Coursera courses for free

Like for EDX, it is possible to take coursera courses for free. Here is a short example.

Login (or register if you have no account). Go to the course you want to attend to, in this example I take “Programming Languages, Part A”. Please note that the option described here are not possible for all courses.

On the course page select “Enroll”:

In the pop-up choose “Full course. No certificate” and continue.

And you can start:

Have fun!

EDX courses for free

EDX courses can be taken for free. Of course then you will miss the certificate, but the content is the same. Also you have a time limit for viewing the content, but in my experience it is more than enough.

Here is a short example:
After logging in with your account (register if you do not have one) search for the course you want attend to.

For the example I choosed “Introduction to Cybersecurity”.

Choose “Enroll now” on the course page:

Scroll down a bit and choose “Audit this course”:

One the next page you can just start the course. A dialog might be shown that you can earn the certificate, you can just ignore that or choose “Explore the course” here:

Enjoy and keep learning!

Review EDX Course Security in Office 365 (Microsoft CLD245x)

Recently I took the course Security in Office 365 using the free Audit Access, the final exam and the Certificate are missing here.
The sections of the course are:
  • Threats and data breaches targeting your data
  • Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection
  • Office 365 Threat Intelligence
  • Auditing, alerting and reporting in Office 365
  • Advanced Security Management in Office 365
After each section there is a quiz, as well as an final exam with 20 questions (missing in the free version). I’ll go through each section adding some notes.
Introduction to Security in Office 365
Threats and data breaches targeting your data
  • how threat actors gain access
  • kill chain
  • how the work and threat landscape changed
  • on-premises environment vs “gray area” (cloud etc.) in terms of controll and security
  • phishing
  • malware
  • spoofing
  • escalation of privilege
  • data exfiltration
  • data deletion including ransom ware
  • data spillage (“Data spillage occurs when protected data is transferred to a system that doesn’t provide the same level of protection as the source.”)
  • as well as password cracking
  • malicious insiders
Security solutions in Office 365 
  • Exchange Online Protection (EOP)
  • Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection (Office 365 ATP)
  • Office 365 Threat Intelligence
  • Auditing and alerts
  • Advanced Security Management (ASM)
  • EOP (not End Of Protection 😉 but Exchange Online Protection)
  • Office 365 Threat Intelligence
  • Threat Dashboard
  • Auditing and alerts
  • Advanced Security Management (AMS)
  • Threat detection
  • Enhanced control
  • Discovery and insights
Introduction to Secure Score
  • Overview of Office 365 Secure Score
  • security related measurements
  • Office 365 Secure Score API
  • API & powershell
  • downstream data for other tools and SIEM etc.
  • The Secure Score dashboard
  • The Secure Score analyzer tab
  • Increasing your security posture
  • I liked some of the points:
    • Enabling multi-factor authentication on all admin accounts
    • Designating more than one global admin
    • Enabling auditing across workloads
    • Enabling mailbox auditing
    • Having a weekly review of sign-ins after multiple failures
    • Having a weekly review of sign-ins from unknown sources
    • Having a weekly review of sign-ins from multiple geographies
Implementing and Managing Office 365 ATP
Introduction to Exchange Online Protection
  • The anti-malware pipeline in Office 365
  • Zero-hour auto purge
  • ZAP, detect spam or malware that was undetected by heuristics and delivery patterns
  • Phishing and spoofing protection
  • Spoof Intelligence
  • Give overview of spoofing attempts, allow spoofing for certain senders for certain addresses
  • Managing spoof intelligence
Overview of Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection
  • How ATP expands protection provided by EOP
  • Safe attachments
  • sandbox/detonation chamber 😀
  • Safe attachment policy options
  • Safe links
  • URL detonation -> mix of safe links and sage attachements
  • Safe links policy options
Managing Safe Attachments
  • Creating safe attachment policies in the Security and Compliance Center
  • Creating safe attachments policies using Windows PowerShell
  • Modifying an existing safe attachments policy in the Security and Compliance Center
