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FormerlyOffSec Services, LLC
IndustryComputer software, Information Security, Digital forensics
FoundersMati Aharoni, Devon Kearns
New York City
United States
Area served
Key people
ProductsKali Linux, Kali NetHunter, ExploitDB, OffSec Certified Professional
BrandsOffensive Security

OffSec is an American international company working in information security, penetration testing and digital forensics. Operating from around 2007,[1] the company created open source projects, advanced security courses, the ExploitDB vulnerability database, and the Kali Linux distribution. The company was started by Mati Aharoni,[2] and employs security professionals with experience in security penetration testing and system security evaluation. The company has provided security counseling and training to many technology companies.[3]

The company also provides training courses and certifications.

Background and history[edit]

Mati Aharoni, OffSec's co-founder, started the business around 2006 with his wife Iris.[4] OffSec LLC was formed in 2008.[5][6] The company was structured as OffSec Services, LLC in 2012 in North Carolina.[7] In September 2019 the company received its first venture capital investment, from Spectrum Equity, and CEO Ning Wang replaced Joe Steinbach, the previous CEO for four years, who ran the business from the Philippines. Jim O’Gorman, the company's chief strategy officer, also gives training and writes books. Customers include Cisco, Wells Fargo, Booz Allen Hamilton, and defense-related U.S. government agencies. The company gives training sessions at the annual Black Hat hacker conference.[4][8][9]

In 2019, J.M. Porup of CSO online wrote "few infosec certifications have developed the prestige in recent years of the OffSec Certified Professional (OSCP)," and said it has "a reputation for being one of the most difficult," because it requires student to hack into a test network during a difficult "24-hour exam." He also summarized accusations of cheating, and OffSec's responses, concluding hiring based only on credentials was a mistake, and an applicants skills should be validated.[10] In 2020, cybersecurity professional Matt Day of Start a Cyber Career, writing a detailed review and comparison of OSCP and CompTIA PenTest+, said OSCP was "well known in the pentesting community, and therefore well known by the managers that hire them."[11]


In addition to their training and security services, the company also founded open source projects, online exploit databases and security information teaching aids.

Kali Linux[edit]

The company is known for developing Kali Linux, which is a Debian Linux based distribution modeled after BackTrack. It succeeds BackTrack Linux, and is designed for security information needs, such as penetration testing and digital forensics. Kali NetHunter is OffSec's project for the ARM architecture and Android devices.[12] Kali Linux contains over 600 security programs. The release of the second version (2.0) received a wide coverage in the digital media[13][14][15][16] OffSec provides a book, Kali Linux Revealed,[17] and makes the first edition available for free download.[18] Users and employees have been inspired to have careers in social engineering.[19] In 2019, in a detailed review, Cyberpunk called OffSec's Kali Linux, "formally [sic] known as BackTrack," the "best penetration testing distribution."[20]


BackTrack Linux was an open source GNU General Public License Linux distribution developed by programmers from around the world with assistance, coordination, and funding from OffSec.[21][22][23] The distribution was originally developed under the names Whoppix, IWHAX, and Auditor. It was designed to delete any trace of its usage. The distribution was widely known and used by security experts.[24][25][26][27]


Exploit Database is an archive of vulnerable software and exploits that have been made public by the information security community. The database is designated to help penetration testers test small projects easily by sharing information with each other.[28] The database also contains proof-of-concepts (POC), helping information security professionals learn new exploits variations. In Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing Guide, Rafay Baloch said Exploit-db had over 20,000 exploits, and was available in BackTrack Linux by default.[29] In CEH v10 Certified Ethical Hacker Study Guide, Ric Messier called exploit-db a "great resource," and stated it was available within Kali Linux by default, or could be added to other Linux distributions.[30]


Metasploit Unleashed is a charity project created by OffSec for the sake of Hackers for Charity, which was started by Johnny Long. The projects teaches Metasploit and is designed especially for people who consider starting a career in penetration testing.

