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Microsoft Exchange bug leaks tons of domain credentials

Labeled as domains in Domain Industry News, started by Lox, Sep 22, 2021

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  1. Lox

    Lox _____ VIP

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    As a part of the ongoing security research efforts by the Guardicore Labs team, we have discovered an interesting case of credential leak affecting a large number of people and organizations worldwide.

    The credentials that are being leaked are valid Windows domain credentials used to authenticate to Microsoft Exchange servers. The source of the leaks is comprised of two issues:
    1. The design of Microsoft’s Autodiscover protocol (and the “back-off” algorithm, specifically).
    2. Poor implementation of this protocol in some applications.
    As mentioned, Microsoft’s Autodiscover protocol was meant to ease the configuration of Exchange clients such as Microsoft Outlook. The protocol’s goal is to make an end-user be able to completely configure their Outlook client solely by providing their username and password and leave the rest of the configuration to Microsoft Exchange’s Autodiscover protocol. It is important to understand that since Microsoft Exchange is part of the “Microsoft domain suite” of solutions, the credentials that are necessary to login to one’s Exchange-based inbox are in most cases their domain credentials. The implications of a domain credential leak in such scale are massive, and can put organizations in peril. Especially in today’s ransomware-attacks ravaged-world – the easiest way for an attacker to gain entry into an organization is to use legitimate and valid credentials.
    In 2017, researchers from Shape Security published a paper about how Autodiscover implementations on email clients on mobile phones (such as Samsung’s mail client on Android and Apple Mail on iOS) can cause such leaks (CVE-2016-9940, CVE-2017-2414). The vulnerabilities disclosed by Shape Security were patched, yet, here we are in 2021 with a significantly larger threat landscape, dealing with the exact same problem only with more third-party applications outside of email clients.

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