How to identify the address, port and protocol of an encrypted connection string in MVC application on Windows Server?


We have a client that has recently migrated to our servers but they don’t have access to their website programmer.

The Application is based on dotNet MVC and Microsoft SQL Server. after restoring website on our Windows 2016 Server with MS SQL 2017 installed on local host, we encounter an error relating to problem connecting to SQL server:

(Win32Exception (0x80004005): The network path was not found)

(SqlException (0x80131904): A network-related or instance-specific error occurred while establishing a connection to SQL Server. The server was not found or was not accessible. Verify that the instance name is correct and that SQL Server is configured to allow remote connections. (provider: Named Pipes Provider, error: 40 - Could not open a connection to SQL Server))
   System.Data.ProviderBase.DbConnectionPool.TryGetConnection(DbConnection owningObject, UInt32 waitForMultipleObjectsTimeout, Boolean allowCreate, Boolean onlyOneCheckConnection, DbConnectionOptions userOptions, DbConnectionInternal& connection) +347
   System.Data.ProviderBase.DbConnectionPool.TryGetConnection(DbConnection owningObject, TaskCompletionSource`1 retry, DbConnectionOptions userOptions, DbConnectionInternal& connection) +78
   System.Data.ProviderBase.DbConnectionFactory.TryGetConnection(DbConnection owningConnection, TaskCompletionSource`1 retry, DbConnectionOptions userOptions, DbConnectionInternal oldConnection, DbConnectionInternal& connection) +191
   System.Data.ProviderBase.DbConnectionInternal.TryOpenConnectionInternal(DbConnection outerConnection, DbConnectionFactory connectionFactory, TaskCompletionSource`1 retry, DbConnectionOptions userOptions) +154
   System.Data.ProviderBase.DbConnectionClosed.TryOpenConnection(DbConnection outerConnection, DbConnectionFactory connectionFactory, TaskCompletionSource`1 retry, DbConnectionOptions userOptions) +21
   System.Data.SqlClient.SqlConnection.TryOpenInner(TaskCompletionSource`1 retry) +90
   System.Data.SqlClient.SqlConnection.TryOpen(TaskCompletionSource`1 retry) +443
   System.Data.SqlClient.SqlConnection.Open() +96
   System.Data.Entity.SqlServer.<>c__DisplayClass1.<Execute>b__0() +10
   System.Data.Entity.SqlServer.DefaultSqlExecutionStrategy.Execute(Func`1 operation) +189
   System.Data.Entity.SqlServer.DefaultSqlExecutionStrategy.Execute(Action operation) +78
   System.Data.Entity.Core.EntityClient.EntityConnection.Open() +347

