PenTester Academy CRTP exam

2019-10-22 14:24:00

Ooooffff... What a night. What a day. I'm beat :)

It's hard to believe that my OSCP examination took place 2.5 years ago. It feels much more recent! Or maybe that's wishful thinking...

Anywho, over the past twentyfour hours I repeated the experience by taking part in PenTester Academy's CRTP exam: Certified Red Team Professional. It's the closure piece to their "Attacking & Defending AD" online training

I'm gonna say that this exam is absolutely not a red-teaming exercise (per Deviant Olam). RT would include attacks on both the physical space, human employees and on IT resources. And this exam squarely focuses on IT only. So the "RT" in "CRTP" is badly chosen, but alright. Let's put it down as marketing.

So! There are a few reviews out there about the CRTP (like Truneski's, or this thread on TechExams, and Spentera's), but as always I'm going to quickly recap my own experiences.

To get the obvious question out of the way: was it worth it? I got in at the introductory price of $550 for 90 days (normally $600) and either way I'd say "Heck yes!". Fourteen hours of video material and a well-built lab environment to hack Active Directory made it well worth it! 

Nikhil's videos are well-made and are perfect for playing at 1.3x or 1.5x speed.  The slide deck and lab guides are certainly good enough as well. 

It's great how the training explains multiple ways to achieve the same goal, though at times it became hard to tell them apart :D That's mostly a failing of my own though. It has become very much apparent that I need to go back and review these materials a few times before fully grasping these AD attacks. Luckily there are many great resources, like the harmj0y, adsecurity and Specter Ops blogs.

Excluding the exam, I spent roughly sixty (60) hours on the videos, labs and research. That's a lot of CPE for my CISSP, CEH and CompTIA certs!

The exam! Ooohhh, I loved it! It's like OSCP, where you're given a twentyfour hour window to attack and pwn a number of target systems. But where OSCP offers X amount of disparate hosts, CRTP has them tied together in an Active Directory environment. You're not attacking software on its vulnerabilities, no you're attacking an environment based on misconfigurations in AD or Windows!

Like ChrisOne in the TechExams thread I ran into a wall which would last me well over six hours. Here's a rough timeline (it's no secret that there are five target hosts, so I feel it's safe to describe the timeline):

You will notice that things moved really fast once I got onto the second target host. That's because my enumeration of the domain objects had provided me with a clear path of attack to move from the second through to the fourth one. The fifth one was pretty cut and dry from there on out, but it required more manual labour. 

Getting privesc on my workstation only took so long because I didn't want to outright get started with that. :) I first wanted to put as much time as possible into properly enumerating the domain.

By 2230, exactly twelve hours after the start of my exam, was I done with the attacks. I'd gathered notes and lots of evidence while attacking, so all that remained was writing the report. That's where things took a turn for the nostalgic: it played out like my OSCP exam! I wanted to take a nap before writing the report, but really could not get to sleep. So by 0030 I was up and writing again! And finally, five hours later at 0530, I submitted roughly 36 pages of report to PTA.

Fingers crossed! I'm hoping for good news!


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