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. 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.
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:
Proxysvc gathers product names from the Registry key:
RATANKBA uses the command
Turla surveys a system upon check-in to discover information in the Windows Registry with the
This type of attack technique cannot be easily mitigated with preventive controls since it is based on the abuse of system features.
System and network discovery techniques normally occur throughout an operation as an adversary learns the environment. Data and events should not be viewed in isolation, but as part of a chain of behavior that could lead to other activities, such as Lateral Movement, based on the information obtained.
Interaction with the Windows Registry may come from the command line using utilities such as Reg or through running malware that may interact with the Registry through an API. Command-line invocation of utilities used to query the Registry may be detected through process and command-line monitoring. Remote access tools with built-in features may interact directly with the Windows API to gather information. Information may also be acquired through Windows system management tools such as Windows Management Instrumentation and PowerShell.
- Wikipedia. (n.d.). Windows Registry. Retrieved February 2, 2015.
- Microsoft. (2012, April 17). Reg. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
- PowerShellMafia. (2012, May 26). PowerSploit - A PowerShell Post-Exploitation Framework. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
- PowerSploit. (n.d.). PowerSploit. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
- Sherstobitoff, R., Saavedra-Morales, J. (2018, February 02). Gold Dragon Widens Olympics Malware Attacks, Gains Permanent Presence on Victims’ Systems. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
- Grunzweig, J. and Miller-Osborn, J. (2017, November 10). New Malware with Ties to SunOrcal Discovered. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
- US-CERT. (2017, November 01). Malware Analysis Report (MAR) - 10135536-D. Retrieved July 16, 2018.
- Symantec Security Response. (2010, January 18). The Trojan.Hydraq Incident. Retrieved February 20, 2018.
- Lelli, A. (2010, January 11). Trojan.Hydraq. Retrieved February 20, 2018.
- Hromcová, Z. (2018, June 07). InvisiMole: Surprisingly equipped spyware, undercover since 2013. Retrieved July 10, 2018.
- Patil, S. (2018, June 26). Microsoft Office Vulnerabilities Used to Distribute FELIXROOT Backdoor in Recent Campaign. Retrieved July 31, 2018.
- Cherepanov, A. (2018, October). GREYENERGY A successor to BlackEnergy. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
- Sardiwal, M, et al. (2017, December 7). New Targeted Attack in the Middle East by APT34, a Suspected Iranian Threat Group, Using CVE-2017-11882 Exploit. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
- Carr, N.. (2017, May 14). Cyber Espionage is Alive and Well: APT32 and the Threat to Global Corporations. Retrieved June 18, 2017.
- Mercer, W., Rascagneres, P. (2018, January 16). Korea In The Crosshairs. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
- ESET. (2016, October). En Route with Sednit - Part 2: Observing the Comings and Goings. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
- Bitdefender. (2015, December). APT28 Under the Scope. Retrieved February 23, 2017.
- FireEye Labs. (2015, April). APT30 AND THE MECHANICS OF A LONG-RUNNING CYBER ESPIONAGE OPERATION. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
- Ivanov, A. et al.. (2018, May 7). SynAck targeted ransomware uses the Doppelgänging technique. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
- Kaspersky Lab's Global Research and Analysis Team. (2014, August 7). The Epic Turla Operation: Solving some of the mysteries of Snake/Uroburos. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
- ClearSky Cyber Security. (2017, December). Charming Kitten. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
- Trend Micro. (2017, February 27). RATANKBA: Delving into Large-scale Watering Holes against Enterprises. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
- FireEye. (2015). APT28: A WINDOW INTO RUSSIA’S CYBER ESPIONAGE OPERATIONS?. Retrieved August 19, 2015.
- Sherstobitoff, R., Malhotra, A. (2018, April 24). Analyzing Operation GhostSecret: Attack Seeks to Steal Data Worldwide. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- Yan, T., et al. (2018, November 21). New Wine in Old Bottle: New Azorult Variant Found in FindMyName Campaign using Fallout Exploit Kit. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
- Grunzweig, J.. (2017, April 20). Cardinal RAT Active for Over Two Years. Retrieved December 8, 2018.
