What is NegoEx ?  Why do we need it ?

   Before Windows 7 was introduced, applications utilize the SPNEGO to provide the ability to negotiate the authentication support between Kerberos SSP and NTLM SSP.  SPNEGO itself is also implemented as a Negotiate SSP that only manages the selection of the authentication packages based on the configurations of clients, servers and domain controllers.    Even there are other security packages such as Digest and  Schannel available, Negotiate SSP was implemented to support the negotiation only between NTLM and Kerberos.  This makes it impossible for the application that already uses the Negotiate SSP to use additional authentication protocols.   In Windows 7,  NegoEx SSP is introduced to allow for the creation and installation of new negotiable security support packages without breaking down the existing SPNEGO negotiation mechanism.    NegoEx is a protocol specified by draft-zhu-negoex.   It is implemented as a new SSP.  The Negotiate SSP was modified to support NegoEx SSP in addition to NTLM and Kerberos SSPs.   The  NegoEx SSP in turn loads additional security packages.   During negotiation, Negotiate SSP will call into NegoEx SSP to find if any of its installed security package can supported the requested authentication.     Custom SSP can be implemented and loaded into NegoEx SSP.  In Windows 7, PKU2U is the only such a SSP loaded by default.  The following diagram can show the relationship between all the SSPs and SSPI.

What is PKU2U ? 

   The PKU2U (Public Key Cryptography Based User-to-User) protocol in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 is implemented as a SSP that can be loaded by NegoEx SSP. The SSP enables peer-to-peer authentication using online ID, particularly through the Windows 7 media and file sharing feature called Homegroup, which permits sharing between computers that are not members of a domain.   Users have to set up online ID integration in Windows 7 by explicitly linking their Windows user account to an Online ID.   The more information about the PKU2U and Online ID can be found:

 

Network Packets Analysis:

The message exchanges of NegoEx are explained in details in 7.1 and 7.2 of  draft-zhu-negoex-04.  The following are the security tokens in network packets showing in a typical flow for the authentication used in SMB2.  I will not repeat in details what have been explained in the specification, but show what a normal Negoex SSP negotiation will look like in a network trace.

1.    The initial token from the acceptor contains meta data and the SSPs it supports.  In this case, the Kerberos is not available since it is not in a domain environment, so only NTLM and NegoEx SSP are available for negotiation.   NegoEx will have the preference.

SMB2: R   NEGOTIATE (0x0), GUID={3521747B-D33A-1DBB-468F-AB41EB2D075F}

- securityBlob:  

    - GSSAPI:

     - InitialContextToken:

      + ApplicationHeader:

      + ThisMech: SpnegoToken (1.3.6.1.5.5.2)

      - InnerContextToken: 0x1

       - SpnegoToken: 0x1

        + ChoiceTag:

        - NegTokenInit:

         + SequenceHeader:

         + Tag0:

         - MechTypes: Prefer Negoex (1.3.6.1.4.1.311.2.2.30)

             + SequenceHeader:

             + MechType: Negoex (1.3.6.1.4.1.311.2.2.30)

             + MechType: NLMP (1.3.6.1.4.1.311.2.2.10)

         + Tag2:

         + OctetStringHeader:

         - MechToken: MessageType = MESSAGE_TYPE_ACCEPTOR_META_DATA, MessageLength = 152

          + Negoex: MessageType = MESSAGE_TYPE_ACCEPTOR_META_DATA, MessageLength = 152

 

2.      The initiator also prefers NegoEx and it sends the  MESSAGE_TYPE_INITIATOR_NEGO, MESSAGE_TYPE_INITIATOR_META_DATA and  MESSAGE_TYPE_AP_REQUEST message exchanges to the acceptor.

