Defense Evasion

The adversary is trying to avoid being detected.

Defense Evasion consists of techniques that adversaries use to avoid detection throughout their compromise. Techniques used for defense evasion include uninstalling/disabling security software or obfuscating/encrypting data and scripts. Adversaries also leverage and abuse trusted processes to hide and masquerade their malware. Other tactics’ techniques are cross-listed here when those techniques include the added benefit of subverting defenses.

ID: TA0005
Created: 17 October 2018
Last Modified: 19 July 2019

Techniques

Techniques: 34
ID Name Description
T1548 Abuse Elevation Control Mechanism Adversaries may circumvent mechanisms designed to control elevate privileges to gain higher-level permissions. Most modern systems contain native elevation control mechanisms that are intended to limit privileges that a user can perform on a machine. Authorization has to be granted to specific users in order to perform tasks that can be considered of higher risk. An adversary can perform several methods to take advantage of built-in control mechanisms in order to escalate privileges on a system.
.001 Setuid and Setgid An adversary may perform shell escapes or exploit vulnerabilities in an application with the setsuid or setgid bits to get code running in a different user’s context. On Linux or macOS, when the setuid or setgid bits are set for an application, the application will run with the privileges of the owning user or group respectively. . Normally an application is run in the current user’s context, regardless of which user or group owns the application. However, there are instances where programs need to be executed in an elevated context to function properly, but the user running them doesn’t need the elevated privileges.
.002 Bypass User Access Control Adversaries may bypass UAC mechanisms to elevate process privileges on system. Windows User Account Control (UAC) allows a program to elevate its privileges (tracked as integrity levels ranging from low to high) to perform a task under administrator-level permissions, possibly by prompting the user for confirmation. The impact to the user ranges from denying the operation under high enforcement to allowing the user to perform the action if they are in the local administrators group and click through the prompt or allowing them to enter an administrator password to complete the action.
.003 Sudo and Sudo Caching Adversaries may perform sudo caching and/or use the suoders file to elevate privileges. Adversaries may do this to execute commands as other users or spawn processes with higher privileges.
.004 Elevated Execution with Prompt Adversaries may leverage the AuthorizationExecuteWithPrivileges API to escalate privileges by prompting the user for credentials. The purpose of this API is to give application developers an easy way to perform operations with root privileges, such as for application installation or updating. This API does not validate that the program requesting root privileges comes from a reputable source or has been maliciously modified.
T1134 Access Token Manipulation Adversaries may modify access tokens to operate under a different user or system security context to perform actions and bypass access controls. Windows uses access tokens to determine the ownership of a running process. A user can manipulate access tokens to make a running process appear as though it is the child of a different process or belongs to someone other than the user that started the process. When this occurs, the process also takes on the security context associated with the new token.
.001 Token Impersonation/Theft Adversaries may duplicate then impersonate another user's token to escalate privileges and bypass access controls. An adversary can create a new access token that duplicates an existing token using DuplicateToken(Ex). The token can then be used with ImpersonateLoggedOnUser to allow the calling thread to impersonate a logged on user's security context, or with SetThreadToken to assign the impersonated token to a thread.
.002 Create Process with Token Adversaries may create a new process with a duplicated token to escalate privileges and bypass access controls. An adversary can duplicate a desired access token with DuplicateToken(Ex) and use it with CreateProcessWithTokenW to create a new process running under the security context of the impersonated user. This is useful for creating a new process under the security context of a different user.
.003 Make and Impersonate Token Adversaries may make and impersonate tokens to escalate privileges and bypass access controls. If an adversary has a username and password but the user is not logged onto the system, the adversary can then create a logon session for the user using the LogonUser function. The function will return a copy of the new session's access token and the adversary can use SetThreadToken to assign the token to a thread.
.004 Parent PID Spoofing Adversaries may spoof the parent process identifier (PPID) of a new process to evade process-monitoring defenses or to elevate privileges. New processes are typically spawned directly from their parent, or calling, process unless explicitly specified. One way of explicitly assigning the PPID of a new process is via the CreateProcess API call, which supports a parameter that defines the PPID to use. This functionality is used by Windows features such as User Account Control (UAC) to correctly set the PPID after a requested elevated process is spawned by SYSTEM (typically via svchost.exe or consent.exe) rather than the current user context.
.005 SID-History Injection Adversaries may use SID-History Injection to escalate privileges and bypass access controls. The Windows security identifier (SID) is a unique value that identifies a user or group account. SIDs are used by Windows security in both security descriptors and access tokens. An account can hold additional SIDs in the SID-History Active Directory attribute , allowing inter-operable account migration between domains (e.g., all values in SID-History are included in access tokens).
T1197 BITS Jobs Adversaries may abuse BITS jobs to persistently execute or clean up after malicious payloads. Windows Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) is a low-bandwidth, asynchronous file transfer mechanism exposed through Component Object Model (COM). BITS is commonly used by updaters, messengers, and other applications preferred to operate in the background (using available idle bandwidth) without interrupting other networked applications. File transfer tasks are implemented as BITS jobs, which contain a queue of one or more file operations.
