Windows Management Instrumentation

Adversaries may abuse Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) to execute malicious commands and payloads. WMI is an administration feature that provides a uniform environment to access Windows system components. The WMI service enables both local and remote access, though the latter is facilitated by Remote Services such as Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM) and Windows Remote Management (WinRM).[1] Remote WMI over DCOM operates using port 135, whereas WMI over WinRM operates over port 5985 when using HTTP and 5986 for HTTPS.[1][2]

An adversary can use WMI to interact with local and remote systems and use it as a means to execute various behaviors, such as gathering information for Discovery as well as remote Execution of files as part of Lateral Movement. [3] [2]

ID: T1047
Sub-techniques:  No sub-techniques
Tactic: Execution
Platforms: Windows
Supports Remote:  Yes
Contributors: @ionstorm; Olaf Hartong, Falcon Force
Version: 1.4
Created: 31 May 2017
Last Modified: 24 July 2023

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
C0025 2016 Ukraine Electric Power Attack

During the 2016 Ukraine Electric Power Attack, WMI in scripts were used for remote execution and system surveys. [4]

S1028 Action RAT

Action RAT can use WMI to gather AV products installed on an infected host.[5]

S0331 Agent Tesla

Agent Tesla has used wmi queries to gather information from the system.[6]

G0016 APT29

APT29 used WMI to steal credentials and execute backdoors at a future time.[7]

G0050 APT32

APT32 used WMI to deploy their tools on remote machines and to gather information about the Outlook process.[8]

G0096 APT41

APT41 used WMI in several ways, including for execution of commands via WMIEXEC as well as for persistence via PowerSploit.[9][10]

S0373 Astaroth

Astaroth uses WMIC to execute payloads. [11]

S0640 Avaddon

Avaddon uses wmic.exe to delete shadow copies.[12]


BADHATCH can utilize WMI to collect system information, create new processes, and run malicious PowerShell scripts on a compromised machine.[13][14]

S0534 Bazar

Bazar can execute a WMI query to gather information about the installed antivirus engine.[15][16]

S1070 Black Basta

Black Basta has used WMI to execute files over the network.[17]

S1068 BlackCat

BlackCat can use wmic.exe to delete shadow copies on compromised networks.[18]

S0089 BlackEnergy

A BlackEnergy 2 plug-in uses WMI to gather victim host details.[19]

G0108 Blue Mockingbird

Blue Mockingbird has used wmic.exe to set environment variables.[20]

S1063 Brute Ratel C4

Brute Ratel C4 can use WMI to move laterally.[21]

S1039 Bumblebee

Bumblebee can use WMI to gather system information and to spawn processes for code injection.[22][23][24]

C0015 C0015

During C0015, the threat actors used wmic and rundll32 to load Cobalt Strike onto a target host.[25]

C0018 C0018

During C0018, the threat actors used WMIC to modify administrative settings on both a local and a remote host, likely as part of the first stages for their lateral movement; they also used WMI Provider Host (wmiprvse.exe) to execute a variety of encoded PowerShell scripts using the DownloadString method.[26][27]

C0027 C0027

During C0027, Scattered Spider used Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) to move laterally via Impacket.[28]

S0674 CharmPower

CharmPower can use wmic to gather information from a system.[29]

G0114 Chimera

Chimera has used WMIC to execute remote commands.[30][31]

S0154 Cobalt Strike

Cobalt Strike can use WMI to deliver a payload to a remote host.[32][33][25]

S0488 CrackMapExec

CrackMapExec can execute remote commands using Windows Management Instrumentation.[34]

S1066 DarkTortilla

DarkTortilla can use WMI queries to obtain system information.[35]

S0673 DarkWatchman

DarkWatchman can use WMI to execute commands.[36]


DEATHRANSOM has the ability to use WMI to delete volume shadow copies.[37]

G0009 Deep Panda

The Deep Panda group is known to utilize WMI for lateral movement.[38]

S0062 DustySky

The DustySky dropper uses Windows Management Instrumentation to extract information about the operating system and whether an anti-virus is active.[39]

G1006 Earth Lusca

Earth Lusca used a VBA script to execute WMI.[40]


EKANS can use Windows Mangement Instrumentation (WMI) calls to execute operations.[41]

S0367 Emotet

Emotet has used WMI to execute powershell.exe.[42]

S0363 Empire

Empire can use WMI to deliver a payload to a remote host.[43]

S0396 EvilBunny

EvilBunny has used WMI to gather information about the system.[44]


EVILNUM has used the Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) tool to enumerate infected machines.[45]


FELIXROOT uses WMI to query the Windows Registry.[46]

