ITPro.TV: CompTIA Security+ (SY0-601) & TryHackMe: Jr. Penetration Tester

author: Nathan Acks
date: 2022-03-02

CompTIA Security+ Exam Cram

An Introduction to Threat Actors, Vectors, and Intelligence Sources

Threat actor: Someone or something that executes on a given threat. The “who” of a cybersecurity incident.

Threat Actor Attributes

Things to consider:

(Later on, Exam Cram talks about these factors as part of building a threat profile for an organization, though this seems like an odd take to me. Really, anyone could be targeted by anything, but the associated risk of attack by a given threat actor is going to vary depending upon the particular situation. This make threat profiles inherently probabilistic - you wouldn’t really say “my threat profile includes external threat actors”, but rather “the most common threat actors we expect to face are external”.)

The intent vs. motive is a question of the threat actor’s proximate vs. distal objectives. For example, a threat actor may intend to deploy ransomware because they are motivated by financial gain. Intents and motives may not necessarily be malicious: For example, a careless employee motivated to close a deal may intend to share documents that they think will help realize that end, without thinking through the consequence of those documents exposure to the wider organization.

Exam Cram indicates that the primary relationship that the Security+ exam is concerned with is whether a threat actor is internal or external.

Threat Actor Types

Common types from the Security+ exam:

Exam Cram uses the term “low and slow” to describe APT operations.


A.k.a., “attack vectors” - the pathway used by the threat actor when attacking an organization. Common attack vectors from the Security+ exam:

(What, no “they just connected to the exposed RDP endpoint over the internet”? I guess that qualifies as “improper usage”?)

Sharing Centers

ISAC: Information Sharing and Analysis Center

Open-Source Intelligence

OSINT: Open Source INTelligence

Which is not “open source” like “open source software”, but rather “open” as in freely available. Exam Cram calls OSINT “overtly gathered intelligence”, which I kind of like.

Common sources:

Some specific links:

Exam Cram calls out TTP, IOC, and AIS as three acronyms to know for the exam.

ITPro.TV: CompTIA Security+ (SY0-601)

Threat Intelligence - OSINT

Threat Intelligence: The gathering and analysis of data for the purpose of identifying, preventing, and remediating potential attacks.

One reason to go through the exercise of information classification is to ensure that proper controls are in place to prevent the disclosure of potentially sensitive data (which could then be used by attackers in their OSINT efforts!).

Useful tools:

Both Maltego and recon-ng require a large number of API keys to function

Threat Intelligence - Threat Maps And Feeds

Threat Map: A real- (or near-real-) time map of identified threats/attacks, normally visualized geographically.

Threat Feed: A real- (or near-real-) time stream (often in the form of an RSS feed) containing information about threats, attacks, and threat actors.

Things that often go into a threat feed:

VirusTotal is a little bit like a threat feed.

STIX and TAXII together define a common (low-level) language for talking about IOCs and transmitting them between systems. STIX and TAXII come together in the Automated Indicator Sharing (AIS) system, which is CISA’s IOC clearinghouse mentioned by Exam Cram.

I’m a little skeptical about the overall utility of threat maps, though they do look cool.

Threat Intelligence Vulnerability Databases & Feeds

Vulnerability Database: A collection of information about security flaws (and sometimes information about how to exploit them).


NVD includes a number of components:

A vulnerability feed is like a threat feed, but for vulnerabilities. MITRE and NVD both maintain vulnerability feeds.

Threat Actors And Vectors

Common threat actors that are important to know for the Security+ exam:

Threat Vector: An avenue of attack.

TryHackMe: Jr. Penetration Tester

Username Enumeration

Use ffuf to enumerate potential users based on a wordlist (assumes that the form we’re hitting is not AJAX-y):

ffuf -w /usr/share/wordlists/wfuzz/others/names.txt \
     -X POST -d "$POST_VARS" \
     -H "Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded" \

Here $POST_VARS should look something like username=FUZZ& (recall that FUZZ is the variable that ffuf will be fuzzing over). The -mr flag instructs ffuf to filter on page text for a “successful hit”.

Note that ffuf is kind of noisy in its default output, so when generating user lists it may be useful to supply the -s flag, which will suppress all lines except those matched with -mr.

Brute Forcing

Ffuf can also be used as a simple brute-forcer:

ffuf -w /usr/share/wordlists/wfuzz/others/names.txt:W1,$HOME/.local/share/red-team/wordlists/rockyou.txt:W2 \
     -X POST -d "$POST_VARS" \
     -H "Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded" \
     -u $LOGIN_URL -fc 200

Here we assign W1 and W2 to take terms from the two supplied wordlists; $POST_VARS then looks something like username=W1&password=W2. This example assumes that a successful login will return an HTTP status code other than 200 (probably a 301 or 302).

Again, the -s flag can be advisable here.

Note that ffuf will try every possible combination of elements between the two wordlists, which means that the number of combinations tried grows geometrically.

Logic Flaws

It’s worth experimenting with forms to check how GET and POST variables interact (and if one can be used to override the other.

Interesting; sometimes cookies are hashes, rather than plain strings. I’m guessing that the reason you’d do this is that you’re concatenating some values together and then check to see if the hash matches before granting certain privileges? This seems potentially much less secure than password hashing (even with a salt) though, as the number of terms that could reasonably be included in a permission string is much smaller than the number of character combinations in even a modest password…

CrackStation is an online database of hashes (basically a rainbow table).

I guess the reason you’d do this is to try to minimize the number of database hits?

On the other hand, seeing base64-encoded cookies is something I’m much more familiar with!

Remember that basenc can be used to encode/decode a variety of encodings, including URL-safe base64 (which there don’t seem to be any other good command line tools to work with).

# Encode $STRING to base64.
echo "$STRING" | basenc --base64

# Encode $STRING to URL-safe base64.
echo "$STRING" | basenc --base64url

# Dencode $BASE64_STRING from base64.
echo "$BASE64_STRING" | basenc -d --base64

# Dencode $BASE64_STRING from URL-safe base64.
echo "$BASE64_STRING" | basenc -d --base64url