WannaCrypt Malware

Of course you have heard about the new malware, which yesterday created a lot of problems in industry. Unfortunately it is not an unknown problem.
Microsoft released a patch for this type of vulnerability already in March, but it seems once again that administrators are not patching their systems.
So, if you haven’t patched your systems at least every month, if you haven’t patched your system from March, is time to do it. And don’t forget to have a good defense system (antivirus and other prevention mechanisms). Update them to!
You can find additional information in this link.

Here is a link to post how was neutralized and who did this.
Anyway, we have already a version 2.0; you can read about this version here.
Again, please patch your systems! This update will solve a vulnerability. And don’t forget: this is not the first malware who was written on known vulnerability – patch your systems constantly!
Additionally, please disable SMB1 protocol – it is not new that it is not secure. Here and here are some guidelines how to do it via GPO.

Have your forgotten your Local Administrator password?

Well, if the computer is yours and you have physical access to it, than you can solve it.
This procedure will work with Windows 8.x and newer and Windows server 2012 and newer. It is not a real hacking technology, but we will use a hole of the operating system.
All we need in this case is to open a shell with enough high privileges before we are asked for the password. Impossible? Not really.
We will do it in a simple way:

  • Insert installation media to your computer and start it from installation media
  • In installation process select Repair your computer

  • In Choose your option select Troubleshoot and then Command prompt

  • Find the partition where Windows are installed (default is C:) and change directory to Windows\System32 (cd \\Windows\\System32)
  • For server systems you have to rename file “UserInit.exe” to something else, using command Ren UserInit.exe Userinit.Old and replace the missing file with cmd by copying a file with command copy cmd.exe userinit.exe
  • For windows systems you have to rename the file “Utilman.exe” to something else, using the command Ren Utilman.exe Utilman.Old and replace the missing file with cmd by copying a file with command copy cmd.exe Utilman.exe

  • Restart the computer to boot into normal operating system (where you forgot the password)
  • Click on Easy of Access icon and a Command prompt window will open. To clarify, this Command shell is opened as system, so you can do a lot of things here.

  • If Administrator account is disabled (Windows 8.x or 10), first you need to enable it with command Net user Administrator /enable:yes
  • Reset password of Administrator account with command Net user Administrator MyPassword, where MyPassword is your new password

  • Close command prompt and login to your System.

Do not use this procedure for hacking. This article is meant for recovering your passwords and passwords for your clients and will not recover domain passwords.


Everyone of us want to stop Cryptolocker and similar programs. It seems that it is really a nightmare for all admins. Anyway, to stop Cryptolocker and any unwanted program, you have to be aware, that this will bring limitations to your system, which are not always welcome.

How does Cryptolocker work?
We have 5 phases of Cryptolocker infections:

  1. Installation: The software is delivered to your computer via download or E-Mail attachment and the user click on it. The executable is now installed, the registry keys are set and we are ready to go to the next phase.
  2. Contacting headquarters: the computer is contacting criminal headquarters for registration, so it will prepare all environment for phase 3.
  3. Creating keys: headquarter and client are now identifying each other and are ready to “handshake” and create two keys for encryption.
  4. Encryption: Cryptographic keys are now established and the encryption can begin. It depends on version, but almost all files on all local and shared drives where you have permissions will be encrypted.
  5. Extortion: The screen with a guide how much and where to pay is displayed. There is displayed also how much time you have for payment. If you will not pay in time, the headquarter key will be deleted and you will not be able to decrypt files. The payment is every day higher – so if you want to pay, do it immediately.

