Query Registry

Adversaries may interact with the Windows Registry to gather information about the system, configuration, and installed software.

The Registry contains a significant amount of information about the operating system, configuration, software, and security.[1] Information can easily be queried using the Reg utility, though other means to access the Registry exist. Some of the information may help adversaries to further their operation within a network. Adversaries may use the information from Query Registry during automated discovery to shape follow-on behaviors, including whether or not the adversary fully infects the target and/or attempts specific actions.

ID: T1012
Sub-techniques:  No sub-techniques
Tactic: Discovery
Platforms: Windows
Version: 1.3
Created: 31 May 2017
Last Modified: 03 April 2023

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description

ADVSTORESHELL can enumerate registry keys.[2][3]

G0050 APT32

APT32's backdoor can query the Windows Registry to gather system information. [4]

G0087 APT39

APT39 has used various strains of malware to query the Registry.[5]

S0438 Attor

Attor has opened the registry and performed query searches.[6]

S0344 Azorult

Azorult can check for installed software on the system under the Registry key Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall.[7]

S0414 BabyShark

BabyShark has executed the reg query command for HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Terminal Server Client\Default.[8]


BACKSPACE is capable of enumerating and making modifications to an infected system's Registry.[9]

S0239 Bankshot

Bankshot searches for certain Registry keys to be configured before executing the payload.[10]

S0534 Bazar

Bazar can query Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall for installed applications.[11][12]

S0574 BendyBear

BendyBear can query the host's Registry key at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Console\QuickEdit to retrieve data.[13]

S0268 Bisonal

Bisonal has used the RegQueryValueExA function to retrieve proxy information in the Registry.[14]

S0570 BitPaymer

BitPaymer can use the RegEnumKeyW to iterate through Registry keys.[15]

S0252 Brave Prince

Brave Prince gathers information about the Registry.[16]

S1039 Bumblebee

Bumblebee can check the Registry for specific keys.[17]

S0030 Carbanak

Carbanak checks the Registry key HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings for proxy configurations information.[18]

S0484 Carberp

Carberp has searched the Image File Execution Options registry key for "Debugger" within every subkey.[19]

S0335 Carbon

Carbon enumerates values in the Registry.[20]

S0348 Cardinal RAT

Cardinal RAT contains watchdog functionality that periodically ensures HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows\Load is set to point to its executable.[21]

S0674 CharmPower

CharmPower has the ability to enumerate Uninstall registry values.[22]

G0114 Chimera

Chimera has queried Registry keys using reg query \\HKU\\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Terminal Server Client\Servers and reg query \\HKU\\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings.[23]


CHOPSTICK provides access to the Windows Registry, which can be used to gather information.[24]

S0660 Clambling

Clambling has the ability to enumerate Registry keys, including KEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Bitcoin\Bitcoin-Qt\strDataDir to search for a bitcoin wallet.[25][26]

S0154 Cobalt Strike

Cobalt Strike can query HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\\Excel\Security\AccessVBOM\ to determine if the security setting for restricting default programmatic access is enabled.[27][28]

S0126 ComRAT

ComRAT can check the default browser by querying HKCR\http\shell\open\command.[29]

S0115 Crimson

Crimson can check the Registry for the presence of HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\last_edate to determine how long it has been installed on a host.[30]

S0673 DarkWatchman

DarkWatchman can query the Registry to determine if it has already been installed on the system.[31]

S0354 Denis

Denis queries the Registry for keys and values.[32]

S0021 Derusbi

Derusbi is capable of enumerating Registry keys and values.[33]

S0186 DownPaper

DownPaper searches and reads the value of the Windows Update Registry Run key.[34]

G0035 Dragonfly

Dragonfly has queried the Registry to identify victim information.[35]

S0567 Dtrack

Dtrack can collect the RegisteredOwner, RegisteredOrganization, and InstallDate registry values.[36]

S0091 Epic

Epic uses the rem reg query command to obtain values from Registry keys.[37]

S0512 FatDuke

FatDuke can get user agent strings for the default browser from HKCU\Software\Classes\http\shell\open\command.[38]


FELIXROOT queries the Registry for specific keys for potential privilege escalation and proxy information. FELIXROOT has also used WMI to query the Windows Registry.[39][40]

S0182 FinFisher

FinFisher queries Registry values as part of its anti-sandbox checks.[41][42]

G0117 Fox Kitten

Fox Kitten has accessed Registry hives ntuser.dat and UserClass.dat.[43]

S1044 FunnyDream

FunnyDream can check Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings to extract the ProxyServer string.[44]

