Active Defense, Offensive Countermeasures and Hacking Back

John Strand & Paul Asadoorian, Security Weekly | August 2-5

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Active Defenses have been capturing a large amount of attention in the media lately. There are those who thirst for vengeance and want to directly attack the attackers. There are those who believe that any sort of active response directed at an attacker is wrong. We believe the answer is somewhere in between.

In this class, you will learn how to force an attacker to take more moves to attack your network. These moves may increase your ability to detect them. You will learn how to gain better attribution as to who is attacking you and why. You will also find out how to get access to a bad guy's system. And most importantly, you will find out how to do the above legally.

The current threat landscape is shifting. Traditional defenses are failing us. We need to develop new strategies to defend ourselves. Even more importantly, we need to better understand who is attacking us and why. Some of the things we talk about you may implement immediately, others may take you a while to implement. Either way, consider what we discuss as a collection of tools at your disposal when you need them to annoy attackers, attribute who is attacking you and, finally, attack the attackers.

This class is based on the DARPA funded Active Defense Harbinger Distribution live Linux environment. This VM is built from the ground up for defenders to quickly implement Active Defenses in their environments. This class is also very heavy with hands-on labs. We will not just talk about Active Defenses. We will be doing hands-on labs and through them in a way that can be quickly and easily implemented in your environment.

Who Should Take This Course

Security Professionals and Systems Administrators who are tired of playing catch-up with attackers.

Student Requirements

Basic OS understanding of Windows and Linux and a basic understanding of TCP/IP.

What Students Should Bring

• Host system with at least 4 Gig of memory
• VMware Player, Workstation or Fusion
• Windows XP, Windows 7, or OS X
• Bring Linux as a host OS, if and only if you know Linux
• Functioning Ethernet Port
• Admin rights to system with the ability to disable AV
• Functioning USB Port
• 10 Gigs of Free Hard Drive Space

What Students Will Be Provided With

Class books and a DVD with the necessary tools and the OCM VM, which is a fully functional Linux system with the tools of OCM installed and ready to go for the class and in their work environment.


John Strand co-hosts Security Weekly, the world's largest computer security podcast. He is also the owner of Black Hills Information Security, specializing in penetration testing and security architecture services. He is a Senior Instructor with the SANS Institute. He has presented for the FBI, NASA, the NSA, and at DefCon. In his spare time, he writes loud rock music and makes various futile attempts at fly-fishing.

Paul Asadoorian is the "Product Evangelist" for Tenable Network Security, where he showcases vulnerability scanning and management through blogs, podcasts and videos. Paul is also the founder of Security Weekly, an organization centered around the award winning "Paul's Security Weekly" podcast that brings listeners the latest in security news, vulnerabilities, research and interviews with the security industry's finest. Paul has a background in penetration testing as well as in intrusion detection, and is the co-author of "WRT54G Ultimate Hacking", a book dedicated to hacking Linksys routers.