NETRESEC Network Security Blog - Tag : videotutorial

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Start Menu Search Video

In this video I demonstrate that text typed into the Windows 10 start menu gets sent to Microsoft and how that traffic can be intercepted, decrypted and parsed.

What Was Sent?

The XML files shown in the video were sent by Cortana's "SmartSearch" app to https://www.bing.com/threshold/xls.aspx in HTTP/2 POST requests. As shown in the video, the POST'ed keystrokes can be found inside requestInfo XML tags that have a "RawQuery" key.

The following tcpdump and grep commands can be used to list the RawQuery data sent to Bing in these HTTP/2 requests:

tcpdump -A -r proxy-210927-134557.pcap | grep -a -o 'key="RawQuery" value="[^"]*"'

Running that command on the PolarProxy PCAP file from the video gives the following output:

key="RawQuery" value="n"
key="RawQuery" value="no"
key="RawQuery" value="not"
key="RawQuery" value="note"
key="RawQuery" value="notep"
key="RawQuery" value="notepa"
key="RawQuery" value="notepad"
key="RawQuery" value="s"
key="RawQuery" value="se"
key="RawQuery" value="sea"
key="RawQuery" value="sear"
key="RawQuery" value="searc"
key="RawQuery" value="search"
key="RawQuery" value="search .."
key="RawQuery" value="search ..e"
key="RawQuery" value="search ..er"
key="RawQuery" value="search ..e"
key="RawQuery" value="search .."
key="RawQuery" value="search"
key="RawQuery" value="search p"
key="RawQuery" value="search per"
key="RawQuery" value="search perm"
key="RawQuery" value="search permi"
key="RawQuery" value="p"
key="RawQuery" value="pr"
key="RawQuery" value="pri"
key="RawQuery" value="priv"
key="RawQuery" value="priva"
key="RawQuery" value="privac"
key="RawQuery" value="privacy"

The same data also gets sent in the query string variable "qry" of GET requests for https://www.bing.com/AS/API/WindowsCortanaPane/V2/Suggestions, as shown in this NetworkMiner screenshot.

Parameters tab in NetworkMiner
Image: NetworkMiner's Parameters tab with filter "qry" on "Parameter name" column

How to Intercept, Decrypt and Decode HTTPS Traffic

The following section presents the technical details regarding my setup, so that others can reproduce and verify these findings.

My first step was to install PolarProxy on a Linux machine on the local network. PolarProxy is a TLS proxy, which can intercept and decrypt TLS traffic. This TLS proxy is primarily designed to decrypt traffic from malware and hackers, but can also be used to decrypt legitimate traffic when needed.

PolarProxy was configured to listen for incoming TLS connections on TCP port 443 and output PCAP data with the decrypted traffic as if it had been transmitted over TCP 80. The decrypted traffic was accessible as a real-time stream through a PCAP-over-IP service running on port 57012. Here's the full command that was used to start PolarProxy:

sudo ./PolarProxy -p 443,80 --pcapoverip 0.0.0.0:57012 --certhttp 10080

In the video I showed the Windows 10 client's modified hosts file, which included an entry for www.bing.com pointing to the PolarProxy machine. What was not shown in the video though, is that PolarProxy's own CA certificate had been added to the Win10 machine's list of trusted root CA's, as explained in the "Trusting the PolarProxy root CA" section of the PolarProxy installation instructions. With these two changes in place all HTTPS requests for www.bing.com from the Win10 PC got diverted through the PolarProxy TLS inspection service, which then decrypted and re-encrypted the traffic before forwarding it to Bing.

The decrypted Bing requests could be accessed either locally on the Linux machine, or remotely using the PCAP-over-IP service on TCP port 57012. I used NetworkMiner to read the live PCAP stream with decrypted traffic from port 57012 and extract all files being sent and received in real-time.

Is it Possible to Disable the Cortana Search?

When Ars Technica reporters asked Microsoft back in 2015 if there was any way to disable this communication, Microsoft replied with the following statement:

As part of delivering Windows 10 as a service, updates may be delivered to provide ongoing new features to Bing search, such as new visual layouts, styles and search code. No query or search usage data is sent to Microsoft, in accordance with the customer's chosen privacy settings.

