New SOC Analyst job-role path Learn More

Intermediate Network Traffic Analysis

Through network traffic analysis, this module sharpens skills in detecting link layer attacks such as ARP anomalies and rogue access points, identifying network abnormalities like IP spoofing and TCP handshake irregularities, and uncovering application layer threats from web-based vulnerabilities to peculiar DNS activities.


Created by x3dnesse

Easy Defensive


This module from Hack The Box Academy dives deep into intermediate network traffic analysis techniques, empowering students to detect and mitigate a plethora of cyber threats. The content is broken down as follows:

Detecting Link Layer Attacks:

  • Mastery over ARP-based vulnerabilities, encompassing spoofing, scanning, and denial-of-service attacks.
  • Insights into 802.11 threats, including denial-of-service and deauthentication.
  • Strategies to identify and mitigate Rogue Access Points and the malicious "Evil-Twin" attacks.

Detecting Network Abnormalities:

  • Techniques to uncover fragmentation attacks and the nefarious intentions behind IP spoofing.
  • Detecting TCP handshake irregularities and connection anomalies such as resets and hijacking.
  • Unveiling covert channels like ICMP tunneling.

Detecting Application Layer Attacks:

  • Detecting web-based threats from HTTP/HTTPS enumeration and oddities in HTTP headers.
  • Skills to identify and tackle injection attacks like XSS and Command Injection, as well as the subtle SSL renegotiation attacks.
  • Strategies for identifying suspicious DNS activities and unusual Telnet & UDP connections.

This module is broken into sections with accompanying hands-on exercises to practice the techniques we cover. The module ends with a practical hands-on skills assessment to gauge your understanding of the various topic areas.

As you work through the module, you will see detection examples for the topics introduced. It is worth reproducing as many of these examples as possible to reinforce further the concepts presented in each section. You can do this in the target host provided in the interactive sections or your virtual machine.

You can start and stop the module anytime and pick up where you left off. There is no time limit or "grading," but you must complete all of the exercises and the skills assessment to receive the maximum number of cubes and have this module marked as complete in any paths you have chosen.

The module is classified as "easy" and assumes basic knowledge of how Windows/Linux operate and common attack principles.

A firm grasp of the following modules can be considered prerequisites for successful completion of this module:

  • Intro to Network Traffic Analysis

Intermediate Network Traffic Analysis Overview

The importance of mastering network traffic analysis in our fast-paced, constantly evolving, and intricate network environments cannot be overstated. Confronted with an overwhelming volume of traffic traversing our network infrastructure, it can feel daunting. Our potential to feel ill-equipped or even overwhelmed is an inherent challenge we must overcome.

In this module, our focus will be on an extensive set of attacks that span crucial components of our network infrastructure. We will delve into attacks that take place on the link layer, the IP layer, and the transport and network layers. Our exploration will even encompass attacks that target the application layer. The goal is to discern patterns and trends within these attacks. Recognizing these patterns equips us with the essential skills to detect and respond to these threats in an efficacious manner.

Further, we will discuss additional skills to augment our abilities. We will touch upon anomaly detection techniques, delve into facets of log analysis, and investigate some Indicators of Compromise (IOCs). This comprehensive approach not only bolsters our capacity for proactive threat identification but also enhances our reactive measures. Ultimately, this will empower us to identify, report, and respond to threats more effectively and within a shorter time frame.

Note: For participating in this module and completing the hands-on exercises, please download from the Resources section (upper right corner).

You can download and uncompress to a directory named pcaps inside Pwnbox as follows.

