Lateral Movement

The adversary is trying to move through your ICS environment.

Lateral Movement consists of techniques that adversaries use to enter and control remote systems on a network. These techniques abuse default credentials, known accounts, and vulnerable services, and may also leverage dual-homed devices and systems that reside on both the IT and OT networks. The adversary uses these techniques to pivot to their next point in the environment, positioning themselves to where they want to be or think they should be. Following through on their primary objective often requires Discovery of the network and Collection to develop awareness of unique ICS devices and processes, in order to find their target and subsequently gain access to it. Reaching this objective often involves pivoting through multiple systems, devices, and accounts. Adversaries may install their own remote tools to accomplish Lateral Movement or leverage default tools, programs, and manufacturer set or other legitimate credentials native to the network, which may be stealthier.

ID: TA0109
Created: 17 October 2018
Last Modified: 24 October 2022


Techniques: 7
ID Name Description
T0812 Default Credentials Adversaries may leverage manufacturer or supplier set default credentials on control system devices. These default credentials may have administrative permissions and may be necessary for initial configuration of the device. It is general best practice to change the passwords for these accounts as soon as possible, but some manufacturers may have devices that have passwords or usernames that cannot be changed.
T0866 Exploitation of Remote Services Adversaries may exploit a software vulnerability to take advantage of a programming error in a program, service, or within the operating system software or kernel itself to enable remote service abuse. A common goal for post-compromise exploitation of remote services is for initial access into and lateral movement throughout the ICS environment to enable access to targeted systems.
T0891 Hardcoded Credentials Adversaries may leverage credentials that are hardcoded in software or firmware to gain an unauthorized interactive user session to an asset. Examples credentials that may be hardcoded in an asset include:
T0867 Lateral Tool Transfer Adversaries may transfer tools or other files from one system to another to stage adversary tools or other files over the course of an operation. Copying of files may also be performed laterally between internal victim systems to support Lateral Movement with remote Execution using inherent file sharing protocols such as file sharing over SMB to connected network shares.
T0843 Program Download Adversaries may perform a program download to transfer a user program to a controller.
T0886 Remote Services Adversaries may leverage remote services to move between assets and network segments. These services are often used to allow operators to interact with systems remotely within the network, some examples are RDP, SMB, SSH, and other similar mechanisms.
T0859 Valid Accounts Adversaries may steal the credentials of a specific user or service account using credential access techniques. In some cases, default credentials for control system devices may be publicly available. Compromised credentials may be used to bypass access controls placed on various resources on hosts and within the network, and may even be used for persistent access to remote systems. Compromised and default credentials may also grant an adversary increased privilege to specific systems and devices 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 or to control devices and send legitimate commands in an unintended way.