SourceFire Security Intelligence Feed Info

I’ve had my hands on some Cisco FireSight/FirePower gear for a few months.  I spent some time digging for some info on the SourceFire Security Intelligence Feed categories, and sources for the addresses included in the feed.  Basically, I wanted a better description for some of the categories (although most of them are self-explanatory), and i wanted to know where they were aggregating information aside from what is populated by VRT/Talos.  It wasn’t the most readily available information when I was searching for it, so I’m sharing some of what I found here.

As it turns out, if you SSH in to your FireSight (previously known as Defense Center) host and view rep_dd.yaml from the /var/sf/iprep_download/ directory, there are some longer explanations given for what each category is and the sources.  Here is a consolidated list of the sources and categories:

VRT Intelligence Service A comprehensive blacklist for enterprise users that contains information on botnets, exploit sites, malicious URLs, and other nefarious activity.This is a proprietary list of addresses that is maintained by the VRT team (now known as Talos at Cisco).
Feodo Tracker A continually updated list of all malicious Feodo/Cridex/Bugat sites catalogued at
Malware Domain List A continually updated list of all malicious URLs offered by the free service
Palevo Tracker A Continually updates list of all malicious Palevo sites catalogued at
SpyEye Tracker A continually updated list of all malicious SpyEye sites catalogued at
ZeuS Tracker A continually updated list of all malicious ZeuS sites catalogued at
Attackers Hosts that are continually scanning for vulnerabilities or attempting to exploit other systems
Bogon IP Addresses that are known to not be allocated but are sending traffic
Bots Hosts that are actively participating as part of a botnet, and are being controlled by a known botnet contoller
CnC Hosts that have been identified as the controllering servers for a known Botnet
Malware Hosts that are attempting to propogate malware or are actively attacking anyone who visits them
Open Proxy Hosts that are known to run Open Web Proxies and offer anonymous web browsing services
Open Relay Hosts that are known to offer anonymous email relaying services used by spam and phishing attackers
Phishing Hosts that are actively attempting to trick end users into entering confidential information like usernames and passwords
Response Addresses that have been repeatedly observed engaging in suspicious or malicious behaviorOr, as @JoelEsler said when I asked him on twitter – “The Response category is where we send things to die. :)  Those are specifically from the research team and are active campaigns.”
Spam Hosts that have been identified as the source of sending spam email messages
Suspicious Hosts that are displaying suspicious activity and are under active investigation
Tor Exit Nodes Hosts known to offer exit node services for the Tor Anonymizer network

This info may be blatantly obvious, but after correlating Sources to Categories:

  • Feodo Tracker addresses are always CnC
  • Malware Domain List addresses are always Malware
  • Palevo Tracker addresses are always CnC
  • Zeus Tracker addresses are always CnC, and they’re the 2nd most populated list right now
  • There are no SpyEye addresses, but I assume they would also be CnC
  • The VRT Intel list contains more addresses than any other list (by far) at over 10,000 entries, and they are from all categories with the exception of Bogon, Open Proxy, Open Relay, and Suspicious, which are each empty lists at the moment.
SourceFire Security Intelligence Feed Info

SANS Pen Test 2015 Challenge

Here is my writeup for the SANS Pen Test 2015 Challenge (

Challenge 1

Alice has sent Bob an encrypted file. Find it, decrypt it, and find the secret inside.

Look in the alice.pcap file to answer this question.

Hint: Alice is often quite chatty with Bob, and phrases she references could be useful to use as passwords (or passphrases). You won’t need to use wordlists, mutation, or brute-force of any kind to decrypt the encrypted file.

Whenever I come across a pcap, and I don’t know exactly what I’m looing for,  I like open it with three different tools almost immediately – Wireshark, NetworkMiner, and Cain&Abel.  For this challenge, most of my work was done in Wireshark, but it’s worth mentioning the other two tools because they have their own unique uses (and we will use Cain a little later on to get our hands on some NTLMv2 Hahses).

Start by opening alice.pcap in Wireshark.  We know that Alice and Bob like to chat, and we can see at Frame 125 that the machine with IP Address sent a DNS query for  After that, we can see communication over HTTP that includes the IRC chat session.  After a little inspection, I built this Wireshark Filter to show me the most interesting parts of that HTTP communication:

http and !(frame.len == 568) and !(frame.len == 212) and !(frame.len == 221) and !(frame.len == 567)

Removing the frames with lengths 568, 212, 221, and 567 result in most of the irrelevant Protocol overhead being stripped from view

In frame 133 we see the IRC nickname “AL1C3” sent to the IRC server, so we assume that Alice’s computer is  AL1CE joins the #shmoocon channel and proceeds to have a series of Private Messages with “I_am_Bob”.  If you parse out the conversation from the HTTP data, this is what you find:

PRIVMSG #shmoocon :I_am_Bob: Hi there, Bob! You heading off to Shmoo next weekend?

