Finding Enterprise Credentials in Data Breaches

May 1st, 2018 by Quentin Rhoads

In the age of the breach, it’s a safe assumption that almost every public account’s credentials have been exposed at some point. “Have I been pwned” (HIBP), https://haveibeenpwned.com/ is a database that contains usernames and other information about any compromise they come across.  While available for individuals to search against, certain protections have been put in place to prevent DDoS attacks, making mass scanning using their public API difficult.

As a red teamer, this information is very valuable during the passive reconnaissance phase of an engagement, and querying a single email at a time doesn’t scale well against an organization of 10,000 users. While many applications and scripts have been written and shared using the API’s, there wasn’t one available that successfully scans through an entire list of emails.

HIBP leverages CloudFlare as a web application firewall (WAF) that enforces brute-force protection through the use of 2 user-agent-based cookies and rate-limiting. To circumvent these controls, the script first reaches out to CloudFlare leveraging a pre-set user agent and obtains the authentication cookies using a opensource project known as cloudflare-scrape (cfscrape), https://github.com/Anorov/cloudflare-scrape.  The script then utilizes the obtained cookies and a built-in 2-second time delay between queries to conform to the rate-limit.

The script can identify whether a specific email address has been breached according to HIPB, obtain any paste information if present, search or obtain a list of breaches, and download a copy of all breaches contained within HIBP.

This script is available through the Critical Start GitHub, https://github.com/Critical-Start/haveibeenpwned_api for use by individuals or enterprises, and will be a future capability of the Critical Start MSSP.




Example of searching emails for potential breaches and obtaining pastes if they exist within HIBP database


Critical Start is the fastest-growing cybersecurity integrator in North America. Our mission is simple: protect our customers’ brands and reduce their business risk. We do this for organizations of all sizes through our award-winning portfolio of end-to-end security services – from security-readiness assessments using our proven framework (the Defendable Network) to the delivery of managed detection and response, incident response, professional services, and product fulfillment. Critical Start has been named to the CRN 2018 Tech Elite 250 and top 100 Security MSPs lists.