SEC541: SANS Tokyo Winter 2024

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What You Will Learn
Attackers can run but not hide. Our radar sees all threats.

SEC541 is an essential course on cloud threat detection, cloud security monitoring, and security analysis. Throughout the course, you will learn how to analyze attacker techniques and gain a deeper understanding of how they operate within cloud environments. Additionally, you'll explore the capabilities of cloud logging and security tools, learning how to use them effectively to detect and respond to potential threats. The course also discusses detection engineering in the cloud, which will give you a thorough understanding of creating robust and efficient threat detection systems. By the end of the course, you will have the skills and knowledge needed to analyze attacks and build a robust security engineering program.

At the beginning of each section in SEC541, you'll participate in an in-depth analysis of a real-world attack campaign that targeted AWS or Azure cloud infrastructure. This analysis will break down the attack's tactics and techniques, enabling you to understand how it happened and what could have been done to detect it. After analyzing the attacks, the course will teach you how to leverage cloud-native and cloud-integrated capabilities to detect, hunt, or investigate similar attacks in a real environment. You'll learn to build your arsenal of analytics, detections, and best practices, with a focus on using AWS and Azure services to analyze logs and behaviors. By the end of the course, you'll have gained a deep understanding of how to analyze and detect cloud-based threats and will be equipped with practical skills to apply to your cloud infrastructure.

"The course contains must-have knowledge to start with the threat hunting job in AWS/Azure." - Mikolaj Staniucha, PepsiCo
Business Takeaways
  • Decrease the average time an attacker is in your cloud environment.
  • Help your organization properly set up logging and configuration for improved detection engineering.
  • Decreases the risk of costly attacks by understanding and leveraging cloud-specific security services.
  • Lessen the impact of breaches that do happen.
  • Learn how to fly the plane, not just the ability to read the manual.
Skills Learned
  • How to research attacks and threats to cloud infrastructure
  • Break down a threat into detectable components.
  • Understand approaches for improved detection engineering.
  • Effectively use AWS and Azure core logging services to detect suspicious behaviors.
  • Use cloud-native API logging as the newest defense mechanism in cloud services.
  • Move beyond the cloud-provided web consoles to perform complex analysis.
  • Perform network analysis with cloud network logging.
  • Understand how application logs can be collected and analyzed inside the cloud environment.
  • Effectively put into practice the AWS and Azure security-specific services.
  • Integrate container, operating system, and deployed application logging into cloud logging services for more cohesive analysis.
  • Perform an inventory of cloud resources and sensitive data using scripts and cloud-native tooling.
  • Analyzing Microsoft 365 activity to uncover threats.
  • Ability to leverage cloud-native architecture to automate response actions to attacks.
Hands-on Training

The labs in this course are hands-on explorations into AWS and Azure logging and monitoring services. About 70% of labs are AWS and 30% Azure.

Each lab will start by researching a particular threat and the data needed to detect it. In most labs, the students will conduct the attack against their accounts, generating the logs and data needed to perform analysis. Students will use native AWS & Azure services and open-source products to extract, transform, and analyze the threat. The course lecture coupled with the labs will give students a full picture of how those services within AWS & Azure work, the data they produce, common ways to analyze the data, and walk away with the ability to discern and analyze similar attacks in their own cloud environment.
  • Section 1: SEC541 environment deployment, analyzing cloud API logs with CloudTrail, parsing JSON-formatted logs with JQ, network analysis
  • Section 2: Environment setup, application/OS log lab with OpenCanary, CloudWatch agent and customization, strange ECS behavior, finding data exfiltration
  • Section 3: Metadata services and GuardDuty, cloud inventory, discovering sensitive data in unapproved location with Macie, vulnerability assessment with Inspector, data centralization with Graylog
  • Section 4: Microsoft 365 Exchange investigation, introduction to Kusto Query Language, log analytics analysis using Azure CLI, Microsoft Defender for Cloud and Sentinel, Azure network traffic analysis
  • Section 5: Setup the automate forensics workflow, analyze the results, participate in the CloudWars Challenge
"Using the labs was easy with well documented instructions. I like the fact that I could easily copy and paste the commands. This helps me to get through the lab fast but I also know that I can come back later after the course and take the time to review each command." - Ludek Suk, Accenture

"Labs are awesome, and they all work! Learning a ton from these." - Joe Cultrara

"The lab guide is very detailed. Allowing me to learn and understand what I was doing. They also provided us with sufficient time to complete the labs and we were never rushed into doing anything." - Sambit Sarkar, ICE Data Services
Syllabus Summary
  • Section 1: Detecting adversarial activity in your cloud environment through management plane and network logging & analysis.
  • Section 2: Dig deeper into your applications and compute systems running within the cloud environment.
  • Section 3: Understanding your deployed cloud environment to easily identify deviation from organizational policy and potential malice.
  • Section 4: Deep dive into Azure's ecosystem and the unique threats that can occur.
  • Section 5: Learn to automate response actions in your cloud environment and put your new skills to the test in a Capture the Flag event.
Additional Free Resources
  • Building Better Cloud Detections...By Hacking? | AWS Edition, March 2023
  • Cloud Security Monitoring and Threat Hunting in AWS
  • Threat Hunting Through Log Analysis in AWS
  • How to Build a Threat Hunting Capability in AWS
  • Cloud Ace Podcast
  • Cloud Ace Journey Learning Paths
What You Will Receive
  • Printed and electronic courseware
  • MP3 audio files of the complete course lecture
  • Access to virtual machine in the AWS cloud
  • Access to an Azure account
What Comes Next

Depending on your current job role or future plans, any of the following SANS courses could be an excellent follow-on to SEC541:
  • SEC588: Cloud Penetration Testing Course
  • FOR509: Enterprise Cloud Forensics and Incident Response
For additional cloud security training courses, please visit our main SANS Cloud Security curriculum page.


Start date Location / delivery
25 Nov 2024 Tokyo Book now

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