[[“c”,”PRIVMSG”,”I_am_Bob!475c7352@gateway/web/freenode/ip.″,[“#shmoocon”,”AL1C3: Oh, wow, is that coming up already? I haven’t even looked at the schedule yet.”]]]

PRIVMSG #shmoocon :I_am_Bob: That’s a shame! There’s lots of excitement going on. Talks, events, labs… I even hear there’s some kind of challenge involving placeholder names used in crypto.

PRIVMSG #shmoocon :I_am_Bob: Oh, and my favorite, there’s a game going on that blends game hacking, first-person shooting, and role-playing mechanics!

[[“c”,”PRIVMSG”,”I_am_Bob!475c7352@gateway/web/freenode/ip.″,[“#shmoocon”,”AL1C3: That does sound fun! I’ll definitely be there. What’s the name of that event, by the way?”]]]

PRIVMSG #shmoocon :I_am_Bob: You’ll have to check the website yourself ;)

PRIVMSG #shmoocon :I_am_Bob: By the way, I’ll send you my latest message via SMB and an encrypted zip file, per our normal protocol. Silly eavesdroppers…

PRIVMSG #shmoocon :I_am_Bob: See you soon!

[[“c”,”PRIVMSG”,”I_am_Bob!475c7352@gateway/web/freenode/ip.″,[“#shmoocon”,”AL1C3: Got it, thanks!”]]]

PRIVMSG #shmoocon :I_am_Bob: My pleasure

Now we know that a file has been transferred using SMB.  In Wireshark, click File → Export Objects → SMB, and we see the “another_message.7z” that Alice referenced in her IRC message to Bob.  We also see some other very suspicious files, “not_exactly_inconspicious.exe” and “WSGvXjhn.exe”, being transferred to Bob’s PC, so we should probably save those for further analysis later.

Now that we have Alice’s encrypted zip file, we need to open it.  The hint said that phrases she references might be useful as passwords or passphrases.  At this point, I began trying words and phrases copied directly from Alice’s chat session.  Eventually, after many failed attempts, I went to to find the game that Alice referenced as being her favorite.  That event was called “Ghost in the Shellcode”.  When that is used as a passphrase, it will decrypt the zip.

The secret is: Build It, Belay It, and Bring It On/


Challenge 2

Carol has used Firefox for Android to search for, browse, and save a particular image. A compressed copy of her /data/data/org.mozilla.firefox folder is in the question_assets folder, named “org.mozilla.firefox.tgz”. Find the serial number of the lens used to take the download picture, which is the secret for this question.

Hint: You may have to use resources outside the org.mozilla.firefox folder to fully answer this question.

7zip can open the “org.mozilla.firefox.tgz” file, as well as the “org.mozilla.firefox.tar” that is found inside.  Once we have the uncompressed “org.mozilla.firefox” directory, we need to look for the downloads.sqlite file to look for the file she downloaded.  That file is located in \files\mozilla\9tnld04f.default, and can be opened with the free version of SQLite Manager.

When you open downloads.sqlite with SQLite Manager, and view the moz_downloads table, you can see that Carol (a fan of Star Wars, and Han Solo in particular) downloaded a photo of Harrison Ford at the 2013 Comic Con from the CBS San Francisco WordPress site:



"Ender's Game" Press Conference

The challenge asks for the Serial Number of the Lens used to take the picture.  That information can be gathered from the exif data stored inside the 173974131.jpg file.  Download a copy of the file, and run the command below in a Terminal to display exif data.  the 64th line of the output is the Lense Serial Number.

exiftool /root/173974131.jpg

ExifTool Version Number         : 8.60

File Name                       : 173974131.jpg

Directory                       : /root

File Size                       : 362 kB

File Modification Date/Time     : 2015:02:11 20:11:38-05:00

File Permissions                : rw-r–r–

File Type                       : JPEG

MIME Type                       : image/jpeg

JFIF Version                    : 1.01

Exif Byte Order                 : Little-endian (Intel, II)