  • Creating a transport rule to bypass safe attachments
  • Safe attachments end user experience
Managing Safe Links
  • Creating safe links policies by using the Security and Compliance Center
  • Creating safe links policies using Windows PowerShell
  • Modifying an existing safe links policy
  • Create a transport rule to bypass safe links
  • Safe links user experience in email
  • Safe links user experience in Office 2016
Monitoring and reports
  • Threat protection status report
  • ATP message disposition report
  • ATP file types report
  • Malware detections report
  • Top Malware report
  • Top Senders and Recipients report
  • Spoof Mail report
  • Spam Detections report
  • Sent and received email report
  • Security & Compliance Report Demonstration
Using Office 365 Threat Intelligence
Office 365 Threat Intelligence
“Threat intelligence is evidence-based knowledge, including context, mechanisms, indicators, implications and actionable advice, about an existing or emerging menace or hazard to assets that can be used to inform decisions regarding the subject’s response to that menace or hazard.”
  • Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph
    • Source: Windows, Office 365, Cloud Services, 3rd party
  • Threat dashboard
    • reporting tool for C-level
  • Threat explorer
    • analysts, admins
Using the Threat Detection dashboard
  • Threat detections in your tenant
  • Security and malware trends
  • Alerts
  • More insights
  • Threat Intelligence Demonstration
Using Threat Explorer
  • Viewing options in Threat explorer
  • Filtering capabilities in Threat Explorer
  • Drilling for details
  • Incident reports
Implementing auditing, insights, and alerts
Overview of auditing in the Security & Compliance Center
  • Auditing architecture in Office 365
  • Audited activities
  • Office 365 Management Activity API
Enabling mailbox auditing in Exchange Online
  • Mailbox actions logged by mailbox audit logging
  • Enabling mailbox auditing
  • Specifying owner actions to audit
  • Changing the age limit for entries in the mailbox audit log
Searching the audit log
  • Enabling auditing in your tenant
  • Granting permissions
  • Searching the audit log
  • Viewing the search results
  • Filtering the search results
  • Exporting the search results to a file
  • Searching the audit log by using Windows PowerShell
  • Using a SIEM application to access your auditing data
Enabling sharing auditing for SharePoint and OneDrive
  • The SharePoint sharing schema
  • The SharePoint Sharing model and sharing events
  • How to identify resources shared with external users
Managing insights and alerts in the Security & Compliance Center
  • Introduction to insights and alerts
  • Types of insights that are available
  • Types of alerts that are generated
  • Alerts features in the Security & Compliance Center
  • Alert policy settings
  • Default alert policies
  • Viewing alerts
  • Managing alerts
Advanced Security Management
Overview of Advanced Security Management
  • Lesson introduction
  • Anomaly detection policies
    •     Login authentication failures
    •     Administrator activity
    •     Inactive accounts
    •     Location
    •     Impossible travel
    •     Device and user agent
  • Activity policies
  • Anomaly detection and activity alerts
  • Policy templates
  • Productivity app discovery
  • App permissions
Implementing policies and alerts
  • Enabling and accessing Advanced Security Management
  • Creating anomaly detection policies
  • Creating activity policies
  • Reviewing and taking action on alerts
  • Investigating activities in the Activity log
  • Grouping IP addresses to simplify management
Implementing app discovery
  • Log file requirements
  • Supported vendors and their data attributes
  • Creating app discovery reports
  • Reviewing app discovery findings
  • Troubleshooting errors when log files are uploaded
Implementing app permissions
  • App permissions architecture
  • Managing app permissions
  • Approving or banning an app
Unfortunately I do not have access to an Office 365 environment for testing. So I was thankful that the course gives a broad insight of the posibilites of the security configurations of Office 365. Lots of the topics come withshort  examples (like phishing, spoofing etc.) and a short video clip.

From my side more insight on the security mechanisms and more detail on Threat Intelligence would have been great.  The course goes into logging and how to find strange behaviour, malware and threat intelligence. Which was really nice to see how much effort Microsoft put into securing their cloud products.

