Activity 1.1: Create an Inbound Firewall Rule

Here is a short guide on how to create an inbound firewall that blocks file and printer sharing on Windows Server 2019. I am following the lab excercise steps for Activity 1.1 These instructions are abbreviated. After completing this in the GUI, I will include a powershell script.

  1. Windows Key > Windows Defender Firewall

  2. Select > “Allow an app or feature through Windows Defender Firewall”

  3. Tick Box > “File and Printer Sharing” Click “OK” to apply the setting. File and printer sharing

  4. Notice that File and printer sharing are is now listed as “Private” in the right column. This means only file and printer sharing for systems on the same network are allowed.

  5. If we navigate to Windows Defender Firewall > Advanced Settings > Outbound Rules > File and Printer Sharing. We can also see the Private Rules are now active with a green tick mark. File and printer sharing

  6. This could become a very tedious task if performed at scale. Thankfully this is a one-liner in powershell. Run the below as admin:

    Set-NetFirewallRule -DisplayGroup "File And Printer Sharing" -Enabled False -Profile Any

  7. Status can be then verified in powershell:

    Get-NetFirewallRule -DisplayGroup "File and Printer Sharing

  8. Here is a sample screenshot. Magic!

Lab Diagram

Activity 1.2: Create a Group Policy Object

Next we are going to create a Group Policy Object and edit its contents to enforce an organization’s password policy. I currently have a domain running called “” You will need to setup a domain before completing this excercise.

  1. Open the Group Policy Management Console. Windows Key > Group Policy Management

  2. Expand the folder corresponding to your AD forest

  3. Open your domain folder

  4. Right click the group policy objects > New

Group Policy Object

  1. Name the policy “Password Policy” > Click “Ok”

  2. Expand the following folders > Policies > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Account Policies

Group Policy Object

  1. Click the Password Policy

  2. Double click max password age

  3. Select Define This Policy Setting > Expiration value to 90 days

  4. OK to close the window > Ok to Accept the change

  5. Double-click the minimum Password Length Option

  6. Click the box in the policy setting > Set the min length to 12 characters

  7. Click OK to Close the window > Double-click the password must meet complexity requirements option

  8. The policy should appear as per below. It can now be applied to users, groups or displayed as a trophy for our secure infraastructure.

Group Policy Object

  1. Finally, if we want to automate this… maybe start here?

Activity 1.3: Make a Penetration Testing Plan

Now, of course I will not actually do this. But this is what a plan might look like. I paid special attention to timing, scope and authorization. Missing one of these crucial aspects could cause serious issues, right?

The general standard for conducting a penetration test is contained in the NIST SP 800-115: Technical Guide to Information Security Testing and Assessment. NIST divides Penetration testing into the following phases:

NIST Pen Testing Four Phases

I will follow these four phases as per below, using a fictional company which I invented myself. This fictional company comes straight from my brain.

Case Study

A start-up company has emerged to manage the distribution and delivery of vaccine levels on a global scale in response to the Covid 19 pandemic of 2020. The company has developed a SaaS solution for vaccine suppliers to monitor and manage their deliveries to healthcase instituions. The solution provides dashboards and analytics for tracking the delivery at every stage. In addition, the solution allows for the onboarding of outside suppliers, sends real-time notifications and allows the sharing of information to other vaccine suppliers. The goal of the company is to ensure the vaccine is distributed effeciently and equitably on a global scale. Currently, the company uses a multi-cloud enviroment to develop and test the software solution. They also operate several on-premises infraastrucutre for IT administration, i.e. Active Directory, Exchange, File Servers and VPN gateways.

Pen Testing Plan



Perparation for the penetration test will require 1 month from commencement of the contract. The preparation for the test will involve the team conducting active reconaissance and performing discovery activities on the company’s network.


The test scope has been determined to include the following:

  • LAN: All routers, switches, WAPs, IOT Devices on premise at the company’s single location are subject to the test.
  • Cloud: The company runs workloads in both AWS and Azure. Production and development workloads are to be excluded from test. Test workloads, which have been tagged, are viable targets
  • End-User Devices: Company end user devices will not be subject to any intrusive pentration techniques which could disrupt productivity
  • Human Resources Requred: The penetration testing team is to conduct the entire test without assistance from internal IT staff. The IT staff have been made aware of the possibility of the event occurring within the next month.

Upon signing of the agreement, full authorisation will be provided to conduct the assessment.


