Anyone with a computer knows that vulnerability is inevitable when using a network. Software Restriction Policy is a clear-cut concept that is comprehensible even to the least tech savvy. When you use a computer, you risk exposing your files to a potential attacker. You may be even revealing more about yourself than you want to let on.

There exist built in steps that will protect your identity and activities on the internet. It comes in standard account user on Windows Vista, 7 and 8. You will be able to improve your security by setting up a Software Restriction Policy or Parental Controls.

These functions provide an arbitrary protection from malicious attacks on the system. These are different from antivirus software in that they do not need updates. They do not slow down the computer system much, plus they cost nothing. They are also able to add more security to your defense from attacks.

Unlike other programs, Software Restriction Policy operates on the principle of stopping software from running automatically. It lists some dangerous file types like .exe. These files will only run if located in an approved location. Such locations could be C:\Windows directories and C:\Program Files.

User accounts not included in the Administrative accounts will not be able to add new files to these folders. There are exceptions, but that is a discussion for later. You can also override this function if you have to.

Software Restriction Policy

Parent Controls, another simple method, creates a white list of .exe files installed in the system found in standard locations. You have full control over what software runs on a specified user. You can also add more to the whitelist whenever you need it.

Working with Software Restriction Policy:

  1. Firstly, you need to create a Software Restriction Policy. To do this, type in from the Run or Search bar gpedit.msc. As it appears above, right-click on it and choose the Run As Administrator. This opens the Local Policy Group editor.

Software Restriction Policy

  1. From the drop-down choices on the right toolbar, choose Computer Configuration, down to Window Settings. Then, click Security Settings. From the drop-down, select Software Restriction Policies.

Software Restriction Policy

  1. Double click Enforcement from the Object Type that appears. An Enforcement dialogue box appears. Choose “All software files” and “All users except local administrators.” Click OK.

You can choose to apply Software Restriction Policies to Administrator, but you risk your processing speed. You may experience random hangups when removing or installing software.  There is a significant lag if also applied for local administrators.

Enforcing SRP on all files may cause web browsers to stop responding due to Adobe Flash Player. You can work around this by imposing SRP on all files except libraries (such as DLLs). Imposing SRP could get done until the Flash version is obsolete or Adobe fixes it.

Software Restriction Policy

  1. Double click Designated File Types found in the right panel. Double-clicking opens another dialogue box. Scroll through the list to find LNK. Choose it and press Delete button. Deleting will allow you to use LNK file types such as Quick Launch icons and Desktop shortcuts.

Software Restriction Policy

  1. From the left-hand side of the panel, choose the Security Levels folder. Right click the Disallowed and choose “Set as default.” Setting as default makes the policy effective. A prompt will appear, just press OK.

Software Restriction Policy

Software Restriction Policy

*If you want to turn SRP off, you can just choose and right-click Unrestricted.

  1. There is an extra directory in the Program Files of 64-bit versions of Windows, named C:\Program Files (x68). Choose Additional Rules, right-click on the space in the right panel and select New Path Rule. Create the new path that makes the directory Unrestricted. Software installed in that directory will then be allowed to run.

Software Restriction Policy

Software Restriction Policy

An additional Path Rule should also get created in Windows 8. Mark C:\Program Files\WindowsApps as Unrestricted. Marking it will solve issues where Windows Apps cannot launch from Window Store.

  1. SRPs should be able to block Write permissions from users (and those that exploit them) other than Administrators. However, there are loopholes in Windows installations. You can fix this through Disallowed path rules for the unwanted folders.

Download AccessChk, extract the .exe file from the zip folder and save the file to C:\Windows\System32. Run accesschk –w –s –q –u group path. Run it once for each unrestricted path and non-Administrators. Make some necessary Disallowed paths as you run your check.

Software Restriction Policy

Be careful in setting Disallowed paths. Disallowed rule in a folder will cover all its subfolders, too. In the C:\Windows\32\spool folder, applying the Disallowed rule will block printing function. To make sure this does not happen, create the path rules one by one.

*Checking your SRP after installing new software or printers is essential for continuous protection from some loopholes. You may encounter loopholes from programs that need to be Disallowed. The Run As Administrator option should do the trick if you ever need to run the files.

  1. Overriding SRP is necessary when installing software from a disc. To remedy this, choose the file and either right click to Run As Administrator. Or, you can transfer the setup file to an Unrestricted folder such as C:\Program Files.

