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Security West 2018

San Diego, CA | Fri, May 11 - Fri, May 18, 2018
This event is over,
but there are more training opportunities.

Due to high demand for Security training at SANS Security West 2018, the following courses will take place at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina: SEC503, SEC505, SEC542, MGT414, MGT512, and MGT517. The hotel neighbors the Manchester Grand Hyatt and is accessible from both Harbor Drive and the Bayfront. Courseware Distribution and Event Check-In for these six courses will take place at the Marriott Marquis San Diego on: Thursday, May 10 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Friday, May 11 from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Badge and Courseware Distribution for these classes will only be available at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina. We are hosting the "Welcome to SANS Talk" on the morning of Friday, May 11 at each venue but all additional SANS@Night presentations will take place at the Manchester Grand Hyatt. Please check the schedule tab for the bonus sessions. We thank you in advance for your understanding.

FOR572: Advanced Network Forensics: Threat Hunting, Analysis, and Incident Response New

Fri, May 11 - Wed, May 16, 2018

Awesome! Best SANS course I have taken!

Jim Horvath

If you are into disk/memory forensics, you will need this, too!

Wouter Jansen

Take your system-based forensic knowledge onto the wire. Incorporate network evidence into your investigations, provide better findings, and get the job done faster.

It is exceedingly rare to work any forensic investigation that doesn't have a network component. Endpoint forensics will always be a critical and foundational skill for this career, but overlooking their network communications is akin to ignoring security camera footage of a crime as it was committed. Whether you handle an intrusion incident, data theft case, employee misuse scenario, or are engaged in proactive adversary discovery, the network often provides an unparalleled view of the incident. Its evidence can provide the proof necessary to show intent, uncover attackers that have been active for months or longer, or may even prove useful in definitively proving a crime actually occurred.

FOR572: ADVANCED NETWORK FORENSICS: THREAT HUNTING, ANALYSIS AND INCIDENT RESPONSE was built from the ground up to cover the most critical skills needed to mount efficient and effective post-incident response investigations. We focus on the knowledge necessary to expand the forensic mindset from residual data on the storage media from a system or device to the transient communications that occurred in the past or continue to occur. Even if the most skilled remote attacker compromised a system with an undetectable exploit, the system still has to communicate over the network. Without command-and-control and data extraction channels, the value of a compromised computer system drops to almost zero. Put another way: Bad guys are talking - we'll teach you to listen.


This course covers the tools, technology, and processes required to integrate network evidence sources into your investigations, with a focus on efficiency and effectiveness. You will leave this week with a well-stocked toolbox and the knowledge to use it on your first day back on the job. We will cover the full spectrum of network evidence, including high-level NetFlow analysis, low-level pcap exploration, ancillary network log examination, and more. We cover how to leverage existing infrastructure devices that may contain months or years of valuable evidence as well as how to place new collection platforms while an incident is already under way.

Whether you are a consultant responding to a client's site, a law enforcement professional assisting victims of cybercrime and seeking prosecution of those responsible, an on-staff forensic practitioner, or a member of the growing ranks of "threat hunters", this course offers hands-on experience with real-world scenarios that will help take your work to the next level. Previous SANS SEC curriculum students and other network defenders will benefit from the FOR572 perspective on security operations as they take on more incident response and investigative responsibilities. SANS Forensic alumni from 408 and 508 can take their existing knowledge and apply it directly to the network-based attacks that occur daily. In FOR572, we solve the same caliber of real-world problems without the use of disk or memory images.

The hands-on labs in this class cover a wide range of tools and platforms, including the venerable tcpdump and Wireshark for packet capture and analysis; NetworkMiner for artifact extraction; and open-source tools including nfdump, tcpxtract, tcpflow, and more. Newly added tools in the course include the SOF-ELK platform - a VMware appliance pre-configured with the ELK stack. This "big data" platform includes the Elasticsearch storage and search database, the Logstash ingest and parse utility, and the Kibana graphical dashboard interface. Together with the custom SOF-ELK configuration files, the platform gives forensicators a ready-to-use platform for log and NetFlow analysis. For full-packet analysis and hunting at scale, the Moloch platform is also used. Through all of the in-class labs, your shell scripting abilities will also be used to make easy work of ripping through hundreds and thousands of data records.

