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Microsoft Windows Active Directory Certificate Services Can Allow for AD Compromise Via PetitPotam NTLM Relay Attacks

Microsoft Windows Active Directory Certificate Services (AD CS) by default can be used as a target for NTLM relay attacks, which can allow a domain-joined computer to take over the entire Active Directory.

PetitPotam is a tool to force Windows hosts to authenticate to other machines by using the Encrypting File System Remote (EFSRPC) EfsRpcOpenFileRaw and other methods. When a system handles certain EFSRPC requests, it will by default use NTLM to authenticate with the host that is specified within the path to the file specified in the EFSRPC request. The user specified in the NTLM authentication information is the computer account of the machine that made the EFSRPC request.

The EFSRPC functions exposed via LSARPC do not require credentials to be explicitly specified for it to be dispatched. Code running on any domain-joined system can trigger this function to be called on a domain controller without needing to know the credentials of the current user or any other user in an Active Directory. And because the EFSRPC methods authenticate as the machine dispatching the request, this means that a user of any system connected to an AD domain can trigger an NTLM authentication request as the domain controller machine account to an arbitrary host, without needing to know any credentials. This can allow for NTLM relay attacks.

One publicly-discussed target for an NTLM relay attack from a domain controller is a machine that hosts Microsoft AD CS. By relaying an NTLM authentication request from a domain controller to the Certificate Authority Web Enrollment or the Certificate Enrollment Web Service on an AD CS system, an attacker can obtain a certificate that can be used to obtain a Ticket Granting Ticket (TGT) from the domain controller. This attack, known as a “Golden Ticket” attack, can be used to fully compromise the entire Active Directory infrastructure.

Read more at the Software Engineering Institute CERT Coordination Center

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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