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Windows Fundamentals

This module covers the fundamentals required to work comfortably with the Windows operating system.

4.56

Created by mrb3n
Co-Authors: LTNB0B

Fundamental General

Summary

Windows is heavily used across corporate environments of all sizes. We often find ourselves gaining access to a Windows host during a penetration testing engagement. It is important to understand how to navigate the file system and command line to perform effective enumeration, privilege escalation, lateral movement, and post-exploitation. Windows can also be used as our attack box during assessments. Many servers run on Windows, and most companies deploy Windows workstations to their employees due to the ease of use for individuals and centralized administration that can be leveraged using Active Directory. This module covers the essentials for starting with the Windows operating system and command line.

In this module, we will cover:

  • Windows Operating system structure
  • The Windows file system
  • Permissions management
  • Windows services
  • Processes in Windows
  • Windows Task Manager
  • Interacting with the operating system
  • Windows security
  • The Microsoft Management Console (MMC)
  • Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)

CREST CPSA/CRT-related Sections:

  • All sections

CREST CCT APP-related Sections:

  • All sections

CREST CCT INF-related Sections:

  • All sections

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

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

You can start and stop the module at any time 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 Windows operating system from a casual user perspective.

This module has no prerequisites but serves as the basis for many of the modules contained within the Academy. Completion and an in-depth understanding of this module are crucial for success as you progress through the Academy and Hack the Box platforms.

Introduction to Windows

As a penetration tester, it is important to have knowledge of a wide variety of technologies. A thorough understanding of Windows and Linux operating systems is beneficial in a wide range of assessment types. The majority of systems that we encounter during assessments, whether on-premise or in the cloud, will be based on these two operating systems. It is important to understand how to attack and defend these operating systems and how they can each be used as a platform to perform further penetration testing activities.


The Windows Operating System

Microsoft first introduced the Windows operating system on November 20, 1985. The first version of Windows was a graphical operating system shell for MS-DOS. Later versions of Windows Desktop introduced the Windows File Manager, Program Manager, and Print Manager programs.

Windows 95 was the first full integration of Windows and DOS and offered built-in Internet support for the first time. This version also debuted the Internet Explorer web browser. Since the initial version, there have been over a dozen versions of Windows released, such as Windows XP, Vista, and 8, up to the current version: Windows 10. Over time, Microsoft has offered various editions of each Windows Desktop release catering to everyone from casual consumers to enterprise customers.

Windows Server was first released in 1993 with the release of Windows NT 3.1 Advanced Server. Windows NT saw several updates over the years, adding in technologies such as Internet Information Services (IIS), various networking protocols, Administrative Wizards to facilitate admin tasks, and more. With the release of Windows 2000, Microsoft debuted Active Directory, originally intended to help sysadmins set up file sharing, data encryption, VPNs, etc. Windows Server 2000 also included the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) and supported dynamic disk volumes.

Windows Server 2003 came next with server roles, a built-in firewall, the Volume Shadow Copy Service, and more. Windows Server 2008 included failover clustering, Hyper-V virtualization software, Server Core, Event Viewer, and major enhancements to Active Directory. Over the years, Microsoft released further Server versions, including Server 2012, Server 2016, and most recently, Server 2019. This latest version added support for Kubernetes, Linux containers, and more advanced security features.

As new versions of Windows are introduced, older versions are deprecated and no longer receive Microsoft updates (unless a long-term support contract is purchased in some cases). Windows Server 2008 and 2012 reached end of life for security updates on January 14, 2020. Currently, only Server 2012 R2 and later are in support. However, Microsoft has released out-of-band patches for earlier versions of Windows in the past few years due to the discovery of the critical SMBv1 vulnerability (EternalBlue).

Many versions of Windows are now deemed "legacy" and are no longer supported. Organizations often find themselves running various older operating systems to support critical applications or due to operational or budgetary concerns. An assessor needs to understand the differences between versions and the various misconfigurations and vulnerabilities inherent to each.