[!bash!]$ wget -O '' && mkdir tempdir && unzip -d tempdir && mkdir -p pcaps && mv tempdir/Intermediate_Network_Traffic_Analysis/* pcaps/ && rm -r tempdir
--2023-08-08 14:09:14--
Resolving (,, 2606:4700::6812:147e, ...
Connecting to (||:443... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
Length: 19078200 (18M) [application/zip]
Saving to: ‘’           100%[===============>]  18.19M  71.4MB/s    in 0.3s    

2023-08-08 14:09:14 (71.4 MB/s) - ‘’ saved [19078200/19078200]

   creating: tempdir/Intermediate_Network_Traffic_Analysis/
  inflating: tempdir/Intermediate_Network_Traffic_Analysis/ARP_Poison.pcapng  
  inflating: tempdir/Intermediate_Network_Traffic_Analysis/ARP_Scan.pcapng  
  inflating: tempdir/Intermediate_Network_Traffic_Analysis/ARP_Spoof.pcapng  
  inflating: tempdir/Intermediate_Network_Traffic_Analysis/basic_fuzzing.pcapng  
  inflating: tempdir/Intermediate_Network_Traffic_Analysis/CRLF_and_host_header_manipulation.pcapng  
  inflating: tempdir/Intermediate_Network_Traffic_Analysis/deauthandbadauth.cap  
  inflating: tempdir/Intermediate_Network_Traffic_Analysis/decoy_scanning_nmap.pcapng  
  inflating: tempdir/Intermediate_Network_Traffic_Analysis/dns_enum_detection.pcapng  
  inflating: tempdir/Intermediate_Network_Traffic_Analysis/dns_tunneling.pcapng  
  inflating: tempdir/Intermediate_Network_Traffic_Analysis/funky_dns.pcap  
  inflating: tempdir/Intermediate_Network_Traffic_Analysis/funky_icmp.pcap  
  inflating: tempdir/Intermediate_Network_Traffic_Analysis/icmp_frag.pcapng  
  inflating: tempdir/Intermediate_Network_Traffic_Analysis/ICMP_rand_source.pcapng  
  inflating: tempdir/Intermediate_Network_Traffic_Analysis/ICMP_rand_source_larg_data.pcapng  
  inflating: tempdir/Intermediate_Network_Traffic_Analysis/ICMP_smurf.pcapng  
  inflating: tempdir/Intermediate_Network_Traffic_Analysis/icmp_tunneling.pcapng  
  inflating: tempdir/Intermediate_Network_Traffic_Analysis/ip_ttl.pcapng  
  inflating: tempdir/Intermediate_Network_Traffic_Analysis/LAND-DoS.pcapng  
  inflating: tempdir/Intermediate_Network_Traffic_Analysis/nmap_ack_scan.pcapng  
  inflating: tempdir/Intermediate_Network_Traffic_Analysis/nmap_fin_scan.pcapng  
  inflating: tempdir/Intermediate_Network_Traffic_Analysis/nmap_frag_fw_bypass.pcapng  
  inflating: tempdir/Intermediate_Network_Traffic_Analysis/nmap_null_scan.pcapng  
  inflating: tempdir/Intermediate_Network_Traffic_Analysis/nmap_syn_scan.pcapng  
  inflating: tempdir/Intermediate_Network_Traffic_Analysis/nmap_xmas_scan.pcapng  
  inflating: tempdir/Intermediate_Network_Traffic_Analysis/number_fuzzing.pcapng  
  inflating: tempdir/Intermediate_Network_Traffic_Analysis/rogueap.cap  
  inflating: tempdir/Intermediate_Network_Traffic_Analysis/RST_Attack.pcapng  
  inflating: tempdir/Intermediate_Network_Traffic_Analysis/SSL_renegotiation_edited.pcapng  
  inflating: tempdir/Intermediate_Network_Traffic_Analysis/SSL_renegotiation_original.pcap  
  inflating: tempdir/Intermediate_Network_Traffic_Analysis/TCP-hijacking.pcap  
  inflating: tempdir/Intermediate_Network_Traffic_Analysis/TCP_rand_source_attacks.pcapng  
  inflating: tempdir/Intermediate_Network_Traffic_Analysis/telnet_tunneling_23.pcapng  
  inflating: tempdir/Intermediate_Network_Traffic_Analysis/telnet_tunneling_9999.pcapng  
  inflating: tempdir/Intermediate_Network_Traffic_Analysis/telnet_tunneling_ipv6.pcapng  
  inflating: tempdir/Intermediate_Network_Traffic_Analysis/udp_tunneling.pcapng  
  inflating: tempdir/Intermediate_Network_Traffic_Analysis/XSS_Simple.pcapng 

Sign Up / Log In to Unlock the Module

Please Sign Up or Log In to unlock the module and access the rest of the sections.

