Tuesday 27 December 2011

Using SIFT and ophcrack to Crack a Windows (XP) Password

First, A Note on Windows Passwords ...

Thought I should include some relevant theory rather than dive striaght in as I have been doing ...

Jesper M. Johansson has written an excellent PowerPoint presentation on "Windows Passwords: Everything You Need To Know" here.
I'm not sure when it was written, but he also wrote a similar MS Technet article in 2005 here.

In both, he describes how Windows stores/uses passwords. There are 2 types of password hashes stored in Windows - the LanManager (LM) password hash and the more recent NT password hash.
The LM password is a holdover from the past and is still included for backward compatibility. It relies on padding, capitalising and splitting a password into 2 seperate 7 character parts. These parts are then used as  (DES) encryption keys to encrypt a known constant. The two resultant encrypted outputs are then joined together to form the LM "hash". There are only 142 possible useable characters that can be entered by the user (of which only 68 appear on English keyboards) and the maximum number of password combinations is 6.8 x 10^12.

In contrast, the NT password hash uses the MD4 hash function on a Unicode (65 535 symbols) based password. If we limit ourselves to use the same character set/password length as LM, there are 4.6 x 10^25 combinations. Which is a LOT more combinations than LM! And once we allow ourselves to use anything from the full symbol list, the number of 14 character length password combinations increases to 2.7 x 10^67. Clearly, NT hashes are a lot more secure than LM hashes.

By using a password longer than 14 characters, Windows will not store the LM password hash (only the NT hash). You can also create/set a NoLMHash Registry value to stop LM hash storage.

I suspect if you want to login to an XP system on your desk, you will need the NT password. But if all you have is the LM password, you could start capitalising various combinations until you get a valid login. eg given a LM password of "NEON96" try Neon96, nEon96 etc.

Using SIFT ophcrack

So as promised, here's how to crack a Windows password using ophcrack on the SIFT Workstation.

1. Go here and download the XP Free Fast (703 Mb) zip file to SIFT (eg save to "/home/sansforensics").

2. Launch a new command terminal window and type "mkdir ~/ophcrack_tables" followed by "mkdir ~/ophcrack_tables/tables_xp_free_fast". Note: The "~/" is shorthand for your home directory ie "/home/sansforensics/". In this step, we are creating a directory structure to store our rainbow tables.

3. Type "mv ~/tables_xp_free_fast.zip ~/ophcrack_tables/tables_xp_free_fast/" to move the downloaded zip file to our new directory structure. This step assumes that you downloaded the zip file to "/home/sansforensics/".

4. Type "cd ~/ophcrack_tables/tables_xp_free_fast" followed by "unzip tables_xp_free_fast.zip" to extract the zip file to the "~/ophcrack_tables/tables_xp_free_fast/" directory.

5. Assuming you've already done step 6 from the previous Volatility post and have obtained the XP hash password file (in "~/xp-passwd"), type "ophcrack -d ~/ophcrack_tables/ -t tables_xp_free_fast,0,1,2,3 -n 4 -f ~/xp-passwd -l ophcrack-vol-op.txt" to load/use all 4 tables to crack the "xp-passwd" hash file and then store the results in the "ophcrack-vol-op.txt" file in the current directory.

The output at the command line will eventually look like:

0h  4m 11s; search (98%); tables: total 4, done 3, using 1; pwd found 4/7.

6. By typing "more ophcrack-vol-op.txt" we can see the actual results:

15 hashes have been found in /home/sansforensics/xp-passwd.
Opened 4 table(s) from /home/sansforensics/ophcrack_tables//tables_xp_free_fast,0,1,2,3.
0h  0m  0s; Found empty password for user Guest (NT hash #1)
0h  0m  0s; Found empty password for 2nd LM hash #4
0h  0m  0s; Found empty password for user Sarah (NT hash #6)
0h  0m  1s; Found password 6 for 2nd LM hash #0
0h  0m 53s; Found password NEON199 for 1st LM hash #0in table XP free fast #2 at column 4645.
0h  0m 53s; Found password Neon1996 for user Administrator (NT hash #0)
0h  0m 59s; Found password NEON96 for 1st LM hash #4in table XP free fast #1 at column 4368.
0h  0m 59s; Found password Neon96 for user phoenix (NT hash #4)
0h  1m  6s; Found password JVYMGP1 for 2nd LM hash #2in table XP free fast #0 at column 4037.