There are plenty of how-to guides online with instructions on how the Cortana search feature can be disabled. Most of these guides suggest disabling the AllowCortana setting in group policies or in the registry. We've tried several of the settings suggested in these how-to guides, but none of them seem to prevent Windows from sending keystrokes to Bing.

If you know how to successfully disable Cortana's Bing searches, then please feel free to reach out to us so that we can update this blog post.

UPDATE 210928 - How to Actually Disable Cortana Search

Twitter user @GeorgeProfonde3 reached out to suggest a fix that might prevent the start menu from sending data to Bing. We have now verified this fix and we're happy to announce that it works (at least for us).

  1. Start regedit.exe
  2. Open the following registry key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Search
  3. Ensure that the value for CortanaConsent is set to 0
  4. Create a new DWORD registry entry called "BingSearchEnabled" with value 0

You should no longer see any connections to www.bing.com when interacting with the start menu after implementing this fix.

UPDATE 211015 - Another way to Disable Cortana Search

You may need to use a different method to disable the start meny search, depending on your Windows version and build. Kimberly (@StopMalvertisin) suggested the following method, which seems to work on Windows 11:

  1. Start regedit.exe
  2. Create a registry key for: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer
  3. Create a new DWORD registry entry called "DisableSearchBoxSuggestions" with value 1

Disabling Start Menu Search from Group Policy

There are also a few different methods for disabling start menu searches using GPO. However, please note that your success will vary depending on your Windows version and build.

GPO Method #1

  1. Start gpedit.msc
  2. Open the following branch: User configuration\Administrative templates\Windows components\File Explorer
  3. Enable the following group policy: "Turn off display of recent search entries in the File Explorer search box"

GPO Method #2

  • Start gpedit.msc
  • Open the following branch: User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Start Menu and Taskbar
  • Enable the following group policy: "Do not search communications"

Posted by Erik Hjelmvik on Tuesday, 28 September 2021 08:24:00 (UTC/GMT)

Tags: #PCAP #NetworkMiner #PolarProxy #Microsoft #video #videotutorial #pcapoverip #PCAP-over-IP #HTTP/2 #http2

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Walkthrough of DFIR Madness PCAP

I recently came across a fantastic digital forensics dataset at dfirmadness.com, which was created by James Smith. There is a case called The Stolen Szechuan Sauce on this website that includes forensic artifacts like disk images, memory dumps and a PCAP file (well, pcap-ng actually). In this video I demonstrate how I analyzed the capture file case001.pcap from this case.

Follow Along in the Analysis

Please feel free to follow along in the analysis performed in the video. You should be able to use the free trial version of CapLoader and the free open source version of NetworkMiner to perform most of the tasks I did in the video.

Here are some of the BPF and Column Criteria filters that I used in the video, so that you can copy/paste them into CapLoader.

  • net 10.0.0.0/8
  • Umbrella_Domain =
  • not ip6 and not net 224.0.0.0/4
  • host 194.61.24.102 or host 203.78.103.109 or port 3389

ASCII Network Flow Chart

References and Links

Timeline

All events in this timeline take place on September 19, 2020. Timestamps are in UTC.

  • 02:19:26 194.61.24.102 performs RDP brute force password attack against DC01.
  • 02:21:47 RDP password brute force successful.
  • 02:22:08 194.61.24.102 connects to DC01's RDP service as Administrator. Duration: 9 sec.
  • 02:22:36 194.61.24.102 connects to DC01's RDP service as Administrator again. Duration: 30 min.
  • 02:24:06 DC01 downloads coreupdater.exe from 194.61.24.102 using IE11.
  • 02:25:18 DC01 establishes Metrepreter reverse_tcp connection to 203.78.103.109. Duration: 4 min.
  • 02:29:49 DC01 re-establishes Metrepreter reverse_tcp connection to 203.78.103.109. Duration: 23 min.
  • 02:35:55 DC01 connects to DESKTOP's RDP service Administrator (username in Kerberos traffic). Duration 16 min.
  • 02:39:58 DESKTOP download coreupdater.exe from 194.61.24.102 using MS Edge.
  • 02:40:49 DESKTOP establishes Metrepreter reverse_tcp connection to 203.78.103.109. Duration: 2h 58 min.
  • 02:56:03 194.61.24.102 connects to DC01's RDP service as Administrator one last time. Duration: 1 min 38 sec.
  • 02:56:38 DC01 re-establishes Metrepreter reverse_tcp connection to 203.78.103.109. Duration: 2h 42 min.

