Do you remember the first time you passed the hash?  It probably went a little something like this:

If you are unfamiliar, that is the Metasploit PSexec module being used.

Well, nowadays we don’t really do that anymore.  You probably pass the hash something like this:

That is CrackMapExec being used to pass the hash.  As you may already know, CrackMapExec under the hood is mostly impacket. The default execution method is using, which can be ran standalone with impacket using the following syntax:

You will find that basically all of impacket’s example scripts allow you to pass the hash.

What I want to talk about next is ways to pass the hash that might be new to you.


What: The short of it is that Windows Remote Management (WinRM) is another way to remotely manage computers aside from WMI and other similar protocols and uses a different set of ports.  WinRM uses either port 5985 (HTTP) or 5986 (HTTPS).

Why: Sometimes you will find that SMB is not open, or that some endpoint protection is preventing you from using your standard toolset.

How: This can be done using a variety of tools including CrackMapExec, but right now I want to focus on evil-winrm as it contains a lot of other features. Passing the hash with evil-winrm is easy, and it looks like so:



What: Remote desktop is a program or an operating system feature that allows a user to connect to a computer in another location, see that computer’s desktop and interact with it as if it were local.

Why: Often times during a penetration test you may want to access software installed on a user’s system that is only available through a graphic interface.  This may be a password manager that can be exported easily via the GUI, or other software that can perform actions that would be impossible/burdensome to use otherwise.  You may want to pass an NT hash of a user who couldn’t be cracked and take over their session.

How: You can pass the hash using xfreerdp.  There is one important caveat however, and that is that this is only possible when the system has Restricted Admin Mode enabled.  If this is not enabled and you try to PTH, you will get an error stating that “Account Restrictions are preventing this user from signing in.”  Restricted Admin Mode is disabled by default.  The good news is, if you have any level of admin access to the system and access to SMB/WinRM/etc, you can enable this feature remotely.

Once the registry key is set, you can then pass the hash with xfreerdp:



What: smbclient is an FTP-like client to interact with SMB/CIFS resources.

Why: Often times you may not have administrative access to a system, despite having recovered valid hashes.  Consider the following scenario: You compromised a single host and dumped hashes.  One of the hashes belongs to the head of Finance.  They do not have administrative access over infrastructure, but have access to troves of confidential data on the file server.
How: smbclient has a –pw-nt-hash flag that you can use to pass an NT Hash.


What: Active Directory is the Windows implementation of a general-purpose directory service, which uses LDAP as its primary access protocol.

Why: Often times I find the best Active Directory attack chains often involve exploiting ACLs.  Consider a common penetration testing scenario: You’ve gained access to a NT hash of a user in an IT admin group that has admin access over an exchange server.  You do not have admin access over domain controllers.  Exchange servers are a member of the Exchange Trusted Subsystem group, which is a member of Exchange Windows Permissions group. This group has WriteDACL access over the domain.  It’s also important to know that computer accounts have usernames and passwords, and that these passwords are effectively uncrackable, which is why passing the hash is extremely useful.

First, recover the NT hash for the Exchange server.

Once you have the NT hash for the exchange server, you can authenticate to a domain controller using ldap3, and authenticate by passing the hash. From here you can do a lot, but a simple attack involves adding a user you control to the Domain Admins group. In this example you may of course also use the Exchange account to DCsync with  In the case of compromising the NT hash of a member of the Account Operators group, you would not be able to DCsync however, you could use this method to add users to certain groups to expand access.


Pass the Ticket

What: Pass the ticket (PtT) is a method of authenticating to a system using Kerberos tickets without having access to an account’s password.

Why: It may not be possible to authenticate with NTLM, and only Kerberos authentication is allowed.  I won’t even attempt to explain how Kerberos works (I don’t quite get it honestly) but it can be very useful to understand how to use it in attacks.