During the discovery phase, the penetration testing team will gather information about the network, systems, users and applications in the system.


Network recon will be the first step of the discovery phase. The penetration testing team will leverage port scanning, network traffic sniffing, exploits on network equipment in order to develop a layout of the company’s network. Further recon on systems, users and applications will be performed based on this layout.


The term systems will apply to both cloud and on-prem systems. On-prem systems will be subject to vulnerability scans and custom scripts designed to elicit system information. Cloud systems acessible from the on-prem network and from the internet will be probed using web vulnerability scanners. Systems which may hold backups, logs, crednetials and critical user information will be identified as crown jewels for the attack phase.


Key employees in the organisation will be identified and ranked according to their possible access. This ranking will determine which employees are targeted by generic phishing attacks or more targeted spear phishing attempts.


Key IT infraastruce running the company’s SaaS will be identified for additional reconaissance. This includes the database, front-facing web servers, jump boxes, firewalls, WAFs and so on. Non-intrusive scanning will be performed regardless of time-frame, whereas intrusive scanning will be limited to after business hours in order to avoid potential disruption.


In regards to timing, Management will be notified of a three week window in which an attack will occurr. The exact day and time of the attack will not be announced. Several attacks will take place across the network, systems, users and applications.


Post reporting will be delivered one week after the test. The following information will be provided:

  • List of attacked features
  • Summary of attack results and vulnerabilities used
  • Breakdown of attack methodology
  • Quantitative and qualitative review of attack success
  • Overall assessment of the comapny’s security posture
  • Discussion and interviews on company response to attack
  • Review of documentation and logs
  • Review of firewall and router access controls
  • Reccomendations to improve security
  • Final conclusions


A glossary of all the terms, acronyms and slang I run across for this chapter.

GAPP Generally Accepted Privacy Principles -- 1. Management 2. Notice 3. Choice and consent 4. Collection 5. Use, retention and disposal 6. Access 7. Disclosure 8. Security 9. Quality 10. Moniotring and Performance
802.1x Common standard for NAC. The supplicant communicates with the authenticator which communicates with a RADIUS Server for authentication.
Accidental Threats A mistaken action that undermines security
Adversarial Threats Actors attempting to undermine security
Agent-Based Requires that a device requesting access to a network run software to communicate with the NAC for service
Agentless Requires a device requesting access to a network authenticate via the browser instead of specialized software
Code Detonation Sandboxes malicious code and marks it for review
Cybersecurity Objectives Confidentiality Integrity Availability
DAC Discretionary Access Control -- The owner of a file or resource controls the permissions of resources and can delegate them at their discertion
Decomposition Reverse engineers start with the finished product and work their way back to component parts
DNS Sinkhole Feed false info to malicious software that enters an enterprise network
Environmental Threats Natural or man-made disasters occur which are out of the scope of control
GPO Group Policy Object -- MS AD mechanism which allow admins to configure security policies to several users at once
Honeypot Decoy network device -- simulates a successful attack then monitors the attack to learn more about their intentions
In-Band NAC Dedicated appliances for monitoring that sit between devices and the resources they need to access
MAC Mandatory Access Control -- An environment where admins set all security permisions and users cannot modify them
NAC Network Access Control -- Main goals are to limit network access and ensure systems on the network meet security requirements
NAC Criteria Citeria can include Time of day Role Location and System Health
NGFW Next Gen FW -- Incorporate additional contextual info such as users and applications into filtering
Out-of-Band NAC Leverage the exisiting network for granting and denying access to resources i.e. 802.1x
Packet Filtering FW Rudimentary FW that simply check the characteristcs of each packet without additiona intelligence
Penetration Testing Phases NIST divides penetration testing into four phases -- 1. Planning 2. Discovery 3. Attack 4. Reporting
Reverse Engineering Working backward from a finished product in order to discover how it works
Risk A combination of a threat and a vulnerability
Sandbox Isolated environment where a malicious application does not have access to other systems
Sateful FW In addition to packets; maintain the state of connenctions going through the FW
SCCM Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager -- Allows admins to view the patch status of systems and remediate them
Structural Threats Equipment software or environmental systems failure
Threat External actor who may exploit a vulnerability
Triple Homed A standard network architecture which connects to the internet a DMZ and internal network
Vulnerability Weakness in a system which could allow an attack to take place
WAF FW Designed for protection against Web Application attacks