IOC's

  • IP : 194.61.24.102 (Attacker)
  • IP : 203.78.103.109 (C2 server)
  • MD5 : eed41b4500e473f97c50c7385ef5e374 (coreupdater.exe)
  • JA3 Hash : 84fef6113e562e7cc7e3f8b1f62c469b (RDP scan/brute force)
  • JA3 Hash : 6dc99de941a8f76cad308d9089e793d7 (RDP scan/brute force)
  • JA3 Hash : e26ff759048e07b164d8faf6c2a19f53 (RDP scan/brute force)
  • JA3 Hash : 3bdfb64d53404bacd8a47056c6a756be (RDP scan/brute force)

Wanna learn more network forensic analysis techniques? Then check out our upcoming network forensics classes in September and October.

Posted by Erik Hjelmvik on Friday, 09 July 2021 13:20:00 (UTC/GMT)

Tags: #PCAP #NetworkMiner #CapLoader #video #videotutorial

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Detecting Cobalt Strike and Hancitor traffic in PCAP

This video shows how Cobalt Strike and Hancitor C2 traffic can be detected using CapLoader.

I bet you’re going:

😱 OMG he’s analyzing Windows malware on a Windows PC!!!

Relax, I know what I’m doing. I have also taken the precaution of analyzing the PCAP file in a Windows Sandbox, which just takes a couple of seconds to deploy and run.

The capture file I’m looking at is called “2021-05-13-Hancitor-traffic-with-Ficker-Stealer-and-Cobalt-Strike.pcap” and can be downloaded from here: https://malware-traffic-analysis.net/2021/05/13/index.html

CapLoader’s Services tab shows us that the connections to TCP 80 and 443 on 103.207.42.11 are very periodic, with a detected period of exactly 1 minute. CapLoader successfully identifies the protocols for these two services as Cobalt Strike over HTTP and Cobalt Strike over SSL, respectively. The third service in this list is also very periodic, that’s the Hancitor trojan beaconing to its C2 server every two minutes.

Services tab in CapLoader

CapLoader uses machine learning to identify the application layer protocol based on the behavior of the traffic, not the port number. This means that there can be false positives, i.e. the protocol classification that CapLoader gives a flow or service might be wrong. It is more common, however, for CapLoader to yield false negatives, which means that it can't identify the protocol. The detection of Cobalt Strike inside of HTTP and SSL traffic was recently introduced in the latest 1.9 release of CapLoader. I expected this feature to detect Cobalt Strike traffic in HTTP, but I was delighted to see that CapLoader often detects even TLS encrypted Cobalt Strike beaconing with really good precision!

As shown in the video, the Cobalt Strike beacon config can easily be extracted from the network traffic using NetworkMiner and Didier Stevens’ 1768 K python script.

The output from Didier’s 7868.py tool looks something like this:

0x0001 payload type 0 windows-beacon_http-reverse_http
0x0002 port 80
0x0003 sleeptime 60000
0x0004 maxgetsize 1048576
0x0005 jitter 0
0x0007 publickey 30819f30[...]
0x0008 server,get-uri '103.207.42.11,/ca'
[...]

As you can see, it uses HTTP for transport with a “sleeptime” of 1 minute (60000 ms) and 0% jitter. This means that a new connection will be made to the Cobalt Strike C2 server every minute. The fact that there was no jitter is what gives this service such a high value in CapLoader’s “Periodicity” column.

Network Forensics Training

Are you interested in learning more about how to analyze network traffic from Cobalt Strike and other backdoors, malware and hacker tools? Then take a look at the live online network forensics classes I will be teaching in September and October!

Posted by Erik Hjelmvik on Monday, 31 May 2021 08:30:00 (UTC/GMT)

Tags: #Netresec #Cobalt Strike #CobaltStrike #periodicity #Protocol Identification #PIPI #CapLoader #1768.py #Windows Sandbox #PCAP #NSM #video #videotutorial

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Video: TrickBot and ETERNALCHAMPION

This video tutorial is a walkthrough of how you can analyze the PCAP file UISGCON-traffic-analysis-task-pcap-2-of-2.pcap (created by Brad Duncan). The capture file contains a malicious Word Document (macro downloader), Emotet (banking trojan), TrickBot/Trickster (banking trojan) and an EternalChampion (CVE-2017-0146) exploit used to perform lateral movement.