Windows Versions

The following is a list of the major Windows operating systems and associated version numbers:

Operating System Names Version Number
Windows NT 4 4.0
Windows 2000 5.0
Windows XP 5.1
Windows Server 2003, 2003 R2 5.2
Windows Vista, Server 2008 6.0
Windows 7, Server 2008 R2 6.1
Windows 8, Server 2012 6.2
Windows 8.1, Server 2012 R2 6.3
Windows 10, Server 2016, Server 2019 10.0

We can use the Get-WmiObject cmdlet to find information about the operating system. This cmdlet can be used to get instances of WMI classes or information about available WMI classes. There are a variety of ways to find the version and build number of our system. We can easily obtain this information using the win32_OperatingSystem class, which shows that we are on a Windows 10 host, build number 19041.

PS C:\htb> Get-WmiObject -Class win32_OperatingSystem | select Version,BuildNumber

Version    BuildNumber
-------    -----------
10.0.19041 19041

Some other useful classes that can be used with Get-WmiObject are Win32_Process to get a process listing, Win32_Service to get a listing of services, and Win32_Bios to get Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) information. The BIOS is firmware installed on a computer's motherboard that controls the computer's essential functions, such as power management, input/output interfaces, and system configuration. We can use the ComputerName parameter to get information about remote computers. Get-WmiObject can be used to start and stop services on local and remote computers, and more. Further information about the cmdlet can be found here and here.


Accessing Windows

Local Access Concepts

If you are reading these words right now, you have local access to a computer of some kind. Be it a smartphone, tablet, laptop, Raspberry Pi, or Desktop. Local access is the most common way to access any computer, including computers running Windows. Input is likely happening through a keyboard, trackpad &/or mouse. Output is coming from the display screen(s). Organizations with office space where employees work on a day-to-day basis build security policies and security controls around the idea that their employees are working in dedicated workspaces on computers owned by the organization. It is becoming more common to see organizations increasing their support for remote work with their non-technical and technical workforces. This is not a new reality for technical professionals working in IT, Software Development & Infosec. On any given day, a technical professional could be accessing multiple machines locally and remotely. With that, let's discuss the concept of remote access.

Remote Access Concepts

Remote Access is accessing a computer over a network. Local access to a computer is needed before one can access another computer remotely. There are countless methods for remote access. In this module, we will mainly use remote access methods to connect to and interact with Windows operating systems. Advances in Networking & Internet technologies have given birth to entire industries that rely completely on remote access & remote administration of computer systems.

Consider MSPs & MSSPs, both industries are primarily dependent on managing their client's computer systems remotely. This functionality allows them to centralize management, standardize what technologies are used, automate numerous tasks, enable remote work arrangements and allow for quick response time when issues surface, or potential security threats emerge. Remote access is not just limited to MSPs & MSSPs. Organizations with IT, Software Development &/or Security teams use remote access methods daily to build applications, manage servers and administer employee workstations. Some of the most common remote access technologies include but aren't limited to:

  • Virtual Private Networks (VPN)
  • Secure Shell (SSH)
  • File Transfer Protocol (FTP)
  • Virtual Network Computing (VNC)
  • Windows Remote Management (or PowerShell Remoting) (WinRM)
  • Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP)

We will focus primarily on using RDP in this module.

Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP)

RDP uses a client/server architecture where a client-side application is used to specify a computer's target IP address or hostname over a network where RDP access is enabled. The target computer where RDP remote access is enabled is considered the server. It is important to note that RDP listens by default on logical port 3389. Keep in mind that an IP address is used as a logical identifier for a computer on a network, and a logical port is an identifier assigned to an application. In simpler terms, we could consider a network subnet a street in a town (the corporate network), an IP address in that subnet assigned to a host as a house on that street, and logical ports as windows/doors that can be used to access the house.

Once a request (encapsulated inside a packet) has reached a destination computer via its IP address, the request will be directed to an application hosted on the computer based on the port specified in that request (included as a header inside a packet). IP addressing and protocol encapsulation are covered in greater detail in the module Introduction to Networking. From a networking perspective, in this module, we only need to understand that every computer has an IP address assigned to communicate over a network, and applications hosted on target computers listen on specific logical ports.

We can use RDP to connect to a Windows target from an attack host running Linux or Windows. If we are connecting to a Windows target from a Windows host, we can use the built-in RDP client application called Remote Desktop Connection (mstsc.exe). Check out the clip below to see basic usage:

Using Remote Desktop

For this to work, remote access must already be allowed on the target Windows system. By default, remote access is not allowed on Windows operating systems. The HTB Academy team has configured many of our Windows targets to permit RDP access once connected to the Academy labs via VPN.