FOR572 is truly an advanced course - we hit the ground running on day one. Bring your entire bag of skills: forensic techniques and methodologies, networking (from the wire all the way up to user-facing services), Linux shell utilities, and everything in between. They will all benefit you throughout the course material as you FIGHT CRIME. UNRAVEL INCIDENTS...ONE BYTE (OR PACKET) AT A TIME.

Advanced Network Forensics: Threat Hunting, Analysis and Incident Response Course Topics:

  • Foundational network forensics tools: tcpdump and Wireshark refresher
  • Packet capture applications and data
  • Unique considerations for network-focused forensic processes
    • Network evidence types and sources
    • Network architectural challenges and opportunities for investigators
    • Investigation OPSEC and footprint considerations
  • Network protocol analysis
    • Domain Name Service
    • Hypertext Transfer Protocol
    • File Transfer Protocol
    • Microsoft protocols
    • Simple Mail Transfer Protocol
  • Commercial network forensic tools
  • Automated tools and libraries
  • NetFlow
    • Introduction
    • Collection approaches
    • Open-source NetFlow tools
  • Wireless networking
    • Capturing wireless traffic
    • Modes of wireless operation
    • Useful forensic artifacts from wireless traffic
    • Common attack methods and detection
  • Log data to supplement network examinations
    • Syslog
    • Microsoft Windows Eventing
    • HTTP server logs
    • Firewalls, Intrusion Detection Systems (IDSes), and Network Security Monitoring (NSM) Platforms
    • Log collection, aggregation, and analysis
    • Web proxy server examination
  • Encryption
    • Introduction
    • Man-in-the-middle
    • Secure HTTP/Secure Sockets Layer
  • Deep packet work
    • Network protocol reverse engineering
    • Payload reconstruction



For multi-course live training events, there will be a set up time from 8:30-9:00 am on the first day only to make sure that computers are configured correctly to make the most of class time. All students are strongly encouraged to attend.

Course Syllabus

Philip Hagen
Fri May 11th, 2018
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM


Focus: Although many concepts of network forensics are similar to those of any other digital forensic investigation, the network presents many nuances that require special attention. Today you will learn how to apply what you already know about digital forensics and incident response to network-based evidence. You will also become acclimated to the basic tools of the trade.

Network data can be preserved, but only if captured directly from the wire. Whether tactical or strategic, packet capture methods are quite basic. You will re-acquaint yourself with tcpdump and Wireshark, the most common tools used to capture and analyze network packets, respectively. However, since long-term full-packet capture is still uncommon in most environments, many artifacts that can tell us about what happened on the wire in the past come from devices that manage network functions. You will learn about what kinds of devices can provide valuable evidence and at what level of granularity. We will walk through collecting evidence from one of the most common sources of network evidence - a web proxy server - then go hands-on to find and extract stolen data from the proxy yourself.

The Linux SIFT virtual machine, which has been specifically loaded with a set of network forensic tools, will be your primary toolkit for the week.

  • Installing Linux SIFT Workstation and Review Network Forensic Tool Additions
  • tcpdump and Wireshark Hands-On
  • Carve Exfiltrated Data

CPE/CMU Credits: 6

  • Web Proxy Server Examination
    • Role of a web proxy
    • Proxy solutions - commercial and open source
    • Squid proxy server
      • Configuration
      • Logging
      • Automated analysis
      • Cache extraction
  • Foundational Network Forensics Tools: tcpdump and Wireshark
    • tcpdump re-introduction
      • pcap file format
      • Berkeley Packet Filter (BPF)
      • Data reduction
      • Useful command-line flags
    • Wireshark re-introduction
      • User interface
      • Display filters
      • Useful features for network forensic analysis
  • Network Evidence Acquisition
    • Three core types: full-packet, Logs, NetFlow
    • Capture devices: switches, taps, Layer 7 sources, NetFlow
    • Planning to capture: Strategies; commercial and home-built platforms
  • Network Architectural Challenges and Opportunities
    • Challenges provided by a network environment
    • Future trends that will affect network forensics

