One of the things we try and get across in our training - is that pen-testing requires out of the box thinking. It's also about solving puzzles and making things work the way you want them to. It's about identifying the small vulnerabilities (which are often easy to spot), and trying to leverage them into something useful. A key process we strive to do at SensePost, when performing these penetration tests, is about having fun.
However, since we're not presenting our HBN Combat course at BlackHat this year, we thought we'd treat people to a nice, mind-boggling challenge prior to BlackHat. Furthermore, instead of opting for the normal crypto or reversing-type challenges which seem to have become the norm, we thought we'd make it an infrastructure challenge for once. In other words, people get to compromise real, live boxen. We've also made it real-world, this is something you might be faced with when performing a infrastructure test.
You've been tasked with performing an infrastructure assessment against ACME Bank. You've fired up your favorite foot printing tool, run through the usual intelligence gathering methodology and noticed they seem to have a minute Internet footprint. So small, in fact, that the only entry point you have is what appears to be a router at 188.8.131.52.
Obtain access to a host on the internal network and put your name on the wall of fame. The first name on the wall wins.
If one takes a quick glimpse at the target, it will be obvious that the person who makes the first break is probably going to be able to control what other people do (with great power comes great responsibility). Also, there is probably a relatively high chance of people inadvertently blocking themselves off from the target. As such, the challenge is going to be reset to "factory default" at 04h00 MT every day.
We've created a very cool SensePost Blackhat USA 2013 t-shirt and this is limited edition to SensePost staff only, but for the person who gets the first name on the wall, we think you deserve your own.
Have fun, happy haxoring, and hope to see you all at BlackHat.
We're excited to be presenting our Hacking By Numbers Combat course again at Black Hat USA this year. SensePost's resident German haxor dude Georg-Christian Pranschke will be presenting this year's course. Combat fits in right at the top of our course offerings. No messing about, this really is the course where your sole aim is to pwn as much of the infrastructure and applications as possible. It is for the security professional looking to hone their skill-set, or to think like those in Unit 61398. There are a few assumptions though:
These targets come from real life assessments we've faced at SensePost, it's about as real as you can get without having to do the report at the end of it. How it works is that candidates are presented with a specific goal. If the presenter is feeling generous at the time, they may even get a description of the technology. After that, they'll have time to solve the puzzle. Afterwards, there will be a discussion about the failings, takeaways and alternate approaches adopted by the class. The latter is normally fascinating as (as anybody in the industry knows), there are virtually a limitless number of different ways to solve specific problems. This means that even the instructor gets to learn a couple of new tricks (we also have prizes for those who teach them enough new tricks).
In 2012, Combat underwent a massive rework and we presented a virtually new course which went down excellently. We're aiming to do the same this year, and to make it the best Combat course ever. So if you're interested in spending two days' worth of intense thinking solving some fairly unique puzzles and shelling boxen, join us for HBN Combat at BlackHat USA.
As we grow and operate on a number of continents, so does our dependence on a rock-solid IT infrastructure. We are expanding our repertoire to include a greater collection of Linux/Open Source/Windows and OS X products. With this, we are on the look-out for a rock star to wrangle control of our internal networks, external cloud infrastructure and help us us utilise technology in a way to make us even better.
Job Title: IT Network Packet Wrangling Penguin Master
Salary Range: Industry standard, commensurate with experience
Location: Johannesburg/Pretoria, South Africa
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) recently hosted the nation Cyber Games Challenge as part of Cyber Security Awareness month. The challenge pit teams of 4-5 members from different institutes against each other in a Capture the Flag style contest. In total there were seven teams, with two teams from Rhodes university, two from the University of Pretoria and three teams from the CSIR.
The games were designed around an attack/defence scenario, where teams would be given identical infrastructure which they could then patch against vulnerabilities and at the same time identify possible attack vectors to use against rival teams. After the initial reconnaissance phase teams were expected to conduct a basic forensic investigation to find 'flags' hidden throughout their systems. These 'flags' were hidden in images, pcap files, alternative data streams and in plain sight.
