Category Archives: Security

Deploying a RODC for Palo Alto PAN-OS Credential Phishing Prevention

I was recently tasked with setting up the AD side of PAN-OS Credential Phishing Prevention. For some technical reason that I haven’t been able to find it requires a read-only domain controller (I attempted putting the credential agent on a regular DC just to see if it would work and it seemed to read credentials without issue. If anyone has information about RODC requirement I’d love to hear it.) We don’t have or use any read-only domain controllers currently, so I had to deploy one for each domain we needed to protect. This brought up a few questions to mind…

  • How would I decide/maintain what users have their passwords replicated to the RODC?
  • How do these passwords get replicated to the RODC? By design passwords are only replicated to an RODC after an initial authentication attempt when they are configured for password replication.
  • Since the sole reason this domain controller is being deployed is for PAN-OS I don’t want it to handle logons and I want to make it very lightweight. How do I prevent user logons/authentication from occurring on this DC?
  • How are usernames identified? Will it handle all formats (samAccountName, explicit UPN, implicit UPN, and email address)?

How would I decide/maintain what users have their passwords replicated to the RODC?

This one is pretty easy for me. I don’t see any reason to exclude any accounts from credential detection, so I will use ‘Domain Users’. I usually stay away from using default groups, but this is one of the few cases where it makes sense to do so.

How do these passwords get replicated to the RODC?

I turned the logging level up to verbose (HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Palo Alto Networks\User-ID Credential Agent\Log | DebugLevel=5) on the credential agent after full configuration and saw that the agent enumerates all the objects within the ‘msDS-Reveal-OnDemandGroup‘ attribute of the RODC computer object (and DNs manually specified in the user-id agent seen in the screenshot below) and executes ‘repadmin‘ against each object to force replication. As password changes are detected it re-replicates passwords using the same method.

How do I prevent user logons/authentication?

Clients discover domain controllers using DC Locator. I decided to prevent the domain controller from registering all SRV records except for the two necessary for replication (LdapIpAddress + DsaCname). To do this I set a local policy under ‘Computer Settings → Administrative Templates → System → NetLogon → DC Locator DNS records‘ called ‘DC Locator DNS Records not registered by the DCs‘. The value I set for this policy was:

Ldap LdapAtSite Pdc Gc GcAtSite GcIpAddress DcByGuid Kdc KdcAtSite Dc DcAtSite Rfc1510Kdc Rfc1510KdcAtSite GenericGc GenericGcAtSite Rfc1510UdpKdc Rfc1510Kpwd Rfc1510UdpKpwd

How are usernames identified?

After experimentation it is clear that when using the domain credential filter method PAN-OS is getting the user from the IP<->user relationship and only looks for that user’s password in web site submissions. No matter what username I put in a form the submission triggered a detection as long as the password matched my password. Another user’s credentials under my session did not trigger a detection. I was happy with this because I do not have to worry about certain username formats not being detected.

After all of these questions/concerns were addressed came the actual implementation. You are required to install both the ‘User-ID Agent’ and the ‘User-ID Credential Agent’ on the RODC. According to the documentation this instance of the user-id agent should not be used for IP<->user relationship gathering and should only be pulling credentials. The credential agent creates the ‘bloom filter’ and sends it over to the user-id agent. PAN-OS connects to the user-id agent receives the newest version of the bloom filter. One issue I ran into was around permissioning and service accounts. Normally you would assign a domain account with limited permissions to the user-id agent, but the thing to consider here is that credential agent and user-id agent communicate using named pipes. According to the documentation on named pipes if no ACL is specified when creating a named pipe the default ACL is:

  • LocalSystem – Full Control
  • Administrators – Full Control
  • Creator Owner – Full Control
  • Everyone – Read
  • Anonymous – Read

The issue here is that the credential agent only runs under LocalSystem and assigning a non-administrator account to the user-id agent service prevents the user-id agent from communicating to the credential agent’s named pipe. Leaving the user-id agent service running under LocalSystem worked, but created another problem. When running under LocalSystem for some reason it was unable to enumerate the ‘msDS-Reveal-OnDemandGroup‘ attribute (seen in the UaDebug.log file) for the RODC meaning it couldn’t determine what user accounts were allowed to sync to this RODC. I found that if I manually specified a group DN in the user-id agent it would work under LocalSystem. The only other option would be switching to a ‘DOMAIN\Administrators’ service account (since this a domain controller) which I did not want to do. Since I’m only using ‘Domain Users’ this was easy enough to configure.

UPDATE: There seems to be a discrepancy between how the User-ID agent worked previously, the current documentation, and how it works now. In the past the User-ID agent configuration utility would adjust the ‘Log on as’ value for the ‘User-ID Agent’ service to the account you specified in the agent setup ‘Authentication’ tab. It seems now the service continues to run as LocalSystem, but uses the account specified in the configuration to actually probe the DCs and AD. I was able to leave it running as LocalSystem, specify an account with the proper rights in the ‘Authentication’ tab, and leave the group DN blank under the ‘Credentials’ tab in the user-id agent configuration utility. I verified the agent was using the account via logon events in the security event log on the RODC.

After configuring this you can monitor both log files to verify proper operation and then later verify PAN-OS is properly receiving the bloom filters. Be sure to restart the user-id agent after making any changes.

Credential agent log (UaCredDebug.log) sending bloom filter:

02/08/19 12:43:46:593 [ Info  667]: Sent BF to UaService. 21edc031f4891d2c42c133acded980ba

User-ID Agent log (UaDebug.log) receiving bloom filter from credential agent:

02/08/19 12:43:46:593[ Info 2896]: Received BF Push. Different from current one.
02/08/19 12:43:46:593[ Info 2897]: 0829f71740aab1ab98b33eae21dee122->21edc031f4891d2c42c133acded980ba