Network Diagram

Network Diagram

Timeline of Events

Frame Time (UTC) Event
825 18:55:32 Malicious Word doc [cosmoservicios.cl]
1099 18:56:04 Emotet download [bsrcellular.com]
5024 19:00:41 Trickbot "radiance.png" download
9604 19:01:34 Client credentials exfiltrated [200.29.24.36:8082]
9915 19:01:36 ETERNALCHAMPION exploit from client to DC
10424 19:01:51 Client sends .EXE files to \\10.1.75.4\C$\WINDOWS\
11078 19:01:51 Client infects DC with Trickbot via rogue service
14314 19:07:03 DC credentials exfiltrated [200.29.24.36:8082]

OSINT Links Opened

Tools Used

Network Forensics Training

Wanna improve your network forensics skills? Take a look at our trainings, the next scheduled class is on March 18-19 at the TROOPERS conference in Germany.

Posted by Erik Hjelmvik on Wednesday, 23 January 2019 14:00:00 (UTC/GMT)

Tags: #Wireshark #CapLoader #NetworkMiner #videotutorial #video #pcap #Network Forensics #ASCII-art

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Detecting the Pony Trojan with RegEx using CapLoader

This short video demonstrates how you can search through PCAP files with regular expressions (regex) using CapLoader and how this can be leveraged in order to improve IDS signatures.

The EmergingThreats snort/suricata rule mentioned in the video is SID 2014411 “ET TROJAN Fareit/Pony Downloader Checkin 2”.

The header accept-encoding header with quality factor 0 used by the Pony malware is:
Accept-Encoding: identity, *;q=0

And here is the regular expression used to search for that exact header: \r\nAccept-Encoding: identity, \*;q=0\r\n

After recording the video I noticed that the leaked source code for Pony 2.0 actually contains this accept-encoding header as a hard-coded string. Have a look in the redirect.php file, where they set curl’s CURLOPT_HTTPHEADER to this specific string.

Pony using curl to set: Accept-Encoding: identity, *;q=0

Wanna learn more about the intended use of quality factors in HTTP accept headers? Then have a look at section 14.1 of RFC 2616section 5.3.4 of RFC 7231, which defines how to use qvalues (i.e. quality factors) in the Accept-Encoding header.

Finally, I'd like to thank Brad Duncan for running the malware-traffic-analysis.net website, your PCAP files often come in handy!

Update 2018-07-05

I submitted a snort/suricata signature to the Emerging-Sigs mailinglist after publishing this blog post, which resulted in the Emerging Threats signature 2014411 being updated on that same day to include:

content:"|0d 0a|Accept-Encoding|3a 20|identity,|20 2a 3b|q=0|0d 0a|"; http_header;

Thank you @EmergingThreats for the fast turnaround!

Posted by Erik Hjelmvik on Wednesday, 04 July 2018 07:39:00 (UTC/GMT)

Tags: #video #regex #malware #IDS #curl #videotutorial

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Examining Malware Redirects with NetworkMiner Professional

This network forensics video tutorial covers analysis of a malware redirect chain, where a PC is infected through the RIG Exploit Kit. A PCAP file, from Brad Duncan's malware-traffic-analysis.net website, is opened in NetworkMiner Professional in order to follow a redirect chain via a couple of hacked websites before delivering malware to the PC.

Resources
https://www.malware-traffic-analysis.net/2014/11/16/index.html
Meadgive on VirusTotal
CVE-2014-0569 Flash Exploit on VirusTotal
CVE-2012-0507 Java Exploit on VirusTotal
NetworkMiner Professional

IOCs
www.ciniholland.nl
24corp-shop.com
stand.trustandprobaterealty.com
793b698a82d999f1eb75525d050ebe16
f8482f5c4632fe237d062451b42393498a8d628ed9dee27147251f484e837a42
7b3baa7d6bb3720f369219789e38d6ab
e2e33b802a0d939d07bd8291f23484c2f68ccc33dc0655eb4493e5d3aebc0747
1e34fdebbf655cebea78b45e43520ddf
178be0ed83a7a9020121dee1c305fd6ca3b74d15836835cfb1684da0b44190d3

Check out our series of network forensic video tutorials for more tips and tricks on how to analyze captured network traffic.