G1016 FIN13

FIN13 has utilized WMI to execute commands and move laterally on compromised Windows machines.[47][48]

G0037 FIN6

FIN6 has used WMI to automate the remote execution of PowerShell scripts.[49]

G0046 FIN7

FIN7 has used WMI to install malware on targeted systems.[50]

G0061 FIN8

FIN8's malicious spearphishing payloads use WMI to launch malware and spawn cmd.exe execution. FIN8 has also used WMIC and the Impacket suite for lateral movement, as well as during and post compromise cleanup activities.[51][52][53][54]


FIVEHANDS can use WMI to delete files on a target machine.[37][55]

S0381 FlawedAmmyy

FlawedAmmyy leverages WMI to enumerate anti-virus on the victim.[56]

C0001 Frankenstein

During Frankenstein, the threat actors used WMI queries to check if various security applications were running as well as to determine the operating system version.[57]

S1044 FunnyDream

FunnyDream can use WMI to open a Windows command shell on a remote machine.[58]

C0007 FunnyDream

During FunnyDream, the threat actors used wmiexec.vbs to run remote commands.[58]


GALLIUM used WMI for execution to assist in lateral movement as well as for installing tools across multiple assets.[59]

G0047 Gamaredon Group

Gamaredon Group has used WMI to execute scripts used for discovery.[60]

S0237 GravityRAT

GravityRAT collects various information via WMI requests, including CPU information in the Win32_Processor entry (Processor ID, Name, Manufacturer and the clock speed).[61]


HALFBAKED can use WMI queries to gather system information.[62]


HELLOKITTY can use WMI to delete volume shadow copies.[37]

S0698 HermeticWizard

HermeticWizard can use WMI to create a new process on a remote machine via C:\windows\system32\cmd.exe /c start C:\windows\system32\\regsvr32.exe /s /iC:\windows\<filename>.dll.[63]


HOPLIGHT has used WMI to recompile the Managed Object Format (MOF) files in the WMI repository.[64]

S0483 IcedID

IcedID has used WMI to execute binaries.[65]

S0357 Impacket

Impacket's wmiexec module can be used to execute commands through WMI.[66]

G0119 Indrik Spider

Indrik Spider has used WMIC to execute commands on remote computers.[67]

S0283 jRAT

jRAT uses WMIC to identify anti-virus products installed on the victim’s machine and to obtain firewall details.[68]

S0265 Kazuar

Kazuar obtains a list of running processes through WMI querying.[69]

S0250 Koadic

Koadic can use WMI to execute commands.[70]


KOMPROGO is capable of running WMI queries.[71]

G0032 Lazarus Group

Lazarus Group has used WMIC for discovery as well as to execute payloads for persistence and lateral movement.[72][73][74][75]

G0065 Leviathan

Leviathan has used WMI for execution.[76]

S0532 Lucifer

Lucifer can use WMI to log into remote machines for propagation.[77]

G0059 Magic Hound

Magic Hound has used a tool to run cmd /c wmic computersystem get domain for discovery.[78]

S0449 Maze

Maze has used WMI to attempt to delete the shadow volumes on a machine, and to connect a virtual machine to the network domain of the victim organization's network.[79][80]

G0045 menuPass

menuPass has used a modified version of pentesting script wmiexec.vbs, which logs into a remote machine using WMI.[81][82][83]

S0688 Meteor

Meteor can use wmic.exe as part of its effort to delete shadow copies.[84]

S0339 Micropsia

Micropsia searches for anti-virus software and firewall products installed on the victim’s machine using WMI.[85][86]

S0553 MoleNet

MoleNet can perform WMI commands on the system.[87]

S0256 Mosquito

Mosquito's installer uses WMI to search for antivirus display names.[88]

G0069 MuddyWater

MuddyWater has used malware that leveraged WMI for execution and querying host information.[89][90][91][92]

G0129 Mustang Panda

Mustang Panda has executed PowerShell scripts via WMI.[93][94]

G0019 Naikon

Naikon has used WMIC.exe for lateral movement.[95]

S0457 Netwalker

Netwalker can use WMI to delete Shadow Volumes.[96]

S0368 NotPetya

NotPetya can use wmic to help propagate itself across a network.[97][98]

S0340 Octopus

Octopus has used wmic.exe for local discovery information.[99]

G0049 OilRig

OilRig has used WMI for execution.[100]

S0365 Olympic Destroyer

Olympic Destroyer uses WMI to help propagate itself across a network.[101]

S0264 OopsIE

OopsIE uses WMI to perform discovery techniques.[102]

C0022 Operation Dream Job

During Operation Dream Job, Lazarus Group used WMIC to executed a remote XSL script.[103]

