Category: Defense


Post Compromise Active Directory Checklist

Nuke it from orbit, it’s the only way to be sure!

Ok, in an ideal world you can re-deploy your entire environment from scratch, but back in the most people’s real world’s that’s not that simple. So, what do we do if we can’t nuke from orbit in a post compromise situation? Well, we need to clean up! This isn’t an exhaustive list, not a total guide. it’s a quick list to make you think about some key common areas and actions that might need to be taken! after all if someone got r00t, who knows what they did! (trust me, most orgs monitoring is a bit naff!)

Potential Actions

  • Reset all user account passwords twice (thanks @tazwake)
    • Reset all administrator passwords
    • Reset all service accounts passwords
  • Reset (twice – but bear in mind the issues with replication so there’s specific guidance on this) the KRBTGT password
  • Reset all computer account passwords
  • Check the value of the computer account password change value
  • Reset all LAPS Passwords
  • Reset permissions on AdminSDHolders object
  • Revoke and re-issue all certificates from ADCS
  • Check for malicious scheduled tasks (thanks @SchizoDuckie)
  • Check for malicious WMI event filters
  • Check for malicious autoruns or other registry-based persistence mechanisms
  • Check for utilman style backdoors
  • Check for malicious printers/printer drivers (thanks @SchizoDuckie)
  • Review Active Directory Delegated access permissions (thank
  • Rotate ADFS token signing and token decryption certificates (thanks @4n6Bexaminer)
  • Check Service Control Manager (SCM) security descriptors ( (thanks @EricaZeli)
  • Check for object changes around initial access/event timescales (thanks @IISResetMe)
  • Validate group memberships against known baselines (replication metadata, backup, AD reporting tools/reports etc.) (thanks @IISResetMe)
  • Harden Active Directory (look at pingcastle and MITRE) (thanks @MarkSewe)
  • Review logon scripts in GPOS and SYSVOL (thanks @CisoDiagonal and A-HAX!)
  • Rotate Group Managed Service Accounts (GMSA) (thanks @infosecspy)
  • Rotate LAPS credentials
  • Review Azure AD/AD Connect (thanks @infosecspy)
  • Harden Endpoints
  • Update AV
  • Deploy EDR
  • Deploy SYSMON
  • DNS Zone Integrity (Public and Private) (thanks to @jermuv)
  • Rote domain trust keys (thanks @DebugPrivilege)
  • Review potential RBCD Bakdoors (thanks @DebugPrivilege)
  • Review msDsConsistencyGuid attribute of compromised accounts (thanks @DebugPrivilege)
  • Check Exchange (easy right?)
  • Review accounts for “Key Trust Account Mapping” takeover and reset if required (thanks @nodauf)
  • Review Active Directory Domains and Trusts (thanks @dragon199421)
  • Deploy new Domain Controllers (keep existing forest/domain metadata)
  • Clear VSS/Backups/Snapshots that are likely to be classed as unsafe (thanks to @Digit4lbytes) Read more “Post Compromise Active Directory Checklist”

Vulnerability Management – Actually doing it!

Vulnerability Management, Assessments and Vulnerability scanning is sometimes treated a with distain in the Offensive security community, I personally don’t understand that. Vulnerability management is key to inputting into security strategy, architecture, and operations. It’s coupled heavily to many other processes such as:

  • Asset Management
  • Risk Management
  • Patch Management
  • Change & Release Management
  • Security Testing
  • Security Monitoring

Before we start deploying let’s think about some areas for consideration when performing vulnerability scans:

  • Scope
    • Asset/Hosts
      • IP Ranges
      • Hostnames
    • Connectivity
      • VPNs
      • LAN/WAN
    • Device Types and Configuration
      • Domain
      • Workgroup
      • Appliance
      • ICS
      • Printers
      • Network Equipment
    • Unauthenticated View
    • Authenticated View
      • Auth Types
      • Protocols
    • Scheduling
    • Authority to execute
  • Impact
    • Performance
    • Availability
    • Confidentiality
  • Objectives and Outcomes
  • Reporting
    • Information Flow
    • Report Storage and Confidentiality

Read more “Vulnerability Management – Actually doing it!”


How to Identify Hashes

Some hashes are obvious but even then, it’s a good job to check. There are a few ways to check a hash outside of manual validation.

Using the Hashcat example list:

Graphical user interface, text, application, email

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Using hash-identifier:

Using cyberchef Analyse hash:

Background pattern

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Using hash-id:

Using HashTag:

As you can see there are range of tools available to you, and remember if you want to keep the hashes to yourself you can download Cyberchef and run it locally!


Would you know if these remote access tools were…


Remote management and monitoring (RMM) and other remote access solutions are fantastic for enabling remote support of environments. Like most things in life though the intent of the user changes the tool from a force for good to a weapon of evil (I hate the use of the word weapon with software but it’s a blog so I’ll self-cringe).