Photometric Interpretation      : RGB

Image Description               : SAN DIEGO, CA – JULY 18:  Actor Harrison Ford onstage at the “Ender’s Game” press conference during Comic-Con International 2013 at San Diego Convention Center on July 18, 2013 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Summit Entertainment)

Make                            : Canon

Camera Model Name               : Canon EOS-1D X

Orientation                     : Horizontal (normal)

Samples Per Pixel               : 3

X Resolution                    : 200

Y Resolution                    : 200

Resolution Unit                 : inches

Software                        : Adobe Photoshop CS5 Macintosh

Modify Date                     : 2013:07:19 08:42:00

Artist                          : Joe Scarnici

Y Cb Cr Positioning             : Co-sited

Copyright                       : 2013 Getty Images

Exposure Time                   : 1/160

F Number                        : 2.8

Exposure Program                : Manual

ISO                             : 3200

Sensitivity Type                : Recommended Exposure Index

Recommended Exposure Index      : 3200

Exif Version                    : 0230

Date/Time Original              : 2012:01:25 04:21:28

Create Date                     : 2012:01:25 04:21:28

Components Configuration        : Y, Cb, Cr, –

Shutter Speed Value             : 1/166

Aperture Value                  : 2.8

Exposure Compensation           : 0

Max Aperture Value              : 2.8

Subject Distance                : 7.06 m

Metering Mode                   : Multi-segment

Flash                           : Off, Did not fire

Focal Length                    : 102.0 mm

User Comment                    :

Sub Sec Time                    : 56

Sub Sec Time Original           : 56

Sub Sec Time Digitized          : 56

Flashpix Version                : 0100

Color Space                     : sRGB

Exif Image Width                : 1000

Exif Image Height               : 758

Interoperability Index          : R98 – DCF basic file (sRGB)

Interoperability Version        : 0100

Focal Plane X Resolution        : 3545.827633

Focal Plane Y Resolution        : 3526.530612

Focal Plane Resolution Unit     : inches

Custom Rendered                 : Normal

Exposure Mode                   : Manual

White Balance                   : Auto

Scene Capture Type              : Standard

Owner Name                      :

Serial Number                   : 088015001238

Lens Info                       : 70-200mm f/0

Lens Model                      : EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

Lens Serial Number              : 0000c15998

GPS Version ID                  :

Compression                     : JPEG (old-style)

Thumbnail Offset                : 1752

Thumbnail Length                : 5243

Current IPTC Digest             : 4070c4df48c719664a9df0314ac3ea16

Coded Character Set             : UTF8

Application Record Version      : 4

Caption-Abstract                : SAN DIEGO, CA – JULY 18:  Actor Harrison Ford onstage at the “Ender’s Game” press conference during Comic-Con International 2013 at San Diego Convention Center on July 18, 2013 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Summit Entertainment)

Writer-Editor                   : hg

Headline                        : “Ender’s Game” Press Conference

By-line                         : Joe Scarnici

By-line Title                   : Stringer

Credit                          : Getty Images for Summit Entertai

Source                          : Getty Images North America

Object Name                     : 174014009HG00008_Ender_s_Ga

Date Created                    : 2013:07:18

Time Created                    : 00:00:00+00:00

City                            : San Diego

Sub-location                    : San Diego Convention Center

Province-State                  : CA

Country-Primary Location Name   : United States

Country-Primary Location Code   : USA

Original Transmission Reference : 174014009

Category                        : E

Supplemental Categories         : ACE, CEL, ENT

Urgency                         : 2

Keywords                        : Celebrities

Copyright Notice                : 2013 Getty Images

IPTC Digest                     : 4070c4df48c719664a9df0314ac3ea16

Displayed Units X               : inches

Displayed Units Y               : inches

Global Angle                    : 30

Global Altitude                 : 30

Photoshop Thumbnail             : (Binary data 5243 bytes, use -b option to extract)