There are instances when you need to make SRP exemptions for a program. If you want to install a Remote Assitance app, you have to exempt the web browser to run the file temporarily. To do this, start the web browser by right clicking to Run As Administrator. Running as admin will lift restrictions on the browser until you close it.

If you need to disable SRP due to misconfiguration, right click on Local Computer Policy. Select Properties. Check the Disabled Computer Configuration settings from the dialogue box that appears. You can then set the behavior to Unrestricted that you can find in the Security Levels folder.

Software Restriction Policy

  1. Confirm that the SRP you set is up and working. Copy a .exe file to your desktop and try to run it. A prompt should appear like this:

Software Restriction Policy


Meanwhile, click here to check my other post on bypassing restricted environments.

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The best aspect of going digital lies ín the convenience of having a computer that replaces physical activity. Some say remote administration tool is counterproductive to the human function. However, remote administration tool has more pros than cons. Being connected is one such advantage. You can have access to any computer, and distance may not matter.

Remote Access Control or RAT is a software. It allows a certain user to control any system even without physical access to it. Thus, the remote “operator” gains full control over the device.

Although RAT and desktop sharing has legal uses, this type of software is often used in malicious activity. The operator can control RAT through a network connection. This is more so because it hides from detection by security software.

RATs can take on a number of activities when activated in a “client” computer. Apart from gathering login and account information, RATs can also format drives. Additionally, RATs can install applications silently. They can also run and operate without the victim’s knowledge.

Guide to set up Remote Administration Tool (RAT) Zeus BotNet:

This guide will help in setting up Remote Administration Tool (RAT) Zeus BotNet. However, the guide requires download of the software. We also need a database server and web server for this task.

Zeus or Zbot is the infamous Trojan horse that was spread through phishing schemes and drive-by downloads. It installs itself and uses form grabbing and keystroke logging to steal banking information. In 2009, Zeus compromised over 74,000 FTP accounts in company websites. Such companies included the Bank of America and NASA.

In 2010, Internet security providers claimed the creator of Zeus was retiring. As a result, he was to sell the code to his competitor, SpyEye Trojan creator. Experts later retracted this statement. They said that it was a ruse and that the developer might come back with new tricks. Binaries and source code are on GitHub since 2011.

How to setup Zeus Botnet RAT:

  1. The first thing to do is have a database server and web server running. Download XAMPP here to use for this task. Make sure that you have it up and running, as well as your MySQL service.
  2. In your internet browser, type http://localhost/phpmyadmin. Next, enter the username and password. Afterward, key in the default username root and leave the password blank. Create a database after that. Use the database name earlier created to setup Remote Administration Tool later.

remote administration tool

  1. Download the RAT file and extract it. There are three main folders in the archive: builder, server (PHP) and other. On your XAMPP files, locate the htdocs folder (C:\xampp\htdocs) and create a new folder inside it (you can use <bot> as folder name). Finally, copy the contents of server[php] to C:\xampp\htdocs\bot.

remote administration tool

  1. Next, go back to your web browser and search http://localhost/install/bot. Supply the correct details in each of the fields.

remote administration tool

Your database server IP address will fill the host address in MySQL server. This is your IP address in XAMPP. Supply the database name in step 2, and fill the encryption key with any characters 1-255 in length. Afterward, proceed by clicking Install.

You might encounter an error while doing this step. The error says “Failed to connect to MySQL server: Host ‘myusername’ is not allowed to connect to this MySQL server.” Do the following to remedy this:

  1. First, open http://localhost/phpmyadmin. Click the Privileges tab where you will find an edit button. Next, click the button to modify the user root privileges.

remote administration tool

  1. Clicking the button will, as a result, lead you to the edit user page. Scroll down to see the login information. Click the Host to any host from localhost and then press the “Go” button. A dialogue box opens when it successfully installs.

remote administration tool


  1. You need to create and configure the Zeus bot client. On the builder folder, open the configuration file named config.txt. Change the url_server, url_loader, and url_config to match your settings. Also, remember to edit the path of webinjects.txt.

remote administration tool

  1. At this point, open the zsb.exe file. This opens a dialogue box. Follow the steps as numbered in the image. This will build your bot executable.

remote administration tool

  1. Bot executable and Bot config enables adding new files after step 6. These are the bot.exe and config.bin. Copy these files to the htdocs folder that we configured earlier (C:\xampp\htdocs\bot).


