Book Review: Basic Security Testing with Kali Linux 2

Basic Kali 2

A fully updated version of the very popular “Basic Security Testing with Kali Linux” is now available! Now totally re-written from the ground up to cover the new Kali Linux “2016-Rolling” with the latest pentesting tools and Ethical Hacking techniques.

I was honestly shocked how well received the first Basic Security Testing book was received by the security community. But all in all, it was my first book attempt and definitely had room for improvement. I was flooded with requests and advice from students, instructors and even military personnel on recommended changes and ways the book could be improved.

I took every comment to heart and with the help of an amazing editorial and reviewer team, that included a computer security professor and a CTF player, created Basic Security Testing 2!

What’s new:

  • Completely re-written to cover topics more logically
  • Better lab layout that is used consistently throughout the book
  • Written for the latest version of Kali (Kali 2.0 “Sana” & Kali “2016-Rolling”)
  • Includes an introduction chapter for the new Kali 2016-Rolling
  • All tools sections have been updated – old tools removed, new tools updated
  • Now uses PowerShell for most of the remote Windows Shells
  • XP removed, Windows 7 used as the main Windows target (though Windows 10 is mentioned a couple times  🙂  )
  • More tool explanations and techniques included
  • 70 pages longer than original book

What’s the same:

  • Learn by doing
  • Hands on, Step-by-Step tutorials
  • Plenty of pictures to make steps more understandable
  • Covers the same major topics as the original, but using the latest tools
  • The front cover, well, except for the “2”!

My goal was to provide a common sense Ethical Hacking how-to manual that would be useful to both new and veteran security professionals. And hopefully I have accomplished that task. Thank you to everyone for your continuous support and feedback, it is greatly appreciated!

So what are you waiting for, check it out!

Basic Security Testing with Kali Linux 2

 

 

 

 

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Using Problem Steps Recorder (PSR) Remotely with Metasploit

Windows includes a built in program that captures screenshots and text descriptions of what a user is doing on their system. This program could be accessed remotely by a hacker. In this article we will see how to run the program from a remote shell using Metasploit.

Introduction

Windows includes a great support program that you have probably never heard of called “Problem Steps Recorder” (psr.exe). Microsoft made this program to help troubleshooters see step-by-step what a user is doing. If a user is having a computer problem that they either can’t articulate well or tech support just can’t visualize the issue, all the support personnel needs to do is have the user run psr.exe.

When PSR runs it automatically begins capturing screen captures of everything that the user clicks on, it also keeps a running dialog of what the user is doing in a text log. When done, the data is saved into an HTML format and zipped so all the user needs to do is e-mail this to the tech support department.

I have honestly never heard of PSR before yesterday when Mark Burnett (@m8urnett) mentioned it on Twitter:

PSR Metasploit 1

Creepy indeed, but I thought that if you could run it remotely, it would be a great tool for a penetration tester. Well, you can! Though running PSR as an attack tool isn’t a new idea. I did some searching and it is mentioned multiple times over the last several years in this manner. Pipefish even mentions using it with Metasploit back in this 2012 article (http://pipefish.me/tag/psr-exe/).

To use Steps Recorder normally, all you need to do is click the start button in Windows and type “psr” into the search box. Then click on “Steps Recorder”.

A small user interface opens up:

PSR Metasploit 2

Just click “Start Record” to start. It then immediately begins grabbing screenshots. It displays a red globe around the pointer whenever a screenshot is taken. Then press “Stop Recording” when done. You will then be presented with a very impressive looking report of everything that you did. You then have the option of saving the report.

PSR can be run from the command prompt. Below is a listing of command switches from Microsoft :

psr.exe [/start |/stop][/output <fullfilepath>] [/sc (0|1)] [/maxsc <value>]
[/sketch (0|1)] [/slides (0|1)] [/gui (0|1)]
[/arcetl (0|1)] [/arcxml (0|1)] [/arcmht (0|1)]
[/stopevent <eventname>] [/maxlogsize <value>] [/recordpid <pid>]

/start Start Recording. (Outputpath flag SHOULD be specified)
/stop Stop Recording.
/sc Capture screenshots for recorded steps.
/maxsc Maximum number of recent screen captures.
/maxlogsize Maximum log file size (in MB) before wrapping occurs.
/gui Display control GUI.
/arcetl Include raw ETW file in archive output.
/arcxml Include MHT file in archive output.
/recordpid Record all actions associated with given PID.
/sketch Sketch UI if no screenshot was saved.
/slides Create slide show HTML pages.
/output Store output of record session in given path.
/stopevent Event to signal after output files are generated.