Philip Hagen
Sat May 12th, 2018
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM


FOCUS: There are thousands of protocols that may be in use within a production network environment. We will cover several of these that are most likely to benefit the forensicator in typical casework, as well as several that help demonstrate analysis methods useful when facing new, undocumented, or proprietary protocols. By learning the "typical" behaviors of these protocols, we can more readily identify anomalies that may suggest an adversary is misusing that protocol for nefarious purposes. These protocol artifacts and anomalies can be profiled through direct traffic analysis as well as through the log evidence created by systems that have control or purview of that traffic. While this affords the investigator with vast opportunities to analyze the network traffic, efficient analysis of large quantities of source data generally requires tools and methods designed to scale.

Knowing how protocols appear in their normal use is critical if investigators are expected to identify anomalous behaviors. By looking at some of the more commonly-used network communication protocols, we will specifically focus on the ways in which they can be easily misused by an adversary or a malware author.

While no one course could ever exhaustively cover the dizzying list of protocols used in a typical network environment, you will build the skills needed to learn whatever new protocols may come your way. The ability to "learn how to learn" is critical, as new protocols are being developed every day. Advanced adversaries develop their own protocols, too, and as you will see later in this class, successfully understanding and counteracting an adversary's undocumented protocol is a similar process to learning those you will see in this section.

Log data is one of the unsung heroes in the realm of network forensics. While the near-perfect knowledge that comes with full-packet capture seems ideal, it suffers from several shortfalls. It is often unavailable, as many organizations have not yet deployed or cannot deploy comprehensive collection systems. When they are in use, network capture systems quickly amass a huge volume of data, which is often difficult to process effectively and must be maintained in a rolling buffer covering just a few days or weeks.

Understanding log data and how it can guide the investigative process is an important network forensicator skill. Examining network-centric logs can also fill gaps left by an incomplete or nonexistent network capture.

In this section, you will learn various logging mechanisms available to both endpoint and network transport devices. You will also learn how to consolidate log data from multiple sources, providing a broad corpus of evidence in one location. As the volume of log data increases, so does the need to consider automated analytic tools. You'll use the SOF-ELK platform for post-incident log aggregation and analysis, bringing quick and decisive insight to a compromise investigation.

  • HTTP Profiling
  • Firewall and Bro NSM Analysis
  • Log Aggregation and Analysis with SOF-ELK

CPE/CMU Credits: 6

  • Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP): Protocol and Logs
    • Forensic value
    • Request/response dissection
    • Useful HTTP fields
    • Artifact extraction
    • Log formats
    • Analysis methods
  • Domain Name Service (DNS): Protocol and Logs
    • Architecture and core functionality
    • Tunneling
    • Fast flux and domain name generation algorithms (DGAs)
    • Logging methods
    • Amplification attacks
  • Firewall, Intrusion Detection System, and Network Security Monitoring Logs
    • Firewalls
      • Families of firewall solutions
      • Additional features
      • Syntax and log formats
    • Intrusion Detection Systems
      • Rules and signatures
      • Families of IDS and NSM solutions
      • Bro NSM
        • Basics and use cases
        • Logging
  • Logging Protocol and Aggregation
    • Syslog
      • Dual role: server and protocol
      • Source and collection platforms
      • Event dissection
      • rsyslog configuration
    • Microsoft Eventing
      • History and capabilities
      • Eventing 6.0
        • Architecture
        • Analysis mode
    • Log Data Collection, Aggregation, and Analysis
      • Benefits of aggregation: scale, scope, independent validation, efficiency
      • Known weaknesses and mitigations
      • Evaluating a comprehensive log aggregation platform
  • ELK Stack and the SOF-ELK Platform
    • Basics and pros/cons of the ELK stack
    • SOF-ELK
      • Inputs
      • Log-centric dashboards

Philip Hagen
Sun May 13th, 2018
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM


Focus: Network connection logging, commonly called NetFlow, may be the single most valuable source of evidence in network investigations. Many organizations have extensive archives of flow data due to its minimal storage requirements. Since NetFlow does not capture any content of the transmission, many legal issues with long-term retention are mitigated. Even without content, NetFlow provides an excellent means of guiding an investigation and characterizing an adversary's activities from pre-attack through operations. Whether within a victim's environment or for data exfiltration, adversaries must move their quarry around through the use of various file access protocols. By knowing some of the more common file access and transfer protocols, a forensicator can quickly identify an attacker's theft actions.