(EntityException: The underlying provider failed on Open.)
   System.Data.Entity.Core.EntityClient.EntityConnection.Open() +417
   System.Data.Entity.Core.Objects.ObjectContext.EnsureConnection() +117
   System.Data.Entity.Core.Objects.ObjectContext.ExecuteInTransaction(Func`1 func, IDbExecutionStrategy executionStrategy, Boolean startLocalTransaction, Boolean releaseConnectionOnSuccess) +42
   System.Data.Entity.Core.Objects.<>c__DisplayClassb.<GetResults>b__9() +155
   System.Data.Entity.SqlServer.DefaultSqlExecutionStrategy.Execute(Func`1 operation) +189
   System.Data.Entity.Core.Objects.ObjectQuery`1.GetResults(Nullable`1 forMergeOption) +257
   System.Data.Entity.Core.Objects.ObjectQuery`1.<System.Collections.Generic.IEnumerable<T>.GetEnumerator>b__0() +37
   System.Lazy`1.CreateValue() +411
   System.Lazy`1.LazyInitValue() +152
   System.Lazy`1.get_Value() +75
   System.Data.Entity.Internal.LazyEnumerator`1.MoveNext() +12
   System.Linq.Enumerable.FirstOrDefault(IEnumerable`1 source) +121
   System.Data.Entity.Core.Objects.ELinq.ObjectQueryProvider.<GetElementFunction>b__1(IEnumerable`1 sequence) +40
   System.Data.Entity.Core.Objects.ELinq.ObjectQueryProvider.ExecuteSingle(IEnumerable`1 query, Expression queryRoot) +60
   System.Data.Entity.Core.Objects.ELinq.ObjectQueryProvider.System.Linq.IQueryProvider.Execute(Expression expression) +113
   System.Data.Entity.Internal.Linq.DbQueryProvider.Execute(Expression expression) +105
   System.Linq.Queryable.FirstOrDefault(IQueryable`1 source, Expression`1 predicate) +249
   clFreeLink.FreeLink.getFreeLinkByTypeName(String typeName) +326
   lambda_method(Closure , ControllerBase , Object() ) +104
   System.Web.Mvc.ActionMethodDispatcher.Execute(ControllerBase controller, Object() parameters) +14
   System.Web.Mvc.ReflectedActionDescriptor.Execute(ControllerContext controllerContext, IDictionary`2 parameters) +157
   System.Web.Mvc.ControllerActionInvoker.InvokeActionMethod(ControllerContext controllerContext, ActionDescriptor actionDescriptor, IDictionary`2 parameters) +27
   System.Web.Mvc.Async.AsyncControllerActionInvoker.<BeginInvokeSynchronousActionMethod>b__39(IAsyncResult asyncResult, ActionInvocation innerInvokeState) +22
   System.Web.Mvc.Async.WrappedAsyncResult`2.CallEndDelegate(IAsyncResult asyncResult) +29
   System.Web.Mvc.Async.WrappedAsyncResultBase`1.End() +49
   System.Web.Mvc.Async.AsyncControllerActionInvoker.EndInvokeActionMethod(IAsyncResult asyncResult) +32
   System.Web.Mvc.Async.AsyncInvocationWithFilters.<InvokeActionMethodFilterAsynchronouslyRecursive>b__3d() +50
   System.Web.Mvc.Async.<>c__DisplayClass46.<InvokeActionMethodFilterAsynchronouslyRecursive>b__3f() +228
