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Cyber Defenses Academy

Threat Intelligence

Commanding YARA


Product Description

YARA is a powerful and free sleuthing tool that belongs in every threat, incident response or SOC team. It runs on any platform, Is open source and is small enough to be an easy inclusion to any trusted tool set. Its ability to sift through data, identify files based on logic—not just by simple comparison, but also via fuzzy logic—makes YARA pretty unbeatable. It can be used simply for insight on an isolated event or in a sophisticated manner as part of an incident response or research laboratory. Those not using YARA are missing out on key intelligence capability. Its ease of use and ability to rapidly deploy means you can get into YARA quickly, but can just as easily miss the sophisticated and powerful ways to use it.

  • Employ detection fragment strategies for identification and classification of elements of a file.
  • Identify files by signature, by structure and organization
  • Classify single and groups of file
  • Employ logical structures to stack, cluster, and iterate through data in a file for detection or classification
  • Use of negation and inverse detection tricks
  • Condition line only detections
  • Complex rule usage

Why This Course?

  • It’s designed for those with an interest in using YARA to classify, categorize, and detect files.
  • It conveys the necessary concepts, principles and terms to lay down a solid foundation.
  • Introduction
  • YARA fundamentals
    • Lab 0 – YARA introduction
    • Strategies (direct, indirect, inverse)
    • Logic ( declarative, connective, cause & effect)
    • Lab 1 – strings, hex & regex
  • File Magic
    • File types and file magic
    • Lab 2 – file magic (PE, PDF, Zip)
  • Structure & Format
    • Files and data organization
    • Lab 3 – Email (a & b)
  • Data & Content
    • BOF & EOF
    • Lab 4 – B/EOF (PDF, JPG)
  • Structural Detection
    • Lab 5 – Detection by Format (PDF)
  • YARA Keywords
    • Keywords
    • Rule organization basics
    • Lab 6 – Keyword modifications (PE/malware)
    • Lab (a-c) – Hex Jumps & Regexes (PE/malware)
  • Global Rules & Organization
    • Lab 7 – Classifying Emai ls
    • Negative Space (inverse matching) topic
    • Lab 7a – Inverse matching email
    • Detection strategy & logic (one more time)
    • Classifying Malware Families
    • Core Identification
    • Lab 8 – Malware Classification (core)
  • Variations & Derivatives
    • Lab 9 – Malware Family Classification
  • YARA in Action
    • Lab 10-12 – Interrogate a file & use YARA to provide boilerplate for reporting.
    • Lab 13-16 – Dissect a file to understand its functions, composition, communication and protections.

Who Should Attend?

  • Individuals new to or desiring a better understanding of YARA
  • Professionals who deal with technical issues, but feel they do not have enough background in using YARA successfully.
  • Technical professionals that need to be armed with greater knowledge of incident response, threat intelligence and their role in resolving incidents.


Monty St John

Monty St John is a computer science and information security expert, U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force veteran, certified instructor, and author of dozens of classes for CyberDefenses. He has assisted numerous companies build and accredit laboratories, threat teams, and security operations centers. He’s also a prolific writer with two upcoming technical volumes set for 2018; Game Designer and Speaker.

Monty’s investigative background began in the U.S Navy, where he spent the better part of a decade seeking out prisoners-of-war and individuals missing in action. Working to resolve and close decades-old cold cases in foreign lands in another tongue crafted a skillset uniquely suited to Infosec work. To prove it Monty shifted from the U.S. Navy to the U.S. Air Force, switching uniforms and positions, to the Defense Cyber Crime Center (DC3). The work done at DC3 was pioneering in many ways and some of the greatest talent in the industry can trace their history back to DC3.”

What began as a simple meeting of minds with a few friends, has quickly grown into sharing across entire classrooms of new people, with different and keen ideas on how things should be done. Monty has written and teaches a variety of classes and prefers an active learning approach. Monty holds a firm belief that critical thinking underpins everything at some level, but more specifically in Infosec. Every class he crafts sustains this belief and is geared to empowering students to walk away with the ability to sleuth – to outline the problem and then determine the solution. He says. “Once you learn the reason why – the concepts that underpin everything—you will quickly realize that you can take them and apply them to any case, any engagement or issue presented.”

He’s a regular speaker and trainer at industry conferences, including BSides (BSidesCharm, BSidesOK, BSidesKC, Austin BSides, San Antonio BSides, BSidesDFW, BSidesROC), Derbycon, ISSA Summits, OWASP Summits, and ISC2 Summits. He’s also presented security topics to a number of high profile and Fortune 500 executives.

Get to Know Monty St John:

Schedule & Duration

1 day
Jul 20, Online Class

Class Type / Level



Intro Threat Intelligence or Intro Reverse Engineering

Delivery Method



Laptop required / additional


Certification of Completion

What’s Next

Follow up this course with another one of CDI’s offerings:

  • Intro to Threat Intelligence
  • Introduction to Reverse Engineering
  • File Interrogation
  • Python for Threat Intelligence

Additional Information

  • Laptop required
  • Requires basic knowledge of computers, technology and command line interface (CLI)
    • Open and operate browsers
    • Find and use command line
    • Execute scripts
  • Requires knowledge of Linux
  • No prior knowledge of YARA
  • Understanding of virtual machines (VM) and how to use one.
    • Understand how to import and power on a VM

Contact CyberDefenses today to learn how we can help your company’s cybersecurity needs.