OpSec Cheatsheet

This site is a reference for Operational Security (OPSEC)

Last updated on 09 March, 2021 at 13:59:41 Optimized for

Operations Security deals with identification of critical information, analysis of threats, analysis of vulnerabilities, assessment of risks and application of appropriate OpSec measures. This page concerns itself mainly with the latter alongside preventive measuers.

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Facebook exemplifies the axiom that if a product is free, you aren’t the customer. You are the product.
- Micahel Bazzell

Phishing

Phishing is type of social engineering attack. It occurs when an attacker masquerading as a trusted entity dupes a victim into opening an email, clicking a link or sharing sensitive information

Command Description
phishing

A general term for fradulent attempts to obtain sensitive information or data such as usernames, passwords, account details and so on. The term phishing has roots in the word phreaking

Catphishing/catfishing

Online deception that involces getting to know someone closely in order to extract sensitive information or data from them

Email phishing

Malicious emails that targets an individual or a multitude of people. Often contains a link to a malicious webpage or a piece of malware such as ransomware

Sphearphishing

Highly targeted phishing

Angler phishing

A relatively new attack vector. Essentially the same as smishing but constrained to Social Media platforms

vishing

Phone phishing

smishing

In line with vishing. Textual phishing. Can be either SMS or any other textual communication type such as Telegram, Messenger etc

whaling

Term used to describe phishing against high-profile (business) targets

Digital Extortion

Command Description
Sextortion

A woman (most often) initiating sexual contact over a webcam or similar while screencapturing the sexual acts and using the material to extort the target

Ransomware

A type of malware gaining traction in recent years. Works by holding your data ransom until you pay for a de-cryption key. Sometimes you get to have your data back, other times you do not

Password Protection

Protection against cracking and bruteforce attacks

Command Description
Password manager

A password manager helps you manage logins and enables the use of complex random passwords for all your logins as you do not have to rely on memory

Cracking

Reusing the same password makes cracking possible if you happend to ever fall victim to a databreach

Data breach

Sensitive information such as password hashes being leaked because of a security hole

Bruteforcing

Attempting to crack a password hash from a target whose data was leaked in a databreach

Social Engineering

A practice dating back many years.

Command Description
Phreak

A phone "phreaker". A type of social engineerer that gains entrance into telecommunication networks by use of social engineering tactics. Kevin Mitnick (formerly FBIs most wanted hacker) is well known for phreaking

2FA

2-Factor Authentication. People have lost their life savings because of weak 2FA such as SMSs which can be either intercepted or in the case of social engineering redirected to a new cellphone own by the social engineer

2-Factor Authentication

Command Description
SMS

One time passwords through SMS; susceptible to SIM-swapping fraud.

Mobile Apps

One time codes through apps like Google Authenticator for example.

Hardware Keys

Hardware authentication device like a YubiKey for example.

Attack Vectors

An attack vector is a threat-surface upon which an attacker may exploit a target device

Command Description
Phone

Biometric IDs can sometimes be bypassed by a printed image. Your camera can be exploited. GPS location can be obtained by webpages.

IOT

Internet of things-devices are known for their weak, hardcoded or guessable passwords, insecure default settings, lack of secure update mechanisms and a lot more.

Computer

Computers are exceptionally prone to malware if used by people that have no clue about common security practices

BYOD

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) comes with a lot risks. Data-theft, lost devices and malware infiltration are perhaps the most significant.

Darknets

Parts of the Internet that run on seperate networks/protocols and thus are not indexed by regular search engines.

Command Description
I2P

The (I)nvisible (I)nternet (P)roject. A fully encrypted private network layer.

Freenet

A peer-to-peer platform for censorship-resistant communication and publishing

Tor

The Onion Router. Perhaps the most well known darknet

SSH

SSH (Secure Shell) is a protocol used for secure remote access

Command Description
Fingerprints

If an SSH fingerprint changes it either means the machine you are connecting to has changed their public key or that you are connecting to a different machine than what you think.

X11 forwarding

Can be used to anonymize your computer through a VPS container whereby you can run a "clean slate"-browser session

VPN

VPN (Virtual Private Network) provides privacy, anonymity and security to users by creating a connection to a private network across a public network like the Internet

Command Description
Logfiles

Be aware if your provider saves logfiles or not (they might have their hand forced at some point if they do), or just assume all communication is secretly tapped.

Disk Storage

Drive storage refers to the physical storage of information on personal computers, laptops or phones

Term Description
Veracrypt

Tool for encrypting portable media devices. You should use full-disk encryption on your PC. Veracrypt also has a neat feature for creating hidden encrypted volumes

Password Manager

A tool for storing unique user-password combinations so that you do not have to rely on memory

Full Disk Encryption

A technique for encrypting a harddrive. For windows use Bitlocker. For Linux there are LUKS and Dm-cryot. It can be done on Android as well

International Agreements

These alliances share sensitive information with each other. Sensitive information could for example be regular requests of VPN log files from service provider.

Command Description
5-eyes

Formed in the 1940s between UK-USA. New Zealand, Canada and Australia later joined

9-eyes

An expansion of the 5-eyes alliance. Cooperation is less intense. The Netherlands, France, Denmark and Norway are part of this alliance as well as the rest of the 5-eye countries

14-eyes

An expansion of the 9-eyes alliance. Cooperation is less intense than the 9-eyes alliance. Countries added are Belgium, Italy, Germany, Spain and Sweden

IRC

Internet Relay Chat

An application layer protocol that facilitates text communication through a client-server model

Term Description
Cloaking

An IRC hostmask cloak replaces your IP address or hostname with a cloak.

Operating Systems

Term Description
Tails

An encrypted thumbdrive bootable OS with security features that runs TOR by default.

Qubes OS

Security focused operating system that relies on compartmentalization (security by isolation); effectively spinning up isolated instances of VMs for each application.

Whonix

Another security-focused Linux distribution with some neat features like keystroke anonymization, kernel modules for overwriting TCP ISNs, hardening the OS and more.

Hardening

OS hardening is a process of reducing the attack surface by various means such as closing down ports, containerization/virtualization of applications, IPS/IDS, relevant kernel modules and much more.

Email

Command Description
Burner Email

Multiple services exists to create one-time email addresses. Beware these are not usable by other people aswell. You can setup forwarding to an intermediate email address which then forwards to your regular email address

Email spoofing

Creation of email messages with forged headers that results in a forged sender address

Tracking

Command Description
Cryptocurrency

All transactions on Bitcoin for example are stored on public ledgers and can thus be traced easily. Some cryptocurrencies have made attempts to curcumvent this feature (e.g. Monero)

SS7 Hijacking

A vulnerability that allows hackers to read texts, listen to calls and track their locations. This vulerability have been used against populations and army-staff aswell as political targets

Hot Wallet

A bitcoin wallet that is online and connected

Cold Wallet

An offline wallet that is stored on a hardware device

Fingerprinting

A nasty set of techniques to identify, track and collect information on users without their consent.

Cookies

A small piece of data stored on an end-users computer by a web browser. Used to remember stateful information and exploited by advertising companies to track and identify users.

Zombie Cookie

A cookie that is automatically recreated after being deleted. Accomplished by storing the cookies content in multiple locations client-side as well as server-side.

Online Resources & Books