my personal blog about systemcenter

Protecting your secrets, one more step to remember

Categories: Active Directory, AD, Backup, Disaster Recovery, Password, TSM
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If you are using hosted backup with TSM there is one more step to cover when people leave the org

The protection for many hosted backups are

Protection against “rouge” TSM Administrator

Client Side Encryption

Protection against “rouge” Backup Administrator

Node ID

Node Password (separation of duties one for password one for encryption)

And the last one is the issue here as its often not rotated, default TSM is 90 days but looking at different hosted TSM password is often set to no expire

This is not a TSM problem but a problem with password rotation

In the perfect world, the NodeID password and the encryption is not known by the same person, but then nodeid / password / secret is in registry so an AD admin can access this


TSM BA Client installed on


Starting the TSM client , prompting for Node Password on first backup


Ready for Action


Starting the first backup , prompts for encryption key , and after a short while the backup is completed


On a rouge server, outside of the environment we install the TSM BA Client and reuse the nodeID and password from the disgruntled backup admin


Adding the nodeid and nodepassword


And we restore a dummy file to see that’s its working, and is prompted for the encryption key

dsmc q b “{DEMODC01\SystemState\NULL\System State\SystemState}\ntds.dit” -sub=y


If we can’t remember where ntds.dit is located we can search for it

rest “{DEMODC01\SystemState\NULL\System State\SystemState}\\DEMODC01\C$|\WINDOWS\ntds\*” C:\EVILDC\ -sub=y


And we can restore the files


And we now have something we can attack , if we boot up in a winPE enviroment we can follow the procedure for system state and have a working domain controller


If the attacker had access to the domain controller aka disgruntled former employee the password and encryption is available on the source node in registry , since TSM used both the password and the encryption to access TSM server and backup/restore data it needs to be stored somewhere that the service can access

It’s very hard to protect anything from a domain admin even with the assume breach state of mind


So, we can logon without getting prompted for credentials/encryption

So what can we do

First off , prevent people from being disgruntled

And since we can’t control human nature change the password on the nodes, either scheduled or when high privilege staff leaves or both, and again the default for a TSM node is that it will be changed


Single Node example, log on the TSM , change password


Something old Something New


And Success , and password change can be scripted so cycling the password shouldn’t be a big issue


And our EvilDC can’t access TSM anymore and everything is back to normal

Thycotis Weak Password Finder and Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics

Categories: Active Directory, Advanced Threat Analytics, ATA, Thycotic
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Thycotic made a free tool available to check for bad password in Active Directory


If we dig into the about file

The core functionality of this product has been inspired by Jakob Heidelberg and developed by Michael Grafnetter

We can see where the inspiration and development came from , and thank you to Thycotic for making this tool available for free

This is just a quick drill through with the detection from Advanced Threat Analytics


Running on a member server pointing to DC and Domain


Using the overpowered administrator i have logged on with


and ready to scan


Looking through all AD objects


And reporting time


Something very pretty to present to security/management


with 26 items on the todo list to fix


and to the point of the post , Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics catches the non standard replication

When time permits further digging in the tool , for production enviroment i would always run this in a restored domain controller without network access even though i trust the people involved in this

MongoDB and Microsoft Advanced Threat Analyties and Secure by Default

Categories: Advanced Threat Analytics, ATA, MONGODB, Ransomware
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The last few days we seen very public attacks on unsecured MongoDB databases exposed directly to the internet

MongoDB ransom attacks soar, body count hits 27,000 in hours

and respons from MondoDB

These attacks are preventable with the extensive security protections built into MongoDB. You need to use these features correctly, and our security documentation will help you do so. Here are pointers to the relevant documentation and other useful resources:

and a reference to their securty manual on how to secure mongodb

So was looking on where we are using mongodb and found our Advanced Thread Analytics install , this isnt internet connected but a internal attack wiping the database could be bad enough so we looked


Local Host listener only


and doublecheck in the mongod config file

And the only acceptable result , secure by default , thx Microsoft and MongoDB

Displaying Windows Performance Counters with Grafana and Influx DB with Windows Backeend

Categories: Grafana, Hyper-V, InfluxDB
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Matthew Hodgkins published a blog earlier this year showing how to setup grafana and influxdb on a ubuntu server to publish performance counters from windows /

Following his guide to make this below was very smooth , and this is a crude step by step on trying to replicate the feature set in Windows


Credit : Matthew Hodkins

I wanted to try out the same with a windows backend instead of ubunu , please note this is thrown in with a showel , paths/users/logs nothing is changed and running as user processes , will created a updated post just wanted to get the first parts working

Heading to to download Telegraf and InfluxDB


I installed a Windows Server 2016 downloaded InfluxDB and copied in the files to Program Files


Started the influxd , and 15 seconds later we have a default installed influxdb ready for use


On the same box i downloaded newest version of grafana


And started up the services




on the 2 hyper-v hosts used in the test i installed the telegraf clients and used the default performance counters it picked up , only change was adding the hostname where it should deliver the counters


Logging into Grafana with admin/admin


In Grafana go to datasources and add data source , select influxdb


add localhost:8086 for influx db and telegraf for database and a dummy username / password


And we know have a datasource we can use


In dashboards , select create new


Select Graph Style


It now creates a default view , double click on “Panel Title” and select edit


Delete the fake datasource and add our LocalInfluxDB as datasource

and select win_cpu / Percent_Processor_Time , and group by tag (host) , and to $tag_host


Setting Y-Max to 100 will show the util as 0-100 instead of the max load


Adding a thredshold to show warning/critical (V4 of Grafana supported alerting will get back to that in next post)


And the end result , cpu util displayed for the 2 hosts

Updating ATA to version 1.7

Categories: Active Directory, ATA, Security
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Microsoft is keeping the fast pace with update to the star of their “classic” AD security solution


So we saw version 1.7 drop yesterday

New Major Features are

· Role based access control.

· Windows Server core support.

· Reconnaissance using Directory Services Enumeration detection.

· Pass-the-Ticket detections enhancements.

Unusual Protocol Implementation detection enhancements

Link :

Personally we are looking fwd to RBAC its a major improvement for the majority of our customers and highly requested


Starting the install , we are upgrading fra 1.6.1 , we have a few enviroments on 1.4 and there is NO direct upgrade to 1.7


At upgrade we can either upgrade the whole database or do a partial migration , we opted for partial as having ATA offline for a longer duration wasnt a option , the database is placed on SSD so its unlikely it will take a day but we will test that in another enviroment




New UX for updating agent and improved progress indicator

And we now have a few new security groups




This now means we can give auditors access to the enviroment without handing them the keys to the kingdom Smile