I was debating on doing this as a end of the week post with going over things that were discussed and things that I learned, but the shear amount of stuff getting covered i feel that’d just be a huge wall-o-text and need a TL;DR. While this is staying pretty wide over 11 topics that if you are doing, and doing well are a great starting point you can tell the team at Black Hills Information Security (BHIS) lead by John Strand there is still a lot…just not the firehouse SANS type or other “boot camp” styled courses.
Today the first day of the course which of course started with John going on some of his uhh…rants about treating your internal network as hostel (ie treat it like your local coffee shops network), don’t just use one security vendor/product, and compliance, which are ones I agree with in terms of compliance and just checking the box when really you should use compliance/audits to help push the org security posture. I know its easier said than done though as Security is a cost center so you need to apply proper risk to sell the point of doing more than just 7 character passwords for PCI-DSS as an example (even though its less of a requirement than the NIST green book from the 80’s…I Digress). We talked about the 11 controls/Key Tracking Indicators which they call the atomic controls they are:
- Application Allow List
- Password Controls (Good ole IAM)
- Egreess Traffic Analysis
- Advance Endpoint Protection
- Logging (which I noted properly, not just a log toilet for a SIEM)
- Host (endpoint) Firewalls
- Internet Allow List
- Vulnerability Management (done properly based on Biz/org risk and actual asset inventory)
- AD Hardening
- Back up/recovery
I’m sure to anyone who has been in the security business will know some of these and also tieing some of these things into the MITRE ATT&CK Framework (which was a good point to not play ATT&CK Bingo/Jinga)
What was super ironic is right after this we pivoted to compliance. Learned about the useful tool of audit scripts to help with auditing with various compliance standards and see where you stand. Fun fact, everyone in the course went to the site and we may or may not of DDoS the site with a hug of death. This can help break things into smaller frameworks and can cross reference into your other core frameworks
For me the next part with the Application Allow list hit home, as dealing with doing Deny list on Proxy is a pain in the butt, I didn’t even think about it from an endpoint prospective. I watched this Live at a GrrCon talk were Dave Kenedy just updated Magic Unicorn and just change a character of text and he was owning his test windows box as windows defender and other products didn’t have that signature for the deny list. it was brought up in the course that attackers are breaking up power shell into different parts of scripts now. It was cool to look at Ghost writing aka making a ruby executable with meterpreter, make it a .asm file, edit the asm file, convert back to .exe and you are an infosec wizzard because you edited something in assembly (john’s joke). We also talked about encoding and AV bypass with encoding and obfuscation (see above with GrrCon example). We then went on Application whitelisting using Whitelisting Directories (simply only allowing applications to run in certain directories). While can be bypassed many initial access attacks (drive by downloads) are executed from the downloads, desktop, or temporary directories. Hash whitelisting was also discuses, but the ease of implementing and keeping up to date is a pain, just like Digital certs as not all vendors sign all their .exe or .dlls. For this course we used AppLocker (which I’ll admit it has been a minute since I heard anyone mention this). Native to Windows can whitelist and/or deny based on Path, Ash, Cert, vendor. We created a simple policy just with the defaults of allowing the program files, and windows directories. The on thing that could catch admins off guard is needing to turn on the windows service “Application identity” on the local systems (I’m assuming you could push this out from your AD network if needed) to be enabled. You also need to push the GPO out, as was a issue the demo gods did not like as you need to wait for replication between user accounts in our case.
The next fun was everyone’s favorite Password Controls (I can hear your groan from here). There was a good discussion on password spraying with everyone favorite <sesson><year> (I’m sure password or other default creds can be used if you know any of the devices from any recon you have done as people are smart and forget to tweek those or system accounts). Of course this requires a harvesting attack before the attacker will plug the ID’s into burp and try their best. Once that account is pwned without proper monitoring or UBA it can be hard to detect. We talked about two tools (credking and FireProx).
The big issue that was discussed is that just because you have 2FA/MFA org’s still have password policies between 8 and 10 characters. This only can be somewhat good if it is 2FA/MFA across the entire board, if not bad things are going to happen as you have a 8-10 charter passwords that can get pwned in as little as an hour or so (or even faster if the attacker has a password cracking rig). A good idea for compliance and auditing is having regular scanning of authentication points (with regular penitent-John). Regardless of 2FA/MFA encourage the use of passphrases, Just a few random words that make a phrase. still for complexity and to throw off password crackers add that might be using dictionary attacks (using common dictionary words to brute force passwords) ensure there are numbers and special characters. These can be easier for users to remember as they can use dictionary words to make a random phrase they can remember. You can also use a password manager with a good passphrase and 2FA to help you or your users with passwords (it can help avoid the password reuse or just changing 1 character). But with a password manager if it gets breached, all your accounts could be compromised (again no worse if you use the same password for everything so a good first step is to stop that).
There was some basic 2FA (as mentioned above) aka something you know and have. can be tokens, SMS, or app based (all are better than no 2FA). It was pointed out how to attack SMS 2FA with SIM cloning. After this brief talk on 2FA (as you can talk vendors and different ways to set up 2FA and this is just an intro course after all) We talked about the bane of just about any IT professionals work life, Service accounts. AKA accounts that are used by products to do things, or in scripts were when you change a password you could borked production on a Friday and be the on call guy and get to have an adventure. These need to have passwords that expire and have lockouts. Even if it causes an internal outage, they are used by attackers as they can be overlooked. We then applied what we learned about passwords and how fast they can be cracked with Hashcat. I was so used to John the Ripper from School (almost 3+ years now…crazy) and doing Rainbow tables (which was discussed how now effective they are compared to lets say Hashcat). I’ll admit I will probably have a blog post shortly with some Hashcat adventures once I get my home Lab fully set up, and when its not muggy/hot in my study (its upstairs and its currently in the mid 90’s and muggy, I don’t need a 1RU server making it even more toasty up here) and get some time with that to get more experience with it. Even as someone who is more on the Blue team/DFIR side of the house, understanding how this tools work allows you to better understand the risk they pose and possible attack vectors attackers might use when trying to get password hashes.
We didn’t get to password spraying today so that will be done tomorrow. Hopefully I remember to pop in the 1/2 hour early to get the quick refresher, might be useful for poking my deception systems at work when I am back to work to see how they are alerting XD
Looking foreword to tomorrow though with egress traffic analysis, as someone that is more analytical I love looking at logs and trying to make sense of them and PCAPS and I already see the notes about Tuning with UEBA (which is part of our jobs like it or not if your more on a blue team focus).
Though wondering if we are going to make it that far tomorrow. Regardless of were we get there is going to be a lot of good info and some shenanigans along the way!
This still needs a TL:DR post…geez
But still much appreciated as someone who also attended and had it feel like a fire hose.
Very well done! Thank you!