BSides Idaho Falls – Day 0

This weekend, I am attending the BSides conference in Idaho Falls. This is the second BSides I have ever attended and I thought it would be a great idea to write a post for each day of the conference. I have been to other conferences (not many) before and each time I wish I had some way to express what I am feeling, what I learned, and just the sheer inspiration the conferences give me. In which case, why not do what other people do? Blog about it!

This post is day 0. I’m not at the conference but I arrived in the city and checked into the hotel. And most of the evening was spent wrangling my computer to be ready for the seminar I signed up for.

Generally, I am pretty nervous about attending a seminar or taking a test. I always assume that I will make a laughingstock out of myself and possibly get chased out for not being talented enough…my brain. This time, thanks to computer wrangling, I am more livid than nervous. I never knew setting up a virtual Windows machine in AWS to use for a seminar would be so annoying! Normally, I spin up Linux machines, SSH into them, and I’m good to go. It is the easiest thing to do! Windows is a different beast! At least Windows Server 2012 R2 is.

Before my rant, I want to acknowledge that I know 2012 R2 is showing its age but in my mind, why do I need something like server 2016 if I am just loading up some tools that should work no problem with a slightly older OS? I think AWS may have sensed my thoughts and has decided to make my life miserable. I digress.

Back to my frustrations.

I created the Windows 2012 machine, decrypted the pem key for the password, and logged on without a hitch. Cool! Except, when I tried to use Internet Explorer to download Firefox, the OS happily told me that the built-in Admin account does not have permission to use the browser. How and why is this a feature!? This makes me think of theSpongebob meme with Patrick and Manray where Patrick tells Manray that he cannot perform a task because of insufficient permissions even though he has the permission to do it!

Well fine then! I created a new admin account and logged in as the new account. Now I had access to the internet browser! Time to get Firefox. Except, for some reason I did not want to try to figure out, I could not get the download prompt. In fact, I could not get a download prompt for any program I wanted to download. They did not make it to the downloads folder nor were they scheduled for download. Blank.

Frustrated, I did the next logically thing I could. I obliterated the vm and created a new one using Windows Server 2016. And almost as if nothing ever happened, I could access the browser as the built-in admin and download programs. I was even allowed to install the programs! Can you imagine? Performing simple commands as an admin without the OS telling you you can’t! It is a beautiful thing…Not to mention how much time and the headache it’s going to save me!

For the rest of the evening, I’ll be installing and testing different forensic software so I can be as ready as possible for the seminar. Still nervous about it all. Until tomorrow!