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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.

4.72

Created by x3dnesse

Easy Defensive

Summary

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.

CREST CPSA/CRT-related Sections:

  • All sections

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 pcap_files.zip from the Resources section (upper right corner).

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

[!bash!]$ wget -O file.zip 'https://academy.hackthebox.com/storage/resources/pcap_files.zip' && mkdir tempdir && unzip file.zip -d tempdir && mkdir -p pcaps && mv tempdir/Intermediate_Network_Traffic_Analysis/* pcaps/ && rm -r tempdir file.zip
--2023-08-08 14:09:14--  https://academy.hackthebox.com/storage/resources/pcap_files.zip
Resolving academy.hackthebox.com (academy.hackthebox.com)... 104.18.20.126, 104.18.21.126, 2606:4700::6812:147e, ...
Connecting to academy.hackthebox.com (academy.hackthebox.com)|104.18.20.126|:443... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
Length: 19078200 (18M) [application/zip]
Saving to: ‘file.zip’

file.zip           100%[===============>]  18.19M  71.4MB/s    in 0.3s    

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

Archive:  file.zip
   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 

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Relevant Paths

This module progresses you towards the following Paths

SOC Analyst

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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.
Easy
Path Sections 18 Sections
Reward: +20
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CREST CPSA/CRT Preparation

This is a skill path to prepare you for CREST's CPSA and CRT exams. The following CPSA/CRT syllabus areas (IDs) are covered: A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, B1, B4, B5, B6, B8, B9, B13, B14, C1, C2, C3, C4, D1, D2, E1, E2, E3, E4, E5, E9, F1, F2, F3, F4, F5, F6, F7, F8, F9, G1, G2, G4, G5, G6, G7, G8, G9, H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, H6, H8, H9, H10, H11, H12, H13, I1, I2, I3, I6, J1, J2, J3. Take your time to complete all related sections and when you are ready you can book your CREST exam through the following links. CREST CPSA: https://www.crest-approved.org/certification-careers/crest-certifications/crest-practitioner-security-analyst/. CREST CRT: https://www.crest-approved.org/certification-careers/crest-certifications/crest-registered-penetration-tester/.

