Command and Scripting Interpreter: VBScript

Adversaries may abuse VBScript scripts for execution. VBScript is a Windows scripting language modeled after the Visual Basic language, also known as Visual Basic for Applications (VBA).[1] VBScript is built on top of the Component Object Model (COM), which allows it to interact with the environment. VBScript can also be used in place of JavaScript on webpages served to Internet Explorer, however, most modern browsers do not come with VBScript support.

In a command-line environment, Cscript.exe is used to execute scripts. If a GUI is desired, Wscript.exe is used.

Adversaries may abuse VBScript to execute malicious command and payloads. A common usage is embedding VBScript content into Spearphishing Attachment payloads.

ID: T1059.005
Sub-technique of:  T1059
Tactic: Execution
Platforms: Windows
Permissions Required: Administrator, SYSTEM, User
Data Sources: Process command-line parameters, Process monitoring, Windows event logs
Version: 1.0
Created: 09 March 2020
Last Modified: 28 March 2020

Procedure Examples

Name Description

APT32 has used macros, COM scriptlets, and VBS scripts.[30][31]


Bisonal's dropper creates VBS scripts on the victim’s machine.[3]


BRONZE BUTLER has used VBS and VBE scripts for execution.[32]


Comnie executes VBS scripts.[17]

Exaramel for Windows

Exaramel for Windows has a command to execute VBS scripts on the victim’s machine.[5]


FIN7 used VBS scripts to help perform tasks on the victim's machine.[33][34]

Gorgon Group

Gorgon Group has used macros in Spearphishing Attachments as well as executed VBScripts on victim machines.[24]


One version of Helminth consists of VBScript scripts.[18]


Honeybee embeds a Visual Basic script within a malicious Word document as part of initial access; the script is executed when the Word document is opened.[35]


JCry has used VBS scripts. [16]


jRAT has been distributed as HTA files with VBScript.[20]


KeyBoy uses VBS scripts for installing files and performing execution.[15]


Koadic performs most of its operations using Windows Script Host (VBScript) and runs arbitrary shellcode .[2]


Leviathan has used VBScript.[22]

Magic Hound

Magic Hound malware has used VBS scripts for execution.[21]


MuddyWater has used VBScript files to execute its POWERSTATS payload, as well as macros.[36][37][38][[39][6]


NanHaiShu executes additional VBScript code on the victim's machine.[11]


NanoCore uses VBS files.[9]


OopsIE creates and uses a VBScript as part of its persistent execution.[7][8]


OSX_OCEANLOTUS.D uses VBS scripts.[19]


Patchwork used Visual Basic Scripts (VBS) on victim machines.[40][41]


POWERSTATS can use VBScript (VBE) code for execution.[6]


QUADAGENT uses VBScripts.[4]


Rancor has used VBS scripts as well as embedded macros for execution.[42]


Remexi uses AutoIt and VBS scripts throughout its execution process.[13]


Silence has used VBS scripts.[26]

Smoke Loader

Smoke Loader adds a Visual Basic script in the Startup folder to deploy the payload.[12]


StoneDrill has several VBS scripts used throughout the malware's lifecycle.[14]


TA459 has a VBScript for execution.[23]


TA505 has used VBS for code execution.[27][28]


Turla has used VBS scripts throughout its operations.[29]


WIRTE has used VBS scripts throughout its operation.[25]


Xbash can execute malicious VBScript payloads on the victim’s machine.[10]


Mitigation Description
Disable or Remove Feature or Program

Turn off or restrict access to VBScript.

Execution Prevention

Use application whitelisting where appropriate.


Monitor for usage of Cscript.exe or Wscript.exe. Understanding standard usage patterns is important to avoid a high number of false positives. If scripting is restricted for normal users, then any attempts to enable scripts running on a system would be considered suspicious. If scripts are not commonly used on a system, but enabled, scripts running out of cycle from patching or other administrator functions are suspicious. Scripts should be captured from the file system when possible to determine their actions and intent.

Scripts are likely to perform actions with various effects on a system that may generate events, depending on the types of monitoring used. Monitor processes and command-line arguments for script execution and subsequent behavior. Actions may be related to network and system information Discovery, Collection, or other scriptable post-compromise behaviors and could be used as indicators of detection leading back to the source script.


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  15. Hulcoop, A., et al. (2016, November 17). It’s Parliamentary KeyBoy and the targeting of the Tibetan Community. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
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  1. Axel F, Pierre T. (2017, October 16). Leviathan: Espionage actor spearphishes maritime and defense targets. Retrieved February 15, 2018.
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  4. S2 Grupo. (2019, April 2). WIRTE Group attacking the Middle East. Retrieved May 24, 2019.
  5. Skulkin, O.. (2019, January 20). Silence: Dissecting Malicious CHM Files and Performing Forensic Analysis. Retrieved May 24, 2019.
  6. Proofpoint Staff. (2017, September 27). Threat Actor Profile: TA505, From Dridex to GlobeImposter. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  7. Proofpoint Staff. (2018, June 8). TA505 shifts with the times. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  8. Symantec DeepSight Adversary Intelligence Team. (2019, June 20). Waterbug: Espionage Group Rolls Out Brand-New Toolset in Attacks Against Governments. Retrieved July 8, 2019.
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  11. Counter Threat Unit Research Team. (2017, October 12). BRONZE BUTLER Targets Japanese Enterprises. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
  12. Carr, N., et al. (2018, August 01). On the Hunt for FIN7: Pursuing an Enigmatic and Evasive Global Criminal Operation. Retrieved August 23, 2018.
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