SANS Digital Forensics and Incident Response Blog

SANS Digital Forensics and Incident Response Blog

Monitoring for Delegation Token Theft

Delegation is a powerful feature of Windows authentication which allows one remote system to effectively forward a user's credentials to another remote system. This is sometimes referred to as the "double-hop". This great power does not come without great risk however, as the delegation access tokens used for this purpose can be stolen by attackers and used for lateral movement. As such, it's important to be aware of this ability and to increase monitoring for malicious use of delegation.

In order to monitor delegation activity, you need to identify where delegation is occurring. Then from those in-scope systems where delegation occurs, look for suspicious activity, and potentially identify which users' accounts were actually delegated. I'll take you through these identification steps, but first let's start with a quick refresher on delegation. This should give you most of the background you need, although you can get even more details about the delegation process in

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Detecting DLL Hijacking on Windows

Initially identified fifteen years ago, and clearly articulated by a Microsoft Security Advisory, DLL hijacking is the practice of having a vulnerable application load a malicious library (allowing for the execution of arbitrary code), rather than the legitimate library by placing it at a preferential location as dictated by the Dynamic-Link Library Search Order which is a pre-defined standard on how Microsoft Windows searches for a DLL when the path has not been specified by the developer.

Despite published advice on secure development practices to mitigate this threat, being available for several years, this still remains a problem

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How Miscreants Hide From Browser Forensics

Scammers, intruders and other miscreants often aim to conceal their actions from forensic investigators. When analyzing an IT support scam, I interacted with the person posing as the help desk technician. He brought up a web page on the victim's system to present payment form, so the person would supply contact and credit card details. He did this in a surprising manner, designed to conceal the destination URL.

Just-In-Time VirusTotal Hash Checking

Hardly a day goes by without me hearing the phrase 'Threat Intelligence' being used in the context of big budget enterprise protection, but recently I have been giving some thought to what this means to the home user and small business.

Most computers have (or at least, should have!) up-to-date antivirus software installed which provides a certain degree of protection and gives insight on whether a particular file, or set or circumstances, are suspicious according to vendor X (using signatures, reputation lookup and several other methods), but I'm sure there is more that the open source cyber security community can do to protect itself by leveraging fantastic free resources, such as the VirusTotal Public API.

check_first.exe, a proof of concept
To this end, I've just finished writing a proof-of-concept tool to demonstrate how public threat intelligence APIs can be leveraged to ...

Has the smartphone finally outsmarted us?

I can honestly say that the most common question I am asked by examiners, investigators, students and even my neighbors is, "which phone is the most secure?" Obviously, the concern behind the question varies. Some want to secure their own device, and others, like myself, want to prove everyone in DFIR wrong by cracking into the toughest and most secure devices.

Smartphone security has gotten drastically stronger in 2014. This year, we are expecting even more challenges when examining smartphones. When thinking about the forensic aspects of smartphone security and encryption, we have to consider two things:


  1. How are we going to get access to the data?

  2. Even if we get a dump of the device, can we decrypt and examine the data?

  3. What happens if I can access the data, but the application data is encrypted?


Let's look at a few devices to consider our options. First, Windows Phone 8 (WP8) brought us new issues that ...