Photoshop Quality               : 12

Photoshop Format                : Standard

Progressive Scans               : 3 Scans

Profile CMM Type                : Lino

Profile Version                 : 2.1.0

Profile Class                   : Display Device Profile

Color Space Data                : RGB

Profile Connection Space        : XYZ

Profile Date Time               : 1998:02:09 06:49:00

Profile File Signature          : acsp

Primary Platform                : Microsoft Corporation

CMM Flags                       : Not Embedded, Independent

Device Manufacturer             : IEC

Device Model                    : sRGB

Device Attributes               : Reflective, Glossy, Positive, Color

Rendering Intent                : Media-Relative Colorimetric

Connection Space Illuminant     : 0.9642 1 0.82491

Profile Creator                 : HP

Profile ID                      : 0

Profile Copyright               : Copyright (c) 1998 Hewlett-Packard Company

Profile Description             : sRGB IEC61966-2.1

Media White Point               : 0.95045 1 1.08905

Media Black Point               : 0 0 0

Red Matrix Column               : 0.43607 0.22249 0.01392

Green Matrix Column             : 0.38515 0.71687 0.09708

Blue Matrix Column              : 0.14307 0.06061 0.7141

Device Mfg Desc                 : IEC

Device Model Desc               : IEC 61966-2.1 Default RGB colour space – sRGB

Viewing Cond Desc               : Reference Viewing Condition in IEC61966-2.1

Viewing Cond Illuminant         : 19.6445 20.3718 16.8089

Viewing Cond Surround           : 3.92889 4.07439 3.36179

Viewing Cond Illuminant Type    : D50

Luminance                       : 76.03647 80 87.12462

Measurement Observer            : CIE 1931

Measurement Backing             : 0 0 0

Measurement Geometry            : Unknown (0)

Measurement Flare               : 0.999%

Measurement Illuminant          : D65

Technology                      : Cathode Ray Tube Display

Red Tone Reproduction Curve     : (Binary data 2060 bytes, use -b option to extract)

Green Tone Reproduction Curve   : (Binary data 2060 bytes, use -b option to extract)

Blue Tone Reproduction Curve    : (Binary data 2060 bytes, use -b option to extract)

Image Width                     : 1000

Image Height                    : 758

Encoding Process                : Baseline DCT, Huffman coding

Bits Per Sample                 : 8

Color Components                : 3

Y Cb Cr Sub Sampling            : YCbCr4:4:4 (1 1)

Aperture                        : 2.8

Date/Time Created               : 2013:07:18 00:00:00+00:00

Image Size                      : 1000×758

Scale Factor To 35 mm Equivalent: 4.8

Shutter Speed                   : 1/160

Create Date                     : 2012:01:25 04:21:28.56

Date/Time Original              : 2012:01:25 04:21:28.56

Modify Date                     : 2013:07:19 08:42:00.56

Thumbnail Image                 : (Binary data 5243 bytes, use -b option to extract)

Circle Of Confusion             : 0.006 mm

Depth Of Field                  : 0.17 m (6.98 – 7.14)

Field Of View                   : 4.2 deg

Focal Length                    : 102.0 mm (35 mm equivalent: 490.0 mm)

Hyperfocal Distance             : 594.07 m

Light Value                     : 5.3



The Lens Serial Number is 0000c15998



Challenge 3

Dave messed up and deleted his only copy of an MP3 file. He’d really appreciate it if you could retrieve it for him – look inside svn_2015.dump.gz to get started.

Once you’ve recovered the audio file, look at it carefully to find the secret.

This file is a dump of an Apache Subversion Repository.  One way to recover data from this file is to create a new Subversion Repository and load this dump into it.  Since I don’t really need the full repo I’m going to just carve it up with a text editor. For example, if we open it in Notepad++ and scroll down to line 212, we can see that Revision 2 included an audio file named shmooster.mp3.


Just delete everything from the start of the file until line 243 (the “PROPS-END” line) and from until line 7326 (just before the “Revision-Number 3” line) until the end of the file, and save it as shmooster.mp3.  After you create the file, you can confirm its content by running a SHA1 or MD5 hash against it and comparing it to the results on lines 235 or 236 in the above screenshot.

When you listen to the mp3, it says:

Which of the following would you most prefer?


  • A – A puppy
  • B – A pretty flower from your sweetie


  •  C – A large properly formatted data file



                 You have failed this Reverse Turning test.  Now suffer the consequences.  

The next few paragraphs on MP3Stego don’t actually help solve the challenge – it was a dead end, but a learning experience!

The challenge said to look at the MP3 file carefully to find the secret.  There were no ID3 tags included in the file, and no exif data of any use.  Text files can be hidden in MP3s using the MP3Stego program, and the audio portion of the file may be a hint to the password.  When you use the password is “c”, a text file is successfully extracted.  Using MP3Stego we need to execute:

Decode.exe –X –P c \path\to\shmooster.mp3

The result is:

Input file = ‘C:\path\to\shmooster.mp3’  output file = ‘mp3’

