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Sometimes you just want a shell. You don’t want to worry about compiling a binary, testing it against antivirus, figuring out how to upload it to the box and finally execute it. Maybe you are giving a demo of an awesome new Meterpreter post-exploitation module. Maybe you have less than a minute of physical access to a Windows kiosk machine and need a quick win. There are plenty of scenarios that end in a penetration tester gaining GUI access to a target machine through guessed or found RDP, ESX or VNC credentials. In those situations, the easiest way to get a Meterpreter shell without worrying about AV is with PowerSploit.
PowerSploit is a collection of security-related modules and functions written in PowerShell. PowerSploit is already in both BackTrack and Kali, and its code is utilized by other awesome tools like SET so you may already be using it! Many of the scripts in the project are extremely useful in post-exploitation in Windows environments. The PowerSploit project was started by Matt Graeber who is the author of the function we will use in this tutorial: Invoke-Shellcode.
It seems that more and more these days I find myself battling head to head against my client’s Antivirus Detection capabilities. Payloads I encoded to successfully bypass one solution get picked up by another. An executable that walked effortlessly past one AV this week gets stopped dead in its tracks by the very same software build at a different client the week later. This is a frustrating and constant problem for myself and many other Penetration Testers I am sure.
The topic of Antivirus Detection bypass is not a new one by any means. Currently there exist several methodologies that work well and I don’t think anyone (at least no one I know) can respectfully make a claim for a particular method being the De facto standard that works every time.
This article aims to provide some insight into one such method that I have become fond of and has proven quite successful in many of my recent Information Security Assessments. I first became aware of the technique by reading This Great Writeup from exploit-db. I’m not sure if the author is responsible for coining the term or not but they refer to this ancient wisdom and all of its magical powers under the alias “Ghost Writing” which I think sounds super cool!
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