Just as even a fuzzy photo can provide valuable leads in a traditional investigation, NetFlow data can provide a network forensicator with extremely high-value intelligence about network communications. The key to extracting that value is in knowing how to use NetFlow evidence to drive more detailed investigative activities.

NetFlow is also an ideal technology to use in baselining typical behavior of an environment, and therefore, deviations from that baseline that may suggest malicious actions. Threat hunting teams can also use NetFlow to identify prior connections consistent with newly-identified suspicious endpoints or traffic patterns.

In this section, you will learn the contents of typical NetFlow protocols, as well as common collection architectures and analysis methods. You'll also learn how to distill full-packet collections to NetFlow records for quick initial analysis before diving into more cumbersome pcap files.

You'll also examine the File Transfer Protocol, including how to reconstruct specific files from an FTP session. While FTP is commonly used for data exfiltration, it is also an opportunity to refine protocol analysis techniques, due to its multiple-stream nature.

Lastly, you'll explore a variety of the network protocols unique to a Microsoft Windows or Windows-compatible environment. Attackers frequently use these protocols to "live off the land" within the victim's environment. By using existing and expected protocols, the adversary can hide in plain sight and avoid deploying malware that could tip off the investigators to their presence and actions.

  • Visual NetFlow Analysis with SOF-ELK
  • Tracking Lateral Movement with NetFlow
  • SMB Session Analysis and Reconstruction

CPE/CMU Credits: 6

  • NetFlow Collection and Analysis
    • Origins and evolution
    • NetFlow v5 and v9 protocols
    • Architectural components
    • NetFlow artifacts useful for examining encrypted traffic
  • Open-Source Flow Tools
    • Using open-source tool sets to examine NetFlow data
      • SiLK
      • nfcapd, nfpcapd, and nfdump
      • SOF-ELK: NetFlow ingestion and dashboards
  • File Transfer Protocol (FTP)
    • History and current use
    • Shortcomings in today's networks
    • Capture and analysis
  • Microsoft Protocols
    • Architecture and capture positioning
    • Exchange/Outlook
    • SMB v1, v2, and v3
    • Sharepoint and internal web sites

Philip Hagen
Mon May 14th, 2018
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM


Focus: Commercial tools are a mainstay in the network forensicator's toolkit. We'll explore the various roles that commercial tools generally fill, as well as how they can be best integrate to an investigative workflow. With the runaway adoption of wireless networking, investigators must also be prepared to address the unique challenges this technology brings to the table. However, regardless of the protocol being examined or budget used to perform the analysis, having a means of exploring full-packet capture is a necessity, and having a toolkit to perform this at scale is critical.

Commercial tools hold clear advantages in some situations a forensicator may typically encounter. Most commonly, this centers on scalability. Many open-source tools are designed for tactical or small-scale use. Whether using them for large-scale deployments or for specific niche functionalities, these tools can immediately address many investigative needs. You'll look at the typical areas where commercial tools in the network forensic realm tend to focus, and discuss the value each may provide for your organizational requirements or those of your clients.

Additionally, we will address the forensic aspects of wireless networking. We will cover similarities with and differences from traditional wired network examinations, as well as what interesting artifacts can be recovered from wireless protocol fields. Some inherent weaknesses of wireless deployments will also be covered, including how attackers can leverage those weaknesses during an attack, and how they can be detected.

Finally, we will look at methods that can improve at-scale hunting from full-packet captures, even without commercial tooling. We will look at the open-source Moloch platform and how it can be used in live and forensic workflows. You'll receive a ready-to-use Moloch virtual machine and load source data from an incident we previously investigated, seeking ground truth from the previously-captured full-packet data.