S0666 Gelsemium

Gelsemium can open random files and Registry keys to obscure malware behavior from sandbox analysis.[45]

S0032 gh0st RAT

gh0st RAT has checked for the existence of a Service key to determine if it has already been installed on the system.[46]

S0249 Gold Dragon

Gold Dragon enumerates registry keys with the command regkeyenum and obtains information for the Registry key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run.[16]


A variant of HOPLIGHT hooks lsass.exe, and lsass.exe then checks the Registry for the data value 'rdpproto' under the key SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Lsa Name.[47]

S0203 Hydraq

Hydraq creates a backdoor through which remote attackers can retrieve system information, such as CPU speed, from Registry keys.[48][49]

S0604 Industroyer

Industroyer has a data wiper component that enumerates keys in the Registry HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services.[50]

S0260 InvisiMole

InvisiMole can enumerate Registry values, keys, and data.[51]

S0201 JPIN

JPIN can enumerate Registry keys.[52]

G0094 Kimsuky

Kimsuky has obtained specific Registry keys and values on a compromised host.[53]

G0032 Lazarus Group

Lazarus Group malware IndiaIndia checks Registry keys within HKCU and HKLM to determine if certain applications are present, including SecureCRT, Terminal Services, RealVNC, TightVNC, UltraVNC, Radmin, mRemote, TeamViewer, FileZilla, pcAnyware, and Remote Desktop. Another Lazarus Group malware sample checks for the presence of the following Registry key:HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Bitcoin\Bitcoin-Qt.[54][55][56]

S0513 LiteDuke

LiteDuke can query the Registry to check for the presence of HKCU\Software\KasperskyLab.[38]

S0680 LitePower

LitePower can query the Registry for keys added to execute COM hijacking.[57]

S0532 Lucifer

Lucifer can check for existing stratum cryptomining information in HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\spreadCpuXmr – %stratum info%.[58]

S1060 Mafalda

Mafalda can enumerate Registry keys with all subkeys and values.[59]

S1015 Milan

Milan can query HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Cryptography MachineGuid to retrieve the machine GUID.[60]

S1047 Mori

Mori can read data from the Registry including from HKLM\Software\NFC\IPA andHKLM\Software\NFC\.[61]

S0385 njRAT

njRAT can read specific registry values.[62]

G0049 OilRig

OilRig has used reg query "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Terminal Server Client\Default" on a victim to query the Registry.[63]

C0014 Operation Wocao

During Operation Wocao, the threat actors executed /c cd /d c:\windows\temp\ & reg query HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\<username>\PuTTY\Sessions\ to detect recent PuTTY sessions, likely to further lateral movement.[64]

S0165 OSInfo

OSInfo queries the registry to look for information about Terminal Services.[65]

S1050 PcShare

PcShare can search the registry files of a compromised host.[44]

S0517 Pillowmint

Pillowmint has used shellcode which reads code stored in the registry keys \REGISTRY\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\DRM using the native Windows API as well as read HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Tcpip\Parameters\Interfaces as part of its C2.[66]

S0013 PlugX

PlugX can enumerate and query for information contained within the Windows Registry.[67][68]


POWERSOURCE queries Registry keys in preparation for setting Run keys to achieve persistence.[69]

S0194 PowerSploit

PowerSploit contains a collection of Privesc-PowerUp modules that can query Registry keys for potential opportunities.[70][71]


POWRUNER may query the Registry by running reg query on a victim.[72]

S0238 Proxysvc

Proxysvc gathers product names from the Registry key: HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion ProductName and the processor description from the Registry key HKLM\HARDWARE\DESCRIPTION\System\CentralProcessor\0 ProcessorNameString.[73]


QUADAGENT checks if a value exists within a Registry key in the HKCU hive whose name is the same as the scheduled task it has created.[74]


QUIETCANARY has the ability to retrieve information from the Registry.[75]


RATANKBA uses the command reg query "HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\InternetSettings".[76]

S0172 Reaver

Reaver queries the Registry to determine the correct Startup path to use for persistence.[77]

S0075 Reg

Reg may be used to gather details from the Windows Registry of a local or remote system at the command-line interface.[78]

S0496 REvil

REvil can query the Registry to get random file extensions to append to encrypted files.[79]

S0448 Rising Sun

Rising Sun has identified the OS product name from a compromised host by searching the registry for SOFTWARE\MICROSOFT\Windows NT\ CurrentVersion | ProductName.[80]


ROKRAT can access the HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\mssmbios\Data\SMBiosData Registry key to obtain the System manufacturer value to identify the machine type.[81]

