This presentation from hack3rcon shows how to perform a penetration test that will leave a minimal footprint, thanks to the Metasploit Meterpreter.
It describes techniques to avoid leaving footprints in: the Eventlog, the Windows Registry, the Windows Prefetch and the File System.
Below you can read my notes (almost a copy of the slides)
Operating in the Shadows Carlos Perez a.k.a Darkoperator from Adrian Crenshaw on Vimeo.
- Runs in memory ( no disk access)
- Memory scrubbing. Not easy to understand what meterpreter did when analizing a memory image.
- Windows API access
- HTTPS, TCP and UDP(DNS)
- Encrypted traffic (man in the middle, self-generated keys)
- Can be automated and extended
Why leaving a minimal footprint?
- Test Incident Response
- Tests monitoring systems
- Real world attacks.
- list of targets and goals (business and technical point of views)
* Interview the client and information gathering
- Enumarate target capabilities
- Physical, SE and network
- Design an initial plan
- Modify your plan as you keep advancing
* Gather information from the hosts (data and configuration)
* Modify your plan if something looks out of place
Know your enemy
- First go for the easy targets
* They will check the processes running, connections, registry keys,
event logs and they may dump the memory
- Not all companies have an IR team
- In some companies, the system administrators are also doing security.
- We can predict what the defenders are going to do
- Their questions:
* Process list: Time of creation, Parent PID, owned and command line
* Connections: Why is a process like 'notepad' connecting to Internet?
* Why is Internet Explorer connecting to a not standard port?
- They will create a timeline to investigate the incident.
- Command and capabilities differ among Windows versions
(they also do not record the same data and they use different formats)
- Event log: binary format up to windows XP. XML format to Vista, 7 and 2008
- The IDs also changed with the new formats
- We can read from the registry without leaving footprints.
- We can get the file location, name and configuration out of the registry
- Script 'event_manager' works with the Eventlog from memory: query, clear, etc. It saves the data localy in a csv file.
- Windows 7 and Windows 2008 can send event logs to other servers by using winrm (ssl and self-generated certificates)
- A server can collect remote event logs if the Wecsvc service is running
- Wecsvc can be queried by using wecutil command es (enum subscriptions) and gs (enum configurations)
- Most interesting entries: Scheduled tasks, new/change/remove accounts, stop/start service, logon/logoff, failed logon, add/remove user from a group
- OS settings
- Group policy settings
- Application settins
- Read access is available on most of it
- With the UAC enabled in Windows 7/2008R2, administrators may not be able to modify registry keys
- It can be configured to log access to it and the modifications (not set by default and rarely used)
- ACLs can be placed on registry keys (not set by default and rarely used)
- Metadata only shows Write an Creation Time, but not Access Time
- We need special tools to get the Write time: F-Response, EnCase and Open Source (http://www.forensicswiki.org/wiki/Windows_Registry)
- Saves a list of the most commonly executed binaries to speed up the booting process. Enabled by default on client operative systems since XP .
- It shows how many times a file has been executed since it first appeared in the prefetch.
- %windir%\prefetch and can only be deleted by the administrator
- Configuratio saved in the registry
- Anything we do on the computer will create a file there.
- Registry key that saves a counter of the programs executed by Explorer.exe
- Each key name is the name of the executable/shortcut encrypted in ROT-13 (can be easily decrypted)
- Only the commands executed through the GUI
- 2000,XP and 2003 record the last access time by default
- Vista, 7 and 2008 do not do that (performance)
- Cleaning a File MACE will not help since only $STDINFO is modified. The data will remain there.
- Deleted files and directories can be saved in a Volume Shadow (VSS or snapshots) that is enabled by default
- Some folders and file types are excluded from the snapshots and this information can be queried.
How To Operate
- Use Meterpreter commands
- Understand the scripts. Are they uploading/creating files or directories?
- check if prefetch and Volume Shadows are enabled
- Do not forget the User Assist key if the GUI is used
Know your Environment
- check your privileges
- What is running?
- What is being logged by EventLog?
- Is VSS enabled?
- What tools are they using?
- Is last Access Time logged?
Clear the Tracks
- Sometimes is better to clear the security log even if it is a dead gateway
- Delete the files and then wipe with cipher.exe
- Delete the Volume Shadows after whiping the files
- Delete prefetch entries in client computers
Execution of Commands
- Execute from Explorer
- Use Incognito or Tokens if you are System
- If you are placing tools, stream them under system executables and execute them from there
- Use Railgun instead of executables if possible (no write to disk is done because it is injecting DLLs)
Hide your Connections
- The connections must look 'normal'. Try to behave like a ligitimate user/server would do.
- Use IPv6 when it is available because people is not looking at it.
Where to Take a Dump
- The files in the temporary folders have weird names.
- If not able to delete the VSS, check the file extensions and temporary folders.
- Be carefull what you are writting to disk, because the Antivirus will check the files (vbs,payloads)
- The duplicate and multi_meter_inject scripts can inject a meterpreter payload onto the memory of a running executable.