Pass the Hash
|Pass the Hash|
|Platform||Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2012, Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Vista, Windows 8.1|
|System Requirements||Requires Microsoft Windows as target system|
|Data Sources||Authentication logs|
Pass the hash (PtH)1 is a method of authenticating as a user without having access to the user's cleartext password. This method bypasses standard authentication steps that require a cleartext password, moving directly into the portion of the authentication that uses the password hash. In this technique, valid password hashes for the account being used are captured using a Credential Access technique. Captured hashes are used with PtH to authenticate as that user. Once authenticated, PtH may be used to perform actions on local or remote systems.
Windows 7 and higher with KB2871997 require valid domain user credentials or RID 500 administrator hashes.2
- The APT1 group is known to have used pass the hash.3
- APT28 has used pass the hash for lateral movement.4
- APT29 used Kerberos ticket attacks for lateral movement.5
- Pass-The-Hash Toolkit can perform pass the hash.3
Monitor systems and domain logs for unusual credential logon activity. Prevent access to Legitimate Credentials. Apply patch KB2871997 to Windows 7 and higher systems to limit the default access of accounts in the local administrator group. Limit credential overlap across systems to prevent the damage of credential compromise and reduce the adversary's ability to perform Lateral Movement between systems. Ensure that built-in and created local administrator accounts have complex, unique passwords. Do not allow a domain user to be in the local administrator group on multiple systems.
Audit all logon and credential use events and review for discrepancies. Unusual remote logins that correlate with other suspicious activity (such as writing and executing binaries) may indicate malicious activity. NTLM LogonType 3 authentications that are not associated to a domain login and are not anonymous logins are suspicious.
- Aorato. (n.d.). Pass-the-Hash. Retrieved November 12, 2014.
- National Security Agency/Central Security Service Information Assurance Directorate. (2013, December 16). Spotting the Adversary with Windows Event Log Monitoring. Retrieved November 12, 2014.
- Mandiant. (n.d.). APT1 Exposing One of China’s Cyber Espionage Units. Retrieved July 18, 2016.