Privileged Account Management

Manage the creation, modification, use, and permissions associated to privileged accounts, including SYSTEM and root.

ID: M1026
Version: 1.1
Created: 06 June 2019
Last Modified: 31 March 2020

Techniques Addressed by Mitigation

Domain ID Name Use
Enterprise T1548 Abuse Elevation Control Mechanism

Remove users from the local administrator group on systems.

By requiring a password, even if an adversary can get terminal access, they must know the password to run anything in the sudoers file. Setting the timestamp_timeout to 0 will require the user to input their password every time sudo is executed.

.002 Bypass User Access Control

Remove users from the local administrator group on systems.

.003 Sudo and Sudo Caching

By requiring a password, even if an adversary can get terminal access, they must know the password to run anything in the sudoers file. Setting the timestamp_timeout to 0 will require the user to input their password every time sudo is executed.

Enterprise T1134 Access Token Manipulation

Limit permissions so that users and user groups cannot create tokens. This setting should be defined for the local system account only. GPO: Computer Configuration > [Policies] > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Local Policies > User Rights Assignment: Create a token object. [1] Also define who can create a process level token to only the local and network service through GPO: Computer Configuration > [Policies] > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Local Policies > User Rights Assignment: Replace a process level token.[2]

Administrators should log in as a standard user but run their tools with administrator privileges using the built-in access token manipulation command runas.[3]

.001 Token Impersonation/Theft

Limit permissions so that users and user groups cannot create tokens. This setting should be defined for the local system account only. GPO: Computer Configuration > [Policies] > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Local Policies > User Rights Assignment: Create a token object. [1] Also define who can create a process level token to only the local and network service through GPO: Computer Configuration > [Policies] > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Local Policies > User Rights Assignment: Replace a process level token.[2]

Administrators should log in as a standard user but run their tools with administrator privileges using the built-in access token manipulation command runas.[3]

.002 Create Process with Token

Limit permissions so that users and user groups cannot create tokens. This setting should be defined for the local system account only. GPO: Computer Configuration > [Policies] > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Local Policies > User Rights Assignment: Create a token object. [1] Also define who can create a process level token to only the local and network service through GPO: Computer Configuration > [Policies] > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Local Policies > User Rights Assignment: Replace a process level token.[2]

Administrators should log in as a standard user but run their tools with administrator privileges using the built-in access token manipulation command runas.[3]

.003 Make and Impersonate Token

Limit permissions so that users and user groups cannot create tokens. This setting should be defined for the local system account only. GPO: Computer Configuration > [Policies] > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Local Policies > User Rights Assignment: Create a token object. [1] Also define who can create a process level token to only the local and network service through GPO: Computer Configuration > [Policies] > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Local Policies > User Rights Assignment: Replace a process level token.[2]

Administrators should log in as a standard user but run their tools with administrator privileges using the built-in access token manipulation command runas.[3]

Enterprise T1098 Account Manipulation

Do not allow domain administrator accounts to be used for day-to-day operations that may expose them to potential adversaries on unprivileged systems.

.001 Additional Azure Service Principal Credentials

Do not allow domain administrator accounts to be used for day-to-day operations that may expose them to potential adversaries on unprivileged systems.

.002 Exchange Email Delegate Permissions

Do not allow domain administrator accounts to be used for day-to-day operations that may expose them to potential adversaries on unprivileged systems.

.003 Add Office 365 Global Administrator Role

Do not allow domain administrator accounts to be used for day-to-day operations that may expose them to potential adversaries on unprivileged systems.

Enterprise T1547 .006 Boot or Logon Autostart Execution: Kernel Modules and Extensions

Limit access to the root account and prevent users from loading kernel modules and extensions through proper privilege separation and limiting Privilege Escalation opportunities.

Enterprise T1059 Command and Scripting Interpreter

When PowerShell is necessary, restrict PowerShell execution policy to administrators. Be aware that there are methods of bypassing the PowerShell execution policy, depending on environment configuration.[15]

.001 PowerShell

When PowerShell is necessary, restrict PowerShell execution policy to administrators. Be aware that there are methods of bypassing the PowerShell execution policy, depending on environment configuration.[15]

Enterprise T1136 Create Account

Do not allow domain administrator accounts to be used for day-to-day operations that may expose them to potential adversaries on unprivileged systems.

.001 Local Account

Limit the usage of local administrator accounts to be used for day-to-day operations that may expose them to potential adversaries.