  SMB2: C   SESSION SETUP (0x1)

   - securityBlob:  

    - GSSAPI:

     - InitialContextToken:

      + ApplicationHeader:

      + ThisMech: SpnegoToken (1.3.6.1.5.5.2)

      - InnerContextToken: 0x1

       - SpnegoToken: 0x1

        + ChoiceTag:

        - NegTokenInit:

         + SequenceHeader:

         + Tag0:

         - MechTypes: Prefer Negoex (1.3.6.1.4.1.311.2.2.30)

          + SequenceHeader:

          + MechType: Negoex (1.3.6.1.4.1.311.2.2.30)

          + MechType: NLMP (1.3.6.1.4.1.311.2.2.10)

         + Tag2:

         + OctetStringHeader:

         - MechToken: MessageType = MESSAGE_TYPE_AP_REQUEST, MessageLength = 1414

          - Negoex: MessageType = MESSAGE_TYPE_AP_REQUEST, MessageLength = 1414

           + MessageHeader: MessageType = MESSAGE_TYPE_INITIATOR_NEGO, MessageLength = 112

           + NegoMessage:

           + Payload:

           + MessageHeader: MessageType = MESSAGE_TYPE_INITIATOR_META_DATA, MessageLength = 232

           + ExchangeMessage:

           + Payload:

           + MessageHeader: MessageType = MESSAGE_TYPE_AP_REQUEST, MessageLength = 1414

           + ExchangeMessage:

           + Payload:

 

3.  The acceptor finally agrees on NegoEx.  And it also sends MESSAGE_TYPE_CHALLENGE and MESSAGE_TYPE_ALERT for more round trips of exchanges.

SMB2: R  - NT Status: System - Error, Code = (22) STATUS_MORE_PROCESSING_REQUIRED  SESSION SETUP (0x1), SessionFlags=0x0

   - securityBlob:  

    - GSSAPI:

     - NegotiationToken:

      + ChoiceTag:

      - NegTokenResp:

       + SequenceHeader:

       + Tag0:

       + NegState: accept-incomplete (1)

       + Tag1:

       + SupportedMech: Negoex (1.3.6.1.4.1.311.2.2.30)

       + Tag2:

       + OctetStringHeader:

       - ResponseToken: MessageType = MESSAGE_TYPE_ALERT, MessageLength = 92

        - Negoex: MessageType = MESSAGE_TYPE_ALERT, MessageLength = 92

         + MessageHeader: MessageType = MESSAGE_TYPE_CHALLENGE, MessageLength = 162

         + ExchangeMessage:

         + Payload:

         + MessageHeader: MessageType = MESSAGE_TYPE_ALERT, MessageLength = 92

         + Alert: 0x00000001 - STATUS_WAIT_1

           Padding: Binary Large Object (4 Bytes)

         + Payload:

 

4.   The initiator sends  MESSAGE_TYPE_AP_REQUEST to the acceptor to continue the message exchanges.

   SMB2: C   SESSION SETUP (0x1)

   - securityBlob:  

    - GSSAPI:

     - NegotiationToken:

      + ChoiceTag:

      - NegTokenResp:

       + SequenceHeader:

       + Tag0:

       + NegState: accept-incomplete (1)

       + Tag2:

       + OctetStringHeader:

       - ResponseToken: MessageType = MESSAGE_TYPE_AP_REQUEST, MessageLength = 2248

        - Negoex: MessageType = MESSAGE_TYPE_AP_REQUEST, MessageLength = 2248

         + MessageHeader: MessageType = MESSAGE_TYPE_AP_REQUEST, MessageLength = 2248

         + ExchangeMessage:

         + Payload:

 

5.  These message exchanges can continue until the authentication is finalized when MESSAGE_TYPE_VERIFY can be generated using a shared key. 

 SMB2: R   SESSION SETUP (0x1), SessionFlags=0x0

   - securityBlob:  

    - GSSAPI:

     - NegotiationToken:

      + ChoiceTag:

      - NegTokenResp:

       + SequenceHeader:

       + Tag0:

       + NegState: accept-completed (0)

       + Tag2:

       + OctetStringHeader:

       - ResponseToken: MessageType = MESSAGE_TYPE_VERIFY, MessageLength = 92

        - Negoex: MessageType = MESSAGE_TYPE_VERIFY, MessageLength = 92

         + MessageHeader: MessageType = MESSAGE_TYPE_CHALLENGE, MessageLength = 215

         + ExchangeMessage:

         + Payload:

         + MessageHeader: MessageType = MESSAGE_TYPE_VERIFY, MessageLength = 92

         + VerifyMessage:

           Padding: Binary Large Object (4 Bytes)

         + Payload:

   In this blog,  we took a pratical look at the new authentication negotiation mechanism used in conjuntion with SPENGO.  Hopefully it can help you understand how the NegoEx is used while analyzing a network trace.