C0014 Operation Wocao

During Operation Wocao, threat actors has used WMI to execute commands.[104]

S0378 PoshC2

PoshC2 has a number of modules that use WMI to execute tasks.[105]

S0194 PowerSploit

PowerSploit's Invoke-WmiCommand CodeExecution module uses WMI to execute and retrieve the output from a PowerShell payload.[106][107]


POWERSTATS can use WMI queries to retrieve data from compromised hosts.[108][90]


POWRUNER may use WMI when collecting information about a victim.[109]

S0654 ProLock

ProLock can use WMIC to execute scripts on targeted hosts.[110]

S1032 PyDCrypt

PyDCrypt has attempted to execute with WMIC.[111]

S0650 QakBot

QakBot can execute WMI queries to gather information.[112]


RATANKBA uses WMI to perform process monitoring.[113][114]

S0375 Remexi

Remexi executes received commands with wmic.exe (for WMI commands). [115]

S0496 REvil

REvil can use WMI to monitor for and kill specific processes listed in its configuration file.[116][117]

S0270 RogueRobin

RogueRobin uses various WMI queries to check if the sample is running in a sandbox.[118][119]

G0034 Sandworm Team

Sandworm Team has used Impacket’s WMIexec module for remote code execution and VBScript to run WMI queries.[4][120]

S1085 Sardonic

Sardonic can use WMI to execute PowerShell commands on a compromised machine.[121]

S0546 SharpStage

SharpStage can use WMI for execution.[87][122]

S0589 Sibot

Sibot has used WMI to discover network connections and configurations. Sibot has also used the Win32_Process class to execute a malicious DLL.[123]


SILENTTRINITY can use WMI for lateral movement.[124]

S1086 Snip3

Snip3 can query the WMI class Win32_ComputerSystem to gather information.[125]

C0024 SolarWinds Compromise

During the SolarWinds Compromise, APT29 used WMI for the remote execution of files for lateral movement.[126][127]

G0038 Stealth Falcon

Stealth Falcon malware gathers system information via Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI).[128]

S0380 StoneDrill

StoneDrill has used the WMI command-line (WMIC) utility to run tasks.[129]

S0603 Stuxnet

Stuxnet used WMI with an explorer.exe token to execute on a remote share.[130]


SUNBURST used the WMI query Select * From Win32_SystemDriver to retrieve a driver listing.[131]

S1064 SVCReady

SVCReady can use WMI queries to detect the presence of a virtual machine environment.[132]

S0663 SysUpdate

SysUpdate can use WMI for execution on a compromised host.[133]

G1018 TA2541

TA2541 has used WMI to query targeted systems for security products.[134]

G0027 Threat Group-3390

A Threat Group-3390 tool can use WMI to execute a binary.[135]

S0386 Ursnif

Ursnif droppers have used WMI classes to execute PowerShell commands.[136]

S0476 Valak

Valak can use wmic process call create in a scheduled task to launch plugins and for execution.[137]

G1017 Volt Typhoon

Volt Typhoon has leveraged WMIC including for execution and remote system discovery.[138][139][140]

S0366 WannaCry

WannaCry utilizes wmic to delete shadow copies.[141][142][143]

G0112 Windshift

Windshift has used WMI to collect information about target machines.[144]

G0102 Wizard Spider

Wizard Spider has used WMI and LDAP queries for network discovery and to move laterally. Wizard Spider has also used batch scripts to leverage WMIC to deploy ransomware.[145][146][147][148][149]

S0251 Zebrocy

One variant of Zebrocy uses WMI queries to gather information.[150]


ID Mitigation Description
M1040 Behavior Prevention on Endpoint

On Windows 10, enable Attack Surface Reduction (ASR) rules to block processes created by WMI commands from running. Note: many legitimate tools and applications utilize WMI for command execution. [151]

M1038 Execution Prevention

Use application control configured to block execution of wmic.exe if it is not required for a given system or network to prevent potential misuse by adversaries. For example, in Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 and above, Windows Defender Application Control (WDAC) policy rules may be applied to block the wmic.exe application and to prevent abuse.[152]

M1026 Privileged Account Management

Prevent credential overlap across systems of administrator and privileged accounts. [2]

M1018 User Account Management

By default, only administrators are allowed to connect remotely using WMI. Restrict other users who are allowed to connect, or disallow all users to connect remotely to WMI.


