Malware Dev

Dive deep into source code to gain a strong understanding of execution vectors, payload generation, automation, staging, command and control, and exfiltration. Intensive, hands-on labs provides even intermediate participants with a structured and challenging approach to write custom code and bypass the very latest in offensive countermeasures.

The Course

Threat Intel reports are constantly being released which document the novel techniques and custom tooling that support real world operations. However, despite access to this information, the industry still lacks many of the fundamentals required to emulate nation state threats, opting instead for “off the shelf” tooling and click-once solutions. These tools abstract the true work required to compromise, engage, and exfiltrate a target network, leaving an operator scrambling when the going gets tough.

“Dark Side Ops: Malware Dev” focuses on the goals, challenges, architecture, and operations of advanced persistent threat (APT) tooling. Participants will dive deep into source code to gain a strong understanding of execution vectors, payload generation, automation, staging, command and control, and exfiltration. In addition, participants are given hands-on experience with black hat techniques currently used by hackers to bypass NIDS and HIPS systems, layer 7 web proxies, “next-gen” antivirus, and DLP solutions.

This is a completely rebuilt version of our previous “Custom Penetration Testing” course



and modify custom payload droppers, beaconing backdoors, and interactive shells


defensive host and network countermeasures


stealthy command and control methods


custom, stealthy persistence in a target network


and automate the creation of sophisticated client-side attacks


and deploy an advanced custom toolkit for exploration, understanding, and real “Red Side” operations


laterally between workstations for large-scale network compromise

Participants will receive source code to a variety of offensive tools, including custom shells, backdoors, C2 listening posts, and client-side exploitation techniques. To reinforce the knowledge provided through instruction, the modification and creation of the code is the focal point of every lab, allowing participants to take materials home for continued use.


“Dark Side Ops: Malware Dev” is ideal for offensive security enthusiasts who are ready to take their skills beyond the next tool, script, or fill-in-the-blank pen-testing dependence. If you’re an operator or hobbyist interested in building and modifying custom offensive tools to bypass the latest offensive countermeasures, this course is for you. If you are SOC analyst, developer, or incident responder who is interested in a malware development deep dive for hands-on learning, this course is for you.

L33t programming skills are not necessary to enjoy this course, and the labs are designed to provide two packed days regardless of previous experience. The material will focus solely on Windows environments, however some of the tooling and all of the theory could be applied to other operating systems as well. We truly believe participants will not leave this course disappointed.

Students should have at least:
  • An intermediate level of systems administration experience using Windows or Linux
  • Familiarity with an APT kill chain (initial access, persistence, lateral movement, etc)
  • Experience with programming (however small or long ago)
Students benefit from:
  • A history of Dark Side Ops participation, including “Custom Penetration Testing” and “Malware Dev”
  • Knowledge of modern offensive research and concepts
  • Familiarity with Windows internal concepts (tokens, handles, services, etc)
  • Experience developing netsec scripts or tools (C++, Python, Powershell, etc)
  • Experience with penetration testing techniques or frameworks (Metasploit, Cobalt Strike, etc)