Remote System Discovery
Adversaries may attempt to get a listing of other systems by IP address, hostname, or other logical identifier on a network that may be used for Lateral Movement from the current system. Functionality could exist within remote access tools to enable this, but utilities available on the operating system could also be used such as Ping or
net view using Net. Adversaries may also use local host files (ex:
/etc/hosts) in order to discover the hostname to IP address mappings of remote systems.
Specific to macOS, the
bonjour protocol exists to discover additional Mac-based systems within the same broadcast domain.
Within IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) environments, remote systems include instances and virtual machines in various states, including the running or stopped state. Cloud providers have created methods to serve information about remote systems, such as APIs and CLIs. For example, AWS provides a
DescribeInstances API within the Amazon EC2 API and a
describe-instances command within the AWS CLI that can return information about all instances within an account. Similarly, GCP's Cloud SDK CLI provides the
gcloud compute instances list command to list all Google Compute Engine instances in a project, and Azure's CLI
az vm list lists details of virtual machines.
Comnie runs the
FIN6 used publicly available tools (including Microsoft's built-in SQL querying tool, osql.exe) to map the internal network and conduct reconnaissance against Active Directory, Structured Query Language (SQL) servers, and NetBIOS.
menuPass uses scripts to enumerate IP ranges on the victim network. menuPass has also issued the command
RATANKBA runs the
Turla surveys a system upon check-in to discover remote systems on a local network using the
Wizard Spider has used networkdll for network discovery and psfin specifically for financial and point of sale indicators. Wizard Spider has also used
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.
Normal, benign system and network events related to legitimate remote system discovery may be uncommon, depending on the environment and how they are used. Monitor processes and command-line arguments for actions that could be taken to gather system and network information. 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.
In cloud environments, the usage of particular commands or APIs to request information about remote systems may be common. Where possible, anomalous usage of these commands and APIs or the usage of these commands and APIs in conjunction with additional unexpected commands may be a sign of malicious use. Logging methods provided by cloud providers that capture history of CLI commands executed or API usage may be utilized for detection.
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