ID Data Source Data Component Detects
DS0017 Command Command Execution

Monitor executed commands and arguments for actions that are used to perform remote behavior

DS0029 Network Traffic Network Connection Creation

Monitor network traffic for WMI connections for potential use to remotely edit configuration, start services, or query files. When remote WMI requests are over RPC it connects to a DCOM interface within the RPC group netsvcs. To detect this activity, a sensor is needed at the network level that can decode RPC traffic or on the host where the communication can be detected more natively, such as Event Tracing for Windows. Using wireshark/tshark decoders, the WMI interfaces can be extracted so that WMI activity over RPC can be detected. Although the description details how to detect remote WMI precisely, a decent estimate has been to look for the string RPCSS within the initial RPC connection on 135/tcp. It returns a superset of this activity, and will trigger on all DCOM-related services running within RPC, which is likely to also be activity that should be detected between hosts. More about RPCSS at : rpcss_dcom_interfaces.html

After the WMI connection has been initialized, a process can be remotely launched using the command: wmic /node:"" process call create "", which is detected in the third Detection Pseudocode.

This leaves artifacts at both a network (RPC) and process (command line) level. When wmic.exe (or the schtasks API) is used to remotely create processes, Windows uses RPC (135/tcp) to communicate with the the remote machine.

After RPC authenticates, the RPC endpoint mapper opens a high port connection, through which the schtasks Remote Procedure Call is actually implemented. With the right packet decoders, or by looking for certain byte streams in raw data, these functions can be identified.

When the command line is executed, it has the parent process of C:\windows\system32\wbem\WmiPrvSE.exe. This analytic looks for these two events happening in sequence, so that the network connection and target process are output.

Certain strings can be identifiers of the WMI by looking up the interface UUID for IRemUnknown2 in different formats- UUID 00000143-0000-0000-c000-000000000046 (decoded)- Hex 43 01 00 00 00 00 00 00 c0 00 00 00 00 00 00 46 (raw)- ASCII CF (printable text only)

This identifier is present three times during the RPC request phase. Any sensor that has access to the byte code as raw, decoded, or ASCII could implement this analytic. The transfer syntax is- UUID 8a885d04-1ceb-11c9-9fe8-08002b104860 (decoded)- Hex 04 5d 88 8a eb 1c c9 11 9f e8 08 00 2b 10 48 60 (raw)- ASCII `]+H`` (printable text only)

Thus, a great ASCII based signature is- CF]+HCFCFhost"

Note: To detect WMI over RPC (using DCOM), a sensor needs to exist that has the insight into individual connections and can actually decode and make sense of RPC traffic. Specifically, WMI can be detected by looking at RPC traffic where the target interface matches that of WMI, which is IRemUnknown2. Look for instances of the WMI querying in network traffic, and find the cases where a process is launched immediately after a connection is seen. This essentially merges the request to start a remote process via WMI with the process execution. If other processes are spawned from wmiprvse.exe in this time frame, it is possible for race conditions to occur, and the wrong process may be merged. If this is the case, it may be useful to look deeper into the network traffic to see if the desired command can be extracted.

Analytic 1 - Remote WMI over RPC

wmi_flow = filter network_flow where (dest_port == 135 and proto_info.rpc_interface == "IRemUnknown2")

Analytic 2 : Remotely Launched Executables via WMI

wmi_children = filter processes where (parent_process == "wmiprvse.exe")wmi_flow = filter network flow where (src_port ≥ 49152 and dest_port ≥ 49152 and proto_info.rpc_interface == "IRemUnknown2")remote_wmi_process = join wmi_children, wmi_flow where (wmi_flow.time < wmi_children.time < wmi_flow.time + 1 sec and wmi_flow.hostname == wmi_children.hostname

DS0009 Process Process Creation

Monitor for newly constructed processes and/or command-lines of "wmic". If the command line utility wmic.exe is used on the source host, then it can additionally be detected on an analytic. The command line on the source host is constructed into something like wmic.exe /node:"\<hostname>" process call create "\<command line>". It is possible to also connect via IP address, in which case the string "\<hostname>" would instead look like IP Address. Processes can be created remotely via WMI in a few other ways, such as more direct API access or the built-in utility PowerShell.

Note: Event IDs are for Sysmon (Event ID 10 - process access) and Windows Security Log (Event ID 4688 - a new process has been created).

Besides executing arbitrary processes, wmic.exe can also be used to executed data stored in NTFS alternate data streams NTFS File Attributes.Looks for instances of wmic.exe as well as the substrings in the command line:- process call create- /node:

Analytic 1 : Create Remote Process via WMIC

processes = filter processes where ((event_id="10" OR event_id="4688") AND exe == "wmic.exe" AND command_line == " process call create ")

DS0005 WMI WMI Creation

Monitor for newly constructed WMI objects that will execute malicious commands and payloads.


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