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Invoke-Obfuscation: PowerShell obFUsk8tion Techniques & How To (Try To) D""e`Tec`T 'Th'+'em' - Daniel Bohannon Derbycon 2016 (Hacking Illustrated Series InfoSec Tutorial Videos)

Invoke-Obfuscation: PowerShell obFUsk8tion Techniques & How To (Try To) D""e`Tec`T 'Th'+'em'
Daniel Bohannon
Derbycon 2016

The very best attackers hide their commands from A/V and application whitelisting technologies using encoded commands and memory-only payloads to evade detection. These techniques thwart Blue Teams from determining what was executed on a target system. However, network defenders are catching on, and state-of-the-art detection tools now monitor the command line arguments for powershell.exe either in real-time or from event logs. We need new avenues to remain stealthy in a target environment. So, this talk will highlight a dozen never-before-seen techniques for obfuscating PowerShell command line arguments. As an incident responder at Mandiant, I have seen attackers use a handful of these methods to evade basic command line detection mechanisms. I will share these techniques already being used in the wild so you can understand the value each technique provides the attacker. Next, I will introduce three new layers of obfuscation that can be applied to any PowerShell command. You can use each layer independently, or stack them together to prevent any one technique becoming an easy signature for defenders. The first layer directly manipulates PowerShell and .Net cmdlets, functions and arguments. The second string manipulation layer can then be applied to a single command or an entire script. Finally, I will demonstrate several techniques for content execution using PowerShell command input parameters that hide command line arguments from appearing for powershell.exe. Attempting to detect every possible obfuscated version of particular commands is not an efficient means of detection. Updated PowerShell event logging mitigates many of the detection challenges that obfuscation introduces. However, many organizations do not enable this PowerShell logging and rely primarily on command line logging. Therefore, I will provide techniques that the Blue Team can use to detect the presence of these obfuscation methods in command line arguments. I will also highlight methods using C# within powershell.exe that enable the attacker to execute .Net functions without being recorded in PowerShell event logs. Attackers and popular frameworks like Metasploit, PowerSploit, and Empire use PowerShell?s remote download cradle to execute remote scripts on a target system entirely in memory. This capability is typically used to avoid A/V and many application whitelisting products. I will give particular focus to the numerous ways within PowerShell, .Net, and native Windows applications that this remote download functionality can be accomplished without using .Net?s popular Net.WebClient class. I will also explore a half dozen functions that attackers can use to encode and decode PowerShell commands, including .Net?s SecureString functions. I will conclude this talk by highlighting the public release of Invoke-Obfuscation.ps1. This tool applies the aforementioned obfuscation techniques to user-provided commands and scripts to evade command line argument detection mechanisms. These techniques are available as miniature plug-n-play versions to be easily added to existing PowerShell frameworks in an effort to promote more wide-scale adoption.

Daniel Bohannon is an Incident Response Consultant at MANDIANT with over six years of operations and information security experience. His particular areas of expertise include enterprise-wide incident response investigations, host-based security monitoring, data aggregation and anomaly detection, and PowerShell-based attack research and detection techniques. As an incident response consultant, Mr. Bohannon provides emergency services to clients when security breach occur. He also develops new methods for detecting malicious PowerShell usage at both the host- and network-level while researching obfuscation techniques for PowerShell-based attacks that are being used by numerous threat groups. Prior to joining MANDIANT, Mr. Bohannon spent five years working in both IT operations and information security roles in the private retail industry. There he developed operational processes for the automated aggregation and detection of host- and network-based anomalies in a large PCI environment. Mr. Bohannon also programmed numerous tools for host-based hunting while leading the organization?s incident response team. Mr. Bohannon received a Master of Science in Information Security from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from The University of Georgia.

Daniel Bohannon - @danielhbohannon

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