This series details Active Directory attacks you need to know about–how they work, the techniques and tools cyber attackers use to perpetrate these AD attacks, and what you can do to detect, block, and mitigate them.

Detecting Pass-the-Hash with Honeypots

Detecting Pass-the-Hash with Honeypots

Credential theft within Windows and Active Directory continues to be one of the most difficult security problems to solve.  This is made clear in the Verizon DBIR where it is reported that the use of stolen credentials is the #1 action identified across data breaches. Microsoft has acknowledged this challenge and responded with a guide on how to mitigate the Pass-the-Hash attack.  They have expanded on their recommendations and outlined steps to set up a tiered Active Directory environment and…

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Detecting DCShadow with Event Logs

Detecting DCShadow with Event Logs

In this series, we’ve learned about DCShadow and covered attack scenarios to demonstrate how this can be used for an attacker to create persistence as well as elevate privileges across forests.  Now that we know the risks involved with DCShadow, let’s cover what you can do to detect this in your environment. First, let’s recap the basics: The purpose of DCShadow is to make changes that will not be detected by event logs, so you will not be able to…

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Privilege Escalation with DCShadow

Privilege Escalation with DCShadow

So far we’ve covered how DCShadow works as well as ways this can enable attackers to create persistence within a domain without detection once they’ve obtained admin credentials.  DCShadow can enable attack scenarios beyond just creating persistence, and can actually be used to elevate access for an attacker. How can a Domain Admin elevate their access even higher? By obtaining admin rights in other forests. Leveraging SID History, an attacker can add administrative SIDs to their user account and obtain…

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Creating Persistence with DCShadow

Creating Persistence with DCShadow

Now that we understand the basics of the DCShadow feature, let’s look at some ways in which attackers can leverage DCShadow in a real world attack scenario.  As we learned, DCShadow requires elevated rights such as Domain Admin, so you can assume an attacker leveraging this already has complete control of your environment.  So why would an attacker want to or need to use DCShadow? One real world scenario would be for an attacker to create persistence within the domain…

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DCShadow: Attacking Active Directory with Rogue DCs

DCShadow: Attacking Active Directory with Rogue DCs

If you’re familiar with Mimikatz, you’ve already seen some of the ways it exposes weaknesses in Active Directory security (if you’re not, read up!).  Recently, a new feature was added to Mimikatz titled DCShadow and was presented by its authors Benjamin Delpy and Vincent LeToux at the Bluehat IL 2018 conference. DCShadow enables Mimikatz to make changes to Active Directory by simulating a domain controller.  We’ve seen this in the past from Mimikatz, with the DCSync feature, which allows you…

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Attacking Local Account Passwords

Attacking Local Account Passwords

So far in this series, we’ve learned how attackers can target weak domain passwords in Active Directory.  To complete the story, we need to look beyond domain accounts and understand the ways to attack local accounts on Windows servers and desktops.  For this post, we will focus on the most important local account: Administrator.  The Administrator account is built into every Windows operating system and provides full control over the system, including the ability to compromise domain accounts through pass-the-hash…

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Finding Weak Passwords in Active Directory

Finding Weak Passwords in Active Directory

So far in this series we’ve looked at how plain text passwords can be exposed within Active Directory, which represents a major vulnerability for most AD environments.  However, even if you have proper controls to prevent plain text passwords in your network, attackers can still get them pretty efficiently.  How do they do this?  They guess.  And you’d be surprised how well guessing works at cracking passwords. As we covered in the introductory post for this series, guessing can be…

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