MacOS Fundamentals

MacOS Fundamentals  Fundamental

This module covers the fundamentals required to work comfortably within the macOS operating system and shell.

Created by 21y4d
Co-Authors: Sentinal

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DISCLAIMER: This module requires access to a macOS machine for completion. Refer to the end of this page for more details.

macOS is a staple in many environments and businesses, such as academia, content creation, and audio/visual shops worldwide. Furthermore, macOS makes for an excellent pentesting OS and is very popular among pentesters and developers alike, for its security and ability to natively run pentesting tools as well as simulate other OS's through virtual machines.

Understanding how to navigate the file system and the command line is essential for effective enumeration, privilege escalation, lateral movement, post-exploitation, and defense. When set up correctly, we can even use macOS as our attack box during assessments. With advances in centralized administration, we are starting to see macOS hosts within Active Directory environments as well more frequently. This module covers the essentials for starting with the macOS operating system and command line.

This module will provide a quick history lesson on the origins of macOS and its architecture and then guide us through utilizing and administering all it has to offer. We will practice using the Graphical User Interface (GUI) along with the Command-line Interface (CLI) to administer many different portions of the host, including:

  • System settings and preferences
  • Filesystem navigation and usage
  • Networking concepts as they pertain to macOS
  • Application and update control via native apps and the use of Homebrew
  • Security considerations to include host hardening and monitoring

Furthermore, this module will cover the following:

  • macOS system structure
  • File system specifics
  • Permissions management
  • macOS services and applications
  • Interacting with the operating system (CLI & GUI)
  • Security Considerations
  • Application management

This module is broken down into sections with accompanying hands-on exercises to practice the tactics and techniques we cover.

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 "Fundamental" and assumes that the student has a basic knowledge of the macOS operating system from a casual user perspective.

To complete this module, you must have access to a macOS machine (e.g., MacBook/Mac Mini/Mac Pro). If you do not have access to a Mac, you may still take the module and go through it to understand the macOS fundamentals, though you will not be able to practice the provided exercises within the module. Furthermore, the module may require basic terminal usage, mostly covered in the Linux Fundamentals module, so we recommend doing that module before this one.


  • What Is macOS?
  • Graphical User Interface
  • Navigating Around The OS
  • System Hierarchy
  • File and Directory Permissions
  • Networking
  • Application Management
  • Security Tips
  • MacOS Terminal
  • Productivity Tips
  • MacOS Automation
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