Remote Desktop Connection also allows us to save connection profiles. This is a common habit among IT admins because it makes connecting to remote systems more convenient.

Saving RDP Connections

As pentesters, we can benefit from looking for these saved Remote Desktop Files (.rdp) while on an engagement.

Many other Remote Desktop client applications exist, some of which are listed in this Microsoft article called Remote Desktop clients. We will not cover every Remote Desktop client application in this module.

Using xfreerdp

From a Linux-based attack host we can use a tool called xfreerdp to remotely access Windows targets. You will notice that we use xfreerdp across multiple modules because of its ease of use, feature set, command line utility, and efficiency. Check out the clip below to see basic usage from Pwnbox:

ConnectingwithXfreerdp

Remember that we can also copy and paste in xfreerdp commands in the command line, so we do not need to enter options manually. There are several options available to us with xfreerdp, such as drive redirection to be able to tranfer files to/from the target host, which are worth practicing and we will cover in other modules within HTB Academy.

Other RDP clients exist, such as Remmina and rdesktop, and we encourage you to experiment with others and see what works best for you. Now that we have covered these concepts let's apply them by spawning the target below and connecting to it using RDP with the credentials provided.


Connecting to the Windows Target

Connect via Remote Desktop (RDP) using the following command:

[!bash!]$ xfreerdp /v:<targetIp> /u:htb-student /p:Password

Note: It may take 1-2 minutes for your target instance to spawn.

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Relevant Paths

This module progresses you towards the following Paths

Operating System Fundamentals

To succeed in information security, we must have a deep understanding of the Windows and Linux operating systems and be comfortable navigating the command line on both as a "power user." Much of our time in any role, but especially penetration testing, is spent in a Linux shell, Windows cmd or PowerShell console, so we must have the skills to navigate both types of operating systems with ease, manage system services, install applications, manage permissions, and harden the systems we work from in accordance with security best practices.

Easy Path Sections 55 Sections
Required: 30
Reward: +30
Path Modules
Fundamental
Path Sections 30 Sections
Reward: +10
This module covers the fundamentals required to work comfortably with the Linux operating system and shell.
Fundamental
Path Sections 14 Sections
Reward: +10
This module covers the fundamentals required to work comfortably with the Windows operating system.
Fundamental
Path Sections 11 Sections
Reward: +10
This module covers the fundamentals required to work comfortably within the macOS operating system and shell.

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 828 Sections
Required: 7300
Reward: +1580
Path Modules
Fundamental
Path Sections 21 Sections
Reward: +10
As an information security professional, a firm grasp of networking fundamentals and the required components is necessary. Without a strong foundation in networking, it will be tough to progress in any area of information security. Understanding how a network is structured and how the communication between the individual hosts and servers takes place using the various protocols allows us to understand the entire network structure and its network traffic in detail and how different communication standards are handled. This knowledge is essential to create our tools and to interact with the protocols.
Fundamental
Path Sections 8 Sections
Reward: +10
This module introduces the topic of HTTP web requests and how different web applications utilize them to communicate with their backends.
Fundamental
Path Sections 17 Sections
Reward: +10
In the Introduction to Web Applications module, you will learn all of the basics of how web applications work and begin to look at them from an information security perspective.
Fundamental
Path Sections 30 Sections
Reward: +10
This module covers the fundamentals required to work comfortably with the Linux operating system and shell.
Fundamental
Path Sections 14 Sections
Reward: +10
This module covers the fundamentals required to work comfortably with the Windows operating system.
Easy
Path Sections 23 Sections
Reward: +10
As administrators and Pentesters, we may not always be able to utilize a graphical user interface for the actions we need to perform. Introduction to Windows Command Line aims to introduce students to the wide range of uses for Command Prompt and PowerShell within a Windows environment. We will cover basic usage of both key executables for administration, useful PowerShell cmdlets and modules, and different ways to leverage these tools to our benefit.
Medium
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.
Hard
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.
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
This module teaches the penetration testing process broken down into each stage and discussed in detail. We will cover many aspects of the role of a penetration tester during a penetration test, explained and illustrated with detailed examples. The module also covers pre-engagement steps like the criteria for establishing a contract with a client for a penetration testing engagement.
Easy
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 10 Sections
Reward: +20
This module covers techniques for identifying and analyzing an organization's web application-based attack surface and tech stack. Information gathering is an essential part of any web application penetration test, and it can be performed either passively or actively.
Easy
Path Sections 17 Sections
Reward: +10
This module introduces the concept of Vulnerability Assessments. We will review the differences between vulnerability assessments and penetration tests, how to carry out a vulnerability assessment, how to interpret the assessment results, and how to deliver an effective vulnerability assessment report.
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
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
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 currently 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 devastatingly 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.