S1018 Saint Bot

Saint Bot has used check_registry_keys as part of its environmental checks.[82]

S0140 Shamoon

Shamoon queries several Registry keys to identify hard disk partitions to overwrite.[83]

S1019 Shark

Shark can query HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Cryptography MachineGuid to retrieve the machine GUID.[60]

S0589 Sibot

Sibot has queried the registry for proxy server information.[84]


SILENTTRINITY can use the GetRegValue function to check Registry keys within HKCU\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Installer\AlwaysInstallElevated and HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Installer\AlwaysInstallElevated. It also contains additional modules that can check software AutoRun values and use the Win32 namespace to get values from HKCU, HKLM, HKCR, and HKCC hives.[85]

S0627 SodaMaster

SodaMaster has the ability to query the Registry to detect a key specific to VMware.[86]

G0038 Stealth Falcon

Stealth Falcon malware attempts to determine the installed version of .NET by querying the Registry.[87]

S0380 StoneDrill

StoneDrill has looked in the registry to find the default browser path.[88]

S0603 Stuxnet

Stuxnet searches the Registry for indicators of security programs.[89]


SUNBURST collected the registry value HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Cryptography\MachineGuid from compromised hosts.[90]

S1064 SVCReady

SVCReady can search for the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\HARDWARE\DESCRIPTION\System Registry key to gather system information.[91]

S0242 SynAck

SynAck enumerates Registry keys associated with event logs.[92]

S0011 Taidoor

Taidoor can query the Registry on compromised hosts using RegQueryValueExA.[93]


TEARDROP checked that HKU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\CTF existed before decoding its embedded payload.[90][94]

G0027 Threat Group-3390

A Threat Group-3390 tool can read and decrypt stored Registry values.[95]

S0668 TinyTurla

TinyTurla can query the Registry for its configuration information.[96]

G0010 Turla

Turla surveys a system upon check-in to discover information in the Windows Registry with the reg query command.[37] Turla has also retrieved PowerShell payloads hidden in Registry keys as well as checking keys associated with null session named pipes .[97]

S0022 Uroburos

Uroburos can query the Registry, typically HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Classes\.wav\OpenWithProgIds, to find the key and path to decrypt and load its kernel driver and kernel driver loader.[98]

S0386 Ursnif

Ursnif has used Reg to query the Registry for installed programs.[99][100]

S0476 Valak

Valak can use the Registry for code updates and to collect credentials.[101]

S0180 Volgmer

Volgmer checks the system for certain Registry keys.[102]

G1017 Volt Typhoon

Volt Typhoon has queried the Registry on compromised systems, reg query hklm\software\, for information on installed software.[103]

S0612 WastedLocker

WastedLocker checks for specific registry keys related to the UCOMIEnumConnections and IActiveScriptParseProcedure32 interfaces.[104]

S0579 Waterbear

Waterbear can query the Registry key "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\MSDTC\MTxOCI" to see if the value OracleOcilib exists.[105]


WINDSHIELD can gather Registry values.[106]

S1065 Woody RAT

Woody RAT can search registry keys to identify antivirus programs on an compromised host.[107]

S0251 Zebrocy

Zebrocy executes the reg query command to obtain information in the Registry.[108]

S0330 Zeus Panda

Zeus Panda checks for the existence of a Registry key and if it contains certain values.[109]


ZIRCONIUM has used a tool to query the Registry for proxy settings.[110]

S0412 ZxShell

ZxShell can query the netsvc group value data located in the svchost group Registry key.[111]

S1013 ZxxZ

ZxxZ can search the registry of a compromised host.[112]


This type of attack technique cannot be easily mitigated with preventive controls since it is based on the abuse of system features.


ID Data Source Data Component Detects
DS0017 Command Command Execution

Monitor executed commands and arguments for actions that may interact with the Windows Registry to gather information about the system, configuration, and installed software.

Note: For PowerShell Module logging event id 4103, enable logging for module Microsoft.PowerShell.Management. The New-PSDrive PowerShell cmdlet creates temporary and persistent drives that are mapped to or associated with a location in a data store, such a registry key (PSProvider "Registry"). The the Get-ChildItem gets the items in one or more specified locations. By using both, you can enumerate COM objects in one or more specified locations.

