The NSA Hacks System Administrators

This article reveals that the people holding the keys are often the juiciest targets, regardless of their innocence, as they are a means to and end. However, perhaps the most interesting part of the article, Inside the NSA’s Secret Efforts to Hunt and Hack System Administrators, is this:

Once the agency believes it has identified a sys admin’s personal accounts, according to the posts, it can target them with its so-called QUANTUM hacking techniques. The Snowden files reveal that the QUANTUM methods have been used to secretly inject surveillance malware into a Facebook page by sending malicious NSA data packets that appear to originate from a genuine Facebook server. This method tricks a target’s computer into accepting the malicious packets, allowing the NSA to infect the targeted computer with a malware “implant” and gain unfettered access to the data stored on its hard drive.

Looks like I chose a good week to cancel my Facebook account 😉

Cracking Password-Protected MS Office Files

Disclaimer: Don’t do this unless it’s for legitimate reasons, such as the one outlined below.

At work, I recently came across the need to crack a handful of MS Office files that someone had password protected. Of course, that person was no longer around, so the person who took over needed to figure out how to access these documents, and they asked the Security team for help.

My first instinct turned out to be the correct one: use John the Ripper on Kali 2.

The main issue I faced was extracting the password hash from the Office docs in question so that John The Ripper could have something to run against. Turns out there is a handy python script you can use that does exactly this: office2john.py (https://github.com/kholia/RC4-40-brute-office)

Instructions

Download office2john.py, then make it executable.

# chmod a+x offce2john.py

Now you can use this tool to extract the hash from the Office document, and save it to a text file:
# ./office2john.py secret-company-secrets.docx > hash.txt

Now check out the contents of the hash file if you want:
# cat hash.txt

All you need at this point is a good password list to run through John the Ripper, and a few options to run it with. The sqlmap.txt file that comes with Kali2 is a good candidate:
/usr/share/wordlists/sqlmap.txt

Here’s the full command:
# john --session=docx --rules --wordlist=/usr/share/wordlists/sqlmap.txt hash.txt

Options:
–session=docx – This is the name of this session. Could be anything, really.
–rules – Enables word mangling on the defined wordlist
–wordlist – Path to the word list you are running this against

Now, sit back and wait for John to do its thing.

PDFs

Just use pdfcrack in Kali.

Have you been pwned?

This website has come in handy a couple of times recently. I was made aware that my username and password were found in lists of those stolen from hacked websites, including Dropbox and LinkedIn. Of course, I had long since changed my passwords, but it’s still interesting to see this happen, and it could one day really save me. I suggest you sign up!

https://haveibeenpwned.com/

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