- Falcone, R.. (2016, November 30). Shamoon 2: Return of the Disttrack Wiper. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
- FireEye. (2018, March 16). Suspected Chinese Cyber Espionage Group (TEMP.Periscope) Targeting U.S. Engineering and Maritime Industries. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
- Vasilenko, R. (2013, December 17). An Analysis of PlugX Malware. Retrieved November 24, 2015.
- Computer Incident Response Center Luxembourg. (2013, March 29). Analysis of a PlugX variant. Retrieved November 5, 2018.
- Brumaghin, E. and Grady, C.. (2017, March 2). Covert Channels and Poor Decisions: The Tale of DNSMessenger. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
- Bennett, J., Vengerik, B. (2017, June 12). Behind the CARBANAK Backdoor. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
- FinFisher. (n.d.). Retrieved December 20, 2017.
- Allievi, A.,Flori, E. (2018, March 01). FinFisher exposed: A researcher’s tale of defeating traps, tricks, and complex virtual machines. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
- Windows Defender Advanced Threat Hunting Team. (2016, April 29). PLATINUM: Targeted attacks in South and Southeast Asia. Retrieved February 15, 2018.
- Lee, B., Falcone, R. (2018, July 25). OilRig Targets Technology Service Provider and Government Agency with QUADAGENT. Retrieved August 9, 2018.
- Symantec Security Response. (2016, September 6). Buckeye cyberespionage group shifts gaze from US to Hong Kong. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
- US-CERT. (2017, December 13). Malware Analysis Report (MAR) - 10135536-B. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
- ESET. (2017, March 30). Carbon Paper: Peering into Turla’s second stage backdoor. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
- Ebach, L. (2017, June 22). Analysis Results of Zeus.Variant.Panda. Retrieved November 5, 2018.
- Dahan, A. (2017). Operation Cobalt Kitty. Retrieved December 27, 2018.
- US-CERT. (2019, April 10). MAR-10135536-8 – North Korean Trojan: HOPLIGHT. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
- Kaspersky Lab. (2017, March 7). From Shamoon to StoneDrill: Wipers attacking Saudi organizations and beyond. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
- Caragay, R. (2015, March 26). URSNIF: The Multifaceted Malware. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
- Sioting, S. (2013, June 15). BKDR_URSNIF.SM. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
- ESET Research. (2019, May 22). A journey to Zebrocy land. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
- Allievi, A., et al. (2014, October 28). Threat Spotlight: Group 72, Opening the ZxShell. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
- Unit 42. (2019, February 22). New BabyShark Malware Targets U.S. National Security Think Tanks. Retrieved October 7, 2019.
- Hromcova, Z. (2019, October). AT COMMANDS, TOR-BASED COMMUNICATIONS: MEET ATTOR, A FANTASY CREATURE AND ALSO A SPY PLATFORM. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
- Faou, M. (2020, May). From Agent.btz to ComRAT v4: A ten-year journey. Retrieved June 15, 2020.
- Faou, M. and Dumont R.. (2019, May 29). A dive into Turla PowerShell usage. Retrieved June 14, 2019.
- US-CERT. (2018, March 16). Alert (TA18-074A): Russian Government Cyber Activity Targeting Energy and Other Critical Infrastructure Sectors. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
- Falcone, R. and Lee, B.. (2016, May 26). The OilRig Campaign: Attacks on Saudi Arabian Organizations Deliver Helminth Backdoor. Retrieved May 3, 2017.
- Novetta Threat Research Group. (2016, February 24). Operation Blockbuster: Unraveling the Long Thread of the Sony Attack. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
- Novetta Threat Research Group. (2016, February 24). Operation Blockbuster: Loaders, Installers and Uninstallers Report. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
- Sherstobitoff, R. (2018, February 12). Lazarus Resurfaces, Targets Global Banks and Bitcoin Users. Retrieved February 19, 2018.
- Pantazopoulos, N., Henry T. (2018, May 18). Emissary Panda – A potential new malicious tool. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
- Marczak, B. and Scott-Railton, J.. (2016, May 29). Keep Calm and (Don’t) Enable Macros: A New Threat Actor Targets UAE Dissidents. Retrieved June 8, 2016.
- Dumont, R. (2019, March 20). Fake or Fake: Keeping up with OceanLotus decoys. Retrieved April 1, 2019.