Tools of the trade

Every organization interacts with different tools to protect itself from security threats. Explore the uses of common information security technology and tools, including command line tools, shells, scripts, and network traffic analyzers.


  • Touring the CLI Video — 00:16:27
    • The command-line interface (CLI) allows technicians to interact with Windows, Linux, and macOS systems by typing in commands such as ping and ipconfig. Windows uses a command prompt, macOS uses a terminal shell and Linux can use a variety of shells includ

  • Shells Video — 00:06:16
    • Shells allow technicians to enter commands, such as a Linux bash shell or a Windows command prompt. Reverse shells are the result of infected victim machines that reach out to an attacker station.

  • The Windows command line Video — 00:04:36
    • The Windows command line is spawned by cmd.exe. Security technicians can automate tasks using batch file scripts containing commands such as whoami and ipconfig. Powershell.exe can be spawned from a Windows command prompt in order to use PowerShell cmdlet

  • Microsoft PowerShell Video — 00:12:32
    • Is there a better way to automate operating system commands than through scripts and text manipulation? Yes! Microsoft PowerShell is an object-oriented cross-platform command environment that uses a verb-noun type of syntax, such as with the Get-Service c

  • Linux shells Video — 00:11:47
    • A Linux shell is a case-sensitive command line environment that supports scripting and comes in various flavors including bash, Korn and C shells.

  • Python Scripts Video — 00:07:24
    • Python is a multi-platform case-sensitive scripting language that requires a Python interpreter to be installed.

  • Windows command-line tools Video — 00:16:22
    • Security technicians must be comfortable with Windows commands for standard maintenance and security tasks using commands such as ping, netstat, and icalcs.

  • Linux command-line tools Video — 00:09:35
    • Security technicians must be comfortable with Linux commands for standard maintenance and security tasks using commands such as head, tail, grep, dig, and setting file system permissions with chmod.

  • Network scanners Video — 00:05:14
    • How do attackers discover networks and hosts? Network scanners such as Nmap are used by attackers as well as legitimate security technicians to perform network reconnaissance.

  • Network scanning with nmap Video — 00:08:57
    • Nmap is the most commonly used network scanning tool. Scans can be saved as XML files. Nmap can be used at the command line but it also has a frontend GUI named Zenmap.

  • Network protocol analyzers Video — 00:08:00
    • Network traffic can be captured, saved, and analyzed using a properly placed hardware or software network protocol analyzer such as the free Wireshark tool. Capture analysis can result in identifying indicators of compromise or the use of insecure protoco

  • Using Wireshark to analyze network traffic Video — 00:09:03
    • Wireshark is a free open-source network traffic analyzer that can capture, analyze, filter, and save captured network packets.

  • Using tcpdump to analyze network traffic Video — 00:08:16
    • tcpdump is a built-in Unix and Linux command-line tool that can capture, analyze, filter, and save captured network packets.

  • Log files Video — 00:08:56
    • Log files can provide valuable insights related to suspicious network, host or application activity, but only if log file integrity can be ensured. Centralized logging in the enterprise on a secured logging host ensures an accurate copy of log files can b

  • Centralized logging Video — 00:09:03
    • Network infrastructure and host and application logs can be stored centrally such as with Linux or Windows log forwarding. This can then be fed into a centralized log ingestion and analysis system, otherwise called SIEM.

  • Configuring Linux log forwarding Video — 00:08:27
    • Centralized Linux log hosts can be configured using the rsyslog daemon on Linux hosts.

  • Exam question review Video — 00:02:58
    • Managing Linux host authentication can involve the use of many command-line utilities. This episode focuses on the sequence of steps needed to enable SSH public key authentication.

  • Linux shell script lab Video — 00:07:09
    • Shell scripts contain Linux command that can be invoked simply by calling upon the script name. In this demo, a simple utility menu loop is created in a bash shell script.

  • Nmap lab Video — 00:04:31
    • IT network reconnaissance begins with discover hosts and services on the network. This episode uses the nmap command to map out hosts on the network.

  • Ask me anything Video — 00:02:12
    • Malware is malicious software that comes in many different shapes and sizes. This episode tackles examples of malicious code and how it related to Visual Basic for Applications (VBA).

Meet the author

Mike Meyers, affectionately called the “Alpha Geek,” is the industry’s leading authority on CompTIA certifications. He is the president and co-founder of Total Seminars, LLC, a provider of PC and network repair seminars, books, videos and courseware for thousands of organizations throughout the world. Mike has been involved in the computer and network repair industry since 1987 as a technician, instructor, author, consultant and speaker. He has sold over a million IT and certification books, including the best-selling CompTIA A+ Certification All-in-One Exam Guide and CompTIA Network+ Certification All-in-One Exam Guide. He has personally taught thousands of students, including U.S. senators, U.S. Supreme Court Justices, members of the United Nation, every branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, many branches of the Department of Justice, hundreds of corporate clients and academic students at every level.

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This has been utilized to bridge the skills gap across our cyber team and to aid them as they prepare for their various certifications. It also has provided a nice learning foundation for our various cyber team members to utilize as we continue to find ways for cross-utilization with operations while minimizing the downtime needed to ensure everyone’s knowledge is the same.

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