It was planned that teams would then be given access to a few web servers to attack and deface, gain root, patch and do other fun things to. Once this phase was complete the system would be opened up and the 'free-for-all' phase would see teams attacking each others systems. Teams would lose points for each service that was rendered inaccessible. Unfortunately due to technical difficulties the competition did not go as smoothly as initially planned. Once the games started the main website was rendered unusable almost immediately due to teams DirBuster to enumerate the competition scoring system. The offending teams were asked to cease their actions and the games proceeding from there. Two teams were disqualified after not ceasing their attacks on official infrastructure. Once teams tried to access their virtual infrastructure new problems arose, with only the two teams from Rhodes being able to access the ESX server while the rest of the teams based at the CSIR had no connectivity. This was rectified, at a cost, resulting in all teams except for the two Rhodes teams having access to their infrastructure. After a few hours of struggle it was decided to scrap the attack/defence part of the challenge. Teams were awarded points for finding hidden flags, with the most basic flag involving 'decoding' a morse-code pattern or a phrase 'encrypted' using a quadratic equation. It was unfortunate that the virtual infrastructure did not work as planned as this was to be the main focus of the games and sadly without it many teams were left with very little to do in the time between new 'flag' challenges being released.
In the days prior to the challenge our team, team Blitzkrieg, decided to conduct a social engineering exercise. We expected this to add to the spirit of the games and to introduce a little friendly rivalry between the teams prior to the games commencing. A quick google search for "CSIR Cyber Games" revealed a misconfigured cyber games server that had been left exposed on a public interface. Scrapping this page for information allowed us to create a fake Cyber Games site. A fake Twitter account was created on behalf of the CSIR Cyber Games organisers and used to tweet little titbits of disinformation. Once we had set-up our fake site and twitter account, a spoofed email in the name of the games organiser was sent out to all the team captains. Teams were invited to follow our fake user on twitter and to register on our cyber games page. Unfortunately this exercise did not go down too well with the games organisers and our team was threatened with disqualification or starting the games on negative points. In hindsight we should have run this by the organisers first to insure that it was within scope. After the incident we engaged with the organisers to explain our position and intentions, they were very understanding and decided to not disqualify us and waver any point based penalty. As part of our apology, we agreed to submit a few challenges for next years Cyber Games.
Overall we believe concept of using structured Cyber Games to promote security awareness is both fun and useful. While the games were hampered by network issues there was enough content available to make for an entertaining and exciting afternoon. The rush of solving challenges as fast as possible and everyone communicating ideas made for an epic day. In closing, the CSIR Cyber Games was a success, as with all things we believe it will improve over time and provide a good platform to promote security awareness.
For the defacement phase of the games we made a old school defacement page.
This year, for the fourth time, myself and some others here at SensePost have worked together with the team from ITWeb in the planning of their annual Security Summit. A commercial conference is always (I suspect) a delicate balance between the different drivers from business, technology and 'industry', but this year's event is definitely our best effort thus far. ITWeb has more than ever acknowledged the centrality of good, objective content and has worked closely with us as the Technical Committee and their various sponsors to strike the optimal balance. I don't think we have it 100% right yet, and there are some improvements and initiatives that will unfortunately only manifest at next year's event, but this year's program (here and here) is nevertheless first class and comparable with almost anything else I've seen.
<Shameless plug>If you're in South Africa, and you haven't registered, I highly recommend that you do</Shameless plug>This year's Summit explores the idea that trust in CyberSpace is "broken" and that, one for one, all the pillars we relied on to tame the Internet and make it a safe place to do business in, have failed. Basically the event poses the question: "What now"?
We've tried hard to get all our speakers to align in some way with this theme. Sadly, as is often he case, we had fewer submissions from local experts then we hoped, but we were able to round up a pretty killer program, including an VIP list of visiting stars.
After the plenaries each day, the program is divided into themed tracks where talks on a topic are grouped together. Where possible we've tried to include as many different perspectives and opinions as possible. Here's a brief summary of my personal highlights:
Its gonna be excellent. See you there!