Using PSR remotely with Metasploit

Using the command line options, PSR works very nicely with Metasploit in a penetration testing scenario. I will start with an active remote Meterpreter session between a test Windows 7 system and Kali Linux. There are many ways that you could do this, but I simply made a short text file as seen below:

  • psr.exe /start /gui 0 /output C:\Users\Dan\Desktop\cool.zip;
  • Start-Sleep -s 20;
  • psr.exe /stop;

The commands above start PSR, turns off that pesky Gui window that pops up when running and turns off the red pointer glow when recording pages. It then saves the file to the desktop.

The script waits 20 seconds and then stops recording.

I then encoded the command and ran it in a command shell:

PSR Metasploit 3
After 20 seconds a new “cool.zip” file popped up on the Windows 7 desktop:

PSR Metasploit 4
This file contained a complete step by step list of everything the user did during the 20 second window. At the top of the file are the screenshots:

PSR Metasploit 5
And at the bottom was the step by step text log:

PSR Metasploit 6
I actually like using PSR now better than Metasploit’s built in screenshot capability, especially with the blow by blow text log that is included. The script also worked well against Windows 10 with some minor tweaks.

Defending against this attack

Problem Steps Recorder can be disabled in group policy. Though I did not see anywhere on how to completely uninstall PSR.

The best defense is to block the remote connection from being created, so standard security practices apply. Keep your operating systems and AV up to date. Don’t open unsolicited, unexpected or questionable e-mail attachments. Avoid questionable links, be leery of shortened URLs and always surf safely.

If you want to learn more about computer security testing using Metasploit and Kali Linux, check out my latest book, “Intermediate Computer Security Testing with Kali Linux 2”.

Book Review: Kali Linux Network Scanning Cookbook

Everything you ever wanted to know about scanning (and then some)!

Kali Linux Network Scanning

Security Guru and trainer Justin Hutchens has recently released an exceptional book on network scanning with Kali Linux. The book starts out with the very basics of network scanning and progresses through stages to more advanced scans and even exploitation.

All the basics are present, like using Nmap, ARPing, Scapy and other tools to perform varied levels of discovery, port scanning and fingerprinting.  You are then masterfully shown how to greatly expand the capabilities and functions of these tools by using scripting.

But it doesn’t stop there, you then move on to using scanning tools and Burp Suite to perform Denial of Service attacks, SQL injection and Metasploit attacks. Because really what is a scanning book without including offensive attacks?  🙂

The book is easy to read and follow using step-by-step instructions and screen views. It is setup in sections (called “Recipes”) so that if you want to know how to perform Layer 4 discovery using Scapy or DoS attacks with Nmap, you just go directly to that particular section.

I have worked with Justin on a couple projects and he is one of the most talented security teachers and authors that I have ever met. He covers material in this book that I have never seen covered anywhere else. If you have any interest in network scanning or want to learn a lot more about it, get this book!

Available at Packt Publishing and Amazon.com.

*** UPDATE *** Original print quality issues have been rectified according to the publisher.

CyberArms is Back! Security News, Book Reviews and More

I’ve been out of town for almost two months sans internet and had a long time to think about this blog, among other things. So I figured it was well and about time to kick some new life into it and get it spun up again.

Yes!

I haven’t posted on CyberArms consistently for a long time, yet I still amazed at the constant flood of visitors that still check in every day. So, I have decided to begin posting regularly again. Yup, security news, computer tips and even some cool military stuff!

New Ethical Hacking Book!

Though I haven’t been posting, I have been fairly busy on other projects. The biggest one is the release of my new book, “Basic Security Testing with Kali Linux“:

Basic Security Testing with Kali Linux

Over 300 pages packed full with hands-on step by step Ethical Hacking tutorials. An E-Book version will be out later this week!

Navy Base Visit

During my two month “vacation”, I was able to visit one of our top Navy bases. I met some great people, got to see numerous Naval Warships and even got a tour of a Super Carrier!

I also watched the movie “Lone Survivor” on the base. It was a powerful movie, and watching it surrounded by our men and women in the Navy was an experience that I will never forget.

Vice Adm. Rogers Cyber Command Nomination

I was delighted to hear that Vice Admiral Michael Rogers was nominated to be the future leader of both Cyber Command and the NSA. I have had the honor of meeting Vice Adm. Rogers and his wife at a Navy function (non-cybersecurity related) a few years ago.

He was down to Earth, professional, competent and truly seems to be a man of integrity.

I cannot think of a man more qualified to man the helm of our nations Cyber War and Signals Intelligence forces.

Books

I was able to catch up on some reading during my vacation too. Here are two of my favorites:

Information Warfare” is an older book by Winn Schwartau, the Second Edition was published in 1996! I was reading a computer book about 20 years old, yet the content and information still seems very pertinent today.

Bravo Two Zero” is a first hand account of a British SAS unit in Iraq during the First Gulf War that evolved into one of the longest Escape and Evasion treks in history. If you liked the movie Lone Survivor, you will love this book.

Coming Soon

Security news & tutorials, military news, computer tips and some news on more upcoming books.

Stay tuned!