OS Credential Dumping: NTDS
Adversaries may attempt to access or create a copy of the Active Directory domain database in order to steal credential information, as well as obtain other information about domain members such as devices, users, and access rights. By default, the NTDS file (NTDS.dit) is located in
%SystemRoot%\NTDS\Ntds.dit of a domain controller.
In addition to looking NTDS files on active Domain Controllers, attackers may search for backups that contain the same or similar information.
The following tools and techniques can be used to enumerate the NTDS file and the contents of the entire Active Directory hashes.
- Volume Shadow Copy
- Using the in-built Windows tool, ntdsutil.exe
|Encrypt Sensitive Information||
Ensure Domain Controller backups are properly secured.
Ensure that local administrator accounts have complex, unique passwords across all systems on the network.
|Privileged Account Management||
Do not put user or admin domain accounts in the local administrator groups across systems unless they are tightly controlled, as this is often equivalent to having a local administrator account with the same password on all systems. Follow best practices for design and administration of an enterprise network to limit privileged account use across administrative tiers.
Limit credential overlap across accounts and systems by training users and administrators not to use the same password for multiple accounts.
Monitor processes and command-line arguments for program execution that may be indicative of credential dumping, especially attempts to access or copy the NTDS.dit.
- Wikipedia. (2018, March 10). Active Directory. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
- Metcalf, S. (2015, January 19). Attackers Can Now Use Mimikatz to Implant Skeleton Key on Domain Controllers & BackDoor Your Active Directory Forest. Retrieved February 3, 2015.
- Cycraft. (2020, April 15). APT Group Chimera - APT Operation Skeleton key Targets Taiwan Semiconductor Vendors. Retrieved August 24, 2020.
- byt3bl33d3r. (2018, September 8). SMB: Command Reference. Retrieved July 17, 2020.
- US-CERT. (2018, March 16). Alert (TA18-074A): Russian Government Cyber Activity Targeting Energy and Other Critical Infrastructure Sectors. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
- US-CERT. (2017, October 20). Alert (TA17-293A): Advanced Persistent Threat Activity Targeting Energy and Other Critical Infrastructure Sectors. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
- Core Security. (n.d.). Impacket. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
- LOLBAS. (n.d.). Esentutl.exe. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
- Cary, M.. (2018, December 6). Locked File Access Using ESENTUTL.exe. Retrieved September 5, 2019.
- FireEye Threat Intelligence. (2016, April). Follow the Money: Dissecting the Operations of the Cyber Crime Group FIN6. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
- McKeague, B. et al. (2019, April 5). Pick-Six: Intercepting a FIN6 Intrusion, an Actor Recently Tied to Ryuk and LockerGoga Ransomware. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
- SecureAuth. (n.d.). Retrieved January 15, 2019.
- Magius, J., et al. (2017, July 19). Koadic. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
- Kimberly Goody, Jeremy Kennelly, Joshua Shilko, Steve Elovitz, Douglas Bienstock. (2020, October 28). Unhappy Hour Special: KEGTAP and SINGLEMALT With a Ransomware Chaser. Retrieved October 28, 2020.