remote administration tool

  1. The way to test this is to send the bot.exe to the target victim. Say the victim executes the file, we can see and check through the attack server. Open your browser and key in http://localhost/bot/cp.php. Afterward, type your username and password.

remote administration tool

  1. Finally, you gain entry to the newly infected victim as seen from your browser. It has all the information. You can view right from your web interface. You can even see a screenshot of the desktop view of the victim.

remote administration tool


  • Zbot is very forward when it comes to attacks. The attacker can collect data and information of the infected victim. It can also obtain some very private and sensitive information of the victim. It can also monitor internet activities of the victim.
  • Zbot acts as a keylogger. Thus, it can capture login information. This means that it can save usernames and passwords entered in websites.
  • Since Zbot is a persistent Trojan, having an up-to-date internet security is key. Even then, this malware uses stealth technique and therefore it is tough to detect. Antivirus software might only manage to prevent some infection attempts.
  • The best form of protection against Zbot is vigilance about suspicious links from email and websites. Security experts advise users to avoid clicking anything that looks hostile. Staying on top of your pop-up settings can also help prevent Zbot infection.


Here is another interesting article on Firefox Plug-ins.

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Plug-ins, additional features in a browser, enhance the user experience. Firefox is one browser that supports a variety of plug-ins. These could include video scripts, animations, and other elements. Browsers alone do not typically support these.

Understanding how plug-ins work and interact with browsers is important. This is because most malicious attacks use plug-ins as a cyber-trespassing and theft tool. Moreover, we will secure our systems properly by understanding how plugins work.

Plug-ins have a multitude of purpose. These are used to ensure safe browsing, information grabbing, entertainment purposes, among other uses. Below are useful plug-ins one can use to gather information and carry out penetration testing.

FoxyProxy Standard

This add-on is a proxy management. It improves the browser’s proxy capabilities as well as providing analysis of URL patterns. It also switches the network connection transversely among different proxy servers. One sees an animated icon on the browser when a proxy is in use.

FoxyProxy Standard has a history tab that logs the servers used. It is possible to set the plug-in for use when necessary based on the URL’s nature. This, as a result, makes the add-on more efficient than other proxy management plug-ins.

Firefox plug-ins


This is a Firefox web development tool embedded into the browser function. It enables the editing of HTML, JavaScript or CSS directly from the live page. The changes thereafter directly seen after saving.

This plugin helps in pinpointing web application and web page vulnerabilities. It opens a window to launch a penetration attack and can collect a user’s data. It also enables inspection of HTML elements in the page.

The CSS tab functions to check and edit the style of the page. It is a convenient way to edit the look of the page and consequently view the changes immediately. Copying of Codes is further possible for further development outside the browser. It also enables scaling and margin setup to align text and images. Additionally, it can monitor network activity. If a page is loading slowly, you can check what causes the lag from this plug-in. Firebug also has a powerful JavaScript debugger that identifies errors and measures performance of a script.

Furthermore, Firebug monitors network activity. If a page is loading slowly, you can check what causes the lag from this plug-in. Firebug has a powerful JavaScript debugger that identifies errors and measures performance of a script.

The DOM tab found in the Firebug panel helps identify code tags and edit them. This plugin also allows the easy management of cookies. All accepted cookies are reviewed as they are listed according to value.

Firefox plug-ins

Firefox plug-ins

Live HTTP Headers

Live HTTP headers are effective penetration tools used for troubleshooting, tuning and analyzing a website. This plug-in contains data such as language, caching, authorization, and character set. Normally, these data are invisible. This plugin, however, enables access to this information.

To obtain header information, right-click on the page and select “View Page Info.” Next, click the header tab on the new pop up window to view page information. Press ‘”Ctrl+Shift+A” to replay the header.

Firefox plug-ins

This plug-in is considered as a sniffer application. That is because it can view HTTP header exchanging. You can see what is happening and analyze it, and stop packet capture. To change header or URL values, you only need to highlight, edit and replay a packet. Finally, this works on both Windows and Linux.


Hackbar is another penetration testing tool. It appears as an extension of the address bar. Hackbar is capable of performing POST data manipulation, encryption, and encoding. This helps test XSS holes, web security, and SQL injections. Moreover, one can work on Hash algorithms, Base64 Decoding, and other data types with Hackbar.