username / hash                  LM password    NT password
Administrator                    NEON1996       Neon1996
Guest                            *** empty ***  *** empty ***
HelpAssistant                    .......JVYMGP1 .......
SUPPORT_388945a0                 *** empty ***  .......
phoenix                          NEON96         Neon96
ASPNET                           .............. .......
Sarah                            *** empty ***  *** empty ***

It looks like the NIST "HelpAssistant" password cracking attempt has failed - it might have special characters in it. You can also see it took A LOT less time than using John The Ripper (minutes vs hours) and that ophcrack provides the case-sensitive version of the passwords under "NT password" rather than the "LanManager" all caps version.
Just FYI, ophcrack also has a nice Windows GUI available for download from sourceforge but it will only be as good as the rainbow tables you give it.

So I think that about covers Windows Password cracking for now. Please feel free to suggest a new forensicatory area to investigate next.

Using SIFT to Crack a Windows (XP) Password from a Forensic Image

In the previous post, we focused on retrieving Windows login passwords from a memory dump using Volatility.

But what happens if you don't have a memory dump / only have a forensic image of the hard drive?

Well, Rob Lee has kindly provided the tools in the SANS SIFT (V2.12) workstation and Irongeek has previously posted a how-to-guide. Additional information is also available in "Windows Registry Forensics" by Harlan Carvey (p 95) which describes other tools that can be used to crack Windows passwords (eg pwdump7, Cain, ophcrack).

For this exercise, we will be using the M57 Jean image (mounted as before) and seeing if we can extract any Windows passwords.
Windows (XP) uses a "bootkey" to encrypt the SAM password hashes so we need to determine this (using bkhive) first. We can then retrieve the unencrypted password hashes (using samdump2) and crack them using John The Ripper.

Note: With this knowledge comes great responsibility - seriously, please don't abuse it.

At a terminal command prompt:
1. Type "bkhive /mnt/m57jean/WINDOWS/system32/config/system saved-system-key.txt"

which should give the following output:

bkhive 1.1.1 by Objectif Securite
original author: ncuomo@studenti.unina.it

Root Key : $$$PROTO.HIV
Default ControlSet: 001
Bootkey: 02d709efb8514a2fc7474b28a30e0180

The "saved-system-key.txt" file now contains the bootkey

2. Type "samdump2 /mnt/m57jean/WINDOWS/system32/config/SAM saved-system-key.txt > jean-passwords.txt" to extract the hashes and store them in "jean-passwords.txt".

The screen output looks something like:

samdump2 1.1.1 by Objectif Securite
original author: ncuomo@studenti.unina.it

Root Key : SAM

And we can view the contents of "jean-passwords.txt" by typing "more jean-passwords.txt":


Note: looking at the first hash group ("aad3b435b51404eeaad3b435b51404ee")  for each login suggests that they all have the same password except for "HelpAssistant".

3. Type "john jean-passwords.txt" to brute force the password hashes. You might need to copy the "john.conf" to the local directory if you haven't already done this (see the previous post exercise's step 8).

The output should be something similar to:

Loaded 2 password hashes with no different salts (LM DES [128/128 BS SSE2])
guesses: 0  time: 0:00:00:35 (3)  c/s: 9522K  trying: JD43877 - JD43804
guesses: 0  time: 0:00:01:36 (3)  c/s: 12533K  trying: MDLIDL - MDLA39
guesses: 0  time: 0:00:01:48 (3)  c/s: 12610K  trying: H2OUB1$ - H2OUGY!
guesses: 0  time: 0:00:13:20 (3)  c/s: 15198K  trying: EL3CFR9 - EL3CFSU
guesses: 0  time: 0:00:19:48 (3)  c/s: 15325K  trying: VWATIBN - VWATLA.
guesses: 0  time: 0:00:27:03 (3)  c/s: 15364K  trying: 4VA1RWW - 4VA1TA4
guesses: 0  time: 0:00:27:09 (3)  c/s: 15367K  trying: R318IP8 - R318I2T
guesses: 0  time: 0:00:37:19 (3)  c/s: 15617K  trying: 3LP7VNZ - 3LP7V40
2KPLRCM          (HelpAssistant:2)
guesses: 1  time: 0:00:39:55 (3)  c/s: 15300K  trying: KMX1MP1 - KMX1MCS
guesses: 1  time: 0:00:48:17 (3)  c/s: 14007K  trying: GMEL-1D - GMEN315
guesses: 1  time: 0:01:00:39 (3)  c/s: 12784K  trying: IEH;G F - IEHKIQN
guesses: 1  time: 0:01:07:02 (3)  c/s: 12274K  trying: HX0RW8F - HX0RJE0
guesses: 1  time: 0:01:16:48 (3)  c/s: 11733K  trying: J SJF5Y - J SJFP5
guesses: 1  time: 0:01:26:37 (3)  c/s: 11303K  trying: LL*MKH0 - LL*MKT2
guesses: 1  time: 0:01:30:49 (3)  c/s: 11166K  trying: MKGU97X - MKGU90L
guesses: 1  time: 0:02:03:45 (3)  c/s: 10335K  trying: LT8HFGI - LT8HFMG
guesses: 1  time: 0:02:21:02 (3)  c/s: 10011K  trying: K_)LILG - K_)LLS&
guesses: 1  time: 0:02:22:42 (3)  c/s: 9970K  trying: ZW6RCD@ - ZW6RB5Z

