The Certified Red Team Operator certification by ZeroPoint Security (not to be confused with Certified Red Team Professional from Altered Security) is an online self-study course designed to teach the fundamental principles, tools, and techniques associated with red teaming. The course covers core concepts of adversary simulation, command and control, engagement planning, and reporting. Students progress through the entire attack lifecycle, from initial compromise to data hunting and exfiltration, with an emphasis on avoiding common OPSEC failures and carrying out attacks stealthily. They also learn how to bypass defenses like Windows Defender, AMSI, and AppLocker. Red teaming, an advanced form of penetration testing, requires special skills to ensure you can avoid being detected.
The course curriculum includes various modules, ranging from initial training in basic penetration testing to advanced topics like Active Directory, credential theft, and more. Students are expected to have a good understanding of Windows and Active Directory environments, and prior penetration testing experience is beneficial. Knowledge of programming languages like C, C#, and PowerShell is advantageous but not mandatory.
The Red Team Ops certification includes an exam conducted in a practical Capture The Flag (CTF) style. It simulates an assumed breach scenario, and students must emulate an adversary using a provided threat profile as a guide. To pass, students must submit at least 6 out of 8 flags (75%). The exam allows a maximum of 48 hours of runtime within a 4-day window. Exam VMs can be stopped to preserve runtime, and successful completion results in the award of the Red Team Operator badge via email.
Students can reschedule or cancel exam bookings up to an hour before the exam starts, and access to the exam environment is provided exclusively through a Guacamole interface. This prevents you from using either a VPN or internet access in the lab environment.
Difficulty: 3 out of 5.
Difficulty (3/5): The course's overall difficulty level was just right. I'll add that I was working in offsec at the time so I wasn't completely new to red teaming. However, it's suitable for both newcomers to red teaming and seasoned IT/cyber professionals. You'll find challenges that are engaging without being overly daunting, making it accessible to a broad audience.
Usefulness (5/5): The CRTO course from covers a comprehensive range of topics, with a significant emphasis on Active Directory red teaming using Cobalt Strike C2. The knowledge gained from the CRTO course directly applies to my current job in offsec. Red teaming skills have become increasingly important as advances in EDR and other security controls is developing at a rapid pace. This certification has significantly enhanced my capabilities. Whether you're a security analyst, a penetration tester, or a cybersecurity enthusiast, the CRTO course will add immense value to your skill set.
Value (4/5): What sets the CRTO course apart is its exceptional value for the cost. Compared to similar certifications, it's remarkably affordable. Zero Point Security offers high-quality content, interactive labs, and a certification exam—all at a fraction of the price you'd pay elsewhere. The investment in this course is justified many times over by the skills and knowledge you acquire.
Certified Red Team Operator (CRTO) is a solid choice for anyone looking to gain expertise in red teaming. It provides a balanced level of challenge, directly benefits your professional development, and does so at an incredibly reasonable price point. I highly recommend this course to anyone seeking to enhance their technical cybersecurity skills and further their career in the field.