.002 Domain Account

Do not allow domain administrator accounts to be used for day-to-day operations that may expose them to potential adversaries on unprivileged systems.

.003 Cloud Account

Do not allow privileged accounts to be used for day-to-day operations that may expose them to potential adversaries on unprivileged systems.

Enterprise T1543 .002 Create or Modify System Process: Systemd Service

The creation and modification of systemd service unit files is generally reserved for administrators such as the Linux root user and other users with superuser privileges.

Enterprise T1546 .003 Event Triggered Execution: Windows Management Instrumentation Event Subscription

Prevent credential overlap across systems of administrator and privileged accounts. [5]

Enterprise T1190 Exploit Public-Facing Application

Use least privilege for service accounts will limit what permissions the exploited process gets on the rest of the system.

Enterprise T1210 Exploitation of Remote Services

Minimize permissions and access for service accounts to limit impact of exploitation.

Enterprise T1222 File and Directory Permissions Modification

Ensure critical system files as well as those known to be abused by adversaries have restrictive permissions and are owned by an appropriately privileged account, especially if access is not required by users nor will inhibit system functionality.

.001 Windows File and Directory Permissions Modification

Ensure critical system files as well as those known to be abused by adversaries have restrictive permissions and are owned by an appropriately privileged account, especially if access is not required by users nor will inhibit system functionality.

.002 Linux and Mac File and Directory Permissions Modification

Ensure critical system files as well as those known to be abused by adversaries have restrictive permissions and are owned by an appropriately privileged account, especially if access is not required by users nor will inhibit system functionality.

Enterprise T1495 Firmware Corruption

Prevent adversary access to privileged accounts or access necessary to replace system firmware.

Enterprise T1525 Implant Container Image

Limit permissions associated with creating and modifying platform images or containers based on the principle of least privilege.

Enterprise T1056 .003 Input Capture: Web Portal Capture

Do not allow administrator accounts that have permissions to modify the Web content of organization login portals to be used for day-to-day operations that may expose them to potential adversaries on unprivileged systems.

Enterprise T1559 Inter-Process Communication

Modify Registry settings (directly or using Dcomcnfg.exe) in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\SOFTWARE\\Classes\\AppID\\{{AppID_GUID}} associated with the process-wide security of individual COM applications.[10]

Modify Registry settings (directly or using Dcomcnfg.exe) in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\SOFTWARE\\Microsoft\\Ole associated with system-wide security defaults for all COM applications that do no set their own process-wide security.[11] [12]

.001 Component Object Model

Modify Registry settings (directly or using Dcomcnfg.exe) in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\SOFTWARE\\Classes\\AppID\\{{AppID_GUID}} associated with the process-wide security of individual COM applications.[10]

Modify Registry settings (directly or using Dcomcnfg.exe) in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\SOFTWARE\\Microsoft\\Ole associated with system-wide security defaults for all COM applications that do no set their own process-wide security.[11] [12]

Enterprise T1556 Modify Authentication Process

Audit domain and local accounts as well as their permission levels routinely to look for situations that could allow an adversary to gain wide access by obtaining credentials of a privileged account. [6] [7] These audits should also include if default accounts have been enabled, or if new local accounts are created that have not be authorized. Follow best practices for design and administration of an enterprise network to limit privileged account use across administrative tiers. [4]

Limit access to the root account and prevent users from modifying protected components through proper privilege separation (ex SELinux, grsecurity, AppArmor, etc.) and limiting Privilege Escalation opportunities.

.001 Domain Controller Authentication

Audit domain and local accounts as well as their permission levels routinely to look for situations that could allow an adversary to gain wide access by obtaining credentials of a privileged account. [6] [7] These audits should also include if default accounts have been enabled, or if new local accounts are created that have not be authorized. Follow best practices for design and administration of an enterprise network to limit privileged account use across administrative tiers. [4]

.003 Pluggable Authentication Modules

Limit access to the root account and prevent users from modifying PAM components through proper privilege separation (ex SELinux, grsecurity, AppArmor, etc.) and limiting Privilege Escalation opportunities.

Enterprise T1003 OS Credential Dumping

Windows:Do not put user or admin domain accounts in the local administrator groups across systems unless they are tightly controlled, as this is often equivalent to having a local administrator account with the same password on all systems. Follow best practices for design and administration of an enterprise network to limit privileged account use across administrative tiers.[4]

Linux:Scraping the passwords from memory requires root privileges. Follow best practices in restricting access to privileged accounts to avoid hostile programs from accessing such sensitive regions of memory.

