Mark is correct.
I've been watching this thread with some interest. While there are
approaches you can take to reduce the problem, and many excellent
suggestions have been mentioned, the simple fact is that at the end of the
day you can't stop a sufficiently knowledgeable admin (or user) from
bypassing whatever controls you put into place... You can only make it
harder to hide their tracks.
For the example below that has been under discussion, it's much easier to
assume the credentials of an authorized account (SYSTEM, domain admin,
whatever) and in some cases you don't even need to know what the password
that account is in order to elevate and bypass controls.
With physical access, a standard user login, and your privilege escalation
of choice ("at [time] /interactive cmd", odd spaces in cmd .exe
invocations...pick your poison) you could use tool like the USB
(http://wiki.hak5.org/wiki/USB_Switchblade) to snag the password hashes
and/or LSA of the target system. Then, using any number of brute-force
to crack the password of your target account (large Rainbow tables are
useful), subsequently access files/information by impersonating the target
privileged user. You could also use something like CORE's pass-the-hash
(http://oss.coresecurity.com/projects/pshtoolkit.htm) to effectively do
same impersonation with no password cracking necessary.
In my opinion, the most severe threat to any organization from a security
perspective are also the most critical resources you need to keep business
flowing: your Security team and the Domain Admins. Pay them well :)
SecurityFocus pen-test list
"Do Not Taunt Happy-Fun Ball"
From: listbounce () securityfocus com
[mailto:listbounce () securityfocus com] On Behalf Of Mark Owen
Sent: Tuesday, November 27, 2007 1:51 PM
To: Liam Jewell
Cc: Depp, Dennis M.; Lim Ming Wei; WALI; security-basics
Subject: Re: Securing workstations from IT guys
On Nov 27, 2007 3:05 PM, Liam Jewell <ljjewell () gmail com> wrote:
> Anybody who has physical access to the machine becomes a
> vulnerability. Even if you encrypt files under an administrator
> account on the local machine, simply resetting the password with a
> program like Passware, will not disable the encryption. Then an
> unauthorized user can log in to the admin account with a blank
> password (or a password of their choosing) and have access to all
> encrypted files.
This is not entirely true. If you reset or delete the
password for an account then that account will no longer be
able to decrypt the files.