Medium Path Sections 837 Sections
Required: 7300
Reward: +1580
Path Modules
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Path Sections 8 Sections
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Path Sections 14 Sections
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Path Sections 23 Sections
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Path Sections 6 Sections
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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.
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Path Sections 9 Sections
Reward: +20
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Medium
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.
Easy
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.
Fundamental
Path Sections 15 Sections
Reward: +10
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Path Sections 12 Sections
Reward: +10
Nmap is one of the most used networking mapping and discovery tools because of its accurate results and efficiency. The tool is widely used by both offensive and defensive security practitioners. This module covers fundamentals that will be needed to use the Nmap tool for performing effective network enumeration.
Medium
Path Sections 21 Sections
Reward: +20
This module covers techniques for footprinting the most commonly used services in almost all enterprise and business IT infrastructures. Footprinting is an essential phase of any penetration test or security audit to identify and prevent information disclosure. Using this process, we examine the individual services and attempt to obtain as much information from them as possible.
Easy
Path Sections 19 Sections
Reward: +20 NEW
This module equips learners with essential web reconnaissance skills, crucial for ethical hacking and penetration testing. It explores both active and passive techniques, including DNS enumeration, web crawling, analysis of web archives and HTTP headers, and fingerprinting web technologies.
Easy
Path Sections 17 Sections
Reward: +10
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Medium
Path Sections 10 Sections
Reward: +10
During an assessment, it is very common for us to transfer files to and from a target system. This module covers file transfer techniques leveraging tools commonly available across all versions of Windows and Linux systems.
Medium
Path Sections 17 Sections
Reward: +10
Gain the knowledge and skills to identify and use shells & payloads to establish a foothold on vulnerable Windows & Linux systems. This module utilizes a fictitious scenario where the learner will place themselves in the perspective of a sysadmin trying out for a position on CAT5 Security's network penetration testing team.
Easy
Path Sections 15 Sections
Reward: +10
The Metasploit Framework is an open-source set of tools used for network enumeration, attacks, testing security vulnerabilities, evading detection, performing privilege escalation attacks, and performing post-exploitation.
Medium
Path Sections 22 Sections
Reward: +10
Passwords are still the primary method of authentication in corporate networks. If strong password policies are not in place, users will often opt for weak, easy-to-remember passwords that can often be cracked offline and used to further our access. We will encounter passwords in many forms during our assessments. We must understand the various ways they are stored, how they can be retrieved, methods to crack weak passwords, ways to use hashes that cannot be cracked, and hunting for weak/default password usage.
Medium
Path Sections 19 Sections
Reward: +20
Organizations regularly use a standard set of services for different purposes. It is vital to conduct penetration testing activities on each service internally and externally to ensure that they are not introducing security threats. This module will cover how to enumerate each service and test it against known vulnerabilities and exploits with a standard set of tools.
Medium
Path Sections 14 Sections
Reward: +20
This module covers the fundamentals of password cracking using the Hashcat tool.
Fundamental
Path Sections 16 Sections
Reward: +10
Active Directory (AD) is present in the majority of corporate environments. Due to its many features and complexity, it presents a vast attack surface. To be successful as penetration testers and information security professionals, we must have a firm understanding of Active Directory fundamentals, AD structures, functionality, common AD flaws, misconfigurations, and defensive measures.
Medium
Path Sections 18 Sections
Reward: +20
Once a foothold is gained during an assessment, it may be in scope to move laterally and vertically within a target network. Using one compromised machine to access another is called pivoting and allows us to access networks and resources that are not directly accessible to us through the compromised host. Port forwarding accepts the traffic on a given IP address and port and redirects it to a different IP address and port combination. Tunneling is a technique that allows us to encapsulate traffic within another protocol so that it looks like a benign traffic stream.
Medium
Path Sections 9 Sections
Reward: +200
This module covers AD enumeration focusing on the PowerView and SharpView tools. We will cover various techniques for enumerating key AD objects that will inform our attacks in later modules.
Medium
Path Sections 36 Sections
Reward: +20
Active Directory (AD) is the leading enterprise domain management suite, providing identity and access management, centralized domain administration, authentication, and much more. Due to the many features and complexity of AD, it presents a large attack surface that is difficult to secure properly. To be successful as infosec professionals, we must understand AD architectures and how to secure our enterprise environments. As Penetration testers, having a firm grasp of what tools, techniques, and procedures are available to us for enumerating and attacking AD environments and commonly seen AD misconfigurations is a must.
Easy
Path Sections 28 Sections
Reward: +20
Privilege escalation is a crucial phase during any security assessment. During this phase, we attempt to gain access to additional users, hosts, and resources to move closer to the assessment's overall goal. There are many ways to escalate privileges. This module aims to cover the most common methods emphasizing real-world misconfigurations and flaws that we may encounter in a client environment. The techniques covered in this module are not an exhaustive list of all possibilities and aim to avoid extreme "edge-case" tactics that may be seen in a Capture the Flag (CTF) exercise.
Medium
Path Sections 33 Sections
Reward: +20
After gaining a foothold, elevating our privileges will provide more options for persistence and may reveal information stored locally that can further our access in the environment. Enumeration is the key to privilege escalation. When you gain initial shell access to the host, it is important to gain situational awareness and uncover details relating to the OS version, patch level, any installed software, our current privileges, group memberships, and more. Windows presents an enormous attack surface and, being that most companies run Windows hosts in some way, we will more often than not find ourselves gaining access to Windows machines during our assessments. This covers common methods while emphasizing real-world misconfigurations and flaws that we may encounter during an assessment. There are many additional "edge-case" possibilities not covered in this module. We will cover both modern and legacy Windows Server and Desktop versions that may be present in a client environment.
Hard
Path Sections 23 Sections
Reward: +100
Kerberos is an authentication protocol that allows users to authenticate and access services on a potentially insecure network. Due to its prevalence throughout an Active Directory environment, it presents us with a significant attack surface when assessing internal networks. This module will explain how Kerberos works thoroughly and examines several scenarios to practice the most common attacks against it from multiple perspectives.