CREST CCT APP Preparation

This is a skill path to prepare you for CREST's CCT APP exam. The following CCT APP 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, H7, H8, H9, H10, H11, H12, H13, I1, I2, I3, I4, I5, I6, I7, I8, I9, I10, I11, I12, 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 link. https://www.crest-approved.org/certification-careers/crest-certifications/crest-certified-web-application-tester/

Medium Path Sections 739 Sections
Required: 4980
Reward: +1100
Path Modules
Fundamental
Path Sections 21 Sections
Reward: +10
As an information security professional, a firm grasp of networking fundamentals and the required components is necessary. Without a strong foundation in networking, it will be tough to progress in any area of information security. Understanding how a network is structured and how the communication between the individual hosts and servers takes place using the various protocols allows us to understand the entire network structure and its network traffic in detail and how different communication standards are handled. This knowledge is essential to create our tools and to interact with the protocols.
Fundamental
Path Sections 8 Sections
Reward: +10
This module introduces the topic of HTTP web requests and how different web applications utilize them to communicate with their backends.
Fundamental
Path Sections 17 Sections
Reward: +10
In the Introduction to Web Applications module, you will learn all of the basics of how web applications work and begin to look at them from an information security perspective.
Fundamental
Path Sections 30 Sections
Reward: +10
This module covers the fundamentals required to work comfortably with the Linux operating system and shell.
Fundamental
Path Sections 14 Sections
Reward: +10
This module covers the fundamentals required to work comfortably with the Windows operating system.
Easy
Path Sections 23 Sections
Reward: +10
As administrators and Pentesters, we may not always be able to utilize a graphical user interface for the actions we need to perform. Introduction to Windows Command Line aims to introduce students to the wide range of uses for Command Prompt and PowerShell within a Windows environment. We will cover basic usage of both key executables for administration, useful PowerShell cmdlets and modules, and different ways to leverage these tools to our benefit.
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.
Fundamental
Path Sections 15 Sections
Reward: +10
This module teaches the penetration testing process broken down into each stage and discussed in detail. We will cover many aspects of the role of a penetration tester during a penetration test, explained and illustrated with detailed examples. The module also covers pre-engagement steps like the criteria for establishing a contract with a client for a penetration testing engagement.
Easy
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 10 Sections
Reward: +20
This module covers techniques for identifying and analyzing an organization's web application-based attack surface and tech stack. Information gathering is an essential part of any web application penetration test, and it can be performed either passively or actively.
Easy
Path Sections 17 Sections
Reward: +10
This module introduces the concept of Vulnerability Assessments. We will review the differences between vulnerability assessments and penetration tests, how to carry out a vulnerability assessment, how to interpret the assessment results, and how to deliver an effective vulnerability assessment report.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 currently 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 devastatingly 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 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.
Hard
Path Sections 18 Sections
Reward: +100
This module covers three HTTP vulnerabilities: CRLF Injection, HTTP Request Smuggling, and HTTP/2 Downgrading. These vulnerabilities can arise on the HTTP level in real-world deployment settings utilizing intermediary systems such as reverse proxies in front of the web server. We will cover how to identify, exploit, and prevent each of these vulnerabilities.
Hard
Path Sections 20 Sections
Reward: +100
This module covers three common HTTP vulnerabilities: Web Cache Poisoning, Host Header Vulnerabilities, and Session Puzzling or Session Variable Overloading. These vulnerabilities can arise on the HTTP level due to web server misconfigurations, other systems that have to be considered during real-world deployment such as web caches, or coding mistakes in the web application. We will cover how to identify, exploit, and prevent each of these vulnerabilities.
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.
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.