and if you keep waiting .... eventually (several hours later on my VM)

LL@1WI8          (HelpAssistant:1)

4. Typing "john -show jean-passwords.txt" will show the results in full:


11 password hashes cracked, 0 left

So we can conclude that there was only one set password ("LL@1WI82KPLRCM" for "HelpAssistant"). It appears that all other logins did not use a password - Oh The Horror!
We can then infer that access to the Windows system is/was effectively uncontrolled and anyone could have access. Thus planting some seeds of doubt when trying to attribute a user's activities.

A quicker password cracking method would be to use ophcrack (also provided on SIFT) and download the XP rainbow table(s). The rainbow table contains pre-calculated results to compare the hashes to so the process should run much quicker.
Looking at the ophcrack tables info page shows that we would need to use the XP Special (7.5 Gb) table to handle the special "@" character in the "HelpAssistant" password.
This table is not free so thats where I'll choose to end this exercise (cheap b@stard!). The smaller free tables only handle upper and lower case letters and numbers - no special characters. Just for completeness, I'll probably do a future post about ophcrack using the hashed SAM passwords from the Volatility post - none of those passwords use special characters.

Wednesday 14 December 2011

Using SIFT to Crack a Windows (XP) Password from a Memory Dump


Recently, I was thinking about writing a blog entry on Volatility but then found out that SketchyMoose has done an awesome job of covering it already (in a Windows environment). Thinking of my fellow SIFT-ians / SIFT-ers / SIFT-heads (what?!) - I figured I could still write an entry with a focus on using the SIFT VM to crack a Windows password *evil laugh*.
To give an example of a DFIR scenario, FTK Imager can be used to capture a live Windows memory image and then the SIFT VM can be used to determine the Windows password(s). Or the responder could always nicely ask the owner for the password ;)
For this scenario however, we will be using a Windows XP memory image supplied by NIST. It's not that I don't trust you all with the contents of my memory ... *sarcastic laugh*

Here are the resources I used:

- The SketchyMoose's Blog entry that inspired me (to copy it ;) :
with some further demos:

- For the official Volatility Documentation (eg plugin usage with example outputs) see:
and for some brief notes about Volatility from the SANS Forensics 2009 - Memory Forensics and Registry Analysis Presentation by Brendan Dolan-Gavitt see:

- The official John The Ripper Documentation is available at:
with usage examples at:

So what I'm now about to cover is specific to using Volatility (2.1a) and John The Ripper as provided on the SANS SIFT Virtual Machine V2.12.

Volatility can be used to analyse a variety of Windows memory images. The general usage syntax is:
vol.py plugin_name memory_image_name
where plugin_name can be things such as pslist (list of running processes), pstree (hierachical view of running processes), connections (live network connections), connscan (live and previous network connection artifacts), hivelist (Windows hive virtual addresses), hashdump (extracts hashes of domain credentials). For more plugins refer to the Volatility Documentation Wiki link mentioned previously.


