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Empire 1.5

Three months have elapsed since the Empire 1.4 release, and we have some awesome new features for our next release! The notes for Empire 1.5 are below, but a quick warning- this release modifies part of the backend database schema, so do not apply this update if you have existing agents on your Empire server. You will need to run ./setup/ to reinitialize the database, and will likely need to rerun or pip install flask to install the Flask dependencies necessary for the RESTful API.

New Modules

  • The core version of PowerView was updated with the newest version from PowerSploit’s dev branch. With that, several new situational_awareness/network/powerview/* modules were created:
    • get_dfs_share integrates some of meatballs’ recent PowerView additions all fault-tolerant distributed file systems (DFS) for a given domain. This enumeration is also implicitly called by user_hunter when using the ‘Stealth’ option.
    • get_domain_policy will enumerate the default domain policy (things like the default KerberosPolicy). If you set Source to be ‘DC’ instead of ‘Domain’, the policy for the default domain controller will be enumerated instead (things like PrivilegeRights).
    • get_fileserver wraps Get-NetFileServer returns a list of all file servers extracted from user homedirectory, scriptpath, and profilepath fields. This is a nice compliment to get_dfs_share.
    • get_gpo_computer will take a GPO GUID and returns the computers the GPO is applied to. This can be really useful for things like figuring out what computers a discovered GPP password applies to.
    • get_rdp_session enumerates the remote (or local) RDP sessions on a remote machine that you have administrative access to. This is simliar to qwinsta, but also pulls in the originating IP of the connection as well. I have a post that describes this topic and the API calls in more depth here.
    • get_site returns a list of all current sites in the current (or specified) domain. This functionality was now also updated for find_gpo_location.
    • get_subnet enumerates all subnets in the current (or specified) domain. If you specify a SiteName, it will returns the subnets for the specified site.
    • situational_awareness/host/get_proxy will pull proxy server serrings and WPAD contents for the current user. You can also set a ComputerName to enumerate these settings on a remote machine.
    • management/get_domain_sid pulls the SID for the current of specified domain. This can be useful when constructing complex golden tickets.
    • situational_awareness/host/get_pathacl will enumerate the ACL for a given file path.
  • lateral_movement/new_gpo_immediate_task implements what I spoke about in this post. The module lets you push out an ‘immediate’ scheduled task to a GPO that you can edit, allowing for code execution on systems where the GPO is applied.
  • privesc/getsystem will execute getsystem type functionality. One note here- PowerShell 2.0 by default launches in a multi-threaded apartment. This prevents the current thread from sometimes doing correct impersonation, causing some methods like getsystem to fail. Empire’s launchers are now spawned with the -sta argument (for single-threaded apartment) by default in order to try to resolve some of these issues.
  • privesc/mcafee_sitelist implements PowerSploit’s new Get-SiteListPassword function that retrieves the plaintext passwords for found McAfee’s SiteList.xml files. This is heavily based on Jerome Nokin‘s excellent work on the subject.
  • trollsploit/rick_astley is an audio beeping rickroll written by @SadProcessor.
  • Inveigh was updated by the awesome @kevin_robertson! The Inveigh modules now include collection/inveigh for hash collection, lateral_movement/inveigh_relay for hash relay/lateral movement, collection/inveigh_bruteforce to perform NBNS spoofing across subnets, and the privesc/tater implementation of the ‘Hot Potato’ exploit from @breenmachine and @foxglovesec.

Other Updates

As always, tons of bug fixes. Additionally, we implemented ‘stager retries‘. If you set the ‘StagerRetries’ option for any stager module, the basic staging code should retry for a connection the specified number of times.

We also have some more verbose debugging. Running “./empire --debug” will still output debug output to empire.debug, and now “./empire --debug 2” will up the verbosity level and display all debug output to the console as well as the log.

We’ve finally implemented a request from last year to support the loading of Empire modules from external directories, for the purposes of testing and private development. On the main menu, the ‘load /path/to/folder‘ command will now load modules from en external directory, usable with ‘usemodule external/path/to/folder/module‘. Note that these modules do not persist across server restarts, but you can reload all modules in the folder with ‘reload /path/to/folder‘.

GitHub Issue and Pull Request templates! We now have templates for contributing as well as issues. This helps remind contributors to include the information we need to help resolve your issue or approve your pull request.

Also, the epoch issue, oh the epoch issue. Empire has some attempted anti-replay functionality built in, where the client/sever sync up their system times on agent check in and each tasking/response packet contains a 32-bit counter field based on the epoch. The idea was to provide a +/- 10 minute sliding window where packets for packets to be validated. However, some users (particularly those operating across time zones) have reported issues with the client/server syncing their clocks, causing big problems in certain cases with agent taskings and results. This ‘sliding window’ has now been expanded to +/- 12 hours, still providing a bit of anti-replay resistance for historically captured traffic, but hopefully wide enough to fix the issue for anyone who’s encountered it. If anyone continues to have epoch issues, please let us know.

Empire’s RESTful API

Anyone following on twitter may have noticed a few tweets that I posted after the Troopers conference. @antisnatchor from the BeEF project strongly suggested that we implement a RESTful API for Empire, noting that the community started to do some awesome things with BeEF once the API was in place. A bit over a week later (plus some coffee, as well as a few beers) we have a prototype RESTful API implemented for Empire. Shoutout to BeEF as well for their excellent documentation on how their API works- it served as a great starting point. And also, I want to give a huge huge thank you to Carlos Perez for giving me a TON amount of feedback on the API right after seeing that tweet, and greatly guiding the API towards a better design.

Empire’s RESTful API is implemented with Flask, and is based on Miguel Grinberg’s excellent series of articles dealing with the subject. In the next year, we actually intend on moving all of Empire’s http[s] server handling to Flask to avoid some of the concurrency issues we’ve heard occur when a high number of agents are registered with an Empire server.

In the next 1-2 weeks I’ll have an in-depth blog post detailing the API model and what people can do with it. Until then, check out the comments for a brief description, and this gist for a brief overview of how to interact with the API. If you want to launch the API, you have two options: start a full ./empire instance, and then run ./empire --rest --password X from the same folder, or run ./empire --headless --password X to kick everything off at once. Check -h for additional options, or stay tuned next week for a detailed writeup.

We look forward to what all of you can do with this new Empire integration!

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