Interview with Haris Pylarinos, CEO at Cybersecurity Learning Community: Hack The Box

Hack The Box trains the world’s best hackers through its online cybersecurity training platform and rapidly growing hacking community, bringing together over half a million members in less than four years. The platform allows users and organisations to practice and level up their cybersecurity skills through a hands-on, self-paced, and gamified learning experience.

From hundreds of constantly updated virtual hacking labs to a plethora of interactive courses at HTB Academy, Hack The Box is on a mission to upscale the adversarial capabilities of every professional and organisation in the world by making cybersecurity training accessible to everyone.
Hack The Box: Hacking Training For The Best | Individuals & Companies

How did you come up with the idea for the company?

I created Hack The Box with two goals in mind: to challenge myself and to bring together like-minded people. As a former ethical hacker, I have learned new techniques from hands-on experience as well as taking part in, and winning, hacking competitions. I know that to be successful, you need to think outside of the box, and develop a mindset rather than just a list of qualifications. But I also realised that there was a lack of training for these unique skills, so I designed the first Hack The Box Labs to allow other ethical hackers and IT professionals to learn new skills and build on their knowledge.

These virtual labs “throw” the users into the deep end, encouraging members to solve the security challenges we put in front of them. Once people started using the labs to advance their skills, we introduced an element of competition that allowed users to challenge themselves even more, while also enabling them to share possible solutions and knowledge among one another. This is how the Hack The Box community was born. The community can provide the biggest pool of knowledge for members, enabling everyone to network, interact with each other, exchange ideas and methodologies, continuously learn and advance.


How has the company evolved during the pandemic?

In the past 18 months, there has been a growing focus on cybersecurity among businesses, as many have made headlines as victims of attacks, data leaks, or poor security practices. It has brought into sharp focus the importance of security techniques and experience within IT and security – and how a proactive approach to threats is the only way to properly prepare. Once an attack has taken place, it’s too late.

This focus on cybersecurity has become obvious among our community as well. The Hack The Box platform now features over 640,000 members, and we are proud to be working with world-leading clients in the finance, IT, education, military, and government sectors. We have seen a 35-40% growth in our business customer base in the twelve months.

In April 2021, Hack The Box successfully raised $10.6 million in a Series A funding round, led by Paladin Capital Group. This round will support our growth into new markets, R&D with new solutions and increase the size of the Hack The Box team, which is currently at 100.

What can we hope to see from Hack The Box in the future?

The future looks very promising as we are set to invest heavily in product innovation, as well as planning to expand our HTB Academy offering with great added value not only for individuals but also business clients worldwide. Building from our latest funding round, Hack The Box will target the US market as a key area of growth, while striving to empower many more professionals to train their offensive and defensive security mindset.

In the coming years, Hack The Box aims to grow as an established and credible source of measuring the skill set of cyber professionals, assisting in the day-to-day operations of pen-testers through our adversarial labs utilized as a safe space to test techniques before applying them to production. Our mission is to make cybersecurity training accessible to everyone and upscale the adversarial capabilities of every professional and organization in the world.