Hard
Path Sections 10 Sections
Reward: +100
The NTLM authentication protocol is commonly used within Windows-based networks to facilitate authentication between clients and servers. However, NTLM's inherent weaknesses make it susceptible to Adversary-in-the-Middle attacks, providing a significant attack vector. This module focuses on the various NTLM relay attacks that attackers use to compromise Active Directory networks.
DACL Attacks I
mini module tag Mini-Module
Hard
Path Sections 7 Sections
Reward: +100
Discretionary Access Control Lists (DACLs), found within security descriptors, are a fundamental component of the security model of Windows and Active Directory, defining and enforcing access to the various system resources. This mini-module will cover enumerating and attacking common DACL misconfigurations, allowing us to escalate our privileges horizontally and vertically and move laterally across an Active Directory network.
Medium
Path Sections 13 Sections
Reward: +10
Buffer overflows are common vulnerabilities in software applications that can be exploited to achieve remote code execution (RCE) or perform a Denial-of-Service (DoS) attack. These vulnerabilities are caused by insecure coding, resulting in an attacker being able to overrun a program's buffer and overwrite adjacent memory locations, changing the program's execution path and resulting in unintended actions.
Medium
Path Sections 11 Sections
Reward: +10
This module is your first step into Windows Binary Exploitation, and it will teach you how to exploit local and remote buffer overflow vulnerabilities on Windows machines.
Easy
Path Sections 15 Sections
Reward: +20
Web application penetration testing frameworks are an essential part of any web penetration test. This module will teach you two of the best frameworks: Burp Suite and OWASP ZAP.
Easy
Path Sections 13 Sections
Reward: +10
This module covers the fundamental enumeration skills of web fuzzing and directory brute forcing using the Ffuf tool. The techniques learned in this module will help us in locating hidden pages, directories, and parameters when targeting web applications.
Easy
Path Sections 11 Sections
Reward: +20
Learn how to brute force logins for various types of services and create custom wordlists based on your target.
Medium
Path Sections 15 Sections
Reward: +100
This module covers details on Transport Layer Security (TLS) and how it helps to make HTTP secure with the widely used HTTPS. That includes how TLS works, how TLS sessions are established, common TLS misconfigurations, as well as famous attacks on TLS. We will discuss how to identify, exploit, and prevent TLS attacks.
Easy
Path Sections 10 Sections
Reward: +20
Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities are among the most common web application vulnerabilities. An XSS vulnerability may allow an attacker to execute arbitrary JavaScript code within the target's browser and result in complete web application compromise if chained together with other vulnerabilities. This module will teach you how to identify XSS vulnerabilities and exploit them.
Medium
Path Sections 14 Sections
Reward: +20
Maintaining and keeping track of a user's session is an integral part of web applications. It is an area that requires extensive testing to ensure it is set up robustly and securely. This module covers the most common attacks and vulnerabilities that can affect web application sessions, such as Session Hijacking, Session Fixation, Cross-Site Request Forgery, Cross-Site Scripting, and Open Redirects.
Medium
Path Sections 17 Sections
Reward: +10
Databases are an important part of web application infrastructure and SQL (Structured Query Language) to store, retrieve, and manipulate information stored in them. SQL injection is a code injection technique used to take advantage of coding vulnerabilities and inject SQL queries via an application to bypass authentication, retrieve data from the back-end database, or achieve code execution on the underlying server.
Easy
Path Sections 11 Sections
Reward: +20
The SQLMap Essentials module will teach you the basics of using SQLMap to discover various types of SQL Injection vulnerabilities, all the way to the advanced enumeration of databases to retrieve all data of interest.
Medium
Path Sections 11 Sections
Reward: +10
File Inclusion is a common web application vulnerability, which can be easily overlooked as part of a web application's functionality.
Medium
Path Sections 11 Sections
Reward: +20
Arbitrary file uploads are among the most critical web vulnerabilities. These flaws enable attackers to upload malicious files, execute arbitrary commands on the back-end server, and even take control over the entire server and all web applications hosted on it and potentially gain access to sensitive data or cause a service disruption.
Medium
Path Sections 12 Sections
Reward: +20
Command injection vulnerabilities can be leveraged to compromise a hosting server and its entire network. This module will teach you how to identify and exploit command injection vulnerabilities and how to use various filter bypassing techniques to avoid security mitigations.
Medium
Path Sections 14 Sections
Reward: +20 NEW
Authentication is probably the most straightforward and prevalent measure used to secure access to resources, and it's the first line of defense against unauthorized access. Broken authentication is listed as #7 on the 2021 OWASP Top 10 Web Application Security Risks, falling under the broader category of Identification and Authentication failures. A vulnerability or misconfiguration at the authentication stage can impact an application's overall security.
Medium
Path Sections 18 Sections
Reward: +20
This module covers three common web vulnerabilities, HTTP Verb Tampering, IDOR, and XXE, each of which can have a significant impact on a company's systems. We will cover how to identify, exploit, and prevent each of them through various methods.
Medium
Path Sections 33 Sections
Reward: +20
Penetration Testers can come across various applications, such as Content Management Systems, custom web applications, internal portals used by developers and sysadmins, and more. It's common to find the same applications across many different environments. While an application may not be vulnerable in one environment, it may be misconfigured or unpatched in the next. It is important as an assessor to have a firm grasp of enumerating and attacking the common applications discussed in this module. This knowledge will help when encountering other types of applications during assessments.
Medium
Path Sections 13 Sections
Reward: +20
Web services and APIs are frequently exposed to provide certain functionalities in a programmatic way between heterogeneous devices and software components. Both web services and APIs can assist in integrating different applications or facilitate separation within a given application. This module covers how to identify the functionality a web service or API offers and exploit any security-related inefficiencies.
Hard
Path Sections 16 Sections
Reward: +100
In this module, we cover blind SQL injection attacks and MSSQL-specific attacks.
Hard
Path Sections 12 Sections
Reward: +100
This module covers advanced SQL injection techniques with a focus on white-box testing, Java/Spring and PostgreSQL.
Hard
Path Sections 21 Sections
Reward: +100
This 'secure coding' module teaches how to identify logic bugs through code review and analysis, and covers three types of logic bugs caused by user input manipulation.
Easy
Path Sections 16 Sections
Reward: +20
WordPress is an open-source Content Management System (CMS) that can be used for multiple purposes.
Easy
Path Sections 8 Sections
Reward: +20
Proper documentation is paramount during any engagement. The end goal of a technical assessment is the report deliverable which will often be presented to a broad audience within the target organization. We must take detailed notes and be very organized in our documentation, which will help us in the event of an incident during the assessment. This will also help ensure that our reports contain enough detail to illustrate the impact of our findings properly.