T1140 Deobfuscate/Decode Files or Information Adversaries may use Obfuscated Files or Information to hide artifacts of an intrusion from analysis. They may require separate mechanisms to decode or deobfuscate that information depending on how they intend to use it. Methods for doing that include built-in functionality of malware or by using utilities present on the system.
T1006 Direct Volume Access Adversaries may directly access a volume to bypass file access controls and file system monitoring. Windows allows programs to have direct access to logical volumes. Programs with direct access may read and write files directly from the drive by analyzing file system data structures. This technique bypasses Windows file access controls as well as file system monitoring tools.
T1480 Execution Guardrails Execution guardrails constrain execution or actions based on adversary supplied environment specific conditions that are expected to be present on the target.
T1211 Exploitation for Defense Evasion Adversaries may exploit a system or application vulnerability to bypass security features. Exploitation of a software vulnerability occurs when an adversary takes advantage of a programming error in a program, service, or within the operating system software or kernel itself to execute adversary-controlled code. Vulnerabilities may exist in defensive security software that can be used to disable or circumvent them.
T1222 File and Directory Permissions Modification Adversaries may modify file or directory permissions/attributes to evade access control lists (ACLs) and access protected files. File and directory permissions are commonly managed by ACLs configured by the file or directory owner, or users with the appropriate permissions. File and directory ACL implementations vary by platform, but generally explicitly designate which users or groups can perform which actions (read, write, execute, etc.).
.001 Windows File and Directory Permissions Modification Adversaries may modify file or directory permissions/attributes to evade access control lists (ACLs) and access protected files. File and directory permissions are commonly managed by ACLs configured by the file or directory owner, or users with the appropriate permissions. File and directory ACL implementations vary by platform, but generally explicitly designate which users or groups can perform which actions (read, write, execute, etc.).
.002 Linux and Mac File and Directory Permissions Modification Adversaries may modify file or directory permissions/attributes to evade access control lists (ACLs) and access protected files. File and directory permissions are commonly managed by ACLs configured by the file or directory owner, or users with the appropriate permissions. File and directory ACL implementations vary by platform, but generally explicitly designate which users or groups can perform which actions (read, write, execute, etc.).
T1484 Group Policy Modification Adversaries may modify Group Policy Objects (GPOs) to subvert the intended discretionary access controls for a domain, usually with the intention of escalating privileges on the domain. Group policy allows for centralized management of user and computer settings in Active Directory (AD). GPOs are containers for group policy settings made up of files stored within a predicable network path \<DOMAIN>\SYSVOL\<DOMAIN>\Policies\.
T1564 Hide Artifacts Adversaries may attempt to hide artifacts associated with their behaviors to evade detection. Operating systems may have features to hide various artifacts, such as important system files and administrative task execution, to avoid disrupting user work environments and prevent users from changing files or features on the system.
.001 Hidden Files and Directories Adversaries may set files and directories to be hidden to evade detection mechanisms. To prevent normal users from accidentally changing special files on a system, most operating systems have the concept of a ‘hidden’ file. These files don’t show up when a user browses the file system with a GUI or when using normal commands on the command line. Users must explicitly ask to show the hidden files either via a series of Graphical User Interface (GUI) prompts or with command line switches (dir /a for Windows and ls –a for Linux and macOS).
.002 Hidden Users Adversaries may use hidden users to mask the presence of user accounts they create. Every user account in macOS has a userID associated with it. When creating a user, you can specify the userID for that account.
.003 Hidden Window Adversaries may use hidden windows to conceal malicious activity from the plain sight of users. In some cases, windows that would typically be displayed when an application carries out an operation can be hidden. This may be utilized by system administrators to avoid disrupting user work environments when carrying out administrative tasks.
.004 NTFS File Attributes Adversaries may use NTFS file attributes to hide their malicious data in order to evade detection. Every New Technology File System (NTFS) formatted partition contains a Master File Table (MFT) that maintains a record for every file/directory on the partition. Within MFT entries are file attributes, such as Extended Attributes (EA) and Data [known as Alternate Data Streams (ADSs) when more than one Data attribute is present], that can be used to store arbitrary data (and even complete files).
T1574 Hijack Execution Flow Adversaries may execute their own malicious payloads by hijacking the way operating systems run programs. Hijacking execution flow can be for the purposes of persistence, since this hijacked execution may reoccur over time. Adversaries may also use these mechanisms to elevate privileges or evade defenses, such as whitelisting or other restrictions on execution.
.001 DLL Search Order Hijacking Adversaries may execute their own malicious payloads by hijacking the search order used to load DLLs. Windows systems use a common method to look for required DLLs to load into a program. Hijacking DLL loads may be for the purpose of establishing persistence as well as elevating privileges and/or evading restrictions on file execution.
.002 DLL Side-Loading Adversaries may execute their own malicious payloads by hijacking the library manifest used to load DLLs. Adversaries may take advantage of vague references in the library manifest of a program by replacing a legitimate library with a malicious one, causing the operating system to load their malicious library when it is called for by the victim program.