.006 DCSync

Do not put user or admin domain accounts in the local administrator groups across systems unless they are tightly controlled, as this is often equivalent to having a local administrator account with the same password on all systems. Follow best practices for design and administration of an enterprise network to limit privileged account use across administrative tiers.

.001 LSASS Memory

Do not put user or admin domain accounts in the local administrator groups across systems unless they are tightly controlled, as this is often equivalent to having a local administrator account with the same password on all systems. Follow best practices for design and administration of an enterprise network to limit privileged account use across administrative tiers.

.002 Security Account Manager

Do not put user or admin domain accounts in the local administrator groups across systems unless they are tightly controlled, as this is often equivalent to having a local administrator account with the same password on all systems. Follow best practices for design and administration of an enterprise network to limit privileged account use across administrative tiers.

.007 Proc Filesystem

Follow best practices in restricting access to privileged accounts to avoid hostile programs from accessing sensitive information.

.008 /etc/passwd and /etc/shadow

Follow best practices in restricting access to privileged accounts to avoid hostile programs from accessing such sensitive information.

.005 Cached Domain Credentials

Do not put user or admin domain accounts in the local administrator groups across systems unless they are tightly controlled, as this is often equivalent to having a local administrator account with the same password on all systems. Follow best practices for design and administration of an enterprise network to limit privileged account use across administrative tiers.

.004 LSA Secrets

Follow best practices for design and administration of an enterprise network to limit privileged account use across administrative tiers.[13]

.003 NTDS

Do not put user or admin domain accounts in the local administrator groups across systems unless they are tightly controlled, as this is often equivalent to having a local administrator account with the same password on all systems. Follow best practices for design and administration of an enterprise network to limit privileged account use across administrative tiers.

Enterprise T1542 Pre-OS Boot

Ensure proper permissions are in place to help prevent adversary access to privileged accounts necessary to perform these actions

.001 System Firmware

Prevent adversary access to privileged accounts or access necessary to perform this technique.

.003 Bootkit

Ensure proper permissions are in place to help prevent adversary access to privileged accounts necessary to install a bootkit.

Enterprise T1055 Process Injection

Utilize Yama (ex: /proc/sys/kernel/yama/ptrace_scope) to mitigate ptrace based process injection by restricting the use of ptrace to privileged users only. Other mitigation controls involve the deployment of security kernel modules that provide advanced access control and process restrictions such as SELinux, grsecurity, and AppArmor.

.008 Ptrace System Calls

Utilize Yama (ex: /proc/sys/kernel/yama/ptrace_scope) to mitigate ptrace based process injection by restricting the use of ptrace to privileged users only. Other mitigation controls involve the deployment of security kernel modules that provide advanced access control and process restrictions such as SELinux, grsecurity, and AppArmor.

Enterprise T1563 Remote Service Session Hijacking

Do not allow remote access to services as a privileged account unless necessary.

.001 SSH Hijacking

Do not allow remote access via SSH as root or other privileged accounts.

.002 RDP Hijacking

Consider removing the local Administrators group from the list of groups allowed to log in through RDP.

Enterprise T1021 .001 Remote Services: Remote Desktop Protocol

Consider removing the local Administrators group from the list of groups allowed to log in through RDP.

.002 Remote Services: SMB/Windows Admin Shares

Deny remote use of local admin credentials to log into systems. Do not allow domain user accounts to be in the local Administrators group multiple systems.

.003 Remote Services: Distributed Component Object Model

Modify Registry settings (directly or using Dcomcnfg.exe) in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\AppID\{{{{AppID_GUID}}}} associated with the process-wide security of individual COM applications.[10]

Modify Registry settings (directly or using Dcomcnfg.exe) in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Ole associated with system-wide security defaults for all COM applications that do not set their own process-wide security.[11] [12]

.006 Remote Services: Windows Remote Management

If the service is necessary, lock down critical enclaves with separate WinRM accounts and permissions.

Enterprise T1053 Scheduled Task/Job

Configure the Increase Scheduling Priority option to only allow the Administrators group the rights to schedule a priority process. This can be can be configured through GPO: Computer Configuration > [Policies] > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Local Policies > User Rights Assignment: Increase scheduling priority. [8]

.002 At (Windows)

Configure the Increase Scheduling Priority option to only allow the Administrators group the rights to schedule a priority process. This can be configured through GPO: Computer Configuration > [Policies] > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Local Policies > User Rights Assignment: Increase scheduling priority. [8]

.005 Scheduled Task

Configure the Increase Scheduling Priority option to only allow the Administrators group the rights to schedule a priority process. This can be configured through GPO: Computer Configuration > [Policies] > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Local Policies > User Rights Assignment: Increase scheduling priority. [8]

Enterprise T1505 Server Software Component

Do not allow administrator accounts that have permissions to add component software on these services to be used for day-to-day operations that may expose them to potential adversaries on unprivileged systems.