Will attempt to extract hidden information. Output: C:\path\to\shmooster.mp3.txt

the bit stream file C:\path\to\shmooster.mp3 is a BINARY file

HDR: s=FFF, id=1, l=3, ep=off, br=E, sf=1, pd=0, pr=0, m=3, js=0, c=0, o=1, e=0

alg.=MPEG-1, layer=III, tot bitrate=320, sfrq=48.0

mode=single-ch, sblim=32, jsbd=32, ch=1

Frame cannot be located

Input stream may be empty

Avg slots/frame = 960.002; b/smp = 6.67; br = 320.001 kbps

Decoding of “C:\path\to\shmooster.mp3” is finished

The decoded PCM output file name is “mp3”

The shmooster.mp3.txt file that is extracted contains the string of ASCII characters shown in the picture below.  I could not get that string to work, in combination with the other passwords, to open the file.  I tried almost countless manipulations by converting to Hex, Binary, Base64 encode/decode, URL encoding, etc, and could not get anything to work.



Is it an odd coincidence that text is successfully extracted using the password “c” with MP3Stego or did Dave intentionally embed bad information to keep his adversaries occupied with a red herring?  I talked with the challenge author about this, and it turns out that this successful text extraction was a False Positive from the MP3Stego decode program.  I attempted several other passwords before trying “c”, and all of them resulted in an error and no txt file extracted.

The real solution to Challenge 3 is to open the mp3 in Audacity and use the Spectrogram view to reveal a hidden QR code.  The settings that I used were: Windows Size: 512, Window Type: Hannning, Min Freq -, Max Freq 20000, Gain 80, Range 10, Freq Gain 1, a Grayscale Colors.  Below is a screenshot:



When you scan that QR code, the text “3e9cd9ea80d80606” is displayed.


The Secret in Challenge 3 is 3e9cd9ea80d80606



Challenge 4

Eve suspects that one of Alice, Bob, or Carol might not be as innocent as they seem. She’ll need your help to prove it, however. Examine the other three questions and their included files. Which user, based off their malicious behavior, might be a Cylon?

Once you know who it is, find that user’s password, which is the secret for this question.

Based on the additional files that Alice dropped on Bob’s PC, it’s fairly obvious that Alice isn’t very innocent.  At frame 1016 of the pcap, we can see that Alice started flooding Bob’s PC with TCP Resets.  We can also see in Frame 712’s DHCP request and the various SMB NTLMSSP_NEGOTIATE and NTLMSSP_AUTH frames (i.e. Frames 801, 803, 3336, 3338, etc) that Alice’s Host Name is “KALI”, which is a well-known and powerful Linux Security Distro.

If we open alice.pcap in Cain & Abel, and go to the Sniffer → Passwords Tab, we can see that Cain successfully extracted a bunch of hashes from Alice’s password from the pcap.  Unfortunately, they are NTLMv2 hashes, and cracking them (even using a very efficient tool like oclHashcat with power GPUs) is not likely to happen in a timely manner.  Out of curiosity, I did upload the hashes to an Amazon Web Services G2.2XLarge instance to see if they could be brute forced, but didn’t have any luck.  The maximum length I ran was 6 characters (which takes about 4 hours).  Beyond that, 7 characters takes a few days and 8 characters takes years.  Had Alice’s password been 6 characters or less, I could have recovered it with oclHashcat.  Below are the steps you would take to get oclHashcat running on an Amazon Web Services GPU Instance, and crack with oclHashcat:

First, you need to get an AWS account if you don’t already have one, and launch a GPU Instance (as of Feb 2015, it’s called an G2.2xlarge, and the OS it runs is Amazon Linux AMI).  As of now, it costs about $0.60 per hour to run.  Follow Amazon’s steps for authenticating to the console using SSH and a private key file (either PEM, or PPK if you’re using PuTTy).  To get oclHashcat (actually, cudaHashcat since we’re using nVidia GPUs) running, I needed to remove the nVidia driver that’s pre-installed, and install a driver directly from nVidia.  If you don’t have a proper driver, you will receive cuModuleLoad()209 errors when you try to execute the program .  Run these commands:

First, download 7zip and cudaHashcat:



Install 7zip:

sudo rpm -ivh p7zip-9.20.1-2.el6.x86_64.rpm

extract the cudaHashcat compressed 7z file:

7za x cudaHashcat-1.32.7z

delete the driver:

sudo yum erase nvidia cudatoolkit

download the driver from nVidia and run it:


sudo /home/ec2-user/

To extract the NTLMv2 Hashes from Cain and put them in the correct format for oclHashcat, you can take the NTLMv2.LST file from Cain’s installation directory and run this AWK command against it:

awk -v OFS=”:” -F “\t” ‘{print($1,””,$2,$5,$4,$6)}’ NTLMv2.LST > ntlmv2.hashes

You can also do this manually, but running that command makes it easy (especially when dealing with many hashes).  Here is an example of the proper format for the 3 hashes captured from alice.pcap:




Upload the NTLMv2.hashes file to your Amazon GPU instance.  I like to use WinSCP for this.