Firesheep gives you the capability to attack HTTP sessions of other users accessing the same network. This plugin shows all accounts found in the network. This uses the cookie unique to a logged in account. This a result of websites protecting initial log-ins but leaving the rest of the log-ins unprotected.

These cookies are readily available for use by attackers in any open network. Firesheep captures users visiting an unsecured page. Double clicking a seized item, logs you in as that user.

Tamper Data

Tamper Data is used to edit and view HTTP requests. This add-on records ongoing requests for display on a particular website. The window shows details such as time, total duration, size and other information. Most noteworthy is that the data is copied to an external file for future reference.

Firefox plug-ins


CryptoFox is an encryption-decryption plug-in. It appears as an extension of the address bar. Moreover, it has two fields. The first one corresponds to the text that needs encryption. The next field is a selection of the desired encryption method.

CryptoFox performs over 40 techniques. Furthermore, it has a dictionary attack reference for MD5 passwords. To test this plug-in, here is an AES128-bit encryption. Let’s use the AES 128-bit decrypt method for this.

Firefox plug-ins

Type “helloworld!” in the text field. Next, select AES 128-bit encryption and later on press the decode button. Thereafter, enter the “passwd” when asked to enter a password. This password will also be utilized for the decryption later. Especially relevant is the that we will use this password for decryption later.

Firefox plug-ins

After entering your password, Click OK. Afterward, this encrypts the text which is later displayed in the first field. For cross checking purposes, select the AES128-bit Decrypt and use the same password.

Firefox plug-ins


Anonymox is a useful plug-in that enables anonymous browsing in Firefox. This plugin creates a virtual identity. That is so because it protects you, giving access to commonly banned sites on your network. It also helps one in changing their IP address.

In addition, one can tweak Anonymox’s customizable settings per every website. Bypassing GeoIP blocks is also possible through this add-on. This is possible as it changes your origin location. This, as a result, gives you access to banned sites in your country.

The Anonymox acts as a middle ground. The request is sent to the plug-in and later, the plug-in itself replies to the web host. It enables you to select proxy identities.

Firefox plug-ins

SQL Inject Me<

This penetration testing plug-in identifies vulnerabilities in SQL injection. It looks for database errors and loopholes. This, in turn, helps to carry out an attack through sending escape strings in the database. A completed test result shows errors and the options.

Firefox plug-ins

Certificate Patrol

Certificate Patrol helps pinpoint man-in-the-middle attacks. This is done by checking SSL certificates. It shows whether anything within the certificate is modified during an exchange. This add-on uses pop-ups to inform you SSL details and lets you choose to save or not. If saved, the plug-in can cross-check for disparities.

To verify a certificate, the plug-in shows old and new versions of the SSL. You must be cautious in finding and comparing for errors. Click the Reject button should you find anything suspicious.

Firefox plug-ins


Web crawlers are useful. FoxySpider in Firefox is one such add-on that organizes a website. It displays and arranges videos, music, images, etc. according to file types. It is useful in gathering information about a website.

An icon on the left side of the address bar indicates that FoxySpider is installed. There are three settings for this tool. Left clicking organizes the files, while right-clicking opens a search configuration window. Middle clicking on the icon, on the other hand, pops up a window to set requirements such as keywords or specified URLs.

Firefox plug-insFirefox plug-ins

Firefox plug-ins

Firefox plug-ins

Firefox has a 35% user rating. With plugins such as these, security engineers can find it convenience in performing their tasks. Testing and gathering information is made easier with these add-ons. We encourage you to download these plug-ins to try it out yourself.


Elsewhere, Click here to have a look at another cool post about Dridex malware.

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Users download and execute Malware into their systems through a number of ways. However, attachments are one of the most common ways. Users are easily tricked into clicking and downloading attachments. Furthermore, we use email for many transactions including online banking and as a result, emails make us vulnerable to criminal and fraudulent activity.

Dridex belongs to the banking Trojan type of malware that specializes in stealing bank account information. It is also known as the Bugat or Cridex.

This malware primarily targets Windows users. Dridex is disguised as an email attachment in Excel or Word file. As a result, it prompts the activation of macro which in turn downloads the Dridex malware opening the user to theft.

The primary goal of Dridex is to steal banking details. It steals details such as account names, numbers, and passwords. Additionally, it allows attackers to perform fraudulent transactions by illegally stealing identities. The software carries out injection attacks and installs a keyboard listener to the infected unit.

