Showing posts from February, 2008

Cell Index Translation

Throughout our previous discussions of registry keys, hives, and so on, we have run into the concept of a cell index several times. They appear in kernel memory in places such as the KeyCell member of the _CM_KEY_CONTROL_BLOCK structure; likewise, all of the structures representing portions of the hive itself ( _CM_KEY_NODE , _CM_KEY_VALUE , and so on) have members that point to other structures by cell index rather than by virtual address. The reason for this is that registry hives live two lives: one, as on-disk files, stored in %WINDIR%\system32\config\ , and another, as an in-memory structure that the Configuration Manager uses in memory. In the former, cell indices can be thought of essentially as simple offsets from the start of the file; in the latter, however, the situation is more complicated. When registry hives are represented in memory, they must account for the fact that new keys and values may be added at any time. Since space for the hives is allocated out of paged po

Cached Domain Credentials

When a Windows computer is joined to a domain, authentication of users is performed not against the local SAM database, but by querying the domain controller. From this description, we might be tempted to conclude that there won't be any useful credentials stored in the registry on a machine that is part of a domain; the users and their hashes don't actually exist on the local machine but rather on the domain controller. As it turns out, however, by default Windows does store domain credentials on client machines. The reason for this is simple: if the domain controller is unavailable for some reason, users would still like to be able to log into their machines using their credentials; for this reason Windows caches domain credentials of the last (by default) 10 users to log on to the machine. The exact number of cached logons is controlled by the value "CachedLogonCount" of HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\WinLogon . Cached Credentials in the Registr

Decrypting LSA Secrets

The LSA secrets store is a protected storage area used the the Local Security Authority (LSA) system in Windows to keep important pieces of information safe from prying eyes. As with Syskey, however, we will see that these secrets are only obfuscated, and once the mechanism is known, we can extract them from the registry with ease. Even without knowing the obfuscation algorithm, however, it is possible to read the values of this data using the LsarQuerySecret function exported by lsasrv.dll, but only if one has the LocalSystem privilege (for example, if the process is running under the SYSTEM account). What kind of data is stored in these secrets? Here are a few that I've come across: $MACHINE.ACC : has to do with domain authentication, see KB175468 DefaultPassword : password used to logon to Windows if auto-logon is enabled NL$KM : secret key used to encrypt cached domain passwords L$RTMTIMEBOMB_[...] : FILETIME giving the date when an unactivated copy of Windows w

SysKey and the SAM

The Security Accounts Manager The Security Accounts Manager , or SAM, has been used by Windows since the days of NT to store information on local user accounts (or, in the case of a domain controller, the accounts for all users on the domain). It takes the form of a registry hive, and is stored in %WINDIR%\system32\config . Generally, two types of hash are stored in the SAM: the LanMan hash and the NT hash. The LanMan hash has many flaws: It is not salted, and is thus vulnerable to precomputed dictionary attacks such as rainbow tables . The hash is split into two 7-byte pieces, which allows attacks to be performed against each piece at the same time. This also means that if the password is shorter than 7 characters, the last half of the hash will be a constant value. The password is converted to uppercase before hashing, which reduces the keyspace. The LM hash is computed by padding or truncating the password to 14 characters, splitting it into two halves, and then usin

CredDump: Extract Credentials from Windows Registry Hives

This is just a short post to talk about a new tool I've developed, called CredDump . CredDump is a pure- Python implementation of the bkhive/samdump2 , lsadump2 , and cachedump utilities commonly used to audit Windows password security. Why re-implement these tools? Well, for one thing, I like Python, and wanted to learn the details of how they all worked. Much more importantly though, this tool is completely cross-platform and requires only the registry hives recovered from the system to operate. Most other tools currently available rely on some aspect of Windows to provide their functionality. For example: lsadump2 calls advapi32.LsarQuerySecret to obtain the unencrypted LSA secrets. cachedump searches through the address space of lsass.exe to obtain the unencrypted LSA key, and uses advapi32.SystemFunction005 to decrypt the value of NL$KM with it. Cain & Abel is the closest to operating entirely offline, but still uses advapi32.SystemFunction005 to do the de

Keys Open by Hive

Quick addendum: I thought it might also be fun to post how many keys were open in each hive (this is for xp-laptop-2005-07-04-1430.img -- and sorry for the huge amount of space, Blogger's auto-formatting seems to get confused around tables): Hive Key Count [...]a\Microsoft\Windows\UsrClass.dat 1 [...]Settings\LocalService\NTUSER.DAT 7 [...]WINDOWS\system32\config\SECURITY 11 [...]1\WINDOWS\system32\config\system 1122 [...]a\Microsoft\Windows\UsrClass.dat 1 [...]ts and Settings\Sarah\NTUSER.DAT 147 [...]a\Microsoft\Windows\UsrClass.dat 1 [...]\WINDOWS\system32\config\default 25 [...]ttings\NetworkService\NTUSER.DAT 4 [...]ume1\WINDOWS\system32\config\SAM 14 [NONAME] 4 [NONAME] 4 [...]WINDOWS\system32\config\software 2657

Reading Open Keys

Last time , we found out how to find information about loaded registry hives in Windows memory dumps. However, just knowing what hives are loaded may not be particularly useful. To fill out our view of the state of the system's registry, we will also want to get information about registry keys currently open in the Configuration Manager. To start, though, we will need to know a little bit more about how the Configuration Manager represents keys in memory. Each open key is represented by a Key Control Block. Key Control Blocks, or KCBs, store a number of pieces of metadata about the key, such as the name, last write time, pointers to the cached values contained in the key (recall that the registry is essentially a filesystem, where keys act as folders and values are the files). To see precisely what information we can get about a key from its KCB, we can look at the _CM_KEY_CONTROL_BLOCK structure in Windbg: lkd> dt nt!_CM_KEY_CONTROL_BLOCK +0x000 RefCount : Uint2B

Enumerating Registry Hives

The Windows registry can be an important forensic resource. Harlan Carvey has written extensively on various aspects of registry analysis, and is even considering writing a book on the topic. I have already written about attempting to extract hives from memory ; in this post, we will again look at registry hives in Windows memory, but this time in a more top-down fashion, by examining the data structures used to represent hives by the Configuration Manager. A hive is represented by the Windows Configuration Manager using the _CMHIVE data structure. You can examine this structure in detail using the dt command in Windbg: lkd> dt nt!_CMHIVE +0x000 Hive : _HHIVE +0x210 FileHandles : [3] Ptr32 Void +0x21c NotifyList : _LIST_ENTRY +0x224 HiveList : _LIST_ENTRY +0x22c HiveLock : Ptr32 _FAST_MUTEX +0x230 ViewLock : Ptr32 _FAST_MUTEX +0x234 LRUViewListHead : _LIST_ENTRY +0x23c PinViewListHead : _LIST_ENTRY +0x24