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

author: Nathan Acks
date: 2022-04-18

CompTIA Security+ Exam Cram

Today’s reading is Chapter 28 from the Security+ Exam Cram, “Incident Investigation”.

SIEM Dashboards

The key to SIEM alerting is the correlation engine - looking for user connections after that user has left the office, etc.


Log files = documentation (of system/application/user activity)

Web server logs are usually access logs, common error logs, custom logs, and W3C logs. W3C logs are used mainly by web servers to log web-related events, including web logs.


(It looks like W3C logs are just a particular standardized log format. Despite coming out of the W3C, only IIS and Amazon Cloudfront seem to use this.)

Windows Event Log fields:

Event IDs from the Windows Event Log can generally be looked up in the Microsoft Knowledge base.

One way to think about SNMP is as a data source for multi-system logs.

A Windows-centric list of log types:

Anomaly detection generally works better on network logs than device logs.

Heh… journald still doesn’t have remote logging, instead relying on forwarding to a syslog-compatible daemon.

Network Activity

Most network activity monitoring tools don’t store actual packets, but rather just log metadata about those packets (minimally: source, destination, protocol).

Protocol Analyzers

Protocol Analyzer = Packet Sniffer

Now we’re talking about actual packet capture!

Network Flow

A.k.a. “NetFlow” (originally a Cisco thing, but since genericized). Basically, this is packet capture and analysis on router interfaces. NetFlow (and related tools like sFlow) are oriented towards understanding network usage rather than the behavior of individual machines/connections.

NetFlow data is exported using the IPFIX (Internet Protocol Flow Information Export) format.

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

Investigational Data Sources

SIEM = You 10,000 ft view

The SIEM correlation engine is just a (user defined?) list of event sequences of interest.

IPFIX is an IETF standard.

Wireshark has some statistical packet-analysis capabilities.

General log analysis flow: Filtered down to warnings/errors, locate an event of interest, and then expand your search around that timeframe to include lower-level/priority events.

Call out to WinDbg Preview, which is a free Windows dump file analyzer in the Microsoft Store. Windows typically stores dump files in C:\Windows, so you’ll need to copy it out to view it.

TryHackMe: Jr. Penetration Tester

Introduction to Meterpreter

Meterpreter is fileless, and attempts to mask itself using other process names. It only communicates back to Metasploit on an encrypted channel.

However, most modern antivirus will still recognize it.

Meterpreter Flavors

Meterpreter supports a wide range of operating systems; there are even variants designed to live inside of common server-side interpreters (Java, Python, and PHP). Most payload versions are singletons, though there are a few staged variants.

Most variants support communication over HTTP (unencrypted), HTTPS, or raw TCP (encrypted). IPv6 (which is often poorly monitored if allowed) is also an option.

As always, be aware that some exploits may limit the available Meterpreter payloads.

Meterpreter Commands

Meterpreter’s commands vary depending on host OS. Some notable commands:

Post-Exploitation with Meterpreter

Migrating Meterpreter to another process sometimes makes new commands become available; for example, migrating to a text editor will allow you to capture keystrokes.

Note that Meterpreter will happily let you migrate from a privileged to an unprivileged process - which may cause you to loose control of the target system!

You can background system shells launched from Meterpreter with Ctrl + Z to return to the parent (Meterpreter) process.

Post-Exploitation Challenge

It’s always good to look at help in Meterpreter after loading a new module.

Remember that load kiwi will pull in a Meterpreter-specific version of Mimikatz!

Use net share on Windows to list all current shares. The Metasploit post/windows/gather/enum_shares module provides cleaner output (requires backgrounding Meterpreter).

To execute hashdump you will need to be connected to the lsass.exe process.

Note that migrating Meterpreter will change its current working directory to that of the process it’s attaching to.