Information Security Foundations

Information Security is a field with many specialized and highly technical disciplines. Job roles like Penetration Tester & Information Security Analyst require a solid technical foundational understanding of core IT & Information Security topics. This skill path is made up of modules that will assist learners in developing &/or strengthening a foundational understanding before proceeding with learning the more complex security topics. Every long-standing building first needs a solid foundation. Welcome to Information Security Foundations.

Easy Path Sections 191 Sections
Required: 200
Reward: +120
Path Modules
Fundamental
Path Sections 8 Sections
Reward: +10
This module is recommended for new users. It allows users to become acquainted with the platform and the learning process.
Fundamental
Path Sections 20 Sections
Reward: +10
The learning process is one of the essential and most important components that is often overlooked. This module does not teach you techniques to learn but describes the process of learning adapted to the field of information security. You will learn to understand how and when we learn best and increase and improve your learning efficiency greatly.
Fundamental
Path Sections 9 Sections
Reward: +10
This module covers topics that will help us be better prepared before conducting penetration tests. Preparations before a penetration test can often take a lot of time and effort, and this module shows how to prepare efficiently.
Fundamental
Path Sections 30 Sections
Reward: +10
This module covers the fundamentals required to work comfortably with the Linux operating system and shell.
Fundamental
Path Sections 14 Sections
Reward: +10
This module covers the fundamentals required to work comfortably with the Windows operating system.
Easy
Path Sections 23 Sections
Reward: +10
As administrators and Pentesters, we may not always be able to utilize a graphical user interface for the actions we need to perform. Introduction to Windows Command Line aims to introduce students to the wide range of uses for Command Prompt and PowerShell within a Windows environment. We will cover basic usage of both key executables for administration, useful PowerShell cmdlets and modules, and different ways to leverage these tools to our benefit.
Easy
Path Sections 10 Sections
Reward: +10
This module covers the basics needed for working with Bash scripts to automate tasks on Linux systems. A strong grasp of Bash is a fundamental skill for anyone working in a technical information security role. Through the power of automation, we can unlock the Linux operating system's full potential and efficiently perform habitual tasks.
Fundamental
Path Sections 21 Sections
Reward: +10
As an information security professional, a firm grasp of networking fundamentals and the required components is necessary. Without a strong foundation in networking, it will be tough to progress in any area of information security. Understanding how a network is structured and how the communication between the individual hosts and servers takes place using the various protocols allows us to understand the entire network structure and its network traffic in detail and how different communication standards are handled. This knowledge is essential to create our tools and to interact with the protocols.
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.
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.
Fundamental
Path Sections 17 Sections
Reward: +10
In the Introduction to Web Applications module, you will learn all of the basics of how web applications work and begin to look at them from an information security perspective.
Fundamental
Path Sections 8 Sections
Reward: +10
This module introduces the topic of HTTP web requests and how different web applications utilize them to communicate with their backends.

CREST CCT INF Preparation

This is a skill path to prepare you for CREST's CCT INF exam. The following CCT INF syllabus areas (IDs) are covered: A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, A8, A9, A10, B1, B2, B4, B5, C1, C2, C3, C4, C6, C7, D1, D2, D5, D9, D10, D13, D14, D15, D18, D19, E1, E2, E3 E6, E7, E8, E9, E11, E13, E14, E15, E16, E17, E18, E19, E20, E25, E26, F1, F2, F3, F4, F5, F6, F7, F8, F9, F10, F11, F12, F13, F15, F16, G1, G2, G3, G4, G5, G6, G7, G8, H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, H6, H7, H8, H9, H10, H11, H12, H13, H14, H15, H16, H17, H19, H20, H21, H23, H24, H25, H26, H27, H28, H29, H30, H31, H32, H33, H34, H35, H36, H37, H38, H40, I1, I2, I3, I4, I6, K1, K2, K3, K4, N1, N2. Take your time to complete all related sections and when you are ready you can book your CREST exam through the following link. https://www.crest-approved.org/certification-careers/crest-certifications/crest-certified-infrastructure-tester/

