OS Credential Dumping

Adversaries may attempt to dump credentials to obtain account login and credential material, normally in the form of a hash or a clear text password. Credentials can be obtained from OS caches, memory, or structures.[1] Credentials can then be used to perform Lateral Movement and access restricted information.

Several of the tools mentioned in associated sub-techniques may be used by both adversaries and professional security testers. Additional custom tools likely exist as well.

ID: T1003
Platforms: Linux, Windows, macOS
Contributors: Ed Williams, Trustwave, SpiderLabs; Tim (Wadhwa-)Brown; Vincent Le Toux; Yves Yonan
Version: 2.2
Created: 31 May 2017
Last Modified: 18 April 2024

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
G0007 APT28

APT28 regularly deploys both publicly available (ex: Mimikatz) and custom password retrieval tools on victims.[2][3][4]

G0050 APT32

APT32 used GetPassword_x64 to harvest credentials.[5][6]

G0087 APT39

APT39 has used different versions of Mimikatz to obtain credentials.[7]

G0001 Axiom

Axiom has been known to dump credentials.[8]

S0030 Carbanak

Carbanak obtains Windows logon password details.[9]


HOMEFRY can perform credential dumping.[10]

G0065 Leviathan

Leviathan has used publicly available tools to dump password hashes, including HOMEFRY.[11]

S0052 OnionDuke

OnionDuke steals credentials from its victims.[12]

S0048 PinchDuke

PinchDuke steals credentials from compromised hosts. PinchDuke's credential stealing functionality is believed to be based on the source code of the Pinch credential stealing malware (also known as LdPinch). Credentials targeted by PinchDuke include ones associated many sources such as WinInet Credential Cache, and Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP).[12]

G0033 Poseidon Group

Poseidon Group conducts credential dumping on victims, with a focus on obtaining credentials belonging to domain and database servers.[13]

S0379 Revenge RAT

Revenge RAT has a plugin for credential harvesting.[14]

G0054 Sowbug

Sowbug has used credential dumping tools.[15]

G0039 Suckfly

Suckfly used a signed credential-dumping tool to obtain victim account credentials.[16]

G0131 Tonto Team

Tonto Team has used a variety of credential dumping tools.[17]

S0094 Trojan.Karagany

Trojan.Karagany can dump passwords and save them into \ProgramData\Mail\MailAg\pwds.txt.[18]


ID Mitigation Description
M1015 Active Directory Configuration

Manage the access control list for "Replicating Directory Changes" and other permissions associated with domain controller replication. [19] [20] Consider adding users to the "Protected Users" Active Directory security group. This can help limit the caching of users' plaintext credentials.[21]

M1040 Behavior Prevention on Endpoint

On Windows 10, enable Attack Surface Reduction (ASR) rules to secure LSASS and prevent credential stealing. [22]

M1043 Credential Access Protection

With Windows 10, Microsoft implemented new protections called Credential Guard to protect the LSA secrets that can be used to obtain credentials through forms of credential dumping. It is not configured by default and has hardware and firmware system requirements. [23] It also does not protect against all forms of credential dumping. [24]

M1041 Encrypt Sensitive Information

Ensure Domain Controller backups are properly secured.

M1028 Operating System Configuration

Consider disabling or restricting NTLM.[25] Consider disabling WDigest authentication.[26]

M1027 Password Policies

Ensure that local administrator accounts have complex, unique passwords across all systems on the network.

M1026 Privileged Account Management

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.[27]

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.

M1025 Privileged Process Integrity

On Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2, enable Protected Process Light for LSA.[28]

M1017 User Training

Limit credential overlap across accounts and systems by training users and administrators not to use the same password for multiple accounts.


ID Data Source Data Component Detects
DS0026 Active Directory Active Directory Object Access

Monitor domain controller logs for replication requests and other unscheduled activity possibly associated with DCSync. [29] [30] [31] Note: Domain controllers may not log replication requests originating from the default domain controller account. [32]. Monitor for replication requests [33] from IPs not associated with known domain controllers. [19]

Analytic 1 - Suspicious AD

source="*WinEventLog:Security" EventCode="4662" AND AccessMask= "0x100" AND (guid= "1131f6ad-9c07-11d1-f79f-00c04fc2dcd2" OR guid= "1131f6aa-9c07-11d1-f79f-00c04fc2dcd2" OR guid= "9923a32a-3607-11d2-b9be-0000f87a36b2" OR guid= "89e95b76-444d-4c62-991a-0facbeda640c")

DS0017 Command Command Execution

Monitor executed commands and arguments that may attempt to dump credentials to obtain account login and credential material, normally in the form of a hash or a clear text password, from the operating system and software. Look for command-lines that invoke AuditD or the Security Accounts Manager (SAM). Remote access tools may contain built-in features or incorporate existing tools like Mimikatz. PowerShell scripts also exist that contain credential dumping functionality, such as PowerSploit's Invoke-Mimikatz module, [34] which may require additional logging features to be configured in the operating system to collect necessary information for analysis.

DS0022 File File Access

Monitor for hash dumpers opening the Security Accounts Manager (SAM) on the local file system (%SystemRoot%/system32/config/SAM). Some hash dumpers will open the local file system as a device and parse to the SAM table to avoid file access defenses. Others will make an in-memory copy of the SAM table before reading hashes. Detection of compromised ( LinkById: T1078) in-use by adversaries may help as well.

File Creation

Monitor for the unexpected creation of memory dump files (e.g., lsass{*}.dmp) for processes that may contain credentials, such as LSASS.

DS0029 Network Traffic Network Traffic Content

Monitor and analyze traffic patterns and packet inspection associated to protocol(s) that do not follow the expected protocol standards and traffic flows (e.g extraneous packets that do not belong to established flows, gratuitous or anomalous traffic patterns, anomalous syntax, or structure). Consider correlation with process monitoring and command line to detect anomalous processes execution and command line arguments associated to traffic patterns (e.g. monitor anomalies in use of files that do not normally initiate connections for respective protocol(s)).

Network Traffic Flow

Monitor network data for uncommon data flows. Processes utilizing the network that do not normally have network communication or have never been seen before are suspicious.

DS0009 Process OS API Execution

Monitor for API calls that may attempt to dump credentials to obtain account login and credential material, normally in the form of a hash or a clear text password, from the operating system and software.

Process Access

Monitor for unexpected processes interacting with lsass.exe.[35] Common credential dumpers such as Mimikatz access the LSA Subsystem Service (LSASS) process by opening the process, locating the LSA secrets key, and decrypting the sections in memory where credential details are stored. Credential dumpers may also use methods for reflective Process Injection to reduce potential indicators of malicious activity.


To obtain the passwords and hashes stored in memory, processes must open a maps file in the /proc filesystem for the process being analyzed. This file is stored under the path /proc/<pid>/maps, where the <pid> directory is the unique pid of the program being interrogated for such authentication data. The AuditD monitoring tool, which ships stock in many Linux distributions, can be used to watch for hostile processes opening this file in the proc file system, alerting on the pid, process name, and arguments of such programs.

Process Creation

Monitor for newly executed processes that may be indicative of credential dumping. On Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2, monitor Windows Logs for LSASS.exe creation to verify that LSASS started as a protected process.

DS0024 Windows Registry Windows Registry Key Access

Monitor for the SAM registry key being accessed that may attempt to dump credentials to obtain account login and credential material, normally in the form of a hash or a clear text password, from the operating system and software.


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