To brute force the NTLMv2 hashes with oclHashcat (implemented as a Mask Attack), using either a lowercase alpha, uppercase alpha, number, or special character in each position, you would run each of these commands (first command for a 1 character password length, second for a 2 character password length, etc.), and wait for the results:

sudo ./cudaHashcat64.bin -m5600 -a 3 ntlmv2.hashes ?a

sudo ./cudaHashcat64.bin -m5600 -a 3 ntlmv2.hashes ?a?a

sudo ./cudaHashcat64.bin -m5600 -a 3 ntlmv2.hashes ?a?a?a

sudo ./cudaHashcat64.bin -m5600 -a 3 ntlmv2.hashes ?a?a?a?a

sudo ./cudaHashcat64.bin -m5600 -a 3 ntlmv2.hashes ?a?a?a?a?a

sudo ./cudaHashcat64.bin -m5600 -a 3 ntlmv2.hashes ?a?a?a?a?a?a

oclHashcat can also perform dictionary attacks.  Since the note from Challenge 1 mentioned that Alice mentions her passwords when she chats with Bob, I built a quick dictionary from their IRC conversations.  That also didn’t result in a cracked Hash, but a dictionary file based on good reconnaissance or social engineering is always worth a try.

Ultimately, finding Alice’s password was accomplished by looking through the pcap file after she compromises Bob’s PC.  In Frame 3999, we can see a connection from Bob’s PC back to Alice’s PC over TCP Port 4444.  Alice is running the “not_exactly_inconspicious.exe” application, which turns out to be Windows Credentials Editor.  It reveals that Alice’s password is “iamnumbersix”.  Bob’s password is “Carol_is_my_favorite”, and Alice isn’t very happy about that.


If we take Alice’s password that we just recovered, iamnumbersix, and add it to a dictionary file, we can run it through oclHashcat and crack the NTLMv2 hashes with it to confirm it is valid.

[ec2-user@ip-172-31-43-9 cudaHashcat-1.32]$ sudo ./cudaHashcat64.bin -m 5600 -a 3 ntlmv2.hashes /home/ec2-user/password.txt

cudaHashcat v1.32 starting…

Device #1: GRID K520, 4095MB, 797Mhz, 8MCU

Hashes: 3 hashes; 3 unique digests, 3 unique salts

Bitmaps: 8 bits, 256 entries, 0x000000ff mask, 1024 bytes

Applicable Optimizers:

* Zero-Byte

* Not-Iterated

* Brute-Force

Watchdog: Temperature abort trigger set to 90c

Watchdog: Temperature retain trigger set to 80c

Device #1: Kernel ./kernels/4318/m05600_a3.sm_30.64.ptx

Device #1: Kernel ./kernels/4318/markov_le_v1.64.ptx

INFO: approaching final keyspace, workload adjusted


















Session.Name…: cudaHashcat

Status………: Cracked

Input.Mode…..: Mask (iamnumbersix) [12] (0.00%)

Hash.Target….: File (ntlmv2.hashes)

Hash.Type……: NetNTLMv2

Time.Started…: 0 secs

Speed.GPU.#1…:        0 H/s

Recovered……: 3/3 (100.00%) Digests, 3/3 (100.00%) Salts

Progress…….: 3/3 (100.00%)

Skipped……..: 0/3 (0.00%)

Rejected…….: 0/3 (0.00%)

HWMon.GPU.#1…:  0% Util, 35c Temp, -1% Fan

Started: Tue Feb 10 20:12:01 2015

Stopped: Tue Feb 10 20:12:03 2015

Alice’s password is: iamnumbersix

When you combine all of the passwords, you can decrypt the zip file using the passphrase:

Build It, Belay It, and Bring It On/0000c159983e9cd9ea80d80606iamnumbersix

And that reveals the Phrase That Pays: “The narwhal bacons at midnight.”



SANS Pen Test 2015 Challenge

How I used ADHD (the linux distro, not the disorder) to Phish my Coworkers

[This is a little phishing exercise that I went through a while back.  Since I’ve got a blog now, I figured I might as well share it.]

Why ADHD and not something else?