Hard Path Sections 945 Sections
Required: 12510
Reward: +2630
Path Modules
Fundamental
Path Sections 21 Sections
Reward: +10
As an information security professional, a firm grasp of networking fundamentals and the required components is necessary. Without a strong foundation in networking, it will be tough to progress in any area of information security. Understanding how a network is structured and how the communication between the individual hosts and servers takes place using the various protocols allows us to understand the entire network structure and its network traffic in detail and how different communication standards are handled. This knowledge is essential to create our tools and to interact with the protocols.
Fundamental
Path Sections 8 Sections
Reward: +10
This module introduces the topic of HTTP web requests and how different web applications utilize them to communicate with their backends.
Fundamental
Path Sections 17 Sections
Reward: +10
In the Introduction to Web Applications module, you will learn all of the basics of how web applications work and begin to look at them from an information security perspective.
Fundamental
Path Sections 30 Sections
Reward: +10
This module covers the fundamentals required to work comfortably with the Linux operating system and shell.
Fundamental
Path Sections 14 Sections
Reward: +10
This module covers the fundamentals required to work comfortably with the Windows operating system.
Easy
Path Sections 23 Sections
Reward: +10
As administrators and Pentesters, we may not always be able to utilize a graphical user interface for the actions we need to perform. Introduction to Windows Command Line aims to introduce students to the wide range of uses for Command Prompt and PowerShell within a Windows environment. We will cover basic usage of both key executables for administration, useful PowerShell cmdlets and modules, and different ways to leverage these tools to our benefit.
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.
Medium
Path Sections 8 Sections
Reward: +10
This mini-module concisely introduces hardware attacks, covering Bluetooth risks and attacks, Cryptanalysis Side-Channel Attacks, and vulnerabilities like Spectre and Meltdown. It delves into both historical and modern Bluetooth hacking techniques, explores the principles of cryptanalysis and different side-channel attacks, and outlines microprocessor design, optimisation strategies and vulnerabilities, such as Spectre and Meltdown.
Fundamental
Path Sections 15 Sections
Reward: +10
This module teaches the penetration testing process broken down into each stage and discussed in detail. We will cover many aspects of the role of a penetration tester during a penetration test, explained and illustrated with detailed examples. The module also covers pre-engagement steps like the criteria for establishing a contract with a client for a penetration testing engagement.
Easy
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 10 Sections
Reward: +20
This module covers techniques for identifying and analyzing an organization's web application-based attack surface and tech stack. Information gathering is an essential part of any web application penetration test, and it can be performed either passively or actively.
Hard
Path Sections 23 Sections
Reward: +200
OSINT (Open-source Intelligence) is a crucial stage of the penetration testing process. A thorough examination of publicly available information can increase the chances of finding a vulnerable system, gaining valid credentials through password spraying, or gaining a foothold via social engineering. There is a vast amount of publicly available information from which relevant information needs to be selected.
Easy
Path Sections 17 Sections
Reward: +10
This module introduces the concept of Vulnerability Assessments. We will review the differences between vulnerability assessments and penetration tests, how to carry out a vulnerability assessment, how to interpret the assessment results, and how to deliver an effective vulnerability assessment report.
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 12 Sections
Reward: +200
This module provides an overview of Active Directory (AD), introduces core AD enumeration concepts, and covers enumeration with built-in tools.
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 14 Sections
Reward: +100
This module covers AD enumeration focusing on the BloodHound tool. We will cover various techniques for enumerating key AD objects that will inform our attacks in later modules.
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 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.
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.
DACL Attacks I
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 27 Sections
Reward: +100
Active Directory presents a vast attack surface and often requires us to use many different tools during an assessment. The CrackMapExec tool, known as a "Swiss Army Knife" for testing networks, facilitates enumeration, attacks, and post-exploitation that can be leveraged against most any domain using multiple network protocols. It is a versatile and highly customizable tool that should be in any penetration tester's toolbox.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Medium
Path Sections 12 Sections
Reward: +100
In this module, we will look at exploiting NoSQL injection vulnerabilities, specifically MongoDB, with examples in Python, PHP, and Node.JS.
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
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 currently 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 devastatingly 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 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.
Hard
Path Sections 18 Sections
Reward: +100
This module covers three HTTP vulnerabilities: CRLF Injection, HTTP Request Smuggling, and HTTP/2 Downgrading. These vulnerabilities can arise on the HTTP level in real-world deployment settings utilizing intermediary systems such as reverse proxies in front of the web server. We will cover how to identify, exploit, and prevent each of these vulnerabilities.
Medium
Path Sections 15 Sections
Reward: +100
This module covers three injection attacks: XPath injection, LDAP injection, and HTML injection in PDF generation libraries. While XPath and LDAP injection vulnerabilities can lead to authentication bypasses and data exfiltration, HTML injection in PDF generation libraries can lead to Server-Side Request Forgery (SSRF), Local File Inclusion (LFI), and other common web vulnerabilities. We will cover how to identify, exploit, and prevent each of these injection attacks.
Hard
Path Sections 20 Sections
Reward: +100
This module covers three common HTTP vulnerabilities: Web Cache Poisoning, Host Header Vulnerabilities, and Session Puzzling or Session Variable Overloading. These vulnerabilities can arise on the HTTP level due to web server misconfigurations, other systems that have to be considered during real-world deployment such as web caches, or coding mistakes in the web application. We will cover how to identify, exploit, and prevent each of these vulnerabilities.
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.
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.
Hard
Path Sections 17 Sections
Reward: +200
Learn how to improve your JavaScript code's security through Code Review, Static/Dynamic Analysis, Vulnerability Identification, and Patching.
Hard
Path Sections 15 Sections
Reward: +100
This module explores several web vulnerabilities from a whitebox approach: Prototype Pollution, Timing Attacks & Race Conditions, and those arising from Type Juggling. We will discuss how to identify, exploit, and prevent each vulnerability.