.004 Dylib Hijacking Adversaries may execute their own malicious payloads by hijacking ambiguous paths used to load libraries. Adversaries may plant trojan dynamic libraries, in a directory that will be searched by the operating system before the legitimate library specified by the victim program, so that their malicious library will be loaded into the victim program instead. MacOS and OS X use a common method to look for required dynamic libraries (dylib) to load into a program based on search paths.
.005 Executable Installer File Permissions Weakness Adversaries may execute their own malicious payloads by hijacking the binaries used by an installer. These processes may automatically execute specific binaries as part of their functionality or to perform other actions. If the permissions on the file system directory containing a target binary, or permissions on the binary itself, are improperly set, then the target binary may be overwritten with another binary using user-level permissions and executed by the original process. If the original process and thread are running under a higher permissions level, then the replaced binary will also execute under higher-level permissions, which could include SYSTEM.
.006 LD_PRELOAD Adversaries may execute their own malicious payloads by hijacking environment variables used to load libraries. Adversaries may set the LD_PRELOAD environment variable to point at malicious libraries that match the name of legitimate libraries which are requested by a victim program, causing the operating system to load the adversary's malicious code upon execution of the victim program. This environment variable is used to control when different shared libraries are loaded by a program. Libraries specified by this variable with be loaded and mapped into memory by dlopen() and mmap() respectively.
.007 Path Interception by PATH Environment Variable Adversaries may execute their own malicious payloads by hijacking environment variables used to load libraries. Adversaries may place a program in an earlier entry in the list of directories stored in the PATH environment variable, which Windows will then execute when it searches sequentially through that PATH listing in search of the binary that was called from a script or the command line.
.008 Path Interception by Search Order Hijacking Adversaries may execute their own malicious payloads by hijacking the search order used to load other programs. Because some programs do not call other programs using the full path, adversaries may place their own file in the directory where the calling program is located, causing the operating system to launch their malicious software at the request of the calling program.
.009 Path Interception by Unquoted Path Adversaries may execute their own malicious payloads by hijacking vulnerable file path references. Adversaries can take advantage of paths that lack surrounding quotations by placing an executable in a higher level directory within the path, so that Windows will choose the adversary's executable to launch.
.010 Services File Permissions Weakness Adversaries may execute their own malicious payloads by hijacking the binaries used by services. Adversaries may use flaws in the permissions of Windows services to replace the binary that is executed upon service start. These service processes may automatically execute specific binaries as part of their functionality or to perform other actions. If the permissions on the file system directory containing a target binary, or permissions on the binary itself are improperly set, then the target binary may be overwritten with another binary using user-level permissions and executed by the original process. If the original process and thread are running under a higher permissions level, then the replaced binary will also execute under higher-level permissions, which could include SYSTEM.
.011 Services Registry Permissions Weakness Adversaries may execute their own malicious payloads by hijacking the Registry entries used by services. Adversaries may use flaws in the permissions for registry to redirect from the originally specified executable to one that they control, in order to launch their own code at Service start. Windows stores local service configuration information in the Registry under HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services. The information stored under a service's Registry keys can be manipulated to modify a service's execution parameters through tools such as the service controller, sc.exe, PowerShell, or Reg. Access to Registry keys is controlled through Access Control Lists and permissions.
T1562 Impair Defenses Adversaries may maliciously modify a victim system in order hinder or disable defensive mechanisms. This not only involves impairing preventative defenses, such as firewalls and anti-virus, but also detection capabilities that defenders can use to audit activity and identify malicious behavior. This may also span both native defenses as well as supplemental capabilities installed by users and administrators.
.001 Disable or Modify Tools Adversaries may disable security tools to avoid possible detection of their tools and activities. This can take the form of killing security software or event logging processes, deleting Registry keys so that tools do not start at run time, or other methods to interfere with security tools scanning or reporting information.
.002 Disable Windows Event Logging Adversaries may disable Windows event logging to limit data that can be leveraged for detections and audits. Windows event logs record user and system activity such as login attempts, process creation, and much more. This data is used by security tools and analysts to generate detections.
.003 HISTCONTROL Adversaries may configure HISTCONTROL to not log all command history. The HISTCONTROL environment variable keeps track of what should be saved by the history command and eventually into the ~/.bash_history file when a user logs out. HISTCONTROL does not exist by default on macOS, but can be set by the user and will be respected.
.004 Disable or Modify System Firewall Adversaries may disable or modify system firewalls in order to bypass controls limiting network usage. Changes could be disabling the entire mechanism as well as adding, deleting, or modifying particular rules. This can be done numerous ways depending on the operating system, including via command-line, editing Windows Registry keys, and Windows Control Panel.
.006 Indicator Blocking An adversary may attempt to block indicators or events typically captured by sensors from being gathered and analyzed. This could include maliciously redirecting or even disabling host-based sensors, such as Event Tracing for Windows (ETW), by tampering settings that control the collection and flow of event telemetry. These settings may be stored on the system in configuration files and/or in the Registry as well as being accessible via administrative utilities such as PowerShell or Windows Management Instrumentation.
T1551 Indicator Removal on Host Adversaries may delete or alter generated artifacts on a host system, including logs or captured files such as quarantined malware. Locations and format of logs are platform or product-specific, however standard operating system logs are captured as Windows events or Linux/macOS files such as Bash History and /var/log/*.