There was a time, well over a year ago, when I thought about running an internal phishing campaign on my coworkers to see how many of them are falling for the temptations of links and attachments coupled with a promise of something that appeals to them.  Back then, I had a quick look at the Simple Phishing Toolkit (sptoolkit).  Sptoolkit looked promising, but I was sidetracked and never got back to exploring the functionality or testing it out. More recently, when I got back on the phishing bandwagon, I had a look at the Social Engineering Toolkit (SET).  SET is a great tool, but when it comes to phishing my coworkers, SET does a little more than what I was looking for.  I didn’t actually want to send a malicious payload.  Plus, there’s a good chance that some of our defensive measures would get in the way of the out-of-the-box payloads included in SET.  I just wanted simple reporting on random link clicking and attachment opening.

Enter ADHD….

Back in early 2014, I was at a SANS conference in Orlando, and I was taking 504 with John Strand, and he spent some time talking about the tools included in the Active Defense Harbinger Distribution (ADHD).  One of the tools included in ADHD is a Web Bug Server for tracking when a document is opened.  No macros or trickery required.  Just a .doc file with some embedded HTML that calls home to a webserver.  Cool…there’s my pre-built solution for tracking people opening up random attachments.

What about reporting for just hyperlinks and not attachment opening?  As it turns out, you can very easily use the Web Bug Server for tracking those too.  When a Web Bug document is opened, the embedded HTML calls home to:


The URL query string is set to type=css or type=img depending on what part of the embedded HTML inside the Web Bug Doc is calling back to the Web Bug Server.  That’s the out-of-the-box functionality provided when ADHD is installed.  You can modify the URL so that the “type=xxx” has a different string of characters to indicate that your phishing target has clicked on a link.  A unique “type=xxx” will indicate what the user did to connect back to your Web Bug Server. I used a few different custom urls when I built my phishing links, and you’ll see them in the screenshots below.

The Setup

Here’s my quick and easy setup for phishing my coworkers.


Email.vbs is a simple VB Script for sending an email with an attachment.  I’m sure there are many ways to do this, but this is what I used:



Vacation2014.doc is the Web Bug Doc that I created using ADHD, and then modified for my needs.  Here’s what mine looks like in a text editor:vacationdoc


Correlating each hit on the Web Bug Server with a specific employee

Each employee was assigned an ID number between 1 and n, where n is the total number of employees.

I created n number of emailn.vbs and Vacation2014n.doc.  In each emailn.vbs and Vacation2014n.doc, the urls for each link were modified to have id=n.  In each emailn.vbs, the objMessage.To line was modified so that the email was sent to the employee assigned that ID number, and the objMessage.AddAttachment line was modified so that the correct Vacation2014n.doc was attached.

That gives me a relatively solid way of knowing which employee opened the attachment and/or clicked the link.  There is certainly the possibility that one employee forwarded their email to a second employee and that the hits on the Web Bug Server for each ID number were not necessarily hits from the employee that was originally assigned that ID.  If you wanted more solid proof, you could correlate the IP that each Web Bug Server hit came from with the user logged in to that computer at the time the hit happened.  For now, my low-tech, quick and easy method is fine for my needs.

It’s worth noting that the original intention (at least, my understanding of the original intention) for the id=n field is to identify which document was calling back to the ADHD server.  Remember that my use of ADHD for a phishing campaign is slightly outside of the intended purpose when the distro and tools were built.

Multiple URLs to provide more accurate data

 While you were looking at the screenshots above, you may have noticed that there are several different URLs used in the body of the email, and in the Web Bug document.  Let’s take a quick look at each of them.  I’ll start with the 4 that are used in the Vacation2014.doc.

This is the first URL we see:

<LINK REL=”stylesheet” HREF=”hxxp://”> generated automatically by ADHD when the Web Bug Doc is created.  The IP address ( is the address of my ADHD server. “id=141” is used to correlate that hit on the Web Bug Server with employee number 141 (an ID number that we assigned earlier).  “type=css” indicates that the embedded HTML in the Web Bug Doc called back to the Web Bug Server looking for a stylesheet.

Here is the second URL in the Vacation2014.doc:

<a href=”hxxp://”>Click here</a>

This time, the URL is displays as a link in an attempt to get the recipient to click on it.  I’m using “type=url” to indicate that it was a plaintext URL that’s easily readable by a human (if they take the time to view the URL before just clicking the “click here!” text.

