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Parachuting Accounts into Clients
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Next, we re going to look at what we call performing a file drop to create a user account. File drops are when we simply copy files into appropriate directories to achieve a task. In this example, we re going to take an administrative account we created on our own system, using either the command line or the Accounts System Preferences pane. We re going to grab the .plist file that makes up the account and the password file from /var/db/dslocal/nodes/Default, and then take the corresponding password hash for the account from /var/db/shadow/hash; (The name of that hash, remember, is based on the generated UID.) We ll simply copy all of these to the same destinations folders on the client that they were in at the source (the .plist file goes into
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CHAPTER 1: Directory Services
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the /var/db/dslocal/nodes/Default/users directory and the password hash file goes into the /var/db/shadow/hash directory of the target hosts). Since we ve been using dscl, the directory services daemon has been keeping track of our actions. However, if we aren t using dscl and we re file-dropping an account, we either need to wait for the next restart on the system or restart the directory services daemon. To restart the daemon, use the killall command with the pattern of DirectoryService:
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sudo killall DirectoryService
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Hiding Administrative Accounts
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Hiding an administrative account can help keep users in organizations from tampering with or disabling user accounts, and help maintain a secure channel for administrators to remotely administer the system. There are a variety of ways to obscure the presence of an administrative account in Mac OS X. For example if the only admin account on a Mac OS X client is Administrator with Admin as the short name (case sensitive), then the admin account won t show up at the login window. However, it will not be hidden in the Accounts System Preference pane. If you have multiple admin accounts, you can suppress them from the login window by adding them to the HiddenUsersList array in com.apple.loginwindow.plist, using the following command:
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defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.loginwindow HiddenUsersList -array-add mysecretadmin
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You can also simply file-drop a new com.apple.loginwindow.plist file into /Library/Preferences/com.apple.loginwindow.plist. But these methods simply suppress the admin account from a list of users at login, and don t truly hide the account. Here s another way to hide the accounts. You can set the any user s account (either existing or new) with a Unique ID of any integer below 500. To create a new admin user, you can copy an existing user from /var/db/dslocal/nodes/ Default/users and alter the NFSHomeDirectory, RealName, and UniqueID keys to be unique (not that a home directory has to be unique, but it should be. And, as noted, the new UniqueID should be an integer below 500 in order to be hidden). You could also create a new account called secrethiddenuser with a password of secrethiddenuserspassword using dscl, with the following script:
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#!/bin/bash dscl . -create /Users/secrethiddenuser dscl . -create /Users/secrethiddenuser RealName "Hidden Admin" dscl . -create /Users/secrethiddenuser NFSHomeDirectory /Users/hidden dscl . -create /Users/secrethiddenuser UserShell /bin/bash dscl . -create /Users/secrethiddenuser UniqueID 150
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CHAPTER 1: Directory Services
dscl . -create /Users/secrethiddenuser PrimaryGroupID 20 dscl . -passwd /Users/secrethiddenuser 'secrethiddenuserspassword'
Although this will create a new, hidden user account, it is fairly straightforward to view the contents of the /var/db/dslocal/nodes/Default/users directory and look for files that are neither listed in the accounts System Preference pane nor included with a default install of Mac OS (including _amavisd, _amavisd, _appowner, _appserver, _ard, _atsserver, _calendar, _clamav, _cvs, _cyrus, _devdocs, _eppc, _installer, _jabber, _lp, _mailman, _mcxalr, _mdnsresponder, _mysql, _pcastagent, _pcastserver, _postfix, _qtss, _sandbox, _securityagent, _serialnumberd, _spotlight, _sshd, _svn, _teamsserver, _tokend, _unknown, _update_sharing, _usbmuxd, _uucp, _windowserver, _www, _xgridagent, _xgridcontroller, daemon, nobody, root and the default user applications). Some will choose to create a hidden user account in an entirely separate directory services node. This can be done by copying the current directory services node (/var/db/dslocal/nodes/Default) into a new folder located in /var/db/dslocal/nodes, and then restarting the DirectoryService daemon (killall DirectoryService). After restarting DirectoryService, use Directory Utility to specify a custom search path, and then add the new node. This can also be done using dscl to alter the /Search node ). The downside of creating a new directory services node is that it is fairly straightforward to find the node s information using Directory Utility, and if you are attempting to be a stealthy admin, you have just increased the surface space of your hidden account.
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