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SOC Training 2021 - Live Online

Virtual, US Eastern | Mon, Jun 14 - Sat, Jun 19, 2021

SEC573: Automating Information Security with Python New

Mon, June 14 - Sat, June 19, 2021

Associated Certification: GIAC Python Coder (GPYC)

 Watch a free preview of this course

Course Syllabus  ·  36 CPEs  ·   Lab Requirements
Instructor: Mark Baggett  ·  Price: 7,270 USD

Python is a simple, user-friendly language that is designed to make it quick and easy to automate the tasks performed by security professionals. Whether you are new to coding or have been coding for years, SANS SEC573: Automating Information Security with Python will have you creating programs that make your job easier and your work more efficient. This self-paced course starts from the very beginning, assuming you have no prior experience or knowledge of programming. We cover all of the essentials of the language up front. If you already know the essentials, you will find that the pyWars lab environment allows advanced developers to quickly accelerate to more advanced course material.

All security professionals, including penetration testers, forensics analysts, network defenders, security administrators, and incident responders, have one thing in common: CHANGE. Change is constant. Technology, threats, and tools are constantly evolving. If we don't evolve with them, we'll become ineffective and irrelevant, unable to provide the vital defenses our organizations increasingly require.

Maybe your chosen Operating System has a new feature that creates interesting forensics artifacts that would be invaluable for your investigation, if only you had a tool to access it. Often for new features and forensics artifacts, no such tool has yet been released. You could try moving your case forward without that evidence or hope that someone creates a tool before the case goes cold...or you can write a tool yourself.

Or perhaps an attacker bypassed your defenses and owned your network months ago. If existing tools were able to find the attack, you wouldn't be in this situation. You are bleeding sensitive data and the time-consuming manual process of finding and eradicating the attacker is costing you money and hurting your organization big time. The answer is simple if you have the skills: Write a tool to automate your defenses.

If you are a penetration tester, you need to evolve as quickly as the threats you are paid to emulate. What do you do when "off-the-shelf" tools and exploits fall short? If you're good, you write your own tool.

SEC573 is designed to give you the skills you need to tweak, customize, or outright develop your own tools. We put you on the path to create your own tools, empowering you to better automate the daily routine of today's information security professional and achieve more value in less time. Again and again, organizations serious about security emphasize their need for skilled tool builders. There is a huge demand for people who can understand a problem and then rapidly develop prototype code to attack or defend against it. Join us and learn Python in-depth and fully weaponized.

You Will Learn How To:

- Leverage Python to perform routine tasks quickly and efficiently

- Automate log analysis and packet analysis with file operations, regular expressions, and analysis modules to find evil

- Develop forensics tools to carve binary data and extract new artifacts

- Read data from databases and the Windows Registry

- Interact with websites to collect intelligence

- Develop UDP and TCP client and server applications

- Automate system processes and process their output

Note to Live Classroom Students:

SEC573 contains more labs and exercises than even the most skilled programmer can complete in one week. Students who are brand new to the concepts should expect to complete about a third of the labs while in class, then take advantage of the extended access that is provided for up to 4 months after the course has ended to continue to build their skills. Students who already know some programming will complete a higher percentage of the exercises in class but will still take home additional material to continue learning. In the vast majority of cases, even those students who start the class with a good understanding of how to code in Python will leave with incomplete labs that they can continue to use to develop their skills. SEC573 will meet you where you are and quickly advance your skills. You will leave with new skills you can put to good use when you return to your workplace and with additional material to continue to develop your skills.

Course Syllabus

Mark Baggett
Mon Jun 14th, 2021
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM ET


The course begins with a brief introduction to Python and the pyWars Capture-the-Flag challenge. We set the stage for students to learn at their own pace in the pyWars lab environment. With more than 100 labs in the course, there is no shortage of hand-on labs to develop life-changing skills. As more advanced students take on Python-based bonus challenges, students who are new to programming will start from the very beginning with Python essentials.

CPE/CMU Credits: 6

  • Syntax
  • Variables
  • Math Operators
  • Strings
  • Functions
  • Control Statements
  • Modules

Mark Baggett
Tue Jun 15th, 2021
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM ET


You will never learn to program by staring at PowerPoint slides. This section continues the hands-on, lab-centric approach established at the beginning of the course. It covers data structures and more detailed programming concepts. Next we will discuss how to effectively use Python Virtual Environments to resolve library conflict and organize your environment. Then you will learn how to use Microsoft's Visual Studio code to effectively debug your programs. We will show you valuable tips and tricks to make you a better Python programmer. Last, we will discuss many of the pitfalls you will encounter as you upgrade your code and dependent libraries from Python2 to Python3.