Here’s the third URL in the document:


In this URL, some of the characters have been encoded to make them less-easily readable by the human recipient.  It’s worth mentioning that the same encoding techniques are used in other scenarios to evade IDS/IPS signatures, but I just wanted to do something to make the actual destination less clear to the person viewing it.  “type=enc” is used to indicate that the encoded URL was used.  When I tried to click this link in Microsoft Word 2010, it didn’t work.  I assume that Word simply won’t open encoded URLs.  For that reason, the document instructs the user “try copy and pasting this into your web browser’s address bar…”.

Finally the last URL in the document is this:

<IMG SRC=”hxxp://” width=”1″ height=”1″>

Like the first URL, this one was also automatically generated when the Web Bug Doc was created in ADHD.  “type=img” indicates that the request to the Web Bug Server came from the embedded image source tag.

In the email message body, there is only 1 URL.  It’s at the very end of the message, and it’s proceeded by a note: “If that doesn’t work, try going here for help:”


This URL has also been encoded, and the “type=hlp” indicates to me that the message recipient couldn’t find what they were looking for at all of the other places, and they have fallen for the last and final link to get help.  It’s worth noting that Outlook 2010 (like Word mentioned above) also will not link directly to this encoded URL.  The recipient probably would have needed to copy and paste the link.  I have not tested with any other mail clients.

Here’s the bait

 When you start casting your phishing bait, here’s what the recipients will receive.



Yes, this all looks incredibly suspicious, and it has tell-tale signs of a phish.  It may need to look much more professional to be successful, but part of my intention was to see how many people fell for a relatively obvious scam.

Reviewing the catch from the latest phishing expedition

 When the Web Bug Doc calls back to the server, or the recipient clicks one of the other links, the Web Bug Server on ADHD creates an entry in a database.  Below is an example of Employee ID Number 141 being very curious.



Unfortunately, I can’t share the full results of my phishing campaign.  However, I can say that the percentage of employees that were tricked enough to have at least 1 check-in on the ADHD server was not insignificant, and there was representation from nearly every business unit.


Use better bait to catch more phish!

 A few ideas for improving the success rate…

1 – If you control DNS for your network, poison it.  Don’t get crazy and poison the record for a popular website.  Instead, make a bogus entry for something that doesn’t exist.  I redacted the Sender address that I used in the screenshots that were shown earlier, but I used a “believable” domain name that was in the format  I say it’s believable because I was trying to entice my recipients with pictures from vacation.  For a number of reasons, I double-checked ahead of time to make sure that the domain I was spoofing wasn’t actually registered to anyone.  If you can make a bogus DNS entry, then you don’t need to rely on URLs that included an IP address

2 – If you have the time, money, and energy, then go ahead and register a Domain name and stand up a website that makes it look like a legitimate business.  This accomplishes the same improvements that are provided by creating a bogus DNS record.

3 – Make the email look more professional.  I won’t go into details here…I’m sure everyone has a wealth of emails in their inbox that they can reference for ones that look more legitimate and believable than others.

4 – Use (or build) a better tool.  Like I mentioned before, ADHD wasn’t built for phishing – I just took advantage of one of its tools to throw together a quick and dirty phishing test.

5 – Appeal to your recipient’s desires.  I stuck with a relatively benign email trying to get someone to view vacation photos that don’t exist.  The more you know about your target, and the more freedom to have to execute, the better you can socially engineer a “click” out of them.  If you can run recon on a set of employees and craft a phish that appeals to their interests, then your success rate may increase.

6 – Automate, Automate, Automate.  Consider writing a program or script that will automagically modify the email and word templates to have the correct recipient address, ID #, etc.

How I used ADHD (the linux distro, not the disorder) to Phish my Coworkers

I can’t hack it…

…or can I?

I’ve been contemplating the idea of creating a Blog to document some of my experiences and adventures in Information Security, so here we go.

Ultimately, I would like this page to be a source of encouragement for people interested in a career in Info Sec.  As years have gone by, and I’ve continued to learn more, I have found that this often quoted saying holds true: “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know” (usually attributed to Einstein, but I don’t have proof that it came from him).  This has led me to feelings of “Poser Syndrome” or “Imposture Syndrome”, and I’ve heard those same feelings echoed by other folks that work in the Information Security space.  In reality, even the most talented and brilliant minds in Info Sec are still learning new things every single day, and no one should ever feel discouraged by the feeling that they have a lot more to learn before they would consider themselves an “expert” of some kind.

So that brings me to the title and tagline for this Blog – I can’t hack it …or can I?

Stay tuned.

I can’t hack it…