  • NetworkMiner
  • Using Command-Line Tools for Analysis
  • Network Forensic Analysis Using Moloch

CPE/CMU Credits: 6

  • Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)
    • Lifecycle of an email message
    • Adaptations and extensions
  • Commercial Network Forensics
    • Trade-offs between commercial and open-source solutions
    • Common commercial platforms that you may encounter
    • Using existing platforms and tools in a client environment
  • Wireless Network Forensics
    • Translating analysis of wired networks to the wireless domain
    • Device modes of operation
    • Capture methodologies: Hardware and Software
    • Useful protocol fields
    • Inherent weaknesses
    • Typical attack methodologies based on protection mechanisms
  • Automated Tools and Libraries
    • Common tools that can facilitate large-scale analysis and repeatable workflows
    • Libraries that can be linked to custom tools and solutions
    • Chaining tools together effectively
  • Full-Packet Hunting with Moloch
    • Moloch basics and architecture
    • Limitations in practical use
    • Session awareness, filtering, typical forensic use cases

Philip Hagen
Tue May 15th, 2018
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM


Focus: Advancements in common technology have made it easier to be a bad guy and harder for us to track them. Strong encryption methods are readily available and custom protocols are easy to develop and employ. Despite this, there are still weaknesses even in the most advanced adversaries' methods. As we learn what the attackers have deliberately hidden from us, we must operate carefully to avoid tipping our hats regarding the investigative progress - or the attacker can quickly pivot, nullifying our progress.

Encryption is frequently cited as the most significant hurdle to effective network forensics - and for good reason. When properly implemented, encryption can be a brick wall in between an investigator and critical answers. However, technical and implementation weaknesses can be used to our advantage. Even in the absence of these weaknesses, the right analytic approach to encrypted network traffic can still yield valuable information about the content. We will discuss the basics of encryption and how to approach it during an investigation. The section will also cover flow analysis to characterize encrypted conversations.

We will also discuss undocumented protocols and the reuse of existing protocols for nefarious purposes. Specifically, we will address how to derive intelligence value with limited or nonexistent knowledge of the carrier protocol.

Finally, we will look at how common missteps can provide the attacker with clear insight to the forensicator's progress. This often leads to the attacker changing their tactics, confounding the investigator and even erasing all the progress made to that point. We'll address best practices on conducting investigations and in a compromised environment and ways to share hard-earned intelligence that mitigate that mitigate the risks involved.

  • SSL Inspection
  • Identifying Undocumented Protocol Features
  • Mini-Comprehensive Investigation: Using NetFlow to Identify Data Loss Session, Using pcap to Reverse Protocol, Extracting Original Files, Decrypting SSL communications

CPE/CMU Credits: 6

  • Encoding, Encryption, and SSL
    • Encoding algorithms
    • Encryption algorithms
      • Symmetric
      • Asymmetric
    • Profiling SSL connection with useful negotiation fields
    • Analytic mitigation
    • Perfect forward secrecy
  • Man-in-the-Middle
    • Methods to accomplish
    • Benevolent uses
    • Common MITM tools
  • Network Protocol Reverse Engineering
    • Using known protocol fields to dissect unknown underlying protocols
    • Pattern recognition for common encoding algorithms
    • Addressing undocumented binary protocols
    • What to do after breaking the protocol
  • Investigation OPSEC and Threat Intel
    • Operational Security
      • Basic analysis can tip off attackers
      • How to mitigate risk without compromising quality
    • Intelligence
      • Plan to share smartly
      • Protect intelligence to mitigate risks

Philip Hagen
Wed May 16th, 2018
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM


Focus: This section will combine all of what you have learned prior to and during this week. In groups, you will examine network evidence from a real-world compromise by an advanced attacker. Each group will independently analyze data, form and develop hypotheses, and present findings. No evidence from endpoint systems is available - only the network and its infrastructure.

Students will test their understanding of network evidence and their ability to articulate and support hypotheses through presentations made to the instructor and class. The audience will include senior-level decision makers, so all presentations must include executive summaries as well as technical details. Time permitting, students should also include recommended steps that could help to prevent, detect, or mitigate a repeat compromise.

