Exploiting Active Directory Administrator Insecurities

Defenders have been slowly adapting to the new reality: Any organization is a target. They bought boxes that blink and software that floods the SOC with alerts. None of this matters as much as how administration is performed: Pop an admin, own the system. Admins are being dragged into a new paradigm where they have to more securely administer the environment. What does this mean for the pentester or Red Teamer?

Admins are gradually using better methods like two-factor and more secure administrative channels. Security is improving at many organizations, often quite rapidly. If we can quickly identify the way that administration is being performed, we can better highlight the flaws in the admin process.

This talk explores some common methods Active Directory administrators (and others) use to protect their admin credentials and the flaws with these approaches. New recon methods will be provided on how to identify if the org uses an AD Red Forest (aka Admin Forest) and what that means for one hired to test the organization's defenses, as well as how to successfully avoid the Red Forest and still be successful on an engagement.

Some of the areas explored in this talk:

Current methods organizations use to administer Active Directory and the weaknesses around them.
Using RODCs in the environment in ways the organization didn't plan for (including persistence).
Exploiting access to agents typically installed on Domain Controllers and other highly privileged systems to run/install code when that's not their typical purpose.
Discovering and exploiting an AD forest that leverages an AD Admin Forest (aka Red Forest) without touching the Admin Forest.
If you are wondering how to pentest/red team against organizations that are improving their defenses, this talk is for you. If you are a blue team looking for inspiration on effective defenses, this talk is also for you to gain better insight into how you can be attacked.


Sean Metcalf, CTO, Trimarc

Sean Metcalf is founder and principal consultant at Trimarc (www.TrimarcSecurity.com) a consulting company which focuses on improving enterprise Active Directory security. He is one of about 100 people in the world who holds the Microsoft Certified Master Directory Services (MCM) certification, is a former Microsoft MVP, and has presented on Active Directory attack and defense at Black Hat, BSides, DEF CON, DerbyCon, BlueHat, & Shakacon security conferences. He currently provides security consulting services to customers and regularly posts interesting Active Directory security information on his blog, ADSecurity.org.

Detailed Presentation:

(Source: DEF CON 26)

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