Home > CAPEC List > CAPEC-653: Use of Known Windows Credentials (Version 3.3)  

CAPEC-653: Use of Known Windows Credentials

Attack Pattern ID: 653
Abstraction: Standard
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
An adversary guesses or obtains (i.e. steals or purchases) legitimate Windows domain credentials (e.g. userID/password) to achieve authentication and to perform authorized actions on the domain, under the guise of an authenticated user or service. Attacks leveraging trusted Windows credentials typically result in the adversary laterally moving within the local Windows network, since users are often allowed to login to systems/applications within the domain using their Windows domain password. This domain authentication can occur directly (user typing in their password or PIN) or via Single Sign-On (SSO) or cloud-based authentication, which often don't verify the authenticity of the user's input. Known credentials are usually obtained by an adversary via a system/application breach and/or by purchasing dumps of credentials on the dark web. These credentials may be further gleaned via exposed configuration and properties files that contain system passwords, database connection strings, and other sensitive data. Utilizing known Windows credentials, an adversary can obtain sensitive data from administrator shares, download/install malware on the system, pose as a legitimate user for social engineering purposes, and more. Ultimately, successful spoofing and impersonation of trusted credentials can lead to an adversary breaking authentication, authorization, and audit controls with the target system or application.
+ Likelihood Of Attack

High

+ Typical Severity

High

+ Relationships

The table below shows the other attack patterns and high level categories that are related to this attack pattern. These relationships are defined as ChildOf and ParentOf, and give insight to similar items that may exist at higher and lower levels of abstraction. In addition, relationships such as CanFollow, PeerOf, and CanAlsoBe are defined to show similar attack patterns that the user may want to explore.

NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfMeta Attack PatternMeta Attack Pattern - A meta level attack pattern in CAPEC is a decidedly abstract characterization of a specific methodology or technique used in an attack. A meta attack pattern is often void of a specific technology or implementation and is meant to provide an understanding of a high level approach. A meta level attack pattern is a generalization of related group of standard level attack patterns. Meta level attack patterns are particularly useful for architecture and design level threat modeling exercises.560Use of Known Domain Credentials
ParentOfDetailed Attack PatternDetailed Attack Pattern - A detailed level attack pattern in CAPEC provides a low level of detail, typically leveraging a specific technique and targeting a specific technology, and expresses a complete execution flow. Detailed attack patterns are more specific than meta attack patterns and standard attack patterns and often require a specific protection mechanism to mitigate actual attacks. A detailed level attack pattern often will leverage a number of different standard level attack patterns chained together to accomplish a goal.561Windows Admin Shares with Stolen Credentials
ParentOfDetailed Attack PatternDetailed Attack Pattern - A detailed level attack pattern in CAPEC provides a low level of detail, typically leveraging a specific technique and targeting a specific technology, and expresses a complete execution flow. Detailed attack patterns are more specific than meta attack patterns and standard attack patterns and often require a specific protection mechanism to mitigate actual attacks. A detailed level attack pattern often will leverage a number of different standard level attack patterns chained together to accomplish a goal.644Use of Captured Hashes (Pass The Hash)
CanFollowDetailed Attack PatternDetailed Attack Pattern - A detailed level attack pattern in CAPEC provides a low level of detail, typically leveraging a specific technique and targeting a specific technology, and expresses a complete execution flow. Detailed attack patterns are more specific than meta attack patterns and standard attack patterns and often require a specific protection mechanism to mitigate actual attacks. A detailed level attack pattern often will leverage a number of different standard level attack patterns chained together to accomplish a goal.16Dictionary-based Password Attack
CanFollowStandard Attack PatternStandard Attack Pattern - A standard level attack pattern in CAPEC is focused on a specific methodology or technique used in an attack. It is often seen as a singular piece of a fully executed attack. A standard attack pattern is meant to provide sufficient details to understand the specific technique and how it attempts to accomplish a desired goal. A standard level attack pattern is a specific type of a more abstract meta level attack pattern.49Password Brute Forcing
CanFollowStandard Attack PatternStandard Attack Pattern - A standard level attack pattern in CAPEC is focused on a specific methodology or technique used in an attack. It is often seen as a singular piece of a fully executed attack. A standard attack pattern is meant to provide sufficient details to understand the specific technique and how it attempts to accomplish a desired goal. A standard level attack pattern is a specific type of a more abstract meta level attack pattern.50Password Recovery Exploitation
CanFollowStandard Attack PatternStandard Attack Pattern - A standard level attack pattern in CAPEC is focused on a specific methodology or technique used in an attack. It is often seen as a singular piece of a fully executed attack. A standard attack pattern is meant to provide sufficient details to understand the specific technique and how it attempts to accomplish a desired goal. A standard level attack pattern is a specific type of a more abstract meta level attack pattern.55Rainbow Table Password Cracking
CanFollowDetailed Attack PatternDetailed Attack Pattern - A detailed level attack pattern in CAPEC provides a low level of detail, typically leveraging a specific technique and targeting a specific technology, and expresses a complete execution flow. Detailed attack patterns are more specific than meta attack patterns and standard attack patterns and often require a specific protection mechanism to mitigate actual attacks. A detailed level attack pattern often will leverage a number of different standard level attack patterns chained together to accomplish a goal.70Try Common or Default Usernames and Passwords
CanFollowDetailed Attack PatternDetailed Attack Pattern - A detailed level attack pattern in CAPEC provides a low level of detail, typically leveraging a specific technique and targeting a specific technology, and expresses a complete execution flow. Detailed attack patterns are more specific than meta attack patterns and standard attack patterns and often require a specific protection mechanism to mitigate actual attacks. A detailed level attack pattern often will leverage a number of different standard level attack patterns chained together to accomplish a goal.565Password Spraying
CanFollowDetailed Attack PatternDetailed Attack Pattern - A detailed level attack pattern in CAPEC provides a low level of detail, typically leveraging a specific technique and targeting a specific technology, and expresses a complete execution flow. Detailed attack patterns are more specific than meta attack patterns and standard attack patterns and often require a specific protection mechanism to mitigate actual attacks. A detailed level attack pattern often will leverage a number of different standard level attack patterns chained together to accomplish a goal.568Capture Credentials via Keylogger
CanFollowStandard Attack PatternStandard Attack Pattern - A standard level attack pattern in CAPEC is focused on a specific methodology or technique used in an attack. It is often seen as a singular piece of a fully executed attack. A standard attack pattern is meant to provide sufficient details to understand the specific technique and how it attempts to accomplish a desired goal. A standard level attack pattern is a specific type of a more abstract meta level attack pattern.600Credential Stuffing
CanPrecedeMeta Attack PatternMeta Attack Pattern - A meta level attack pattern in CAPEC is a decidedly abstract characterization of a specific methodology or technique used in an attack. A meta attack pattern is often void of a specific technology or implementation and is meant to provide an understanding of a high level approach. A meta level attack pattern is a generalization of related group of standard level attack patterns. Meta level attack patterns are particularly useful for architecture and design level threat modeling exercises.151Identity Spoofing

The table below shows the views that this attack pattern belongs to and top level categories within that view.

+ Execution Flow
Explore
  1. Acquire known Windows credentials: The adversary must obtain known Windows credentials in order to access the target system, application, or service within the domain.

    Techniques
    An adversary purchases breached Windows username/password combinations or leaked hashed passwords from the dark web.
    An adversary leverages a key logger or phishing attack to steal user credentials as they are provided.
    An adversary conducts a sniffing attack to steal Windows credentials as they are transmitted.
    An adversary gains access to a Windows domain system/files and exfiltrates Windows password hashes.
    An adversary examines outward-facing configuration and properties files to discover hardcoded Windows credentials.
Experiment
  1. Attempt domain authentication: Try each Windows credential against various systems, applications, and services within the domain until the target grants access.