.001 Clear Windows Event Logs Adversaries may clear Windows Event Logs to hide the activity of an intrusion. Windows Event Logs are a record of a computer's alerts and notifications. There are three system-defined sources of events: System, Application, and Security, with five event types: Error, Warning, Information, Success Audit, and Failure Audit.
.002 Clear Linux or Mac System Logs Adversaries may clear system logs to hide evidence of an intrusion. macOS and Linux both keep track of system or user-initiated actions via system logs. The majority of native system logging is stored under the /var/log/ directory. Subfolders in this directory categorize logs by their related functions, such as:
.003 Clear Command History In addition to clearing system logs, an adversary may clear the command history of a compromised account to conceal the actions undertaken during an intrusion. macOS and Linux both keep track of the commands users type in their terminal so that users can retrace what they've done.
.004 File Deletion Adversaries may delete files left behind by the actions of their intrusion activity. Malware, tools, or other non-native files dropped or created on a system by an adversary may leave traces to indicate to what was done within a network and how. Removal of these files can occur during an intrusion, or as part of a post-intrusion process to minimize the adversary's footprint.
.005 Network Share Connection Removal Adversaries may remove share connections that are no longer useful in order to clean up traces of their operation. Windows shared drive and Windows Admin Shares connections can be removed when no longer needed. Net is an example utility that can be used to remove network share connections with the net use \system\share /delete command.
.006 Timestomp Adversaries may modify file time attributes to hide new or changes to existing files. Timestomping is a technique that modifies the timestamps of a file (the modify, access, create, and change times), often to mimic files that are in the same folder. This is done, for example, on files that have been modified or created by the adversary so that they do not appear conspicuous to forensic investigators or file analysis tools.
T1202 Indirect Command Execution Adversaries may abuse utilities that allow for command execution to bypass security restrictions that limit the use of command-line interpreters. Various Windows utilities may be used to execute commands, possibly without invoking cmd. For example, Forfiles, the Program Compatibility Assistant (pcalua.exe), components of the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), as well as other utilities may invoke the execution of programs and commands from a Command and Scripting Interpreter, Run window, or via scripts.
T1036 Masquerading Adversaries may attempt to manipulate features of their artifacts to make them appear legitimate or benign to users and/or security tools. Masquerading occurs when the name or location of an object, legitimate or malicious, is manipulated or abused for the sake of evading defenses and observation. This may include manipulating file metadata, tricking users into misidentifying the file type, and giving legitimate task or service names.
.001 Invalid Code Signature Adversaries may attempt to mimic features of valid code signatures to increase the chance of deceiving a user, analyst, or tool. Code signing provides a level of authenticity on a binary from the developer and a guarantee that the binary has not been tampered with. Adversaries can copy the metadata and signature information from a signed program, then use it as a template for an unsigned program. Files with invalid code signatures will fail digital signature validation checks, but they may appear more legitimate to users and security tools may improperly handle these files.
.002 Right-to-Left Override Adversaries may use the right-to-left override (RTLO or RLO) character (U+202E) as a means of tricking a user into executing what they think is a benign file type but is actually executable code. RTLO is a non-printing character that causes the text that follows it to be displayed in reverse. For example, a Windows screensaver executable named March 25 \u202Excod.scr will display as March 25 rcs.docx. A JavaScript file named photo_high_re\u202Egnp.js will be displayed as photo_high_resj.png.
.003 Rename System Utilities Adversaries may rename legitimate system utilities to try to evade security mechanisms concerning the usage of those utilities. Security monitoring and control mechanisms may be in place for system utilities adversaries are capable of abusing. It may be possible to bypass those security mechanisms by renaming the utility prior to utilization (ex: rename rundll32.exe). An alternative case occurs when a legitimate utility is copied or moved to a different directory and renamed to avoid detections based on system utilities executing from non-standard paths.
.004 Masquerade Task or Service Adversaries may attempt to manipulate the name of a task or service to make it appear legitimate or benign. Tasks/services executed by the Task Scheduler or systemd will typically be given a name and/or description. Windows services will have a service name as well as a display name. Many benign tasks and services exist that have commonly associated names. Adversaries may give tasks or services names that are similar or identical to those of legitimate ones.
.005 Match Legitimate Name or Location Adversaries may match or approximate the name or location of legitimate files when naming/placing their files. This is done for the sake of evading defenses and observation. This may be done by placing an executable in a commonly trusted directory (ex: under System32) or giving it the name of a legitimate, trusted program (ex: svchost.exe). Alternatively, the filename given may be a close approximation of legitimate programs or something innocuous.
.006 Space after Filename Adversaries can hide a program's true filetype by changing the extension of a file. With certain file types (specifically this does not work with .app extensions), appending a space to the end of a filename will change how the file is processed by the operating system.
T1556 Modify Authentication Process Adversaries may modify authentication mechanisms and processes to access user credentials or enable otherwise unwarranted access to accounts. The authentication process is handled by mechanisms, such as the Local Security Authentication Server (LSASS) process and the Security Accounts Manager (SAM), responsible for gathering, storing, and validating credentials.
