There are several methods of escalating to domain admin once you have Local Administrator access on a member workstation. It is our experience that most large Enterprise AD networks are vulnerable to at least one of these issues:
1. Crack a common local user with a shared password, like "MACHINENAME\ITAdmin". Alternatively, you can use an NTLM hash as a password equivalent with custom tools, like my colleague Jesse Burns demonstrated in 2005.
2. Crack the cached hash of a domain admin from the SECURITY hive. This hash is created by an interactive login to the machine, i.e. via the local keyboard or RDP. These hashes are not stored after remote RPC, SMB, etc...
3. Install a keystroke logger and wait for an interactive login by an Administrator. A good technique is to open an IT ticket as the victim, which often triggers an admin to remotely access the machine via RDP.
4. Wait for an automated process to touch the box with domain admin credentials. Common tools that do this are patch management systems, vulnerability scanners, software licensing compliance tools and event log aggregation systems. When the handshake for the network service begins (say over DCE RPC), the attacker rejects the Kerberos ticket and requests a downgrade to LanMan or NTLMv1. Either one of those protocols will allow an attacker to use a pre-computed time-memory trade-off to quickly recover the password (aka Rainbow Tables).
5. Wait for an automated "touch" and perform a pass-the-hash attack. This is possible on services that do not enforce at least "Packet Integrity" security. The admin and the victim machine legitimately exchange credentials, but the resulting authenticated connection can now be modified by the attacker. Again, see Burns 2005.
While the origin of the issue is the virtualization layer, it is more specifically a cloud problem because most IaaS/VPS providers use standard images with a public random seed file, so everybody's machine initializes up to the same state (RTC + random seed + handful of interrupts).
Wherever you go...There you are. - Buckaroo Banzai