Recently I decided to do the Red Team Operator: Privilege Escalation in Windows Course by Sektor7 (thanks for the recommendation Justin!). I thought I’d write some notes but also create a quick blog covering some of the Windows fundamental areas. It’s easy to actually forget how this stuff is at a detailed level so figured it helps both myself and the world to share a snippet. I’m litterally listening to the course as I type this, I’ve just imported an OVA to vmware workstation so this is litterally live! (I’m 7 video modules in!)

There’s some key parts around Windows Security Architecture that is important to know, the course does cover this off at the start so I thought I’d share a tiny bit of my notes.Windows Security


  • Files
  • Registry

Resources have security descriptors and access controls lists


Security Reference Model (SRM)


  • Running processes using various access levels (Access Tokens).
  • Process have an integrity level.
  • Resources have an integrity level.

Processes and Threads

Processes are contained elements that can execute a program. A process can have a single thread or many threads.

Threads are a component of a process.

Integrity Levels

  • Low (such as browser sandboxes)
  • Medium (normal access)
  • High (Admin rights)

Privileges vs Access Rights

  • Privileges are where permission to run an action or activity are granted.
    • Assigned to users & groups
  • Access Rights are Permissions (Access rights) to access objects (e.g., files, registry, tokens, shares etc.)
    • Assigned to objects

User Access Control (UAC)

  • Secure Desktop
  • Process Integrity Level Management

Type of Privileges

Non-Admin User (low integrity)


Description automatically generated

We can use Process Explorer to view this process (conhost.exe)

Graphical user interface, table

Description automatically generated

Graphical user interface, text, application

Description automatically generated

Graphical user interface, table

Description automatically generated

We can add the integrity level to the columns view. We can see here normal processes are loaded with medium integrity level.

Administrator Access (high integrity level)

Graphical user interface, text

Description automatically generated

We run the same command with an elevated prompt.

We can see here that this is in a high integrity space.

Privilege Escalation


  • Clear Text Passwords
    • Text Files
    • System Files (e.g., Unattend.xml)
    • Registry
    • Backups
    • Registry Hives
    • OneDrive, GDrive etc.
  • Windows Credential Manager
  • Browser Password Databases
  • Windows Autologon
  • Insecure Services
  • Insecure Service Paths
  • UAC Bypasses
  • Path exploitation
  • Scheduled Task Abuse
  • DLL Hijacking
  • Windows Installer Always Install Elevated
  • Token Abuse
  • Named Pipe Exploitation

The scenarios this covers are:

Starting Point Non-Admin Admin Non-Admin Admin
Process Integrity Medium Medium
Known Password? No Password Known No Password
Target Non-Admin Admin Admin Admin
Process Integrity Medium Medium High High
Known Password? Known Password Password


I love trying out new materials from different companies/people/groups etc. I’ve got a backlog at the minute which includes:

  • Antisocial Engineer’s Training platform
  • She Hacks Purple’s Application Security Training
  • TCM Security PNPT
  • RTO by RastaMouse

Let’s hope I can find some time to get the backlog list smaller soon!

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