Here are the steps I followed:

1. From the command prompt in the SIFT VM, type "sudo mkdir /cases/mem" to create a directory "/cases/mem"

2. Copy/Download "memory-images.rar" (~500 Mb) to "/cases/mem/" from NIST's CFReDS Project at http://www.cfreds.nist.gov/mem/Basic_Memory_Images.html

3. Type "sudo unrar e /cases/mem/memory-images.rar" to extract NIST images to "/cases/mem/"

4. Type "vol.py imageinfo -f /cases/mem/xp-laptop-2005-07-04-1430.img"
This should return an output something like:

Volatile Systems Volatility Framework 2.1_alpha
Determining profile based on KDBG search...

          Suggested Profile(s) : WinXPSP3x86, WinXPSP2x86 (Instantiated with WinXPSP2x86)
                     AS Layer1 : JKIA32PagedMemory (Kernel AS)
                     AS Layer2 : FileAddressSpace (/cases/mem/xp-laptop-2005-07-04-1430.img)
                      PAE type : No PAE
                           DTB : 0x39000
                          KDBG : 0x8054c060L
                          KPCR : 0xffdff000L
             KUSER_SHARED_DATA : 0xffdf0000L
           Image date and time : 2005-07-04 18:30:32
     Image local date and time : 2005-07-04 18:30:32
          Number of Processors : 1
                    Image Type : Service Pack 2

5. We then use the "WINXPSP3x86" profile to search/parse thru the dump. Type "sudo vol.py --profile=WinXPSP3x86 hivelist -f /cases/mem/xp-laptop-2005-07-04-1430.img" so we can obtain the virtual addresses for the SAM and System hives. Note without the "sudo", I was getting some errors so I decided to play it safe. I also tried using it with "--profile=WinXPSP2x86" but got similar errors.
The resulting output will look something like:

Volatile Systems Volatility Framework 2.1_alpha
Virtual     Physical    Name
0xe2610b60  0x14a99b60  \Device\HarddiskVolume1\Documents and Settings\Sarah\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Windows\UsrClass.dat
0xe25f0578  0x17141578  \Device\HarddiskVolume1\Documents and Settings\Sarah\NTUSER.DAT
0xe1d33008  0x0f12c008  \Device\HarddiskVolume1\Documents and Settings\LocalService\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Windows\UsrClass.dat
0xe1c73888  0x0efc5888  \Device\HarddiskVolume1\Documents and Settings\LocalService\NTUSER.DAT
0xe1c04688  0x0e88e688  \Device\HarddiskVolume1\Documents and Settings\NetworkService\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Windows\UsrClass.dat
0xe1b70b60  0x0dff5b60  \Device\HarddiskVolume1\Documents and Settings\NetworkService\NTUSER.DAT
0xe1658b60  0x0c748b60  \Device\HarddiskVolume1\WINDOWS\system32\config\software
0xe1a5a7e8  0x094bf7e8  \Device\HarddiskVolume1\WINDOWS\system32\config\default
0xe165cb60  0x0c6ecb60  \Device\HarddiskVolume1\WINDOWS\system32\config\SAM
0xe1a4f770  0x0948c770  \Device\HarddiskVolume1\WINDOWS\system32\config\SECURITY
0xe1559b38  0x02d64b38  [no name]
0xe1035b60  0x0283db60  \Device\HarddiskVolume1\WINDOWS\system32\config\system
0xe102e008  0x02837008  [no name]
0x8068d73c  0x0068d73c  [no name]

6. Now we can extract the hashed password list to a file (in the current directory) called "xp-passwd" by typing "vol.py --profile=WinXPSP3x86 hashdump -y 0xe1035b60 -s 0xe165cb60 -f /cases/mem/xp-laptop-2005-07-04-1430.img  > xp-passwd"

Note: 0xe1035b60 = system hive virtual address, 0xe165cb60 = SAM hive virtual address which we obtained previously in step 5.

7. (Optional) If you type "cat xp-passwd" you should get something like:


8. For clarity, I am assuming that you will be running these commands from "/home/sansforensics". I had some initial problems launching John The Ripper from there - it was complaining that it couldn't open "john.ini" which contains the configuration info/rules. Consequently, I copied/renamed the John configuration file into "/home/sansforensics" using the command "cp /etc/john/john.conf ~/john.ini". This ensures that John's rules will be initialised properly when we proceed with the next step.