   System.Web.Mvc.Async.<>c__DisplayClass33.<BeginInvokeActionMethodWithFilters>b__32(IAsyncResult asyncResult) +10
   System.Web.Mvc.Async.WrappedAsyncResult`1.CallEndDelegate(IAsyncResult asyncResult) +10
   System.Web.Mvc.Async.WrappedAsyncResultBase`1.End() +49
   System.Web.Mvc.Async.AsyncControllerActionInvoker.EndInvokeActionMethodWithFilters(IAsyncResult asyncResult) +34
   System.Web.Mvc.Async.<>c__DisplayClass2b.<BeginInvokeAction>b__1c() +26
   System.Web.Mvc.Async.<>c__DisplayClass21.<BeginInvokeAction>b__1e(IAsyncResult asyncResult) +100
   System.Web.Mvc.Async.WrappedAsyncResult`1.CallEndDelegate(IAsyncResult asyncResult) +10
   System.Web.Mvc.Async.WrappedAsyncResultBase`1.End() +49
   System.Web.Mvc.Async.AsyncControllerActionInvoker.EndInvokeAction(IAsyncResult asyncResult) +27
   System.Web.Mvc.Controller.<BeginExecuteCore>b__1d(IAsyncResult asyncResult, ExecuteCoreState innerState) +13
   System.Web.Mvc.Async.WrappedAsyncVoid`1.CallEndDelegate(IAsyncResult asyncResult) +29
   System.Web.Mvc.Async.WrappedAsyncResultBase`1.End() +49
   System.Web.Mvc.Controller.EndExecuteCore(IAsyncResult asyncResult) +36
   System.Web.Mvc.Controller.<BeginExecute>b__15(IAsyncResult asyncResult, Controller controller) +12
   System.Web.Mvc.Async.WrappedAsyncVoid`1.CallEndDelegate(IAsyncResult asyncResult) +22
   System.Web.Mvc.Async.WrappedAsyncResultBase`1.End() +49
   System.Web.Mvc.Controller.EndExecute(IAsyncResult asyncResult) +26
   System.Web.Mvc.Controller.System.Web.Mvc.Async.IAsyncController.EndExecute(IAsyncResult asyncResult) +10
   System.Web.Mvc.MvcHandler.<BeginProcessRequest>b__5(IAsyncResult asyncResult, ProcessRequestState innerState) +21
   System.Web.Mvc.Async.WrappedAsyncVoid`1.CallEndDelegate(IAsyncResult asyncResult) +29
   System.Web.Mvc.Async.WrappedAsyncResultBase`1.End() +49
   System.Web.Mvc.MvcHandler.EndProcessRequest(IAsyncResult asyncResult) +28
   System.Web.Mvc.MvcHandler.System.Web.IHttpAsyncHandler.EndProcessRequest(IAsyncResult result) +9
   System.Web.Mvc.<>c__DisplayClassa.<EndProcessRequest>b__9() +22
   System.Web.Mvc.<>c__DisplayClass4.<Wrap>b__3() +10
   System.Web.Mvc.ServerExecuteHttpHandlerWrapper.Wrap(Func`1 func) +27
   System.Web.Mvc.ServerExecuteHttpHandlerWrapper.Wrap(Action action) +64
   System.Web.Mvc.ServerExecuteHttpHandlerAsyncWrapper.EndProcessRequest(IAsyncResult result) +71
   System.Web.HttpServerUtility.ExecuteInternal(IHttpHandler handler, TextWriter writer, Boolean preserveForm, Boolean setPreviousPage, VirtualPath path, VirtualPath filePath, String physPath, Exception error, String queryStringOverride) +1436

