEE Course Room
This way to the training :)

I hope you enjoyed reading the funny story about how I started my journey to become an OSEE. If you want to find out how it will end just stay tuned for part 2 of “My Journey to OSEE”.

Cheers, Patrick