Some time ago, I was doing a Group Policy assessment in order to check for possible misconfigurations. Apart running the well known tools, I usually take a look at the shared SYSVOL policy folder. The SYSVOL folder is accessible in read-only by all domain users & domain computers. My attention was caught at some point by the “Files.xml” files located under a specific user policy:

This policy settings were related to the “File Preference” Group policy settings running under the user configuration.

According to Microsoft this policy allows you to:

In this case, an exe file (CleanupTask.exe) was copied from a shared folder under a specific location under “Program Files” folder (the folder names are invented for confidentiality reasons). The “CleanupTask” executable was run by the Windows Task Scheduler every hour under the SYSTEM user.

The first question was, why not running under the computer configuration? Short answer: only some users had this “custom application” installed which needed to be replaced, so the policy was filtered for a particular users group, in our case “CustomApp” group and luckily my user “user1” was member of this group.

The policy was executed without impersonating the user (so under the SYSTEM context), otherwise I would have found and entry “userContext=1” in the xml file. This was necessary because a standard user cannot write in %ProgramFiles%

In addition the policy was run only once (FilterRunOnce), which would have prevented multiple copies each time the user logged in.

To sum it up this was the policy configuration from the DC perspective:

Now that I had a clear vision of this policy, I took a look at the shared hidden folder.. and guess what? It was writable for domain users, a real dangerous misconfig…

I think you already got it, I could place an evil executable (reverse shell, add my user to local admins and so on) in this directory, perform a gpupdate /force which would copy the evil program in “Program Files\CustomApp\Maintenance” and the wait for the CleanUptask to execute….

But I had still a problem, this policy was applied only once and in my case I was already too late.. so no way? Not at all. The evidence that the policy has already been executed is stored under a particular location in the Windows Registry under the “Current User” hive which we can modify…

All I needed to do was deleting the guid referring to the filter id of the group policy and then run gpudate /force again and perform all the nasty things…

Misconfigurations in Group Policies, especially those involving file operations can be very dangerous, so publish them after an extremely careful review 😉


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