CPE/CMU Credits: 6

  • Lists
  • Loops
  • Tuples
  • Dictionaries
  • Python Virtual Environments
  • Debugging with Visual Studio Code
  • Tricks and Shortcuts
  • Upgrading from Python2 and Python3

Mark Baggett
Wed Jun 16th, 2021
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM ET

Most of this course is focused on expanding your Python skills, leveraging modules, and performing important operations used by all information security professionals. You will learn about file operations, log analysis, database operations, low-level network operations such as Raw sockets and packet parsing, high-level network operations such as HTTP and authentication, object-oriented coding, regular expressions, subprocess execution and automation, and much more. All of these skills are common to every security profession and useful to everyone regardless of your discipline. Starting with the third section, the remainder of the course is broken down into three sections themed with defense, forensics, and offense.


In this section we take on the role of a network defender with more logs to examine than there is time in the day. Attackers have penetrated the network and you will have to analyze the logs and packet captures to find them. We will discuss how to analyze network logs and packets to discover where the attackers are coming from and what they are doing. We will build scripts to empower continuous monitoring and disrupt the attackers before they exfiltrate your data. Forensics and offensive security professional won't be left out because the skills we will be developing, such as reading and writing files and parsing data, are also essential skill for their craft.

CPE/CMU Credits: 6

  • File Operations
  • Python Sets
  • Regular Expressions
  • Log Parsing
  • Data Analysis Tools and Techniques
  • Long-Tail/Short-Tail Analysis
  • Geolocation Acquisition
  • Packet Analysis
  • Packet Reassembly
  • Payload Extraction

Mark Baggett
Thu Jun 17th, 2021
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM ET


In our forensics-themed section, we will assume the role of a forensic analyst who has to carve evidence from artifacts when no tool exists to do so. Even if you don't do forensics, you will find that the skills covered in this section are foundational to every security role. We will discuss the process required to carve binary images, find appropriate data of interest in them, and extract those data. Once you have the artifact isolated, there is more analysis to be done. You will learn how to extract metadata from image files. Then, we will discuss techniques for finding artifacts in other locations, such as SQL databases, and interacting with web pages.

CPE/CMU Credits: 6

  • Acquiring Images from Disk
  • Memory and the Network
  • File Carving
  • The STRUCT module
  • Raw Network Sockets and Protocols
  • Image Forensics and PIL
  • SQL Queries
  • Web Communications with the Requests Module
  • Effective use of Online Website APIs

Mark Baggett
Fri Jun 18th, 2021
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM ET


During our offensively themed section we play the role of penetration testers whose normal tricks have failed. Their attempts to establish a foothold have been stopped by modern defenses. To bypass these defenses, you will build an agent to give you access to a remote system. Similar agents can be used for incident response or systems administration. Although the theme is offensive, the core skills -? interacting with system processes and handling errors and TCP network communications -? will benefit all disciplines.

CPE/CMU Credits: 6

  • Network Socket Operations
  • Exception Handling
  • Process Execution
  • Blocking and Non-blocking Sockets
  • Using the Select Module for Asynchronous Operations
  • Python Objects
  • Argument Packing and Unpacking

Mark Baggett
Sat Jun 19th, 2021
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM ET


In this final section you will be placed on a team with other students to apply the skills you have mastered in a series of programming challenges. Participants will exercise the new skills and the code they have developed throughout the course in a series of challenges. You will solve programming challenges, exploit vulnerable systems, analyze packets, parse logs, and automate code execution on remote systems. Test your skills! Prove your might!

Note that OnDemand students will enjoy this exercise on an individual basis. As always, SANS SME's are available to support every OnDemand student's experience.

CPE/CMU Credits: 6

Additional Information

Laptop Required

Students are required to bring their own laptop so that they can connect directly to the workshop network we will create, and thus get the most value out of the course. It is the student?s responsibility to make sure that the system is properly configured with all drivers necessary to connect to an Ethernet network.

Some of the course exercises are based on Windows, while others focus on Linux. VMware Player or VMware Workstation is required for the course. If you plan to use a Mac, please make sure you bring VMware Fusion, along with a Windows guest virtual machine. All of the VMware products are available at


You are required to bring Windows 10 (Professional), Windows 8.1 (Professional), Windows 8 (Professional), Windows 7 (Professional, Enterprise, or Ultimate), or Windows Vista (Business, Enterprise, or Ultimate) either on a real system or a virtual machine. You will need administrative access to your Windows computer and the ability to install various software packages, including Python, on that computer.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You may also be required to disable your anti-virus tools temporarily for some exercises, so make sure you have the anti-virus administrator permissions to do so. DO NOT plan on just killing your anti-virus service or processes, because most anti-virus tools still function even when their associated services and processes have been terminated. For many enterprise-managed clients, disabling your anti-virus tool may require a different password than the Administrator account password. Please bring that Administrator password for your anti-virus tool.