.001 Domain Controller Authentication Adversaries may patch the authentication process on a domain control to bypass the typical authentication mechanisms and enable access to accounts.
.002 Password Filter DLL Adversaries may register malicious password filter dynamic link libraries (DLLs) into the authentication process to acquire user credentials as they are validated.
T1112 Modify Registry Adversaries may interact with the Windows Registry to hide configuration information within Registry keys, remove information as part of cleaning up, or as part of other techniques to aid in persistence and execution.
T1027 Obfuscated Files or Information Adversaries may attempt to make an executable or file difficult to discover or analyze by encrypting, encoding, or otherwise obfuscating its contents on the system or in transit. This is common behavior that can be used across different platforms and the network to evade defenses.
.001 Binary Padding Adversaries may use binary padding to add junk data and change the on-disk representation of malware. This can be done without affecting the functionality or behavior of a binary, but can increase the size of the binary beyond what some security tools are capable of handling due to file size limitations.
.002 Software Packing Adversaries may perform software packing or virtual machine software protection to conceal their code. Software packing is a method of compressing or encrypting an executable. Packing an executable changes the file signature in an attempt to avoid signature-based detection. Most decompression techniques decompress the executable code in memory. Virtual machine software protection translates an executable's original code into a special format that only a special virtual machine can run. A virtual machine is then called to run this code.
.003 Steganography Adversaries may use steganography techniques in order to prevent the detection of hidden information. Steganographic techniques can be used to hide data in digital media such as images, audio tracks, video clips, or text files.
.004 Compile After Delivery Adversaries may attempt to make payloads difficult to discover and analyze by delivering files to victims as uncompiled code. Text-based source code files may subvert analysis and scrutiny from protections targeting executables/binaries. These payloads will need to be compiled before execution; typically via native utilities such as csc.exe or GCC/MinGW.
.005 Indicator Removal from Tools Adversaries may remove indicators from tools if they believe their malicious tool was detected, quarantined, or otherwise curtailed. They can modify the tool by removing the indicator and using the updated version that is no longer detected by the target's defensive systems or subsequent targets that may use similar systems.
T1542 Pre-OS Boot Adversaries may abuse Pre-OS Boot mechanisms as a way to establish persistence on a system. During the booting process of a computer, firmware and various startup services are loaded before the operating system. These programs control flow of execution before the operating system takes control.
.001 System Firmware Adversaries may modify system firmware to persist on systems.The BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) and The Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) or Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) are examples of system firmware that operate as the software interface between the operating system and hardware of a computer.
.002 Component Firmware Adversaries may modify component firmware to persist on systems. Some adversaries may employ sophisticated means to compromise computer components and install malicious firmware that will execute adversary code outside of the operating system and main system firmware or BIOS. This technique may be similar to System Firmware but conducted upon other system components/devices that may not have the same capability or level of integrity checking.
.003 Bootkit Adversaries may use bootkits to persist on systems. Bootkits reside at a layer below the operating system and may make it difficult to perform full remediation unless an organization suspects one was used and can act accordingly.
T1055 Process Injection Adversaries may inject code into processes in order to evade process-based defenses as well as possibly elevate privileges. Process injection is a method of executing arbitrary code in the address space of a separate live process. Running code in the context of another process may allow access to the process's memory, system/network resources, and possibly elevated privileges. Execution via process injection may also evade detection from security products since the execution is masked under a legitimate process.
.001 Dynamic-link Library Injection Adversaries may inject dynamic-link libraries (DLLs) into processes in order to evade process-based defenses as well as possibly elevate privileges. DLL injection is a method of executing arbitrary code in the address space of a separate live process.
.002 Portable Executable Injection Adversaries may inject portable executables (PE) into processes in order to evade process-based defenses as well as possibly elevate privileges. PE injection is a method of executing arbitrary code in the address space of a separate live process.
.003 Thread Execution Hijacking Adversaries may inject malicious code into hijacked processes in order to evade process-based defenses as well as possibly elevate privileges. Thread Execution Hijacking is a method of executing arbitrary code in the address space of a separate live process.
.004 Asynchronous Procedure Call Adversaries may inject malicious code into processes via the asynchronous procedure call (APC) queue in order to evade process-based defenses as well as possibly elevate privileges. APC injection is a method of executing arbitrary code in the address space of a separate live process.
.005 Thread Local Storage Adversaries may inject malicious code into processes via thread local storage (TLS) callbacks in order to evade process-based defenses as well as possibly elevate privileges. TLS callback injection is a method of executing arbitrary code in the address space of a separate live process.
.008 Ptrace System Calls Adversaries may inject malicious code into processes via ptrace (process trace) system calls in order to evade process-based defenses as well as possibly elevate privileges. Ptrace system call injection is a method of executing arbitrary code in the address space of a separate live process.
.009 Proc Memory Adversaries may inject malicious code into processes via the /proc filesystem in order to evade process-based defenses as well as possibly elevate privileges. Proc memory injection is a method of executing arbitrary code in the address space of a separate live process.