(HttpException (0x80004005): Error executing child request for handler 'System.Web.Mvc.HttpHandlerUtil+ServerExecuteHttpHandlerAsyncWrapper'.)
   System.Web.HttpServerUtility.ExecuteInternal(IHttpHandler handler, TextWriter writer, Boolean preserveForm, Boolean setPreviousPage, VirtualPath path, VirtualPath filePath, String physPath, Exception error, String queryStringOverride) +3463372
   System.Web.HttpServerUtility.Execute(IHttpHandler handler, TextWriter writer, Boolean preserveForm, Boolean setPreviousPage) +76
   System.Web.HttpServerUtility.Execute(IHttpHandler handler, TextWriter writer, Boolean preserveForm) +29
   System.Web.HttpServerUtilityWrapper.Execute(IHttpHandler handler, TextWriter writer, Boolean preserveForm) +24
   System.Web.Mvc.Html.ChildActionExtensions.ActionHelper(HtmlHelper htmlHelper, String actionName, String controllerName, RouteValueDictionary routeValues, TextWriter textWriter) +463
   System.Web.Mvc.Html.ChildActionExtensions.RenderAction(HtmlHelper htmlHelper, String actionName, String controllerName, Object routeValues) +44
   ASP._Page_Views_Shared__Layout_cshtml.Execute() in e:inetpubvhostsdpsama.comhttpdocsViewsShared_Layout.cshtml:129
   System.Web.WebPages.WebPageBase.ExecutePageHierarchy() +197
   System.Web.Mvc.WebViewPage.ExecutePageHierarchy() +105
   System.Web.WebPages.WebPageBase.ExecutePageHierarchy(WebPageContext pageContext, TextWriter writer, WebPageRenderingBase startPage) +90
   System.Web.WebPages.<>c__DisplayClass3.<RenderPageCore>b__2(TextWriter writer) +232
   System.Web.WebPages.HelperResult.WriteTo(TextWriter writer) +10
   System.Web.WebPages.WebPageBase.Write(HelperResult result) +80
   System.Web.WebPages.WebPageBase.RenderSurrounding(String partialViewName, Action`1 body) +63
   System.Web.WebPages.WebPageBase.PopContext() +237
   System.Web.WebPages.WebPageBase.ExecutePageHierarchy(WebPageContext pageContext, TextWriter writer, WebPageRenderingBase startPage) +98
   System.Web.Mvc.RazorView.RenderView(ViewContext viewContext, TextWriter writer, Object instance) +256
   System.Web.Mvc.BuildManagerCompiledView.Render(ViewContext viewContext, TextWriter writer) +107
   System.Web.Mvc.ViewResultBase.ExecuteResult(ControllerContext context) +291
   System.Web.Mvc.ControllerActionInvoker.InvokeActionResult(ControllerContext controllerContext, ActionResult actionResult) +13
   System.Web.Mvc.ControllerActionInvoker.InvokeActionResultFilterRecursive(IList`1 filters, Int32 filterIndex, ResultExecutingContext preContext, ControllerContext controllerContext, ActionResult actionResult) +56
   System.Web.Mvc.ControllerActionInvoker.InvokeActionResultFilterRecursive(IList`1 filters, Int32 filterIndex, ResultExecutingContext preContext, ControllerContext controllerContext, ActionResult actionResult) +420
   System.Web.Mvc.ControllerActionInvoker.InvokeActionResultWithFilters(ControllerContext controllerContext, IList`1 filters, ActionResult actionResult) +52
   System.Web.Mvc.Async.<>c__DisplayClass2b.<BeginInvokeAction>b__1c() +173
   System.Web.Mvc.Async.<>c__DisplayClass21.<BeginInvokeAction>b__1e(IAsyncResult asyncResult) +100
   System.Web.Mvc.Async.WrappedAsyncResult`1.CallEndDelegate(IAsyncResult asyncResult) +10
   System.Web.Mvc.Async.WrappedAsyncResultBase`1.End() +49
   System.Web.Mvc.Async.AsyncControllerActionInvoker.EndInvokeAction(IAsyncResult asyncResult) +27
   System.Web.Mvc.Controller.<BeginExecuteCore>b__1d(IAsyncResult asyncResult, ExecuteCoreState innerState) +13
   System.Web.Mvc.Async.WrappedAsyncVoid`1.CallEndDelegate(IAsyncResult asyncResult) +29
   System.Web.Mvc.Async.WrappedAsyncResultBase`1.End() +49
   System.Web.Mvc.Controller.EndExecuteCore(IAsyncResult asyncResult) +36
   System.Web.Mvc.Controller.<BeginExecute>b__15(IAsyncResult asyncResult, Controller controller) +12
   System.Web.Mvc.Async.WrappedAsyncVoid`1.CallEndDelegate(IAsyncResult asyncResult) +22
   System.Web.Mvc.Async.WrappedAsyncResultBase`1.End() +49
   System.Web.Mvc.Controller.EndExecute(IAsyncResult asyncResult) +26
   System.Web.Mvc.Controller.System.Web.Mvc.Async.IAsyncController.EndExecute(IAsyncResult asyncResult) +10
   System.Web.Mvc.MvcHandler.<BeginProcessRequest>b__5(IAsyncResult asyncResult, ProcessRequestState innerState) +21
   System.Web.Mvc.Async.WrappedAsyncVoid`1.CallEndDelegate(IAsyncResult asyncResult) +29
   System.Web.Mvc.Async.WrappedAsyncResultBase`1.End() +49
   System.Web.Mvc.MvcHandler.EndProcessRequest(IAsyncResult asyncResult) +28
   System.Web.Mvc.MvcHandler.System.Web.IHttpAsyncHandler.EndProcessRequest(IAsyncResult result) +9
   System.Web.CallHandlerExecutionStep.System.Web.HttpApplication.IExecutionStep.Execute() +9873049
   System.Web.HttpApplication.ExecuteStepImpl(IExecutionStep step) +48
   System.Web.HttpApplication.ExecuteStep(IExecutionStep step, Boolean& completedSynchronously) +159

We searched all over the application files for the connection string and found out that the connection string has been encrypted somewhere in the application.

First We tried to guess the connection string but doesn’t worked then using netstat to find the address and port but no result achieved:

netstat -o | find "W3WP PID"

Now the question is how can we understand which address, port and protocol (TCP/IP or Named Pipes) the application is uses to connect to SQL Server then we could simulate the environment for the application to work normally?