  • Capstone Lab

CPE/CMU Credits: 6

  • Network Forensic Case
    • Analysis using only network-based evidence
      • Determine the original source of an advanced attacker's compromise
      • Identify the attacker's actions while in the victim's environment
      • Confirm what data the attacker stole from the victim
    • Reporting
      • Present executive-level summaries of your findings at the end of the day-long lab
      • Document and provide low-level technical backup for findings
      • Establish and present a timeline of the attacker's activities
      • Time permitting, provide recommendations on how the victim can prevent, detect, or mitigate a repeat compromise by the same or another similarly advanced attacker

Additional Information


You can use any 64-bit version of Windows, Mac OSX, or Linux as your core operating system that also can install and run VMware virtualization products.

It is critical that your CPU and operating system support 64-bit so that our 64-bit guest virtual machine will run on your laptop. VMware provides a free tool for Windows and Linux that will detect whether or not your host supports 64-bit guest virtual machines. For further troubleshooting, this article also provides good instructions for Windows users to determine more about the CPU and OS capabilities. For Apple OS X users, please use this support page from Apple to determine 64-bit capability.

Please download and install VMware Workstation 11, VMware Fusion 7, or VMware Player Plus 7 or higher versions on your system prior to class beginning. If you do not own a licensed copy of VMware Workstation or Fusion, you can download a free 30-day trial copy from VMware. VMware will send you a time-limited serial number if you register for the trial at their Web site. VMware Player Plus is a free download that does not need a commercial license. Please note that other virtualization software is not supported in the lab environment, and may not successfully run the supplied virtual machines.


  • CPU: 64-bit Intel x64 2.0+ GHz processor or higher based system is mandatory for this class (Important - Please Read: a 64-bit system processor is mandatory! Test your VMware Software before coming to class. Some BIOS configurations may require special settings (such as "VT-x" and/or "no-execute memory protection") to allow virtualization. You must also have administrative access to your BIOS, in case changes are needed when in class.)
  • RAM: 8 GB (Gigabytes) of RAM minimum
  • Host Operating System: Fully patched and updated Windows (7+) or Apple OS X (10.10+) that can install and run VMware virtualization products (VMware Workstation, VMware Fusion, or VMware Player). Please note: It is necessary to fully update your host operating system prior to the class to ensure you have the right drivers and patches installed to utilize the latest USB 3.0 devices. Students that use Linux hosts are warned the wide variety of Linux distributions prohibits testing our exercises on this platform - your mileage may vary. Those that use a Linux host must be able to access ExFAT partitions using the appropriate kernel or FUSE modules.
  • Networking: Wireless 802.11 B, G, or N
  • Hardware:
    • USB 2.0 or higher Port(s) (Note: Some endpoint protection software prevents the use of USB devices - test your system with a USB drive before class to ensure you can load the course data.)
    • 200 Gigabyte Host System Hard Drive minimum
    • ~80 Gigabytes of Free Space on your System Hard Drive (Note: The free space is needed for the SIFT Workstation VM and the evidence we will be adding to your system)

MANDATORY FOR572 SYSTEM SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS (Install the following prior to the beginning of the class):

  • The student should have Local Administrator Access within their host operating system as well as the BIOS for the laptop, if applicable. We have found several cases where the BIOS virtualization settings must be changed from their factory defaults prior to running 64-bit operating systems as VMware guests.
  • Install VMware Workstation 11, VMware Fusion 7, or VMware Player 7 (higher versions are ok).
  • Download and install 7Zip (Windows, OS X, or Linux) or Keka (OS X).


  • Bring/install any other forensic tool you feel could be useful (Maltego, NetWitness, etc). For the final challenge at the end of the course, you can utilize any forensic tool, including commercial capabilities, to help you and your team. If you have any dongles, licensed software, etc. you are free to use them.
  • Although SANS is not responsible for the security of your personal effects, you might want to consider bringing a laptop lock.