SOC Analyst Prerequisites

The SOC Analyst Prerequisites path is designed for those looking to become SOC/Security Analysts. It dives into fundamental IT and Information Security subjects including networking, Linux and Windows operating systems, basic programming and scripting, as well as working with Assembly. In addition, students will be exposed to the fundamental concepts of information security and penetration testing. This skill path is made up of modules that will assist learners in developing and strengthening a foundational understanding before proceeding with learning more complex security topics.

Easy Path Sections 173 Sections
Required: 350
Reward: +110
Path Modules
Fundamental
Path Sections 30 Sections
Reward: +10
This module covers the fundamentals required to work comfortably with the Linux operating system and shell.
Easy
Path Sections 10 Sections
Reward: +10
This module covers the basics needed for working with Bash scripts to automate tasks on Linux systems. A strong grasp of Bash is a fundamental skill for anyone working in a technical information security role. Through the power of automation, we can unlock the Linux operating system's full potential and efficiently perform habitual tasks.
Fundamental
Path Sections 14 Sections
Reward: +10
This module covers the fundamentals required to work comfortably with the Windows operating system.
Easy
Path Sections 23 Sections
Reward: +10
As administrators and Pentesters, we may not always be able to utilize a graphical user interface for the actions we need to perform. Introduction to Windows Command Line aims to introduce students to the wide range of uses for Command Prompt and PowerShell within a Windows environment. We will cover basic usage of both key executables for administration, useful PowerShell cmdlets and modules, and different ways to leverage these tools to our benefit.
Fundamental
Path Sections 21 Sections
Reward: +10
As an information security professional, a firm grasp of networking fundamentals and the required components is necessary. Without a strong foundation in networking, it will be tough to progress in any area of information security. Understanding how a network is structured and how the communication between the individual hosts and servers takes place using the various protocols allows us to understand the entire network structure and its network traffic in detail and how different communication standards are handled. This knowledge is essential to create our tools and to interact with the protocols.
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.
Fundamental
Path Sections 8 Sections
Reward: +10
This module introduces the topic of HTTP web requests and how different web applications utilize them to communicate with their backends.
Fundamental
Path Sections 15 Sections
Reward: +10
This module teaches the penetration testing process broken down into each stage and discussed in detail. We will cover many aspects of the role of a penetration tester during a penetration test, explained and illustrated with detailed examples. The module also covers pre-engagement steps like the criteria for establishing a contract with a client for a penetration testing engagement.
Easy
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 24 Sections
Reward: +20
This module builds the core foundation for Binary Exploitation by teaching Computer Architecture and Assembly language basics.