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The Best DerbyCon 2014 Talks for Red Teams

October 6, 2014

DerbyCon is one of my favorite conferences. I think its review committee does a good job choosing talks that are relevant, not just novel for the sake of novel. I worked my vendor table the whole weekend, but thanks to Irongeek’s amazing speed at putting videos online, YouTube’s 2x playback feature, and post-con insomnia–I went through a lot of DerbyCon material. Here’s my list of talks that are most relevant to red team operations.

Attacking Microsoft Kerberos: Kicking the Guard Dog of Hades

This is probably my favorite DerbyCon 2014 talk. Tim Medin demonstrates how to request Kerberos service tickets, dump them from memory, and crack the passwords of these service accounts. He then demonstrates how to forge new tickets with the cracked password and give yourself elevated rights in some service contexts. It’s a pretty amazing talk and it’s something I plan to play with in my lab.

Secrets of DNS

In this talk, Ron Bowes shows some interesting uses of DNS. All of this was just a warm up though. Towards the end he introduces DNScat 2, a post exploitation agent that uses DNS to communicate. He talks about some of the lessons learned from the original DNScat and goes through his roadmap to build up DNScat 2, including a planned SOCKS pivoting feature. He also took the time to share the challenges of building a communication channel on top of DNS. Things like queries sent multiple times, queries that arrive out of order, and caches that hold on to things forever. I know, first-hand, the amount of work it takes to pull something like this off and this talk is a must-watch for anyone who (ab)uses DNS as a data channel.

Passing the Torch: Old School Red Teaming and New School Tactics

In this talk David McGuire goes through “old school” ways to interrogate a domain, abuse trust relationships, and steal interesting data. These topics and this process don’t get enough attention in our community. David woke me up to this and it has had a major impact on how I hack over the past two years. To see this influence, compare the lateral movement videos I’ve cut over the past four years: 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014.

Will Schroeder is one of the developers of the Veil Framework. He also writes a lot of awesome stuff [1, 2] in PowerShell. Like me, Will hates doing things a computer could do better. Will has worked to automate a lot of David’s tradecraft and develop some of his own.

The talk covers a lot of information very quickly. The big pay off is at the end when David and Will each execute their methodologies to show the Old School vs. New School way of hacking. Now that Cobalt Strike’s Beacon supports PowerShell, I expect that my process will evolve to rely on these new school tactics.

Et tu Kerberos

This talk is a great survey of the Golden Ticket attack in Mimikatz. Chris Campbell goes through recent history about pass-the-hash, talks about the Golden Ticket attack and where it came from, and offers some pointers on which mitigations do and don’t work.

Red Teaming Back and Forth 5ever

I used to work for Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com. Almost everyone in the company had an Apple computer. I’m Windows focused in my product and I’ve wondered what tactics work in a MacOS X environment. Fuzzynop provides the answer. In this talk, he goes through his quick and dirty C&C for MacOS X. He also digs into quick and dirty post-exploitation tricks for MacOS X as well. If you have to go against a MacOS X environment or you just want to watch an entertaining talk from a hacker who has to think different, I highly recommend this one.

Getting Windows to Play with Itself: A Pen Tester’s Guide to Windows API Abuse

This last talk comes from Brady Bloxham at Silent Break Security. I’ve known Brady since 2011 and he’s scary brilliant. In this talk, Brady challenges the audience to expand their capability-level beyond that of the casual attacker. This is an important call to arms and I agree with what Brady says here. This talk starts out with some advanced Windows persistence techniques, a primer on process injection, and tips to build on this material. The real pay off happens at the end. Brady introduces Throwback, a stealthy beaconing persistent-agent that’s now open source. You’ll want to check it out as a possible tool for your arsenal. If you want to learn to build your own tools, Brady Bloxham and Bryce Kunz are teaching Dark Side Ops: Custom Penetration Testing at BlackHat Trainings DC in December 2014.

If you watched these videos, you’ll notice there’s a theme. Each of these talks is a post-exploitation talk. Attackers will get in. We can’t just enumerate the ways this may happen. We have to help our customers understand their ability to slow down, detect, or frustrate a motivated and well-resourced attacker, post-compromise. Each of these talks operates with this fundamental assumption.

Each of these talks also demonstrates new tools and new approaches. You can’t represent a credible threat with commodity capability only. If you’re going to play at this level, you’ll need to  retool and rethink your approach. You can build capability or buy it.

Final note, trust relationships matter. There are many ways to attack and abuse trust. We’re just scratching the surface here. The best talks are going deep into this subject. This is the present and future of hacking modern enterprises.

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