Maintaining access - Beginners guide to hacking and penetration testing (2017)

Beginners guide to hacking and penetration testing (2017)

Maintaining access:

Having a foothold on the network or system is only useful if we are able to maintain that access. We will be looking at some methods to maintain our access.

Evading detection:

It does us little good to hack into somewhere only to be detected. Avoiding detection and knowing how to clear our tracks also falls under the phases of hacking. Below we will be looking at some techniques to help keep our identities and activities from prying eyes.

Chrome Browser:

While the Chrome browser is incredibly popular Google, does collect a large amount of data in order to target adds to you and to learn your browsing habits.

Turn off microphone, camera, and other settings:

Having your microphone activated while Chrome is on can potentially allow it to listen for keywords, thus serving up targeted adds.

• Open up the Chrome settings

Under Privacy check send a "Do Not Track" request with your browser

Click on Show advanced settings

Under Privacy click Content settings

Under Cookies change to Keep local data until you quit your browser

Under Location change to Do not allow any site to track my location

Under Microphone change to Do not allow sites to access your microphone

Under Camera change to Do not allow sites to access your camera

Click Done

Search Engine:

Consider switching your search engine to DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo does not store your personal info, they don't follow you with ads, and they do not track you, ever.


Tor is a private browser based on Firefox. The program is designed to protect your identity and communications by bouncing your communications through a distributed network of relays by volunteers around the world. Tor will route your traffic through at least 3 relays before reaching its destination. Tor remains popular with privacy advocates, reporters, whistleblowers, and people who are censored. Unfortunately Tor also has a bad reputation since criminals also use the program to hide their actives and to access parts of the darknet.

Once you have Tor installed to your computer click Start Tor Browser

For most us users you can simply click Connect

You are now connected through Tor, it is advised not to full screen the browser (you will receive a warning) as this can be used to track you. Also expect your browsing speed to be significantly slower since you are bouncing your traffic

through multiple relays.


VPNs (or Virtual Private Networks) provide a extra layer of security by sending and reviving data over a private network. VPNs also can allow people to bypass such things as bypassing firewalls, content filters, censorship, people sniffing network traffic, and geo-location restrictions.

A number of VPNs exist for both computers and mobile devices and are paid or free. Opera browser has a built in VPN (they also have a mobile VPN for free), TunnelBear has a Freemium model, some network routers have built in VPNs that you can configure, and NordVPN charges $11.95 per month for their service to name a few.

VPN Considerations:

• Using a VPN will typically slow down your traffic, so don't expect to have the same online speed

• Not all VPNs are free, check to see how much data you are allocated

• Not all VPNs are secure, a recent article was released detailing several popular Android VPNs saved the user data in clear text.

• Take the time to research different VPNs to find one that will work best for you

• If data privacy from the government is a concern, see where the VPN is being routed to. Make sure you know what the laws are for your country and theirs. Having a VPN route your traffic is the USA, when you are worrying about the US government snooping would do little good.

• How reputable is the VPN company, do they store your data?

File Shredder:

Having a good file shredder program on hand is good for your overall privacy and protection. As most savvy computer users or techs will be able to tell you simply deleting a file doesn't mean it's really gone. There are a number of free and commercial forensics programs that can recover data that has been deleted or even from hard drives that have been formatted! Below we will take a look at one type of file shredder for Windows.

The file shredder is a pretty simple and critical program. By deleting an object several times helps prevent recovery. To run simply download the program and run it once. Once you have ran File Shredder once you can simply right click the file you want to shred, select File Shredder, and then Secure delete files.

Encrypted IM:

Instant messaging is a convenient and quick way of communicating with people, but like any other form of communication is susceptible to being interception. We will look at a couple applications that can be used to encrypt our communications.


Telegram is a free IM client that run on web, iOS, and Android. It used a combination of 256-bit symmetric AES encryption, 2048-bit RSA encryption, and Diffie-Hellman secure key exchange to protect your communications.


WhatsApp is another free IM that runs on Android, iPhone, and Windows Phone. WhatsApp also has end- to-end encryption and requires the recipient of your message to have a special key in order to unlock it.


Cryptocat is an open source messenger for Windows, Linux, and Mac. Every message that is sent from Cryptocat is encrypted by default. As per the website, Cryptocat uses a Double Ratchet-based encryption protocol that combines a forward-secure ratchet with a zero round-trip authentication key exchange.

Encrypted email:

Email is another form of communication, that as hackers and penetration testers we know how valuable it can be. In addition to 2 factor authentication and strong passwords, encryption can play a vital role in securing our communications.

Mailvelope is one such program that can help secure your Gmail (for Chrome and Firefox).

Once the program is installed click on the lock and key icon.

This will open the menu, click on Options

Key Management should already be highlighted, if not click on it.

Next click on Generate Key and fill in the required fields to generate your key and finally click Submit when you are


You will then receive a email asking to verify your key password, enter it in at this point.

BlackBox Linux Private Mode:

Built into BlackBox Linux is a Private mode, this mode as the name implies attempts to keep your online presence private by routing your traffic through Tor, changing your host name, changing your MAC address, clearing your tracks afterwards, and even offering you a ram wiping option.

To start simply click Anonymous then anonymous start.

You will then be prompted to enter your password, type it in and hit the enter key.

On the next screen enter y to allow BlackBox to change you MAC, enter your network interface (you can use the ifconfig

if you are unsure. wlan is the wireless network), enter y to allow the system to change your hostname (you can press Enter to get a random one), then finally enter y to allow your traffic to be routed through Tor. After a few moments you will be informed that you are browsing anonymously. To stop simply click Anonymous Stop from the menu.

When you are done using your computer you can wipe the memory by going to Anonymous then clicking Ram wiping

on. You will be prompted to enter your password.

Guerilla Mail:

There are times when we need to fill out a form, say to get a license key, but we know that we are going to then be bombarded by spam later. Guerrilla Mail creates a temporary email address that you can use to send a receive emails for a short time. It's free, effective, and easy to use.

See where your browser is taking you:

Browsing the internet, no matter how careful we try to be by clearing cookies, history, using https, etc. can still lead to various tracking that can normally be difficult to see. Below are a couple browser plugins that can help keep you safer online.


Ghostery is a browser plugin for Firefox, Chrome, Opera, IE, and other browsers that will detect and block tracking technologies. Ghostery also states that if can speed up your browsing by blocking these trackers.


Lightbeam is an interesting plugin for Firefox, by the Mozilla team. Lightbeam will show you a visual representation of third party sites that you interact with on the web.

Internet Noise:

At the time of this writing the United States Congress has allowed ISP companies to collect and sell your browsing history, which creates a serious concern for privacy and security. That's where Internet Noise comes into play. With Internet Noise you simply click the Make some noise button and your browser will begin to do random searches in a new page. The program will do this in an attempt to throw enough chaff to throw off your real browsing with several random one. When combined with the above suggestions, will go a long way to help secure your browsing. When you are done simply click, STOP THE NOISE! No install is needed.