Masquerading: Match Legitimate Name or Location
Adversaries may match or approximate the name or location of legitimate files when naming/placing their files. This is done for the sake of evading defenses and observation. This may be done by placing an executable in a commonly trusted directory (ex: under System32) or giving it the name of a legitimate, trusted program (ex: svchost.exe). Alternatively, the filename given may be a close approximation of legitimate programs or something innocuous.
Adversaries may also use the same icon of the file they are trying to mimic.
OwaAuth uses the filename owaauth.dll, which is a legitimate file that normally resides in
Patchwork installed its payload in the startup programs folder as "Baidu Software Update." The group also adds its second stage payload to the startup programs as "Net Monitor." They have also dropped QuasarRAT binaries as files named microsoft_network.exe and crome.exe.
The Remsec loader implements itself with the name Security Support Provider, a legitimate Windows function. Various Remsec .exe files mimic legitimate file names used by Microsoft, Symantec, Kaspersky, Hewlett-Packard, and VMWare. Remsec also disguised malicious modules using similar filenames as custom network encryption software on victims.
Ryuk has constructed legitimate appearing installation folder paths by calling
To establish persistence, SslMM identifies the Start Menu Startup directory and drops a link to its own executable disguised as an "Office Start," "Yahoo Talk," "MSN Gaming Z0ne," or "MSN Talk" shortcut.
|Winnti for Windows|
Require signed binaries.
Use tools that restrict program execution via application control by attributes other than file name for common operating system utilities that are needed.
|Restrict File and Directory Permissions||
Use file system access controls to protect folders such as C:\Windows\System32.
Collect file hashes; file names that do not match their expected hash are suspect. Perform file monitoring; files with known names but in unusual locations are suspect. Likewise, files that are modified outside of an update or patch are suspect.
If file names are mismatched between the file name on disk and that of the binary's PE metadata, this is a likely indicator that a binary was renamed after it was compiled. Collecting and comparing disk and resource filenames for binaries by looking to see if the InternalName, OriginalFilename, and/or ProductName match what is expected could provide useful leads, but may not always be indicative of malicious activity.  Do not focus on the possible names a file could have, but instead on the command-line arguments that are known to be used and are distinct because it will have a better rate of detection.
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