TryHackMe: A Beginner’s Guide to Getting Started

If you have a decent network of people within cyber security, chances are that you have already heard about TryHackMe. In this article, we are going discuss the features of this revelation of a platform, and do our best at helping you take the first or first few steps towards getting started within it.

So, what in the Fsociety is TryHackMe? It is a hands-on platform that addresses the difficulty of gaining cyber security education. “How?”, you ask? Through a gamified approach, that’s how! This awesome platform has been growing has managed to gain a loyal user base of over 492,000 users. It has also become popular among cyber security mentors and professionals, hence gaining an even higher reputation.

The Conception of TryHackMe

The dream started back in 2018 when two college students, Ashu Savani and Ben Spring, had the idea to upload all of their security-relevant notes on a centralized platform that would be publicly accessible at no cost. This idea was born due to flaws in the existing learning system that these brilliant minds recognized and had the will to resolve once and for all.

And so, they did it. They conceived TryHackMe and allowed the creation of virtual rooms on the platform which held information in both theoretical and practical form. Later, the community grew on to become one of the biggest in the learning world of cyber security!

Getting Started

To get going with the platform, visit TryHackMe and create a new account. You will be greeted with your dashboard. Start poking around and get familiarized with this dashboard as you will face it every time you log in.

Rooms

A Room is a virtual space within TryHackMe where you can learn relevant skills through CTF’s, challenges, guides or walkthroughs. You can think of these Rooms as individual mini-labs that offer knowledge related to specific topics and subtopics within the realm of cyber security.

Learning Paths

A Learning Path consists of a structured approach to the completion of Rooms in order to better understand closely-related concepts sequentially instead of you picking and completing individual, arbitrary Rooms. These “pathways of learning” are made up of Modules and also feature certificates of achievement upon completion.

Modules

A Module is made up of bite-sized Rooms (labs) that help grasp a single concept or topic within cyber security. Using these structured and carefully curated Modules, it is much more efficient to understand topics of varying complexities.

Networks

A Network is one of the most hands-on and informative spaces. It features a network of computers and devices that are vulnerable, just waiting for you to take over them! Currently, there are three of these Networks available, namely Throwback, Holo and Wreath — out of which only Wreath is available to free users. Completing these also award certificates but more importantly, they build up confidence in your own practical abilities.

King of the Hill

One of the most liked features of TryHackMe, King of the Hill (KoTH), is a competitive playground for more advanced learners looking for a challenge. In it, you play against ten other players to gain root access to a vulnerable machine. To win the game, you need to maintain root access for the highest amount of time and simultaneously patch vulnerabilities so that your rivals (the ten other players) do not get root access as well.

Ranking & Leaderboards

Users get points after completing every Room and hence get assigned levels. Gradually, the players can level up through gaining more points. The top-100 players from each country are featured within their respective leaderboards, and a global top-100 leaderboard also ranks all players globally. These ranks (in order) are:

Title / RankPoints Required
0x10
0x2200
0x3500
0x41,000
0x51,500
0x62,000
0x73,000
0x8 [Hacker]4,000
0x9 [Omni]8,000
0xA [Wizard]12,000
0xB [Master]15,000
0xC [Guru]17,000
0xD [God]20,000
Level System

Free Vs. Premium

The platform has two modes — Free and Premium. Although a huge amount of content is available for free, some additional features such as Learning Pathways, AttackBox, and access to faster machines can be unlocked by going premium for $10 a month.

Excelsior!

TryHackMe has a plethora of information with an extremely user-friendly interface. Through personal experience, we highly recommend the platform to amateurs and professionals across all levels. Its minimal UI gives the platform an addictive appeal and the ranking system tops it off with a competitive edge. Needless to mention, getting your hands dirty and exploring are the two key elements that will sharpen your penetration-testing abilities — so, hey, get your TryHackMe on today!

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