Google Hacking Database[edit]

Google Hacking Database was created by Johnny Long and is now hosted by OffSec. The project was created as a part of Hackers for Charity. The database helps security professionals determine whether a given application or website is compromised. The database uses Google search to establish whether usernames and passwords had been compromised.[31]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Homepage". Offensive Security. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  2. ^ "About Us". Offensive Security. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  3. ^ Kirk, Jeremy (Jul 29, 2014). "Zero-day flaws found in Symantec's Endpoint Protection". PC World. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Exclusive: Offensive Security Names New CEO; Former No. 2 at HackerOne, Lynda". Fortune. Retrieved 2020-03-17.
  5. ^ "Ning Wang, Offensive Security LLC: Profile and Biography". Retrieved 2020-03-17.
  6. ^ "Offensive Security LLC". Retrieved 2020-03-17.
  7. ^ "Offensive Security Services, LLC". Retrieved 2020-03-17.
  8. ^ "Penetration Testing with Kali Linux, Black Hat USA 2018". 2018. Retrieved 2020-03-17.
  9. ^ "Speaker Jim O'Gorman, Black Hat USA 2018". 2018. Retrieved 2020-03-17.
  10. ^ "OSCP cheating allegations a reminder to verify hacking skills when hiring | CSO Online". 2020-03-27. Archived from the original on 2020-03-27. Retrieved 2020-03-28.
  11. ^ "7 Reasons You Can't Compare the PenTest+ and OSCP –". 2020-03-06. Archived from the original on 2020-03-06. Retrieved 2020-03-28.
  12. ^ Usatenko, Chris (2019-12-12). "Why secure web-based applications with Kali Linux?". Packt Hub. Retrieved 2020-03-20.
  13. ^ Hoffman, Chris (August 19, 2015). "Meet Kali Linux 2.0, a distro built to hammer your security". PC World. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  14. ^ Stahie, Silviu. "Kali Linux 2.0 Penetration Testing OS Now Based on Debian Jessie and Linux Kernel 4.0". Softpedia. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  15. ^ Holm, Joshua Allen. "Gnome turns 18, new tools for Docker, Kali Linux 2.0, and more news". Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  16. ^ Kerner, Sean Michael. "Linux Planet". Retrieved 26 September 2015.
  17. ^ Hertzog, Raphael; O'Gorman, Jim; Aharoni, Mati (2017-06-05). Kali Linux Revealed: Mastering the Penetration Testing Distribution. Offsec Press. ISBN 978-0-9976156-0-9.
  18. ^ Kali Linux Revealed (PDF).
  19. ^ Carpenter, Perry (2019-04-30). Transformational Security Awareness: What Neuroscientists, Storytellers, and Marketers Can Teach Us About Driving Secure Behaviors. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-119-56637-3.
  20. ^ "Kali Linux - The Best Penetration Testing Distribution". CYBERPUNK. 2018-08-08. Retrieved 2020-03-28.
  21. ^ "BackTrack Linux: The Ultimate Hacker's Arsenal - ADMIN | The resource for all system administrators". 2011-09-25. Archived from the original on 2011-09-25. Retrieved 2020-03-27.
  22. ^ "BackTrack Linux - Penetration Testing Distribution". 2011-09-24. Archived from the original on 2011-09-24. Retrieved 2020-03-27.
  23. ^ "About | BackTrack Linux". 2010-03-22. Archived from the original on 2010-03-22. Retrieved 2020-03-27.
  24. ^ " :: Review: BackTrack 2 security live CD". 2007-12-10. Archived from the original on 2007-12-10. Retrieved 2020-03-27.
  25. ^ " :: Test your environment's security with BackTrack". 2009-06-08. Archived from the original on 2009-06-08. Retrieved 2020-03-27.
  26. ^ "BackTrack 5 - A Linux Distribution Engineered for Penetration Testing | Ubuntu Manual". 2011-08-25. Archived from the original on 2011-08-25. Retrieved 2020-03-27.
  27. ^ "BackTrack 5 review – if you're serious about pentesting don't leave home without it! | Linux User". 2011-08-11. Archived from the original on 2011-08-11. Retrieved 2020-03-27.
  28. ^ Cimpanu, Catalin. "Chinese websites have been under attack for a week via a new PHP framework bug". ZDNet. Retrieved 2020-03-27.
  29. ^ Baloch, Rafay (2017-09-29). Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing Guide. CRC Press. pp. 135, 136, 137, 272, 431. ISBN 978-1-4822-3162-5.
  30. ^ Messier, Ric (2019-06-25). CEH v10 Certified Ethical Hacker Study Guide. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 235, 236, 243, 536, 547. ISBN 978-1-119-53319-1.
  31. ^ Broad, James; Bindner, Andrew (2013-12-05). Hacking with Kali: Practical Penetration Testing Techniques. Newnes. p. 97. ISBN 978-0-12-407883-3.

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