The Unintended Risks of Trusting Active Directory

Your crown jewels are locked in a database, the system is patched, utilizes modern endpoint security software, and permissions are carefully controlled and locked down. Once this system is joined to Active Directory, however, does that static trust model remain the same? Or has the number of attack paths to your data increased by an order of magnitude? We’ve spent the last year exploring the access control model of Active Directory and recently broadened our focus to include security descriptor misconfigurations/backdoor opportunities at the host level. We soon realized that the post-exploitation “attack surface” of Windows hosts spans well beyond what we originally realized, and that host misconfigurations can sometimes have a profound effect on the security of every other host in the forest. This talk will explore a number of lesser-known Active Directory and host-based permission settings that can be abused in concert for remote access, privilege escalation, or persistence. We will show how targeted host modifications (or existing misconfigurations) can facilitate complex Active Directory attack chains with far-reaching effects on other systems and services in the forest, and can allow new AD attack paths to be built without modifying Active Directory itself.

Presented by