Relevant Paths

This module progresses you towards the following Paths

SOC Analyst

The SOC Analyst Job Role Path is for newcomers to information security who aspire to become professional SOC analysts. This path covers core security monitoring and security analysis concepts and provides a deep understanding of the specialized tools, attack tactics, and methodology used by adversaries. Armed with the necessary theoretical background and multiple practical exercises, students will go through all security analysis stages, from traffic analysis and SIEM monitoring to DFIR activities and reporting. Upon completing this job role path, you will have obtained the practical skills and mindset necessary to monitor enterprise-level infrastructure and detect intrusions at an intermediate level. The SOC Analyst Prerequisites skill path can be considered prerequisite knowledge to be successful while working through this job role path.

Medium Path Sections 165 Sections
Required: 1220
Reward: +260
Path Modules
Path Sections 9 Sections
Reward: +10
Security Incident handling has become a vital part of each organization's defensive strategy, as attacks constantly evolve and successful compromises are becoming a daily occurrence. In this module, we will review the process of handling an incident from the very early stage of detecting a suspicious event, to confirming a compromise and responding to it.
Path Sections 11 Sections
Reward: +20
This module provides a concise yet comprehensive overview of Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) and the Elastic Stack. It demystifies the essential workings of a Security Operation Center (SOC), explores the application of the MITRE ATT&CK framework within SOCs, and introduces SIEM (KQL) query development. With a focus on practical skills, students will learn how to develop SIEM use cases and visualizations using the Elastic Stack.
Path Sections 6 Sections
Reward: +20
This module covers the exploration of Windows Event Logs and their significance in uncovering suspicious activities. Throughout the course, we delve into the anatomy of Windows Event Logs and highlight the logs that hold the most valuable information for investigations. The module also focuses on utilizing Sysmon and Event Logs for detecting and analyzing malicious behavior. Additionally, we delve into Event Tracing for Windows (ETW), explaining its architecture and components, and provide ETW-based detection examples. To streamline the analysis process, we introduce the powerful Get-WinEvent cmdlet.
Path Sections 6 Sections
Reward: +20
This module initially lays the groundwork for understanding Threat Hunting, ranging from its basic definition, to the structure of a threat hunting team. The module also dives into the threat hunting process, highlighting the interrelationships between threat hunting, risk assessment, and incident handling. Furthermore, the module elucidates the fundamentals of Cyber Threat Intelligence (CTI). It expands on the different types of threat intelligence and offers guidance on effectively interpreting a threat intelligence report. Finally, the module puts theory into practice, showcasing how to conduct threat hunting using the Elastic stack. This practical segment uses real-world logs to provide learners with hands-on experience.
Path Sections 6 Sections
Reward: +20
This module provides a comprehensive introduction to Splunk, focusing on its architecture and the creation of effective detection-related SPL (Search Processing Language) searches. We will learn to investigate with Splunk as a SIEM tool and develop TTP-driven and analytics-driven SPL searches for enhanced threat detection and response. Through hands-on exercises, we will learn to identify and understand the ingested data and available fields within Splunk. We will also gain practical experience in leveraging Splunk's powerful features for security monitoring and incident investigation.
Path Sections 16 Sections
Reward: +20
Microsoft Active Directory (AD) has been, for the past 20+ years, the leading enterprise domain management suite, providing identity and access management, centralized domain administration, authentication, and much more. Throughout those years, the more integrated our applications and data have become with AD, the more exposed to a large-scale compromise we have become. In this module, we will walk through the most commonly abused and fruitful attacks against Active Directory environments that allow threat actors to perform horizontal and vertical privilege escalations in addition to lateral movement. One of the module's core goals is to showcase prevention and detection methods against the covered Active Directory attacks.