Kill Chain Summary

The kill chain in the attack outlind by sophos isn’t one that you will be suprised at:

  • Initial access was via a known software vulnerability (unpatched Exchange server)
  • The attackers dropped a web shell
  • The attackers had SYSTEM level access
  • The attackers dumped memory to obtain hashes
  • The hashes were cracked (they escalated to domain admin)
  • 7 (yes seven!) backdoors were implaneted into the target network (hence this blog post)
  • Lateral movement was made to domain controllers
  • Large volumes of data were exfiltrated
  • The rest of the environment was then pwn3d

What might shock you more is the speed at which this was conducted. It’s not months or weeks, it’s hours and days (see the Sophos blog for more details!)

Conti Actors Remote Access Toolkits

Remote access tools being abused isn’t a new thing but following a great writeup ( of a Conti kill chain from Sophos Labs I figured I’d try and raise more awareness of some of the threats that organisations face, and the reality that defending against all threats is actually quite difficult for a lot of organisations (hell it’s technically not simply for anyone!) Read more “Would you know if these remote access tools were being used in your network environment?”

chopping vegetables Defense

Decoding Powershell Base64 Encoded commands in CyberChef

Firstly, you need some Powershell Base64 commands, you could search your security logs or Sysmon logs for these, or simply generate some yourself!


Next, we head over to Cyber Chef!

Graphical user interface, text, application, email

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Now we copy the base64 component to the INPUT window:

Graphical user interface, text, application, Word

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We add the “From Base64” operation into our RECIPE! Read more “Decoding Powershell Base64 Encoded commands in CyberChef”

Image Defense

Infection Monkey Overview

Have you ever wanted to see what would occur in an environment if a worm was a make its way in? I often work with customers to show them about lateral movement from a human operated perspective however sometimes it’s useful for people to visualise this better and to demonstrate what could occur if a worm was set loose. A great tool to help with this is Infection Monkey from Guardicore (

High Level View

The process steps are as follows:

  • Scope Exercise
  • Prepare Environment
  • Deploy Infection Monkey Server (Monkey Island)
    • Configure Server Credentials
  • Monkey Configuration
  • Release Monkey/s
  • Review
  • Report

Read more “Infection Monkey Overview”


Windows 11 Privilege Escalation via UAC Bypass (GUI based)


Ok these are a really simple UAC bypass from a userland GUI perspective. This is about increasing process integrity levels – it’s not about performing LPE from low integrity to high/SYSTEM with no interaction. These clearly work in older version of Windows as well but since Windows 11 will be the current version in the near future I thought it was fun to re-visit these!

And just to be clear, a medium integrity process as an administrator user will have the following privileges:


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What we are talking about here is to move to a high integrity process without knowing credentials or having the secure desktop launch. Read more “Windows 11 Privilege Escalation via UAC Bypass (GUI based)”

A picture containing text, electronics, monitor, indoor Description automatically generated Defense

Razer Privilege Escalation Vulnerability

“And I looked and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him.”

Firstly, Kudos to @j0nh4t for finding this!

I woke up this morning to see twitter fun with a LPE discovered in the Razer driver installation. Basically, when you plug a Razer mouse into a Windows machine, it will download (via windows update) and execute a process as system which has user interaction. This interface includes an install path selector, with this a right click + SHIFT (LULZ) on whitespace will allow you to launch a command prompt/PowerShell window (as SYSTEM).

A black shoe on a wood surface

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A picture containing text, electronics, monitor, indoor

Description automatically generated Read more “Razer Privilege Escalation Vulnerability”


Windows Remote Management 101

Windows Remote Management is easy if you are using a domain joined machine and have a CA. But what if you are off the domain and you want to connect to WINRM that has an HTTPS listener? (by default WINRM uses HTTP on TCP 5985, you can clearly chop out the TLS related configs in the example scripts and they will work for plain old WINRM)

This is useful from a sysadmin and penetration testing/red team perspective. Now obviously you could export the certificates and import them into your store, however that’s more work. So, let’s look at how we ignore revocation, CA name and Computer Name checks.


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WinRM via HTTPS (self-signed)

Read more “Windows Remote Management 101”


Windows Security Fundamentals & LPE


Recently I decided to do the Red Team Operator: Privilege Escalation in Windows Course by Sektor7 (thanks for the recommendation Justin!). I thought I’d write some notes but also create a quick blog covering some of the Windows fundamental areas. It’s easy to actually forget how this stuff is at a detailed level so figured it helps both myself and the world to share a snippet. I’m litterally listening to the course as I type this, I’ve just imported an OVA to vmware workstation so this is litterally live! (I’m 7 video modules in!)

There’s some key parts around Windows Security Architecture that is important to know, the course does cover this off at the start so I thought I’d share a tiny bit of my notes. Read more “Windows Security Fundamentals & LPE”