.011 Extra Window Memory Injection Adversaries may inject malicious code into process via Extra Window Memory (EWM) in order to evade process-based defenses as well as possibly elevate privileges. EWM injection is a method of executing arbitrary code in the address space of a separate live process.
.012 Process Hollowing Adversaries may inject malicious code into suspended and hollowed processes in order to evade process-based defenses. Process hollowing is a method of executing arbitrary code in the address space of a separate live process.
.013 Process Doppelgänging Adversaries may inject malicious code into process via process doppelgänging in order to evade process-based defenses as well as possibly elevate privileges. Process doppelgänging is a method of executing arbitrary code in the address space of a separate live process.
.014 VDSO Hijacking Adversaries may inject malicious code into processes via VDSO hijacking in order to evade process-based defenses as well as possibly elevate privileges. Virtual dynamic shared object (VDSO) hijacking is a method of executing arbitrary code in the address space of a separate live process.
T1536 Revert Cloud Instance An adversary may revert changes made to a cloud instance after they have performed malicious activities in attempt to evade detection and remove evidence of their presence. In highly virtualized environments, such as cloud-based infrastructure, this may be accomplished by restoring virtual machine (VM) or data storage snapshots through the cloud management dashboard or cloud APIs.
T1207 Rogue Domain Controller Adversaries may register a rogue Domain Controller to enable manipulation of Active Directory data. DCShadow may be used to create a rogue Domain Controller (DC). DCShadow is a method of manipulating Active Directory (AD) data, including objects and schemas, by registering (or reusing an inactive registration) and simulating the behavior of a DC. Once registered, a rogue DC may be able to inject and replicate changes into AD infrastructure for any domain object, including credentials and keys.
T1014 Rootkit Adversaries may use rootkits to hide the presence of programs, files, network connections, services, drivers, and other system components. Rootkits are programs that hide the existence of malware by intercepting/hooking and modifying operating system API calls that supply system information.
T1218 Signed Binary Proxy Execution Adversaries may bypass process and/or signature-based defenses by proxying execution of malicious content with signed binaries. Binaries signed with trusted digital certificates can execute on Windows systems protected by digital signature validation. Several Microsoft signed binaries that are default on Windows installations can be used to proxy execution of other files.
.001 Compiled HTML File Adversaries may abuse Compiled HTML files (.chm) to conceal malicious code. CHM files are commonly distributed as part of the Microsoft HTML Help system. CHM files are compressed compilations of various content such as HTML documents, images, and scripting/web related programming languages such VBA, JScript, Java, and ActiveX. CHM content is displayed using underlying components of the Internet Explorer browser loaded by the HTML Help executable program (hh.exe).
.002 Control Panel Adversaries may abuse control.exe to proxy execution of malicious payloads. The Windows Control Panel process binary (control.exe) handles execution of Control Panel items, which are utilities that allow users to view and adjust computer settings. Control Panel items are registered executable (.exe) or Control Panel (.cpl) files, the latter are actually renamed dynamic-link library (.dll) files that export a CPlApplet function. Control Panel items can be executed directly from the command line, programmatically via an application programming interface (API) call, or by simply double-clicking the file.
.003 CMSTP Adversaries may abuse CMSTP to proxy execution of malicious code. The Microsoft Connection Manager Profile Installer (CMSTP.exe) is a command-line program used to install Connection Manager service profiles. CMSTP.exe accepts an installation information file (INF) as a parameter and installs a service profile leveraged for remote access connections.
.004 InstallUtil Adversaries may use InstallUtil to proxy execution of code through a trusted Windows utility. InstallUtil is a command-line utility that allows for installation and uninstallation of resources by executing specific installer components specified in .NET binaries. InstallUtil is digitally signed by Microsoft and located in the .NET directories on a Windows system: C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v\InstallUtil.exe and C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework64\v\InstallUtil.exe.
.005 Mshta Adversaries may abuse mshta.exe to proxy execution of malicious .hta files and Javascript or VBScript through a trusted Windows utility. There are several examples of different types of threats leveraging mshta.exe during initial compromise and for execution of code
.007 Msiexec Adversaries may abuse msiexec.exe to proxy execution of malicious payloads. Msiexec.exe is the command-line utility for the Windows Installer and is thus commonly associated with executing installation packages (.msi). Msiexec.exe is digitally signed by Microsoft.
.008 Odbcconf Adversaries may abuse odbcconf.exe to proxy execution of malicious payloads. Odbcconf.exe is a Windows utility that allows you to configure Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) drivers and data source names. Odbcconf.exe is digitally signed by Microsoft.
.009 Regsvcs/Regasm Adversaries may abuse Regsvcs and Regasm to proxy execution of code through a trusted Windows utility. Regsvcs and Regasm are Windows command-line utilities that are used to register .NET Component Object Model (COM) assemblies. Both are digitally signed by Microsoft.
.010 Regsvr32 Adversaries may abuse Regsvr32.exe to proxy execution of malicious code. Regsvr32.exe is a command-line program used to register and unregister object linking and embedding controls, including dynamic link libraries (DLLs), on Windows systems. Regsvr32.exe is also a Microsoft signed binary.
