Thursday 19 January 2012

Easy data exfiltration

I had this thought last night as I was falling to sleep, and I realise it has probably already been talked about but I will explain how easy it is to do and how hard it is for existing detections to detect.
So my idea is basic data exfiltration via DNS lookups. Say you are sitting on an internal machine, you logged on as a local user through some exploit via boot disk or what not. You probably don't have internet access and you can't install a tunnelling tool, you don't want to set off the local HIDS of the machine by plugging in an unknown USB stick, so what do you do?
Well if you already have a DNS server running on a server you control, pre-setup for something like DNS tunnelling, or just legitimately resolving your own domains. Now your existing DNS server you need to turn on verbose logging for one of your subdomains, this is pretty easy to do on BIND or even in Windows's DNS server. Then simply encode from the local machine anyway you want, or if you can't encode it don't and just do an nslookup, bear in mind the whole lookup can't be longer than 255 characters and the subdomain can be 63 characters tops, if you need to use some special characters then you will need to either encode in base32 or use some system in your head.

Mitigation: Do your client machines really need to resolve every site, surely they are going through a proxy or application aware firewall that can do the DNS lookups for them. The issue of course with this is most networks now use DNS to resolve internal services, and usually the DNS servers that service these requests are allowed to go to the internet in some way, and the proxies or firewalls refer back to these internal DNS servers as they would also point to resources the proxies need like authentication. The only suggestion then is to more finely split your DNS server infrastructure up. Specific internal DNS servers that are allowed to do lookups to both the internal DNS servers and the wider internet, but the only device internally that is allowed to these is the proxy server. Of course depending on the way your proxy server works it may not wait for the client to be authenticated before it does a lookup so the lookups could simply be proxied through the compromised machines web browser that is connected to the proxy.


Ryan said...

2 things:

1. Haven't been on any sites lately where both HIDS for USB are active and the boot from cd is allowed ie bios unlocked or left that way.

2. How do you get DNS out? Everything is usually blocked and proxy's tend to drop anything that's not a HTTP stream.

Morgan said...

In a perfect world the site I am talking about would have HIDS blocking unknown USB devices (most corporate AV has this baked in now as an option) and booting from CD disabled, think kiosk pc's.
DNS almost always works, I have seen it work in airports, hotels, even massive security auditing firms, just do an nslookup next time I can almost guarantee it will work.

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