Security

Tech Short: Modify vCenter Single Sign-On Password Policy

Warning:  I do not advocate that anyone to make modifications which extend outside of their organizations security policies. Doing so may put account security as risk.

By default, passwords associated with vSphere Single Sign-On expire every 90 days. As a user approaches this expiry point they will be reminded that their password is about to expire.

In my lab I wanted to avoid the need to change my password so frequently so I decided to extend the number of days required between password changes.

The steps below can be followed:

  1. Log in to the vSphere Web Client as a user with vCenter Single Sign-On administrator privileges
  2. Browse to Administration > Single Sign-On > Configuration
  3. Click the Policies tab and select Password Policies
  4. Click Edit
  5. Modify the “Maximum Lifetime”
  6. Click OK

Under the password policies you may take note of various options which can be modified based on your criteria or organization password policy.

Here are the password policy options:

 

Maximum lifetime:

Maximum number of days that a password can exist before the user must change it.

Restrict reuse:

Number of the user’s previous passwords that cannot be selected. For example, if a user cannot reuse any of the last six passwords, type 6.

Maximum length:

Maximum number of characters that are allowed in the password.

Minimum length:

Minimum number of characters required in the password. The minimum length must be no less than the combined minimum of alphabetic, numeric, and special character requirements.

Character requirements:

Minimum number of different character types that are required in the password. You can specify the number of each type of character, as follows:

  • Special: & # %
  • Alphabetic: A b c D
  • Uppercase: A B C
  • Lowercase: a b c
  • Numeric: 1 2 3

The minimum number of alphabetic characters must be no less than the combined uppercase and lowercase requirements.

In vSphere 6.0 and later, non-ASCII characters are supported in passwords. In earlier versions of vCenter Single Sign-On, limitations on supported characters exist.

Identical adjacent characters:

Maximum number of identical adjacent characters that are allowed in the password. The number must be greater than 0.

For example, if you enter 1, the following password is not allowed: p@$$word

 

Ref: ESXi and vCenter Server 5.1 Documentation > vSphere Security > vCenter Server Authentication and User Management > Configuring vCenter Single Sign On

Office 365: Use Content Search to delete unwanted Emails from Organization

Office 365: Use Content Search to delete unwanted Emails from Organization

As an admin you can use the Content search located under Security & Compliance to search for and delete email message from select or all mailbox in your organization.  This is particularly useful to remove high-risk emails such as:

  • Message that contains sensitive data
  • Messages that were sent in error
  • Message that contain malware or viruses
  • Phishing message

 

To start the process, we begin with creating a content search:

  1. Log into your Office 365 protection center – https://protection.office.com
  2. Click on Search & investigation, then select Content search
  3. From Content search click on the “New” Icon
  4. Enter a name for this search job
  5. Select either specific mailboxes or “all mailboxes”
  6. Select “Search all sites”, public folders are an option depending on your search criteria
  7. Click Next
  8. Enter in keywords to search of leave blank to search for all content
  9. Add Conditions – In my example I am looking for a subject (ex. Microsoft account unusual sign-in activity)

  10. Click Search

 

The search will start and results will be displayed in the right pane.

When completed you a preview the results and export to computer as a report.

Now the you have generated a search you can move to deleting the content you had searched for.

To do this we will need to connect to the Security & Compliance Center using remote PowerShell.

$UserCredential = Get-Credential

$Session = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange -ConnectionUri https://ps.compliance.protection.outlook.com/powershell-liveid -Credential $UserCredential -Authentication Basic -AllowRedirection

Import-PSSession $Session -AllowClobber -DisableNameChecking

$Host.UI.RawUI.WindowTitle = $UserCredential.UserName + ” (Office 365 Security & Compliance Center)” 

 

Once successful authenticated, and connected to the compliance center you can creation a new action to delete the items found in our previous search.

This is done by using the following example:

New-ComplianceSearchAction -SearchName “Phishing” -Purge -PurgeType SoftDelete

 

OpenVPN Access Server on Ubuntu

I recently retired my OpenVPN Turnkey appliance and needed to get my VPN solution up and running again. I decided to go with installing OpenVPN Access Server on a clean install of Ubuntu Server to create a stable and light weight Virtual Private Network (VPN) to access my network.

I chose to go with OpenVPN AS because its using the OpenVPN I know and trust, but it also has the value added feature of an administrative server used for user and access management.

Setup is straight forward after a few small prerequisites are established.

Requirements:

  • Ubuntu Server – Running the latest version and updates. I am using 16.04.2-as my base
  • Root or possibly sudo access

Software:

Download the latest release of the OpenVPN AS Server
https://openvpn.net/index.php/access-server/download-openvpn-as-sw.html

The direct Ubuntu installs here

 

The following steps can be used to download and install:

  1. Download the install package: wget http://swupdate.openvpn.org/as/openvpn-as-2.1.9-Ubuntu16.amd_64.deb
  2. Install the downloaded package: dpkg -i openvpn-as-2.1.9-Ubuntu16.amd_64.deb
  3. Change the password for the openvpn user: passwd openvpn

When the installation has completed, the Access Server web UIs will be available here:
Admin UI: https://<yourip>:943/admin
Client UI: https://<yourip>:943/

 

And just like that you now can take better control over your privacy, security.