How: The normal way to create a Kerberos ticket on Linux is by using kinit with the username, domain, and password.  If you don’t have the password, this is a problem.  Fortunately, impacket has a tool that allows you to use an NT Hash to acquire a valid Ticket Granting Ticket (TGT) from a domain controller.  Unfortunately however, Linux distros don’t typically have Kerberos tools installed on them and you will need to set them up.

  • Install the kerberos package
  • Configure the AD realm
  • Get DNS working properly
  • Sync time

To create a Kerberos TGT using an NT hash, run a command like below:

You will want to copy the ticket to /tmp/krb5cc_0, as a lot of tools look for it in that location.  You also want to set the KRB5CCNAME environment variable to the ticket location, as some tools use that to find the ticket location.

You can validate the ticket using klist.

Now that you have a ticket you can use it with all of the impacket tools as an alternative to providing a password or NT hash.  This will prove to be very useful in certain situations as you will see next.  Do note that whenever using Kerberos authentication you will want to use DNS names of targets instead of IP addresses.



What: On Linux a Windows share can be mounted on a particular mount point in the local directory tree using the cifs mount type within the mount tool.

Why: While we can pass the hash using smbclient, its FTP-like interface can be limiting.  It’s often much more useful to mount a share, that way you can interact with it via the Linux command line or via a GUI file explorer. For added user experience, you can even expose this mount point with SSHFS, so you can explore the share from the comfort of your local Windows or Mac file explorer.

How: When mounting a share you cannot pass the hash, but you can connect with a Kerberos ticket (Which you can get by passing the hash!). Use a command similar to below to mount a share.  If it fails wit the error “No such file or directory” It often means that your ticket isn’t where it expected it to be or the permissions do not allow mount to see it.


What: The SSH protocol (also referred to as Secure Shell) is a method for secure remote login from one computer to another.

Why: SSH is the standard way to log onto UNIX and Linux systems.  All of the exec methods for Windows are unavailable.  Typically the only real way to remotely access these systems is via this protocol.  In larger organizations, I’ve often found that the Linux systems are joined to Active Directory.  If you have a lost of domain groups, search them to see if there are any with unix/linux in the name.  This a good sign that UNIX/Linux systems may be domain joined.

How: You cannot pass the hash to SSH, but you can connect with a Kerberos ticket (Which you can get by passing the hash!). First, try connecting using SSH and enable verbose messages.

Likely you will see that it is expecting the krb5 ticket somewhere else (depends on your UID) so move your ticket there instead.

Once you have your ticket in the right spot, try to connect again.  If it doesn’t work, also consider using -l to specify the username.

Resource Based Constrained Delegation (RBCD)

What: If you have write privileges (WriteDACL, GenericWrite, GenericAll, etc) over a computer object, it is possible to gain elevated command execution on it.  This is not a new way to pass the hash beyond what is previously mentioned, but this attack chain incorporates multiple PTH techniques such as PTH via SMB, PTH to LDAP, PTH to get a kerberos ticket, and finally pass the ticket.

In this example we are assuming one computer object has write access over another computer object.

Why: Often times I find that there are no simple attack paths in an environment, and Active Directory privilege escalation requires exploiting ACL based attacks.

How: First, pass the hash of a user with administrative access to the first computer to recover that computers NT hash.

Second, use the rbcd_permissions script to pass the hash of the computer account to the domain controller via LDAP to update the msDS-AllowedToActOnBehalfOfOtherIdentity property for the second computer.  This will allow the first computer to impersonate any domain user on that system.

Use the script from impacket to create a service ticket for an administrative user on the second computer, using the hash of the first computer.

Once the ticket is created, pass the ticket to the second computer to gain administrative access over it.  Dump hashes, pop a shell, or do whatever you need to do on that system.



There are many ways to perform the actions above, both with/without passing hashes and on Linux/Windows, however I wanted to show the ways I’ve found where passing the hash can be very useful.  A lot of this is only possible because of the great work of open source tool (OST) developers, and bloggers who have described these techniques in detail.