Posted by Erik Hjelmvik on Monday, 26 February 2018 11:19:00 (UTC/GMT)

Tags: #Netresec #Professional #NetworkMiner #malware_traffic #malware #NSM #PCAP #videotutorial #video #tutorial

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Analyzing Kelihos SPAM in CapLoader and NetworkMiner

This network forensics video tutorial covers how to analyze SPAM email traffic from the Kelihos botnet. The analyzed PCAP file comes from the Stratosphere IPS project, where Sebastian Garcia and his colleagues execute malware samples in sandboxes. The particular malware sample execution we are looking at this time is from the CTU-Malware-Capture-Botnet-149-2 dataset.

Resources

IOCs
990e5daa285f5c9c6398811edc68a659
e4f7fa6a0846e4649cc41d116c40f97835d3bb7d3d0391d3540482f077aa4493
6c55 5545 0310 4840

Check out our series of network forensic video tutorials for more tips and tricks on how to analyze captured network traffic.

Posted by Erik Hjelmvik on Monday, 19 February 2018 06:37:00 (UTC/GMT)

Tags: #Netresec #PCAP #CapLoader #NetworkMiner #videotutorial #video #tutorial #NetFlow #extract #Stratosphere

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Antivirus Scanning of a PCAP File

This second video in our series of network forensic video tutorials covers a quick and crude way to scan a PCAP file for malware. It's all done locally without having to run the PCAP through an IDS. Kudos to Lenny Hanson for showing me this little trick!

Antivirus Scanning of a PCAP File

Resources

IOCs
178.62.142.240
soquumaihi.co.vu
9fd51fb05cb0ea89185fc1355ebf047cC
8cf7b281a0db4029456e416dbe05d21d17af0cad86f67e054268f5e2c46c43ed
119.238.10.9
96b430041aed13413ec2b5ae91954f39
e79ef634265b9686f90241be0e05940354dc2c2b43d087e09bb846eec34dad35

Posted by Erik Hjelmvik on Monday, 12 February 2018 08:00:00 (UTC/GMT)

Tags: #Netresec #PCAP #video #tutorial #videotutorial #NetworkMiner #malware #malware_traffic

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Zyklon Malware Network Forensics Video Tutorial

We are releasing a series of network forensics video tutorials throughout the next few weeks. First up is this analysis of a PCAP file containing network traffic from the "Zyklon H.T.T.P." malware.

Analyzing a Zyklon Trojan with Suricata and NetworkMiner

Resources
https://www.malware-traffic-analysis.net/2017/07/22/index.html
https://github.com/Security-Onion-Solutions/security-onion
https://www.arbornetworks.com/blog/asert/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/zyklon_season.pdf
http://doc.emergingthreats.net/2017930

IOCs
service.tellepizza.com
104.18.40.172
104.18.41.172
Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.8.1.3pre) Gecko/20070302 BonEcho/2.0.0.3pre
gate.php
.onion
98:1F:D2:FF:DC:16:B2:30:1F:11:70:82:3D:2E:A5:DC
65:8A:5C:76:98:A9:1D:66:B4:CB:9D:43:5C:DE:AD:22:38:37:F3:9C
E2:50:35:81:9F:D5:30:E1:CE:09:5D:9F:64:75:15:0F:91:16:12:02:2F:AF:DE:08:4A:A3:5F:E6:5B:88:37:D6

Posted by Erik Hjelmvik on Monday, 05 February 2018 07:30:00 (UTC/GMT)

Tags: #Netresec #PCAP #Trojan #video #tutorial #videotutorial #NetworkMiner #SecurityOnion #Suricata #malware #network #forensics #NSM #malware_traffic

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Recommended Books

» The Practice of Network Security Monitoring, Richard Bejtlich (2013)

» Applied Network Security Monitoring, Chris Sanders and Jason Smith (2013)

» Network Forensics, Sherri Davidoff and Jonathan Ham (2012)

» The Tao of Network Security Monitoring, Richard Bejtlich (2004)

» Practical Packet Analysis, Chris Sanders (2017)

» Windows Forensic Analysis, Harlan Carvey (2009)

» TCP/IP Illustrated, Volume 1, Kevin Fall and Richard Stevens (2011)

» Industrial Network Security, Eric D. Knapp and Joel Langill (2014)