The course includes a VMware image file of a guest Linux system that is larger than 15 GB. Therefore, you need a file system with the ability to read and write files that are larger than 15 GB, such as NTFS on a Windows machine.

Enterprise VPN clients may interfere with the network configuration required to participate in the course. If your system has an enterprise VPN client installed, you may need to uninstall it for the course exercises.


You will use VMware to run Windows and Linux operating systems simultaneously when performing exercises in class. You must have either the free VMware Player or later or the commercial VMware Workstation 8 or later installed on your system prior to coming to class. You can download VMware Workstation Player for free at

Alternatively, if you want a more flexible and configurable tool, you can download a free 30-day trial copy of VMware Workstation here. VMware will send you a time-limited license number for VMware Workstation if you register for the trial

on its website. No license number is required for VMware Player.

We will give you a USB full of tools to use during the class (which is yours to keep). We will also provide a Linux image with all of our tools pre-installed that runs within VMware Player or VMware Workstation.


You do not need to bring a Linux system if you plan to use our Linux image in VMware. However, you are required to bring VMware Workstation or VMware Player. The class does not support VirtualPC or other non-VMware virtualization products.

Mandatory Laptop Hardware Requirements

- x86- compatible or x64-compatible 2.0 GHz CPU minimum or higher

- An available USB port with the ability to read an ExFat format.

- 8 GB or higher recommended

- 15 GB available hard drive space

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

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

  • Security professionals who benefit from automating routine tasks so they can focus on what's most important
  • Forensic analysts who can no longer wait on someone else to develop a commercial tool to analyze artifacts
  • Network defenders who sift through mountains of logs and packets to find evil-doers in their networks
  • Penetration testers who are ready to advance from script kiddie to professional offensive computer operations operator
  • Security professionals who want to evolve from security tool consumer to security solution provider

A basic understanding of any programming or scripting language is highly recommended but not required for this course. SEC573 starts with the most basic fundamentals of Python programming. There is no aspect of programming or Python that must be understood before attending this course. The lab environment is self-paced and this allows students who have had some experience coding to advance more quickly than those who have not. You are provided a Virtual Machine that gives you the ability to complete the labs that are in your course book after the live course or your OnDemand access has finished.

Other Courses People Have Taken

Courses that lead in to SEC573:

Courses that are good follow-ups to SEC573:

  • A USB containing a virtual machine filled with sample code and working examples
  • A copy of Python Pocket Reference, published by O'Reilly Press
  • MP3 audio files of the complete course lecture

- Modify and customize existing open-source tools to meet the needs of your organization.

- Manipulate log file formats to make them compatible with various log collectors.

- Write new tools to analyze log files and network packets to identify attackers in your environment.

- Develop tools that extract otherwise inaccessible forensics artifacts from computer systems of all types.

- Automate the collection of intelligence information to augment your security from online resources.

- Automate the extraction of signs of compromise and other forensics data from the Windows Registry and other databases.

- Write a backdoor that uses exception handling, sockets, process execution, and encryption to provide you with your initial foothold in a target environment. The backdoor will include features such as a port scanner to find an open outbound port, techniques for evading antivirus software and network monitoring, and the ability to embed payload from tools such as Metasploit.

- The Python Essentials Workshop labs are as follows: Variables, functions, modules, if/elif/else, for, while, list, dictionaries, sets, and more

- pyWars labs: A self-paced lab environment that allows students to work through labs and exercises at their own pace. Challenges include reverse engineering malware, malware covert channels, cryptography essentials, advanced regular expressions, advanced network communications, and more.

- Practical application labs: Coding concepts are applied to build tools for defenders, forensicators, and penetration testers. The labs cover parsing log files to identify hackers, conducting long-tail/short-tail analysis of logs, capturing and parsing network packets, carving forensics artifacts from binary data, retrieving SQL data, interacting with websites, process execution, exception handling, synchronous and asynchronous network communications, and more. The Python modules and concepts covered in these labs include File Operations, Python Sets, Regular Expressions, gzip, collections module,, Geolite, scapy,, struct, sockets, select, Python Objects, argument packing and unpacking, sqlite3 , urllib,urllib2, cookielib, requests, StringIO, and more.

- Capture-the-Flag Challenge: Test your ability to apply your new tools and coding skills.

Author Statement

"Good scripting skills are essential for professionals working in all aspects of information security. Understanding how to develop your own applications means you can automate tasks and do more, with fewer resources, in less time. SEC573 is designed for network defenders, forensics examiners, penetration testers, and other security professionals who want to learn how to apply basic coding skills to do their job more efficiently. This course will help take your career to the next level by teaching you this highly sought-after skill. We will focus on the most important skills for security professionals, such as interacting with networks, websites, databases, and file systems. We will cover these essential skills as we build practical applications that you can immediately put into use in your place of work."

-- Mark Baggett