This malware stole an estimated £20 million in the UK. Similarly, it stole $10 million in the US  in 2015. Since then, Dridex has infiltrated more than 20 countries. In Septemeber 2016, experts said that the banking Trojan would target crypto-currency wallets such as Bitcoin and other forms.

You may be in danger of opening malware if you receive an email containing remittance advice for BACS. BACS refers to Banker’s Automated Clearing Services and it electronically processes financial transactions in the United Kingdom. Most victims come from the United Kingdom.


The email comes with an Excel attachment named BAC_296422H.xls. This runs automatically once opened. However, that is usually the case when macros are enabled in Microsoft Office. The malicious document is detected as X97M/DownldExe.A.

The macro downloads and executes a WinPE file that is named “test.exe” coming from The downloaded executable is usually W32/DridLd.A.

W32/DridLd.A is a component downloader of the Dridex malware. It belongs to the Cridex family. W32/DridLd.A is arguably the heir of banking Trojans. W32/DridLd.A steals banking account information through HTML injections.

The W32/DridLd.A Masks as a Windows component thus making it a suspicious component. Upon closer inspection, one sees that the original and internal filename is a DLL type. The file type is specified as an in32 EXE.


A debugger reveals a compressed executable. It is stored and encrypted in the .data section. Unpacking the executable further opens to a compressed server config.



The unpacked .data section contains a list of the servers. The malware component, Dridex, is downloadable there.


Dridex collects some information before performing a POST to any of the listed servers. This system information includes the Computer name, Username, Windows version, Installation date, Application version, and finally the names. These applications are enumerated from HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall.

Next, the malware builds a data buffer in XML:

<loader><get_module unique=”v1″ botnet=”v2″ system=”v3″ name=”bot” bit=”v4″/><soft><![CDATA[v5]]></soft></loader>



v1 = %ComputerName%_%MD5 of the checksum of UserName and InstallDate%

v2 = %Numeric Botnet ID% (125 in this case)

v3 = %Checksum(MajorVersion|MinorVersion|ServicePackMinor|ServicePackMinor|SuiteMask)%

v4 = %List of applications enumerated from Uninstall key delimited by “;”%


The malware sends a POST request to a server in the server config. This is done using the stolen data contained in an encrypted XML data. Encryption simply uses an X0R operation with “x” as key.


The contacted BotNet server then sends a reply to the request. This response is in the form of an encrypted XML data. One can decrypt the response using the exact X0R operation.

The response is the decoded information including the main DLL component of the malware Dridex. It is then saved in the directory where the downloader XX.tmp was executed. The XX can have varying characters, as in the example 15.tmp. W32/Dridex.A poses as one Microsoft Library with filename MFC110CHS.DLL.


The W32/Dridex.A downloader component is packed through the same compression technique. The unpacked .sdata section contains compressed data as well. However, the data is compressed with a public key this time.


Rundll32.exe loads the main component. One can call it using the following syntax calls:

Rundll32.exe%path to Dridex DLL%NotifierInit


NotifierInit injects another copy of itself to explorer.exe. This happens after calling the main component with its exported function. Later, it deletes its file to avoid further detection from security scans

From there, the malware can perform malicious activities while injecting itself to the explorer.exe. It can monitor browser activities. Such browsers include Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer.

The malware then performs spyware functions. It grabs screenshots of the infected user’s desktop. Similarly, it also acts as a keylogger that saves account information.


Dealing with emails and documents entails being vigilant to suspicious attachments. Particularly, the Dridex malware attachment seems inconspicuous. However, it is very harmful once opened as its chain of infection is based on social engineering. Observant handling of such emails, therefore, prevents this malware.

Delete any email that you find suspicious or hostile and if possible, do not open the email. Emails originating from legitimate organizations should also be verified.

To prevent this malware, an antimalware solution with email coverage is essential. The software screens your emails. That way, one doesn’t have to worry about accidentally opening suspicious emails.

Contact your bank forthwith once infected with Dridex. Change your banking information and update your passwords as soon as possible. Apply this for any account you have input on the infected system.

One can prevent this malware by always enabling Macro settings in Microsoft. The possibility of it harming the system is significantly less when security is in place. This is because Dridex is a macro-based malware. I.T admins can also enforce group policies that push these settings.

Banking theft is a serious crime. Therefore, we always need to be on top of security when it comes to malware. Emails need heavy guarding as they are personal. Security breaches easily happen when people care less about their online activity.



Besides, click here to view my other article on DoD 8570.

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