Adversaries may use alternate authentication material, such as password hashes, Kerberos tickets, and application access tokens, in order to move laterally within an environment and bypass normal system access controls.
Authentication processes generally require a valid identity (e.g. username) along with one ore more authentication factors (e.g., password, pin, physical smart card, token, etc.). Alternate authentication material is legitimately generated by systems after a user or application successfully authenticates by providing a valid identitiy and the required authentication factors(s). Alternate authentication material may also by generated during the identity creation process.
Caching alternate authentication material allows the system to verify an identity has successfully authenticated without asking the user to reenter authentication facor(s). Because the alternate authentication must be maintained by the system--either in memeory or in disk--it may be at risk of being stolen through Credential Access techniques. By stealing alternate authentication material, adversaries are able to bypass system controls and authenticate to systems withoput knowing the plaintext password or any additional authentication facotrs.