Analytic 1 - Suspicious Commands

suspicious_commands = filter command_line where EventId == "4103" AND (CommandName LIKE '%New-PSDrive%' AND (CommandParameterValue LIKE ‘%Registry%’ OR CommandParameterValue LIKE '%HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT%' OR CommandParameterValue LIKE '%HKCR%'))

DS0009 Process OS API Execution

Monitor for API calls (such as RegOpenKeyExA) that may interact with the Windows Registry to gather information about the system, configuration, and installed software. OS API calls associated with querying the Windows Registry are RegOpenKeyEx , RegOpenUserClassesRoot, RegQueryValueExA, and RegQueryValueExW. Execution of these functions might trigger security log ids such as 4663 (Microsoft Security Auditing). Also monitor for RegOpenUserClassesRoot api to retrieve a handle to the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT key for a specified user. The returned key has a view of the registry that merges the contents of the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Classes key with the contents of the Software\Classes keys in the user's registry hive.

Note: Most EDR tools do not support direct monitoring of API calls due to the sheer volume of calls produced by an endpoint but may have alerts or events that are based on abstractions of OS API calls.

Analytic 1 - Suspicious API Calls

suspicious_apis = filter api_calls where ApiName LIKE '%RegOpenKeyEx%' OR ApiName LIKE '%RegOpenUserClassesRoot%'

Process Creation

Monitor for newly executed processes that may interact with the Windows Registry to gather information about the system, configuration, and installed software.

Note: The New-PSDrive PowerShell cmdlet creates temporary and persistent drives that are mapped to or associated with a location in a data store, such a registry key (PSProvider "Registry"). The Get-ChildItem gets the items in one or more specified locations. By using both, you can enumerate COM objects in one or more specified locations.

Note for Analytic 3: Replace FilePathToLolbasProcessXX.exe with lolBAS process names that are used by your organization. The number_standard_deviations parameter should be tuned accordingly. Identifying outliers by comparing distance from a data point to the average value against a certain number of standard deviations is recommended for data values that are symmetrical distributed. If your data is not distributed, try a different algorithm such as the Interquartile Range (IQR).

Analytic 1 - Suspicious Processes with Registry keys

suspicious_processes = filter processes where (EventId == "1" OR EventId == "4688") AND((ProcessCommandLine LIKE '%reg%' AND ProcessCommandLine LIKE '%query%') OR (ProcessCommandLine LIKE '%Registry%' AND (ProcessCommandLine LIKE '%HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT%' OR ProcessCommandLine '%HKCR%')))

Analytic 2 - reg.exe spawned from suspicious cmd.exe

reg_processes = filter processes where (EventId == "1" OR EventId == "4688") AND (ProcessFilePath LIKE '%reg.exe%' AND ProcessParentFilePath LIKE '%cmd.exe%')

cmd_processes = filter command_line where (event_id == "1" OR event_id == "4688") AND (ProcessFilePath LIKE '%cmd.exe%' AND ProcessParentFilePath NOT LIKE '%explorer.exe%')

suspicious_processes = SELECT r.ProcessGuid, r.ProcessFilePath, c.ProcessFilePath AS ProcessParentFilePathFROM reg_processes rINNER JOIN cmd_processes cON r.ProcessParentGuid = c.ProcessGuid

Analytic 3 - Rare LolBAS command lines

count_lolbas_processes = filter processes where (EventId == "1" OR EventId == "4688") AND ProcessFilePath IN ('FilePathToLolbasProcess01.exe','FilePathToLolbasProcess02.exe')GROUP BY ProcessFilePath

number_standard_deviations = 1.5

suspicious_processes = SELECT ProcessFilePath, ProcessCount, AVG(ProcessCount) Over() - STDEV(ProcessCount) Over() * number_standard_deviations as LowerBound FROM count_lolbas_processesWHERE ProcessCount < LowerBound

DS0024 Windows Registry Windows Registry Key Access

Monitor for unexpected process interactions with the Windows Registry (i.e. reads) that may be related to gathering information.

Note: For Security Auditing event ids 4656 and 4663, a System Access Control List (SACL) that controls the use of specific access rights such as Enumerate sub-keys and Query key value is required for event generation. Depending on the Registry key you are monitoring, the implementation of a new System Access Control List (SACL) might be required. Depending of Registry key used for the creation of a System Access Control List (SACL), the generation of event ids 4656 and 4663 might be noisy.

Analytic 1 - Suspicious Registry

suspicious_registry = filter registry where (event_id == "4663" OR event_id == "4656") AND ObjectType == "Key" AND RegistryKeyPath LIKE '%SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall%' AND (UserAccessList LIKE '%4435%' OR UserAccessList LIKE '%Enumerate sub-keys%' OR UserAccessList LIKE '%4432%' OR UserAccessList LIKE '%Query key value%') AND ProcessFilePath NOT IN ('FilePathToExpectedProcess01.exe','FilePathToExpectedProcess02.exe')


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