A lot of the questions in the module assessements questions are more about configuration the platform itself or how tabs are named, I felt a bit like in a MS exam long time ago. Large parts of the content is text and not videos, most courses are a bit different here.

The course gave a good overview and insights for understanding Security in Office 365 for me, that’s what I was looking for.

Review Cybrary Advanced Cyber Threat Intelligence

Since I found that some information was missing from this course
I found a course on cybrary, which is only about 3 hours long and which is free.

So the review will also be a bit shorter. For the content please review:

Module 1 – Threat Intelligence Maturity Model is the intro, with an interesting analysis about maturity levels of organisations related to threat intelligence which I found pretty informative.

Module 2 – Campaigns and Open-Source Threat Intelligence comes with some information about OSINT and visualization, which is also covered a bit broader in the course that I took previously.

Module 3 – Sharing Operational Threat Intelligence is a bit more interesting, since here we start with “Sharing Operational Threat Intelligence”. This comes with some information about Crowdstrike & Alienvault, Yara, TLP, CybOX and STIX, TAXII. Finally some information about Tactical/Operational sharing, which was interesting, because the author seems to know that things like ROI etc. are also important when talking about security programs, the explanation of Analytic Confidence was also useful. The video about “Words of Estimative Probability” will almost certainly be useful in the future.
The tools are not explained in depth or compared to each other which is a pitty. I strongly suggest to have a look at sigma ;).

Module 4 – Strategic Threat Intelligence Analysis is something that was missing from the courses I viewed before. The topics here are:
Cognitive Bias and Logical Errors
Competing Hypothesis Analysis
Human Elements of Attribution
Nation-State Attribution
Strategic Review and Creating an Active Defense

For me the course was interesting and infomative, especially Module 3 & Module 4 brought a new perspective to me. Some of the example could be shown with more length. Further I got some more tools that I might try in future. I give the course 4/5 points.


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How to Write Simple but Sound Yara Rules

How to Write Simple but Sound Yara Rules – Part 2

How to Write Simple but Sound Yara Rules – Part 3

Review Udemy “Certified Cyber Threat Intelligence Analyst”

As a second course (see previous blog post for the first course) I bought “Certified Cyber Threat Intelligence Analyst” which has the same instructor as “Certified Advanced Persistent Threat Analyst”.

Section 1: Phases Overview

The first three videos give an overview on the agenda (hunting, features&behavior extraction, attribution, tracking and take down).

The two videos following about hunting are explaining the goal of hunting, including information gathering from different sources, such as VirusTotal, underground forums, deep web and so on.

Features & Behavior Extraction covers what to extract from malware for further insight in five videos, like metadata, language, metadata, exif, strings, IPs etc..

The videos following are about Clustering and Correlation, Threat Actor Attribution, Tracking and Taking Down, followed by the quiz. Without going too deep, the videos cover sandboxing, dynamic and static malware analysis, malicious events, passive DNS, Graph DB, C2 infrastructure, TTP (yay!), OSINT and more.

The next sections go through each phase with more depth.

Section 2: Hunting

The hunting section starts with two videos with hunting and VirusTotal. This covers different techniques helping hunting, yara rules, retrohunt, searching and research. The three videos about Hacking Forums come with some examples. For this topic I highly recommend to read & and so on for more in depth information.

The two Deep Web parts are also pretty basic, nothing new if you are in cyber for some time. Also, I do not like it when “Deep/Dark Web” is only refered to shady or criminal activities. The next video is about Honeypot & OSINT, especially honeypots are big fun and you should setting up one.

The two lab videos are much longer than the other ones (<30min), and seem to be taken from a different course. The first is about VirusTotal Intelligence which gives a nice introduction to hunts, retrohunting, clustering and other functions of the platform. The second lab video is about yara. It is being said that you can get access to VT from the trainers, but I got no answer to my request, which is kind of disappointing.

Section 3: Features Extraction

The first two videos are a short introduction to the topic “Features Extraction Goal”, which is more like an introduction to static malware analysis.