To prevent a large number of unwanted software, the first step to do is always remove LocalAdmin permissions and turn on UAC. This two actions will put you in situation where user will not be able to install any application and write to system crucial folders. Also have your system always up to date. And I don’t mean only OS, but include all applications installed (we know attacks to Java, Adobe FlashPlayer, Microsoft Office…).
Of course this is not enough as a lot of bed guys know how to elevate permissions or are using different folders (for example AppData is used for Cryptolocker), but been a LocalAdmin is a great way to become a victim. I suggest to all home users and system administrators to use two different accounts – one for daily use and the second for administrator tasks.
Well, the real way to prevent Cryptolocker is blocking the execution of exe files in AppData folder. You can do this with group policy in AppLocker or in software restriction policy. This are steps for basic protection with AppLocker:

  1. Create new GPO for Cryptolocker prevention
  2. Edit new created GPO
  3. Expand Computer configuration > Policies > Windows Settings > Security settings > System Services
  4. Enable “Application Identity” service and set it to automatic startup modeCrypto1
  5. Go down to Application Control Policies and expand to AppLocker
  6. In “Configure role enforcement enable Executable rules and make them in Enforce mode (I suggest you, to run them in Audit mode for week or two and analyze logs before enforcing them – just to find legal applications which can be blocked)Crypto2
  7. Expand AppLocker and click to Executable rules
  8. Right click in action pane and create Default Rules
  9. Right click in action pane and create New RuleCrypto3
  10. In Permissions on Action set Allow for EveryoneCrypto4
  11. In Conditions select that is Publisher ruleCrypto5
  12. In Publisher, just browse one file (in my case was Internet Explorer) and go with slider up to Any publisherCrypto6
  13. Give the name to the ruleCrypto7

So, this is about AppLocker, but we have still a lot of work to do. There is a big surface for attack if users are local admin. To prevent this, configure Restricted groups in GPO by using Computer Configuration > Policies > Windows Settings > Security settings > Restricted Groups.
Apply this GPO to all computers and the first step is done.
GPO is a good way to prevent Crypto, but be aware that Crypto is evolving and you have to evolve with him. And preventing Crypto with GPO means that executable is already in your system – maybe you have to prevent it before is downloaded or received with mail. For this step you will need the application firewall, good antivirus in file system and in mailing system.
But still you can do something with chip devices with closing outgoing ports 83, 846, 777, 997, 1604, 9001, 9003, 444, 9052, 8443, 7777, 9003 and 25254. This ports are used to communicate with headquarter servers to obtain a certificate for encryption (maybe exist also other ports or will be added / changed during the time). If you will close this ports, the system will not be able to retrieve a certificate for encryption and the encryption will not be able to begin. Be careful on notebooks because the users will bring their notebooks at home and the encryption will be successful.
As you can see, there are a lot of ways to prevent Cryptolocker, but you have to prevent it. When you have it, it is too late – think about it now!

And for home users? Well we cannot forget them. They have a lot of pictures and documents on their computers – practically a whole life and is a really big impact to lose all this material.
I suggest you a software from FoolishIT. It is free and it is working good (but if you want to keep it up to date, give those few Euros to the author – he is doing his job well!).


Additional reading:

How to change network profile with PowerShell

Many times, my customers tell me that their network don’t not work well. They have problems with access to shares, they are not able to connect via RDP to some servers and so on.
The cause of this problem is in 90% of cases a wrong network profile. This can happen if you change router, network cards or other network equipment. A small distraction when you select the network type can have big consequences by blocking many services. All of these problems have the origin in default Windows settings, as the default network profile is Public. This setting is correct because it is the optimal solution when you connect to some untrusted networks (hotels, airports…) and if we think that we travel a lot, this situation is more frequent that connecting to a new home network.
There are also many posts how to change network profile on the net. Some are better than others are, but I want to solve this problem using PowerShell. In this way it works on clients and servers, it can be done always in the same mode and you can change a profile whenever you want. It is just one command:

Get-NetConnectionProfile | Set-NetConnectionProfile –NetworkCategory Private

Network categories you can use are Private or Public. You cannot set profile to Domain.

More on Set-NetConnectionProfile can be found here..

Many free tools for administrators

For any administrator, who want to use any kind of free tools to have better access or monitor some functionalities in Windows environments, here we have a list of many free tools. Just look which is usable for you and use it:
And please, test it in test environment prior you use it in production. Many times tolls are not exactly the same as you expect..