.002 Transport Agent

Do not allow administrator accounts that have permissions to add component software on these services to be used for day-to-day operations that may expose them to potential adversaries on unprivileged systems.

.001 SQL Stored Procedures

Do not allow administrator accounts that have permissions to add component software on these services to be used for day-to-day operations that may expose them to potential adversaries on unprivileged systems.

Enterprise T1218 Signed Binary Proxy Execution

Restrict execution of particularly vulnerable binaries to privileged accounts or groups that need to use it to lessen the opportunities for malicious usage.

.007 Msiexec

Restrict execution of Msiexec.exe to privileged accounts or groups that need to use it to lessen the opportunities for malicious usage.

Enterprise T1072 Software Deployment Tools

Grant access to application deployment systems only to a limited number of authorized administrators.

Enterprise T1558 Steal or Forge Kerberos Tickets

Limit domain admin account permissions to domain controllers and limited servers. Delegate other admin functions to separate accounts.

Limit service accounts to minimal required privileges, including membership in privileged groups such as Domain Administrators.[14]

.001 Golden Ticket

Limit domain admin account permissions to domain controllers and limited servers. Delegate other admin functions to separate accounts.

.002 Silver Ticket

Limit service accounts to minimal required privileges, including membership in privileged groups such as Domain Administrators.[14]

.003 Kerberoasting

Limit service accounts to minimal required privileges, including membership in privileged groups such as Domain Administrators.[14]

Enterprise T1569 System Services

Ensure that permissions disallow services that run at a higher permissions level from being created or interacted with by a user with a lower permission level.

.002 Service Execution

Ensure that permissions disallow services that run at a higher permissions level from being created or interacted with by a user with a lower permission level.

Enterprise T1552 Unsecured Credentials

If it is necessary that software must store credentials in the Registry, then ensure the associated accounts have limited permissions so they cannot be abused if obtained by an adversary.

.002 Credentials in Registry

If it is necessary that software must store credentials in the Registry, then ensure the associated accounts have limited permissions so they cannot be abused if obtained by an adversary.

Enterprise T1550 Use Alternate Authentication Material

Limit credential overlap across systems to prevent the damage of credential compromise and reduce the adversary's ability to perform Lateral Movement between systems.

.002 Pass the Hash

Limit credential overlap across systems to prevent the damage of credential compromise and reduce the adversary's ability to perform Lateral Movement between systems.

.003 Pass the Ticket

Limit domain admin account permissions to domain controllers and limited servers. Delegate other admin functions to separate accounts.[9]

Enterprise T1078 Valid Accounts

Audit domain and local accounts as well as their permission levels routinely to look for situations that could allow an adversary to gain wide access by obtaining credentials of a privileged account. [6] [7] These audits should also include if default accounts have been enabled, or if new local accounts are created that have not be authorized. Follow best practices for design and administration of an enterprise network to limit privileged account use across administrative tiers. [4]

.002 Domain Accounts

Audit domain account permission levels routinely to look for situations that could allow an adversary to gain wide access by obtaining credentials of a privileged account. Do not put user or admin domain accounts in the local administrator groups across systems unless they are tightly controlled and use of accounts is segmented, as this is often equivalent to having a local administrator account with the same password on all systems. Follow best practices for design and administration of an enterprise network to limit privileged account use across administrative tiers. Limit credential overlap across systems to prevent access if account credentials are obtained.

.003 Local Accounts

Audit local accounts permission levels routinely to look for situations that could allow an adversary to gain wide access by obtaining credentials of a privileged account. [6] [7] These audits should check if new local accounts are created that have not be authorized. Implementing LAPS may help prevent reuse of local administrator credentials across a domain.[16]

.004 Cloud Accounts

Audit cloud accounts permission levels routinely to look for situations that could allow an adversary to gain wide access by obtaining credentials of a privileged account. [6] [7] These audits should check if new cloud accounts are created that have not be authorized.

Enterprise T1047 Windows Management Instrumentation

Prevent credential overlap across systems of administrator and privileged accounts. [5]

References