Note: I did not go over the configuration of OpenVPN AS, I may do this in another post. I just wanted to run though the steps of getting this software installed.

New Phishing Scam Using Microsoft Office 365

*** Attention Required ***

It seems that the bad guys are at it once again with an attempt to collect information by phishing credentials from those of us using Office 365 for corporate emails.  The characteristics of this particular attack the hackers intention is to deceive Office 365 users into providing their login credentials”.

The user sees a fake Office 365 login page, which requests their credentials. Once the Office 365 usernames and passwords have been compromised, the hackers can:

  • Send emails to other users in the victim’s address book, asking them for anything, sending fake invoices, sending more phishing emails, etc.
  • Access the user’s OneDrive account, to download files, install more malware, infect files with malware, etc.
  • Access the users SharePoint account, to download files, install more malware, etc.
  • Steal company intellectual property or other customer information such as customer SSNs, credit card numbers, email addresses, etc.

One of the characteristic of this recent attack is an email being sent with an embedded image which resembles an Microsoft Office Word document containing a link back to a site with a fake Office 365 logon page.  In addition to this the site URL ends in php?userid= syntax.

I have provided the following YouTube video to illustrate the interaction of the fake Office 365 logon page.

Link: https://youtu.be/wHxkzxGF4JY

 

Advice:

It’s an important part of your responsibility to be cautious when accessing emails even from known senders to ensure its legitimate by reviewing the email to ensure that its legitimate.

If in doubt do not open the email and reach out to the sender to ensure they sent you the email.  If you self-determine an email to be suspicious immediately report incidents as soon as they happen.

 

Here are a few guidelines below that could be followed.  Please review:

 

Check the sender.

Sometimes, cybercriminals and hackers will fake (or “spoof”) the sender of an email. If the “from” address doesn’t match the alleged sender of the email, or if it doesn’t make sense in the context of the email, something may be suspicious.

Check for (in)sanity.

Many typical phishing emails are mass-produced by hackers using templates or generic messages. While sophisticated attacks may use more convincing fake emails, scammers looking to hit as many different inboxes as possible may send out large numbers of mismatched and badly written emails. If the email’s content is nonsensical or doesn’t match the subject, something may be suspicious.

Check the salutation.

Many business and commercial emails from legitimate organizations will be addressed to you by name. If an email claims to come from an organization you know but has a generic salutation, something may be suspicious.

Check the links.

A large number of phishing emails try to get victims to click on links to malicious websites in order to steal data or download malware. Always verify that link addresses are spelled correctly, and hover your mouse over a link to check its true destination. Beware of shortened links like http://bit.ly, http://goog.le, and http://tinyurl.com. If an email links to a suspicious website, something may be suspicious.

Don’t let them scare you.

Cyber criminals may use threats or a false sense of urgency to trick you into acting without thinking. If an email threatens you with consequences for not doing something immediately, something may be suspicious.

Don’t open suspicious attachments.

Some phishing emails try to get you to open an attached file. These attachments often contain malware that will infect your device; if you open them, you could be giving hackers access to your data or control of your device. If you get an unexpected or suspicious attachment in an email, something may be suspicious.

Don’t believe names and logos alone.

With the rise in spear phishing, cybercriminals may include real names, logos, and other information in their emails to more convincingly impersonate an individual or group that you trust. Just because an email contains a name or logo you recognize doesn’t mean that it’s trustworthy. If an email misuses logos or names, or contains made-up names, something may be suspicious.

If you still aren’t sure, verify!

If you think a message could be legitimate, but you aren’t sure, try verifying it. Contact the alleged sender separately (e.g., by phone) to ask about the message. If you received an email instructing you to check your account settings or perform some similar action, go to your account page separately to check for notices or settings.

 

 

The Ten Immutable Laws Of Security: Version 2

You can’t patch these, but you can take steps to be more aware of these law’s.

 

Law #1: If a bad guy can persuade you to run his program on your computer, it’s not solely your computer anymore.

Law #2: If a bad guy can alter the operating system on your computer, it’s not your computer anymore.

Law #3: If a bad guy has unrestricted physical access to your computer, it’s not your computer anymore.

Law #4: If you allow a bad guy to run active content in your website, it’s not your website any more.

Law #5: Weak passwords trump strong security.

Law #6: A computer is only as secure as the administrator is trustworthy.

Law #7: Encrypted data is only as secure as its decryption key.

Law #8: An out-of-date anti-malware scanner is only marginally better than no scanner at all.

Law #9: Absolute anonymity isn’t practically achievable, online or offline.

Law #10: Technology is not a panacea.

 

Ref: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh278941.aspx?f=255&MSPPError=-2147217396