Null Sessions | Enumeration

A null session occurs when you log in to a system with no username or password. NetBIOS null sessions are a vulnerability found in the Common Internet File System (CIFS) or SMB, depending on the operating system.
Microsoft Windows uses SMB, and Unix/Linux systems use CIFS.
Once a hacker has made a NetBIOS connection using a null session to a system, they can easily get a full dump of all usernames, groups, shares, permissions, policies, services, and more using the Null user account. The SMB and NetBIOS standards in Windows include APIs that return information about a system via TCP port 139.
One method of connecting a NetBIOS null session to a Windows system is to use the hidden Inter-Process Communication share (IPC$). This hidden share is accessible using the net use command. As mentioned earlier, the net use command is a built-in Windows command that connects to a share on another computer. The empty quotation marks (" ") indicate that you want to connect with no username and no password. To make a NetBIOS null session to a system with the IP address with the built-in anonymous user account and a null password using the net use command, the syntax is as follows:
    net use \\ \IPC$ "" /u: ""
Once the net use command has been successfully completed, the hacker has a channel over which to use other hacking tools and techniques.
As a CEH, you need to know how to defend against NetBIOS enumeration and null sessions. We'll discuss that in the following section.

NetBIOS Enumeration and Null Session Countermeasures

The NetBIOS null session uses specific port numbers on the target machine. Null sessions require access to TCP ports 135, 137,139, and/or 445. One countermeasure is to close these ports on the target system. This can be accomplished by disabling SMB services on individual hosts by unbinding the TCP/IP WINS client from the interface in the network connection's properties. To implement this countermeasure, perform the following steps:
  1. Open the properties of the network connection.
  2. Click TCP/IP and then the Properties button.
  3. Click the Advanced button.
  4. On the WINS tab, select Disable NetBIOS Over TCP/IP.
A security administrator can also edit the Registry directly to restrict the anonymous user from login. To implement this countermeasure, follow these steps:
  1. Open regedt32 and navigate to HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\LSA.
  2. Choose Edit ð Add Value. Enter these values:
    • Value Name: RestrictAnonymous
    • Data Type: REG_WORD
    • Value: 2
Finally, the system can be upgraded to Windows XP and the latest Microsoft security patches, which mitigates the NetBIOS null session vulnerability from occurring.

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