.011 Rundll32 Adversaries may abuse rundll32.exe to proxy execution of malicious code. Using rundll32.exe, vice executing directly (i.e. Shared Modules), may avoid triggering security tools that may not monitor execution of the rundll32.exe process because of whitelists or false positives from normal operations. Rundll32.exe is commonly associated with executing DLL payloads.
T1216 Signed Script Proxy Execution Adversaries may use scripts signed with trusted certificates to proxy execution of malicious files. Several Microsoft signed scripts that are default on Windows installations can be used to proxy execution of other files. This behavior may be abused by adversaries to execute malicious files that could bypass application whitelisting and signature validation on systems.
.001 PubPrn Adversaries may use the trusted PubPrn script to proxy execution of malicious files. This behavior may bypass signature validation restrictions and application whitelisting solutions that do not account for use of these scripts.
T1553 Subvert Trust Controls Adversaries may undermine security controls that will either warn users of untrusted activity or prevent execution of untrusted programs. Operating systems and security products may contain mechanisms to identify programs or websites as possessing some level of trust. Examples of such features would include a program being allowed to run because it is signed by a valid code signing certificate, a program prompting the user with a warning because it has an attribute set from being downloaded from the Internet, or getting an indication that you are about to connect to an untrusted site.
.001 Gatekeeper Bypass Adversaries may modify file attributes that signify programs are from untrusted sources to subvert Gatekeeper controls. In macOS and OS X, when applications or programs are downloaded from the internet, there is a special attribute set on the file called com.apple.quarantine. This attribute is read by Apple's Gatekeeper defense program at execution time and provides a prompt to the user to allow or deny execution.
.002 Code Signing Adversaries may create, acquire, or steal code signing materials to sign their malware or tools. Code signing provides a level of authenticity on a binary from the developer and a guarantee that the binary has not been tampered with. The certificates used during an operation may be created, acquired, or stolen by the adversary. Unlike Invalid Code Signature, this activity will result in a valid signature.
.003 SIP and Trust Provider Hijacking Adversaries may tamper with SIP and trust provider components to mislead the operating system and application whitelisting tools when conducting signature validation checks. In user mode, Windows Authenticode digital signatures are used to verify a file's origin and integrity, variables that may be used to establish trust in signed code (ex: a driver with a valid Microsoft signature may be handled as safe). The signature validation process is handled via the WinVerifyTrust application programming interface (API) function, which accepts an inquiry and coordinates with the appropriate trust provider, which is responsible for validating parameters of a signature.
.004 Install Root Certificate Adversaries may install a root certificate on a compromised system to avoid warnings when connecting to adversary controlled web servers. Root certificates are used in public key cryptography to identify a root certificate authority (CA). When a root certificate is installed, the system or application will trust certificates in the root's chain of trust that have been signed by the root certificate. Certificates are commonly used for establishing secure TLS/SSL communications within a web browser. When a user attempts to browse a website that presents a certificate that is not trusted an error message will be displayed to warn the user of the security risk. Depending on the security settings, the browser may not allow the user to establish a connection to the website.
T1221 Template Injection Adversaries may create or modify references in Office document templates to conceal malicious code or force authentication attempts. Microsoft’s Office Open XML (OOXML) specification defines an XML-based format for Office documents (.docx, xlsx, .pptx) to replace older binary formats (.doc, .xls, .ppt). OOXML files are packed together ZIP archives compromised of various XML files, referred to as parts, containing properties that collectively define how a document is rendered.
T1545 Traffic Signaling Adversaries may use traffic signaling to hide open ports used for persistence or command and control. Traffic signaling is a well-established method used by both defenders and adversaries to hide open ports from access/discovery. To enable a port, an adversary sends a series of packets with certain characteristics before the port will be opened. Usually this series of packets consists of attempted connections to a predefined sequence of closed ports (i.e. Port Knocking), but can involve unusual flags, specific strings, or other unique characteristics. After the sequence is completed, opening a port is often accomplished by the host based firewall, but could also be implemented by custom software.
.001 Port Knocking Adversaries may use port knocking to hide open ports used for persistence or command and control. To enable a port, an adversary sends a series of attempted connections to a predefined sequence of closed ports. After the sequence is completed, opening a port is often accomplished by the host based firewall, but could also be implemented by custom software.
T1127 Trusted Developer Utilities Proxy Execution Adversaries may take advantage of trusted developer utilities to proxy execution of malicious payloads. There are many utilities used for software development related tasks that can be used to execute code in various forms to assist in development, debugging, and reverse engineering. These utilities may often be signed with legitimate certificates that allow them to execute on a system and proxy execution of malicious code through a trusted process that effectively bypasses application whitelisting defensive solutions.
.001 MSBuild Adversaries may use MSBuild to proxy execution of code through a trusted Windows utility. MSBuild.exe (Microsoft Build Engine) is a software build platform used by Visual Studio. It handles XML formatted project files that define requirements for loading and building various platforms and configurations.
T1535 Unused/Unsupported Cloud Regions Adversaries may create cloud instances in unused geographic service regions in order to evade detection. Access is usually obtained through compromising accounts used to manage cloud infrastructure.