The next two videos cover “Import Table Hash (imphash)”. I always have a bad feeling when people talk about MD5 in this area, since collisions are possible with MD5. Further some of the statements are a bit dangerous, for example “Cannot revert the hash to get original content” only applies for content with a certain size that is not available in any form. When you have a hash and find a matching file, for example in a antivirus database like virustotal you totally can get the original content. Just imagine a scenario where an analyst from company A is giving a bunch of MD5 to an external company B. When an employee of company A ever uploaded internal documents to VT, company B now can assign the MD5 to the uploaded document. This is why you do not share all your indicators folks.

The instructor is even talking about that hashes are “security protection features”. Pentesters love finding MD5 hashes of passwords, nothing cracks better ;).

So depending on the usecase please consider using stronger hash algorithms, also in malware analysis. Imphash might be OK at this place though, since it only refers to the import table and not to the whole binary.

For better understanding:

“Just because two binaries have the same imphash value does not mean they belong to the same threat group, or even that they are part of the same malware family”. In the course it is being said that similar imphashes mean that the malware has more or less the same source code, which is unfortunate and false leading.

The following video is about “Fuzz Hash (ssdeep)”, refer the link list for further explanation.

The first lab video is “Extracting VBA Macros with Didier Stevens Tools”. If you ever have the chance of catching up Didier Stevens and one of his workshops at a conference go there, from all I heard it is awesome and I look forward to it. First the video is going into more features of VirusTotal, then going to emldump and oledump. The second lab video is about C2 IP Pivoting, which refers to finding IPs in VBA macros in this case.

The section ends of course with a quiz.

Section 4: Behavior Extraction

Eight short videos about dynamic analysis including “Dynamic Indicators”, “Process Infector and Keylogger”, “Passive DNS” and the quiz. I won’t go deep into it here, since the titles are pretty self explaning and mainly cuckoo output is used here. Play for yourself with that ;).

Section 5: Clustering & Correlation

The first four videos are about “How Clustering & Correlation Works”. Here some of the classifiers are explained with examples and what it is for. Two videos about GraphDB follow, and a longer lab video & of course the quiz. Interesting that the tutor is not refering to the product, but to a category (neo4j, maltego) when talking about GraphDB, which was a bit confusing first.

The lab video looked good and interesting, hope I will have some time in the future to play with the VT features. The video contains an intro to viper (awesome tool) and how to use viper for correlation.

Section 6: Attribution

The topics in this section are “Where are they located?”, “Who are the targets”, “Initial Compromise”, “Privilege Escalation”, “Persistance”, “Lateral Movement”, “Exfiltration Strategy”, “Profiling the Attacker” and the final quiz. Some parts are pretty similar to the APT course.

For the discussion about attribution, in my thinking it is an approach for getting useful information for fighting an attacker. If it works, great. On a higher level things might be a bit different and give much opportunity for open discussions ;).

Section 7: Tracking

In the tracking section the videos are about “Passive DNS & Internet Port Scan”, “Lookups, OSINT and Hacking Forums” as well as the quiz. The section is pretty short and goes only a bit more in depth as section 1.

Section 8: Taking Down

This is covering “Sinkhole”, “How it works?”, “Hacking Forums”, “Victim Notification” & the quiz, the section is also short as the two sections before. Of course this is simplified, be careful, a lot can go wrong here.


As in the APT course, the course is OK for beginners, but please have in mind that some content is not high qualitiy and not complete, which is hard. Therefore I give this course three stars out of five.

I can also recommend “Malicious Software and its Underground Economy: Two Sides to Every Story” (, if still possible, which I took some time ago, the author of this course actually took down a C2 infrastructure and it is pretty interesting.

Links, as in the previous artice I added some links that are not originaly from the course:

Russian financial cybercrime: how it works

Click to access wp-cybercrime-and-the-deep-web.pdf

Click to access The_Diamond_Model_for_Intrusion_Analysis_A_Primer_Andy_Pendergast.pdf

Meaningful MD5 Collisions: Creating executables

Release: Version 0.0.3

Click to access first2005-paper.pdf

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