9. Type "john xp-passwd" and depending on your CPU, wait a while ... you should get something like this:

Loaded 10 password hashes with no different salts (LM DES [128/128 BS SSE2])
6                (Administrator:2)
NEON96           (phoenix)
guesses: 5  time: 0:00:01:27 (3)  c/s: 33842K  trying: FG#NNJG - FG#NNNI
guesses: 5  time: 0:00:01:32 (3)  c/s: 33771K  trying: SWY1-4C - SWYEGAD
guesses: 5  time: 0:00:01:38 (3)  c/s: 33981K  trying: 0INHM1 - 0INIEK
guesses: 5  time: 0:00:03:35 (3)  c/s: 35750K  trying: KM51319 - KM5135E
NEON199          (Administrator:1)
guesses: 6  time: 0:00:16:35 (3)  c/s: 30877K  trying: 3S35/5# - 3S35/EA
guesses: 6  time: 0:00:17:49 (3)  c/s: 30836K  trying: 06OZJYB - 06OZJ4U
guesses: 6  time: 0:00:20:14 (3)  c/s: 30332K  trying: GM5BOM! - GM5BILI
guesses: 6  time: 0:00:20:19 (3)  c/s: 30341K  trying: HMO-F37 - HMO-FM.
guesses: 6  time: 0:00:40:15 (3)  c/s: 30880K  trying: EYGOMOA - EYGOP5U
guesses: 6  time: 0:00:52:16 (3)  c/s: 30931K  trying: W8W24EI - W8W24N6
JVYMGP1          (HelpAssistant:2)
guesses: 7  time: 0:01:22:17 (3)  c/s: 28872K  trying: V4VBN69 - V4VBN8F
guesses: 7  time: 0:01:23:37 (3)  c/s: 28802K  trying: UCBKWW0 - UCBKWG6
guesses: 7  time: 0:01:28:01 (3)  c/s: 28419K  trying: SGVRGO6 - SGVRGUV
guesses: 7  time: 0:01:38:31 (3)  c/s: 28008K  trying: #04CR3 - #04CM!
guesses: 7  time: 0:01:47:08 (3)  c/s: 27758K  trying: UFE'ACB - UFE'ABN
guesses: 7  time: 0:01:49:04 (3)  c/s: 27620K  trying: FXRG7D  - FXRBOVW
guesses: 7  time: 0:02:02:48 (3)  c/s: 27110K  trying: DYCIAQD - DYCIIHK
guesses: 7  time: 0:06:31:50 (3)  c/s: 24555K  trying: )K6T-. - )K6T_F
guesses: 7  time: 0:06:32:15 (3)  c/s: 24557K  trying: )^Y3G_ - )^Y3TT
Session aborted

You can see where I ran out of patience with my single core Athlon64 CPU and aborted the session after approx 6.5 hours (by pressing CTRL-C).  Your mileage will vary methinks - so feel free to let it run to completion. Whilst John is running, whenever the operator presses a key, a timestamped statistics message is printed to screen.

So from the output above, we now know the "Administrator" password is "NEON1996". John displays passwords in groups of 7 letters so we append the results of Administrator:2 (ie "6") to Administrator:1 (ie "NEON199"). In contrast, "phoenix" has the password "NEON96" - there is no second half to append / there is no numbered index associated. Also, "Sarah" / "SUPPORT_388945a0" / "Guest" do not appear to have a password set.

Also from the output above, we can theorise that "HelpAssistant" and "ASPNET" have passwords greater than 7 characters long (ie they each use 2 password hashes). John reports 10 loaded password hashes = 1 hash each for "Sarah" / "SUPPORT_388945a0" / "Guest "/ "phoenix" + 2 hashes for "Administrator" which implies 4 password hashes left between "HelpAssistant" and "ASPNET".

10. If we type "john -show xp-passwd" we will get a summary of the findings so far:


7 password hashes cracked, 3 left

Note: The second field is the password field eg for "Administrator", the password is "NEON1996". There are no passwords set for "Guest", "SUPPORT_388945a0" and/or "Sarah". I stopped John before it could calculate the passwords for "HelpAssistant" and "ASPNET".

The John results are stored in a file called "john.pot" and events are logged to "john.log". Both of these files are located in the directory where "john" was launched from (eg "/home/sansforensics"). So if we want to restart a cracking attempt from scratch, you can use "rm -f john.pot" before re-launching "john". Should "john" crash/be CTRL-C'd, there will be a "john.rec" recovery file generated so "john" can restart from its last calculation point (as opposed to from the beginning).

So thats about all I have to show you for now ... if you decide to try it out, I'd be interested to hear you comment on how long your processing time took. Go bananas !