Category: Microsoft Security

Sep 12

Kerberos, Active Directory’s Secret Decoder Ring

Kerberos Overview Kerberos is a protocol with roots in MIT named after the three-headed dog, Cerberus. Named because there are 3 parties: the client, the resource server, and a 3rd party (the Key Distribution Center, KDC). Kerberos can be a difficult authentication protocol to describe, so I will attempt to simplify it as best as …

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Sep 07

Investigating PowerShell Attacks

PowerShell is a compelling method for attackers (and pentesters) since code is run in memory and there is no reason to touch disk (unlike executables, batch files, and vbscripts). Projects like PowerSploit and POSHSec prove that PowerShell is the future of attacks. PowerShell Magazine has a great article on Investigating PowerShell Attacks: Prior articles by …

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Sep 06

The Evolution of Protected Processes Part 1: Pass-the-Hash Mitigations in Windows 8.1

Pass-the-Hash has been around for years The post on Alex Ionescu’s blog, The Evolution of Protected Processes Part 1: Pass-the-Hash Mitigations in Windows 8.1, describes the latest mitigation techniques Microsoft is incorporating in the latest versions of Windows. He describes the importance of LSASS in his post: (emphasis/bold text is my own) The LSASS Process In …

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Aug 25

Microsoft Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) 5 Protection Methods

Microsoft Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) v5 security technology which I outlined in a previous post has several protection methods which will be detailed here. According to my sources at Microsoft 😉, EMET can be installed on workstations and servers (testing is always highly recommended before placing in production). Given the tremendous security improvements when …

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Aug 20

Microsoft EMET 5 Released

Microsoft’s EMET (Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit) is a free download from Microsoft that enhances Windows security by preventing common malware and exploitation software methods. It does need to be well-tested before deployment, but there are several legacy Windows methods leveraged by malware to get into a system and take control. Installing EMET provides very strong protection …

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May 20

Microsoft BlueHat Resources

Microsoft has their own internal employee security conference called “BlueHat“. Here are session links from the past few years:

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May 15

Group Policy Preferences Password Vulnerability Now Patched

Looks like Microsoft finally removed the ability to set admin account passwords through GPP due to the Group Policy Preferences password  exposure vulnerability. More information on how Group Policy Preferences are attacked is in the post “Finding Passwords in SYSVOL & Exploiting Group Policy Preferences“. Because of the security concerns with storing passwords in Group …

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Feb 15

Active Directory Security Group Resources

Laura Robinson (Microsoft) has 2 posts which are excellent resources when working on your Active Directory delegation model. These posts focus on the concept of an “Admin-Free Active Directory” meaning that there are no accounts in the powerful AD groups: Enterprise Admins, Domain Admins, Administrators, & Schema Admins. The posts also list all of the …

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Jul 03

Using Group Policy Preferences for Password Management = Bad Idea

Using Group Policy Preferences for Password Management = Bad Idea OR “How to Get Your Network Owned in Several Simple Steps” One of my customers recently needed to change the local administrator password on several hundred Windows 7 workstations and was trying to determine the best method: PowerShell script or Group Policy Preferences. The easy …

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