Poisoned RDP Offense and Defense

Tech 3 (801B) October 10, 2019 2:45 pm - 3:45 pm Feedback     

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Dana Baril

It’s safe to assume that many people reading this text have heard of using the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) to connect to other machines. But has anyone ever considered that merely using RDP can compromise their own computer?

In this talk, we will not be covering a typical RDP vulnerability where a server is attacked – instead, we will show that just by connecting to a rogue machine, your own host can be reliably and silently compromised. Although there are numerous vulnerabilities in popular open source RDP clients, this talk heads straight for the crown jewel: the Microsoft Terminal Services Client, or MSTSC.EXE. We will take a deep dive into the main synchronized resource between the client and the server: the clipboard. At the end of this journey, we will discover an inherent design problem with this resource synchronization, a design problem also inherited by Hyper-V.

For attackers, this design flaw enables new ways of escaping the sandbox. For defenders, there is a way to fight back. With the right optics, this technique can be detected using internal Windows telemetry.