This podcast is sponsored by Arctic Wolf, whose Concierge Security teams Monitor, Detect and Respond to Cyber threats 24/7 for thousands of customers around the world. Arctic Wolf. Redefining cybersecurity. Visit to learn more.

Today we’re talking about Cobalt Strike for newbs – including how to get it up and running, as well as some tools that will help you generate beacons while evading EDR at the same time!

Some helpful things mentioned in today’s episode:

  • Wherever you spin up your CS instance, it’s probably a good idea to lock down the firewall to only specific IPs. With Digital Ocean, I found this article helpful.

  • When generating CS listeners, the C2Concealer from FortyNorth helped me get malleable C2 profiles generated while creating a LetsEncrypt cert at the same time!

  • My CS beacons kept getting gobbled by AV, but the following resources helped me get some stealthy ones generated: Artifact Kit, PEzor and ScareCrow. Here’s a specific ScareCrow example that flew under the EDR radar:

Scarecrow -I myrawshellcode.bin -etw -domain

  • PowerUpSQL is awesome for finding servers where you can run stored procedures to send your attacking box a priv’d hash to pass/capture/crack. Check out this presentation on PowerUpSQL to find vulnerable targets, then use mssql_ntlm_stealer module in Metasploit to have fun with the account hashes. Be sure to set your domain when configuring the Metasploit module!

  • When trying to pop an SMB shell with relay tools, I’ve had problems recently with those attempts being stopped by defensive tools. Then I found this gem which talks about tweaking to evade AV. It worked a treat!

  • When you use MultiRelay, I had no idea that it includes an upload function so you can simply upload your beacon.exe from a SYSTEM shell and fire it right from a command line. Cool!

  • Once my beacons started firing around the pentest environment, I temporarily allowed all IPs to talk to my Digital Ocean box – just because the IP I grabbed from a "what is my IP?" Google search didn’t always match the actual beacons that called home. Once the beacon connectivity was established, I tweaked the beacon firewall rules to just let certain IPs in the door.

  • This Cobalt Strike Extension Kit was FREAKING sweet for adding "right click > do awesome stuff" functionality to CS like dump hashes, search for Kerberoastable accounts, setup persistence, etc.

  • Got a SYSTEM level shell but need to abuse a DA’s privs? Tell the beacon to pull back a list of running processes, then click one (like explorer.exe) running under a DA’s account and then impersonate it to add your account to the DA group!

  • Having issues dumping LSASS? This article from Red Canary gives you some great ideas to do it in a way that doesn’t make AV throw a fit!

  • Trying to RDP using PtH? This article will help you out. And if you get warnings about not being able to RDP in because of some sort of login restriction, try adjusting this reg key with CME:

cme smb -u Administrator -H THE-HASH-YOU-CAPTURED -x 'reg add HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Lsa /t REG_DWORD /v DisableRestrictedAdmin /d 0x0 /f'

Written by: Brian Johnson

Share on socials: