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Chink in the Armor

Because the Blue Cell students are dealing with complex systems of which they have minimal experience, they are plagued with the problems that systems administrators face every day. Weak passwords, default accounts, missing security patches, and an overall lack of proper security configurations leaves small cracks in a system's armor, giving the attackers a foothold for attacks.

  •   Weak Passwords—Default and weak passwords provided the Red Cell attackers many of the initial accounts on the student's systems. Students learn firsthand how all the security patching and intrusion monitoring in the world will not save your systems if your accounts have weak passwords. Red Cell used Google to its advantage, identifying all the default accounts and passwords used for the technologies that were used in the student's environment.
  •   System Patching—The Red Cell Attackers made short work out of the systems that were not properly patched using Metasploit to drop "meterpreter" sessions on vulnerable systems. Once a system was compromised, the session was handed over to post exploitation team members who would further embed themselves onto compromised systems with a combination of remote access trojans (RATs) and manipulation of key files.

    On Linux systems, the Red Cell attackers would copy a Red Cell public key into a compromised system's SSH "authorized_keys" file. This enabled the attackers to effortlessly walk back into the system even if passwords were changed. Many of the Blue Cell teams knew to change their passwords but did not consider looking to see if an additional key was placed on their systems. This oversight cost Blue Cell Student teams valuable time and points as the Red Cell attackers would constantly disable services and wreak havoc from inside the systems.

    On the Windows systems, the team used the meterpreter sessions to configure PoisonIvy bots that provide complete control over an infected system. Not only did this provide the Red Cell with ongoing administrator access, but also provided a linty of tools to watch and interfere as the students attempted to eradicate the Red Cell Trojans from their systems.
  •   Default accounts—For a number of the Blue Cell's systems, the attacking team didn't even have to work to gain access to the boxes. Default accounts that were left active on servers were used to gain a foothold into the systems. Using these accounts information about the systems could be collected along with various privilege escalation attacks.

Taking Candy from a Baby!

An interesting twist that added realism to the hospital and patient care theme was the integration of a Med Kit for each Blue Cell team. The Med Kits consisted of a small rugged medical box with a bar code reader integrated on the top and an electronic microcontroller locking system. The function of the Med Kits was to simulate the storing and distribution of sensitive medicines. When a Blue Cell team member's badge was scanned by the Med Kit's bar code reader, an internal microcontroller would analyze the provided bar code and if authorized, would unlock and provide access to the "medicine." Representing sensitive medicines in this case was a collection of various candy bars. As part of the Blue Cell's business injects, they were responsible for ensuring the proper count and security of medicines stored within the Med Kits.

Once the Red Cell Attackers learned of the function of the Med Kits it did not take long for them to develop methods for attacking the devices and start stealing (candy) medicine. The students forgot an important component of security; always think holistically when dealing with security controls, especially when electronic security controls are used to protect physical assets!

The backend of the Med Kits was controlled by a small Arduino microcontroller and a special lightweight wireless device called a WiFly. These two devices work in concert to allow the student teams to remotely control their Med Kits via their own private wireless network.

The combination of bar code scanner, Arduino microcontroller, and wireless interface provided the Red Cell attackers a robust platform to launch attacks against, but first they needed to find the device and its IP address on the network.

Red Cell was able to determine which wireless devices residing on the Blue Cells network represented the Med Kits by performing a review of the Media Access Control (MAC) address. Because Red Cell knew that the devices were unique pieces of hardware, they utilized a MAC address hardware lookup site to identify the unique first six characters of the MAC address. Once Red Cell knew the MAC address and IP addresses of the Med Kits, they could probe the devices for services and vulnerabilities.

Red Cell identified that each of the Med Kits could be controlled via an internal team website. Simply altering the command string for the site would result in unlocking the Med Kits. To ensure the most (candy) medicine could be taken from the Med Kits, the Red Cell sent waves of members to empty the boxes in a coordinated attack. Students stared wide-eyed and stunned as they watched Red Cell members effortlessly open their Med Kits and relieve them of all their contents.

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