T1550 Use Alternate Authentication Material 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.
.001 Application Access Token Adversaries may use stolen application access tokens to bypass the typical authentication process and access restricted accounts, information, or services on remote systems. These tokens are typically stolen from users and used in lieu of login credentials.
.002 Pass the Hash Adversaries may "pass the hash" using stolen password hashes to move laterally within an environment, bypassing normal system access controls. Pass the hash (PtH) is a method of authenticating as a user without having access to the user's cleartext password. This method bypasses standard authentication steps that require a cleartext password, moving directly into the portion of the authentication that uses the password hash. In this technique, valid password hashes for the account being used are captured using a Credential Access technique. Captured hashes are used with PtH to authenticate as that user. Once authenticated, PtH may be used to perform actions on local or remote systems.
.003 Pass the Ticket Adversaries may "pass the ticket" using stolen Kerberos tickets to move laterally within an environment, bypassing normal system access controls. Pass the ticket (PtT) is a method of authenticating to a system using Kerberos tickets without having access to an account's password. Kerberos authentication can be used as the first step to lateral movement to a remote system.
.004 Web Session Cookie Adversaries can use stolen session cookies to authenticate to web applications and services. This technique bypasses some multi-factor authentication protocols since the session is already authenticated.
T1078 Valid Accounts Adversaries may obtain and abuse credentials of existing accounts as a means of gaining Initial Access, Persistence, Privilege Escalation, or Defense Evasion. Compromised credentials may be used to bypass access controls placed on various resources on systems within the network and may even be used for persistent access to remote systems and externally available services, such as VPNs, Outlook Web Access and remote desktop. Compromised credentials may also grant an adversary increased privilege to specific systems or access to restricted areas of the network. Adversaries may choose not to use malware or tools in conjunction with the legitimate access those credentials provide to make it harder to detect their presence.
.001 Default Accounts Adversaries may obtain and abuse credentials of a default account as a means of gaining Initial Access, Persistence, Privilege Escalation, or Defense Evasion. Default accounts are those that are built-into an OS, such as the Guest or Administrator accounts on Windows systems or default factory/provider set accounts on other types of systems, software, or devices.
.002 Domain Accounts Adversaries may obtain and abuse credentials of a domain account as a means of gaining Initial Access, Persistence, Privilege Escalation, or Defense Evasion. Domain accounts are those managed by Active Directory Domain Services where access and permissions are configured across systems and services that are part of that domain. Domain accounts can cover users, administrators, and services.
.003 Local Accounts Adversaries may obtain and abuse credentials of a local account as a means of gaining Initial Access, Persistence, Privilege Escalation, or Defense Evasion. Local accounts are those configured by an organization for use by users, remote support, services, or for administration on a single system or service.
.004 Cloud Accounts Adversaries may obtain and abuse credentials of a cloud account as a means of gaining Initial Access, Persistence, Privilege Escalation, or Defense Evasion. Cloud accounts are those created and configured by an organization for use by users, remote support, services, or for administration of resources within a cloud service provider or SaaS application. In some cases, cloud accounts may be federated with traditional identity management system, such as Window Active Directory.
T1497 Virtualization/Sandbox Evasion Adversaries may employ various means to detect and avoid virtualization and analysis environments. This may include changing behaviors based on the results of checks for the presence of artifacts indicative of a virtual machine environment (VME) or sandbox. If the adversary detects a VME, they may alter their malware to disengage from the victim or conceal the core functions of the implant. They may also search for VME artifacts before dropping secondary or additional payloads. Adversaries may use the information learned from Virtualization/Sandbox Evasion during automated discovery to shape follow-on behaviors.
.001 System Checks Adversaries may employ various system checks to detect and avoid virtualization and analysis environments. This may include changing behaviors based on the results of checks for the presence of artifacts indicative of a virtual machine environment (VME) or sandbox. If the adversary detects a VME, they may alter their malware to disengage from the victim or conceal the core functions of the implant. They may also search for VME artifacts before dropping secondary or additional payloads. Adversaries may use the information learned from Virtualization/Sandbox Evasion during automated discovery to shape follow-on behaviors.
.002 User Activity Based Checks Adversaries may employ various user activity checks to detect and avoid virtualization and analysis environments. This may include changing behaviors based on the results of checks for the presence of artifacts indicative of a virtual machine environment (VME) or sandbox. If the adversary detects a VME, they may alter their malware to disengage from the victim or conceal the core functions of the implant. They may also search for VME artifacts before dropping secondary or additional payloads. Adversaries may use the information learned from Virtualization/Sandbox Evasion during automated discovery to shape follow-on behaviors.
.003 Time Based Evasion Adversaries may employ various time-based methods to detect and avoid virtualization and analysis environments. This may include timers or other triggers to avoid a virtual machine environment (VME) or sandbox, specifically those that are automated or only operate for a limited amount of time.
T1220 XSL Script Processing Adversaries may bypass application whitelisting and obscure execution of code by embedding scripts inside XSL files. Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) files are commonly used to describe the processing and rendering of data within XML files. To support complex operations, the XSL standard includes support for embedded scripting in various languages.