If you have additional questions about the laptop specifications, please contact

  • Incident response team members and forensicators who are expanding their investigative scope from endpoint systems to the network
  • Hunt team members who proactively seek adversaries already in their network environments through leveraging new intelligence against previously-collected evidence
  • Security Operations Center (SOC) personnel and information security practitioners who support hunt operations, seeking to identify attackers in their network environments
  • Network defenders who are taking on added investigative and/or incident response workloads
  • Law enforcement officers, federal agents, and detectives who want to become network forensic subject matter experts
  • Information security managers who need to understand network forensics in order to manage risk, convey information security implications, and manage investigative teams
  • Network engineers who are proactively orienting their networks to best meet investigative requirements
  • Information technology professionals who want to learn how network investigations take place
  • Anyone interested in computer network intrusions and investigations who has a solid background in computer forensics, information systems, and information security
  • Custom distribution of the Linux SANS SIFT Workstation Virtual Machine with over 500 digital forensics and incident response tools prebuilt into the environment, including network forensic tools added just for this course
  • SOF-ELK Virtual Machine - a publicly available appliance running the ELK stack and the course author's custom set of configurations and dashboards. The VM is preconfigured to ingest syslog logs, HTTPD logs, and NetFlow, and will be used during the class to help students wade through the hundreds of millions of records they are likely to encounter during a typical investigation
  • Moloch Virtual Machine - a standalone VM running the free Moloch application. Moloch ingests and indexes live network data or pcap files, providing a platform that makes full-packet analysis attainable.
  • Realistic case data to examine during class, from multiple sources including:
    • NetFlow data
    • Web proxy, firewall, and intrusion detection system logs
    • Network captures in pcap format
    • Network service logs
  • 64GB USB disk loaded with case examples, tools, and documentation
  • Extract files from network packet captures and proxy cache files, allowing follow-on malware analysis or definitive data loss determinations
  • Use historical NetFlow data to identify relevant past network occurrences, allowing accurate incident scoping
  • Reverse engineer custom network protocols to identify an attacker's command-and-control abilities and actions
  • Decrypt captured SSL traffic to identify attackers' actions and what data they extracted from the victim
  • Use data from typical network protocols to increase the fidelity of the investigation's findings
  • Identify opportunities to collect additional evidence based on the existing systems and platforms within a network architecture
  • Examine traffic using common network protocols to identify patterns of activity or specific actions that warrant further investigation
  • Incorporate log data into a comprehensive analytic process, filling knowledge gaps that may be far in the past
  • Learn how attackers leverage man-in-the-middle tools to intercept seemingly secure communications
  • Examine proprietary network protocols to determine what actions occurred on the endpoint systems
  • Analyze wireless network traffic to find evidence of malicious activity
  • Learn how to modify configuration on typical network devices such as firewalls and intrusion detection systems to increase the intelligence value of their logs and alerts during an investigation
  • Apply the knowledge you acquire during the week in a full-day capstone lab, modeled after real-world nation-state intrusions

"We had to deal with a DDoS where the only available data was a 600GB PCAP file. We reduced to NetFlow and loaded that to the SOF-ELK VM. It quickly showed the waves of attack and how effective the countermeasures were." -David D.

"You won't get exposure to the breadth of info on network forensics in any other course." - Devin Johnson, SaskPower

"NetFlow is Cool. We've been receiving massive NetFlow feeds but were unable to fully utilize them apart from DDoS. With this course, I'm getting so many ideas how to use them in hunting." - SANS Student, FOR572 Singapore

"I literally was alerted to a potential incident from work on day 5 and used things I'd learned in class to analyze and help remediate." - P Cake, PeaceHealth

"I feel like I have won the lottery with the wealth of information from this week! Very relevant and applicable. I have already started using in our environments with results." - Charlie H.