    Techniques
    Manually or automatically enter each credential through the target's interface.
Exploit
  1. Impersonate: An adversary can use successful experiments or authentications to impersonate an authorized user or system, or to laterally move within the domain

  2. Spoofing: Malicious data can be injected into the target system or into other systems on the domain. The adversary can also pose as a legitimate domain user to perform social engineering attacks.

  3. Data Exfiltration: The adversary can obtain sensitive data contained within domain systems or applications.

+ Prerequisites
The system/application is connected to the Windows domain.
The system/application uses one factor password-based authentication, SSO, and/or cloud-based authentication.
The system/application does not have a sound password policy that is being enforced.
The system/application does not implement an effective password throttling mechanism.
The adversary possesses a list of known Windows user accounts and corresponding passwords that may exist on the target.
+ Skills Required
[Level: Low]
Once an adversary obtains a known Windows credential, leveraging it is trivial.
+ Resources Required
A list of known Windows credentials for the targeted domain. A custom script that leverages a Windows credential list to launch an attack.
+ Indicators
Authentication attempts use credentials that have been used previously by the account in question.
Authentication attempts are originating from IP addresses or locations that are inconsistent with a user's normal IP addresses or locations.
Data is being transferred and/or removed from systems/applications within the network.
Suspicious or Malicious software is downloaded/installed on systems within the domain.
Messages from a legitimate user appear to contain suspicious links or communications not consistent with the user's normal behavior.
+ Consequences

The table below specifies different individual consequences associated with the attack pattern. The Scope identifies the security property that is violated, while the Impact describes the negative technical impact that arises if an adversary succeeds in their attack. The Likelihood provides information about how likely the specific consequence is expected to be seen relative to the other consequences in the list. For example, there may be high likelihood that a pattern will be used to achieve a certain impact, but a low likelihood that it will be exploited to achieve a different impact.

ScopeImpactLikelihood
Confidentiality
Access Control
Authentication
Gain Privileges
Confidentiality
Authorization
Read Data
Integrity
Modify Data
+ Mitigations
Leverage multi-factor authentication for all authentication services and prior to granting an entity access to the domain network.
Create a strong password policy and ensure that your system enforces this policy.
Ensure users are not reusing username/password combinations for multiple systems, applications, or services.
Do not reuse local administrator account credentials across systems.
Deny remote use of local admin credentials to log into domain systems.
Do not allow accounts to be a local administrator on more than one system.
Implement an intelligent password throttling mechanism. Care must be taken to assure that these mechanisms do not excessively enable account lockout attacks such as CAPEC-2.
Monitor system and domain logs for abnormal credential access.
+ Example Instances
Adversaries exploited the Zoom video conferencing application during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic to exfiltrate Windows domain credentials from a target system. The attack entailed sending Universal Naming Convention (UNC) paths within the Zoom chat window of an unprotected Zoom call. If the victim clicked on the link, their Windows usernames and the corresponding Net-NTLM-v2 hashes were sent to the address contained in the link. The adversary was then able to infiltrate and laterally move within the Windows domain by passing the acquired credentials to shared network resources. This further provided adversaries with access to Outlook servers and network storage devices. [REF-575]
Mimikatz, a post-exploitation Windows credential harvester, can be used to gather and exploit Windows credentials. This malware has been used in several known cyberattacks, such as the Petya Ransomeware attacks. [REF-576]
+ References
[REF-575] Dan Goodin. "Attackers can use Zoom to steal users’ Windows credentials with no warning". Ars Technica. 2020-05-07. 2020-04-01. <https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2020/04/unpatched-zoom-bug-lets-attackers-steal-windows-credentials-with-no-warning/>.
[REF-576] Jeff Warren. "How Attackers are Stealing Your Credentials with Mimikatz". STEALTHbits Technologies, Inc.. 2020-05-07. 2017-07-11. <https://blog.stealthbits.com/how-attackers-are-stealing-your-credentials-with-mimikatz/>.
+ Content History
Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2020-07-30CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
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Page Last Updated or Reviewed: July 30, 2020