Path Sections 15 Sections
Reward: +10
Network traffic analysis is used by security teams to monitor network activity and look for anomalies that could indicate security and operational issues. Offensive security practitioners can use network traffic analysis to search for sensitive data such as credentials, hidden applications, reachable network segments, or other potentially sensitive information "on the wire." Network traffic analysis has many uses for attackers and defenders alike.
Path Sections 18 Sections
Reward: +20
Through network traffic analysis, this module sharpens skills in detecting link layer attacks such as ARP anomalies and rogue access points, identifying network abnormalities like IP spoofing and TCP handshake irregularities, and uncovering application layer threats from web-based vulnerabilities to peculiar DNS activities.
Path Sections 11 Sections
Reward: +20
This module offers an in-depth exploration of Suricata, Snort, and Zeek, covering both rule development and intrusion detection. We'll guide you through signature-based and analytics-based rule development, and you'll learn to tackle encrypted traffic. The module features numerous hands-on examples, focusing on the detection of prevalent malware such as PowerShell Empire, Covenant, Sliver, Cerber, Dridex, Ursnif, and Patchwork. We also dive into detecting attacking techniques like DNS exfiltration, TLS/HTTP Exfiltration, PsExec lateral movement, and beaconing through IDS/IPS.
Path Sections 9 Sections
Reward: +20
This module offers an exploration of malware analysis, specifically targeting Windows-based threats. The module covers Static Analysis utilizing Linux and Windows tools, Malware Unpacking, Dynamic Analysis (including malware traffic analysis), Reverse Engineering for Code Analysis, and Debugging using x64dbg. Real-world malware examples such as WannaCry, DoomJuice, Brbbot, Dharma, and Meterpreter are analyzed to provide practical experience.
Path Sections 11 Sections
Reward: +10
This module will take you step-by-step through the fundamentals of JavaScript Deobfuscation until you can deobfuscate basic JavaScript code and understand its purpose.
Path Sections 11 Sections
Reward: +20 NEW
This Hack The Box Academy module covers how to create YARA rules both manually and automatically and apply them to hunt threats on disk, live processes, memory, and online databases. Then, the module switches gears to Sigma rules covering how to build Sigma rules, translate them into SIEM queries using "sigmac", and hunt threats in both event logs and SIEM solutions. It's all hands-on, using real-world malware and techniques.
Path Sections 8 Sections
Reward: +20 NEW
Dive into Windows digital forensics with Hack The Box Academy's "Introduction to Digital Forensics" module. Gain mastery over core forensic concepts and tools such as FTK Imager, KAPE, Velociraptor, and Volatility. Dive deep into memory forensics, disk image analysis, and rapid triaging procedures. Learn to construct timelines from MFT, USN Journals, and Windows event logs while getting hands-on with key artifacts like MFT, USN Journal, Registry Hives, Prefetch Files, ShimCache, Amcache, BAM, and SRUM data.
Path Sections 23 Sections
Reward: +20
This Hack The Box Academy module is focused on pinpointing attacks on Windows and Active Directory. Utilizing Splunk as the cornerstone for investigation, this training will arm participants with the expertise to adeptly identify Windows-based threats leveraging Windows Event Logs and Zeek network logs. Furthermore, participants will benefit from actual PCAP files associated with the discussed Windows and Active Directory attacks, enhancing their understanding of the respective attack patterns and techniques.
Path Sections 5 Sections
Reward: +10 NEW
Tailored to provide a holistic understanding, this Hack The Box Academy module ensures participants are adept at identifying, categorizing, and documenting security incidents with utmost accuracy and professionalism. The module meticulously breaks down the elements of a robust incident report and then presents participants with a real-world incident report, offering practical insights into the application of the concepts discussed.