"This is an incredible curriculum. This class NEEDED to happen and I am glad it did." - Peter Steinmann

"Cutting edge - puts me ahead in the job market." - Anonymous

"Very good real-world material." - Jason Lawrence

"Great resource. Only true network forensics course I know of." - Jeremy Robbins

"If you are into disk/memory forensics, you will need this, too!" - Wouter Jansen

"This class is immediately applicable to my work environment." - Thomas Heffron

"No FLUFF - focused and targeted learning!" - Jackie Stokes

"Awesome! Best SANS course I have taken!" - Jim Horvath

"Although FOR572 is a network forensics class, it gets exactly right what most incident response courses get wrong. Instead of focusing on specific exploits and malware that quickly become outdated, 'Advanced Network Forensics' taught me about the full range of evidence sources available and how to effectively mine them for clues. Even more importantly, FOR572 taught me how to use different evidence sources to fill in missing gaps. This is critical, as most environments or incidents will not have every type of evidence available. A large scale APT breach will not have full packet capture available for what could be over a year of attacker activity, but making effective use of network log files can fill in those gaps. It also dove into advanced topics like analyzing unknown protocols, which is an important skill when dealing with the ever-evolving landscape of malware and odd but legitimate applications. Finally, the network forensics capstone investigation is a small but realistic simulation of an APT breach. Having to perform a realistic investigation under the pressure of limited in-class hours felt much like the pressures of investigating a live incident under the pressure of stopping ongoing data theft. It is an excellent class, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone wanting to bring their IR skills to the next level." - Alexander Bond, Mandiant

"The SANS Institute is currently the leader in the commercial IR and computer forensic training market. They have a large number of quality courses." - Luttgens, Jason; Pepe, Matthew; Mandia, Kevin. Incident Response & Computer Forensics, Third Edition - July 2014

"SANS Institute has many valuable assets - Phil Hagen is one of them." - Anonymous

"Loving the detailed and mutli-layered labs. I have been doing the walkthroughs for time sake but will revisit in depth later." - Anonymous

"FOR572 - next step in developing top notch incident response and network analysis professionals." - Tom L.

"Phil shared an example with extracting cached content and identifying and extracting a GZIP file. These practical analysis examples I think are extremely valuable." - Anonymous

"Material is directly relevant to what our analysts are doing daily. Highly useful." - Tom L.

Course Authors' Statements

When I first became interested in computer and network security in the mid-1990s, the idea of "attacking" another computer network was still science fiction. Today, commercial, governmental, military, and intelligence entities have robust, integrated information security processes. Within the forensic community, we have seen developments that show the agility we must have to remain effective in the face of dynamic adversaries. Endpoint forensic practices will remain the keystone of digital forensics for the foreseeable future - this is where the events ultimately occur, after all.

We created FOR572: Advanced Network Forensics: Threat Hunting, Analysis & Incident Response to address the most transient domain of digital forensics. Many enterprises have grown to the scale that identifying which handful of endpoints to examine among thousands is a significant challenge. Additionally, the network has become its own medium for incident response and investigation. Our ability to use evidence from all kinds of network devices as well as from captured network data itself will be critical to our success in addressing threats today and tomorrow. From low-grade "script kiddie" attacks to long-term, strategic state-sponsored espionage activity, the network is one of the few common elements found throughout the life cycle of an incident. FOR572 will provide you with the tools and methods to conduct network investigations within environments of all sizes, using scenarios developed from real-world cases. You will finish the course with valuable knowledge that you will use the first day back on the job, and with the methodologies that will help address the next generations of adversaries' capabilities.

- Phil Hagen

When I first started my career in computer security, the term "advanced persistent threat" was unknown, yet I had personally recovered terabytes of data obtained from both commercial and government networks. The biggest cybersecurity threat in the news was the latest worm that would propagate through unsuspecting systems and cause more of a nuisance than actual destruction. What was known as the Russian Business Network wasn't even around yet. Network security monitoring was still in its infancy, with very little formal documentation or best practices, most of which were geared towards system administrators. While the Internet has continued to expand, we have all become more interconnected and the threat against our networks continues to grow. We wrote FOR572 as the class we wish we had when we were entering the field of network forensics and investigations - a class that not only provides background when needed, but is primarily tailored toward finding evil using multiple data sources and performing a full scope investigation. I am confident this course provides the most up-to-date training covering topics both old and new, based on real-life experiences and investigations.

- Mat Oldham