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Process Discovery

Adversaries may attempt to get information about running processes on a system. Information obtained could be used to gain an understanding of common software running on systems within the network.


An example command that would obtain details on processes is "tasklist" using the Tasklist utility.

Mac and Linux

In Mac and Linux, this is accomplished with the ps command.

ID: T1057
Tactic: Discovery
Platform: Linux, macOS, Windows
System Requirements: Administrator, SYSTEM may provide better process ownership details
Permissions Required: User, Administrator, SYSTEM
Data Sources: Process monitoring, Process command-line parameters
Version: 1.0

Procedure Examples

Name Description
4H RAT 4H RAT has the capability to obtain a listing of running processes (including loaded modules). [85]
ADVSTORESHELL ADVSTORESHELL can list running processes. [45]
Agent Tesla Agent Tesla lists the current running processes on the system. [53]
APT1 APT1 gathered a list of running processes on the system using tasklist /v. [107]
APT28 An APT28 loader Trojan will enumerate the victim's processes searching for explorer.exe if its current process does not have necessary permissions. [34]
APT3 APT3 has a tool that can list out currently running processes. [110] [111]
APT37 APT37's Freenki malware lists running processes using the Microsoft Windows API. [105]
APT38 APT38 leveraged Sysmon to understand the processes, services in the organization. [108]
Astaroth Astaroth searches for different processes on the system. [97]
Azorult Azorult can collect a list of running processes by calling CreateToolhelp32Snapshot. [60] [61]
Backdoor.Oldrea Backdoor.Oldrea collects information about running processes. [13]
BACKSPACE BACKSPACE may collect information about running processes. [14]
Bankshot Bankshot identifies processes and collects the process ids. [42]
BBSRAT BBSRAT can list running processes. [23]
BISCUIT BISCUIT has a command to enumerate running processes and identify their owners. [71]
Bisonal Bisonal can obtain a list of running processes on the victim’s machine. [35]
BLACKCOFFEE BLACKCOFFEE has the capability to discover processes. [57]
BlackEnergy BlackEnergy has gathered a process list by using Tasklist.exe. [32] [33]
Brave Prince Brave Prince lists the running processes. [52]
Cannon Cannon can obtain a list of processes running on the system. [27] [28]
Carbanak Carbanak lists running processes. [31]
Carbon Carbon can list the processes on the victim’s machine. [66]
Cardinal RAT Cardinal RAT contains watchdog functionality that ensures its process is always running, else spawns a new instance. [72]
ChChes ChChes collects its process identifier (PID) on the victim. [58]
Cobalt Strike Cobalt Strike's "beacon" payload can collect information on process details. [2]
Comnie Comnie uses the tasklist to view running processes on the victim’s machine. [8]
Crimson Crimson contains a command to list processes. [40]
DarkComet DarkComet can list active processes running on the victim’s machine. [65]
Darkhotel Darkhotel has searched for anti-malware strings and anti-virus processes running on the system. [121]
Deep Panda Deep Panda uses the Microsoft Tasklist utility to list processes running on systems. [113]
Derusbi Derusbi collects current and parent process IDs. [43] [44]
Duqu The discovery modules used with Duqu can collect information on process details. [82]
DustySky DustySky collects information about running processes from victims. [12]
Elise Elise enumerates processes via the tasklist command. [62]
ELMER ELMER is capable of performing process listings. [17]
Emotet Emotet has been observed enumerating local processes. [96]
Empire Empire can find information about processes running on local and remote systems. [6]
Epic Epic uses the tasklist /v command to obtain a list of processes. [69] [70]
EvilBunny EvilBunny has used EnumProcesses() to identify how many process are running in the environment. [103]
FELIXROOT FELIXROOT collects a list of running processes. [78]
Final1stspy Final1stspy obtains a list of running processes. [79]
FinFisher FinFisher checks its parent process for indications that it is running in a sandbox setup. [83] [84]
FruitFly FruitFly has the ability to list processes on the system. [22]
GeminiDuke GeminiDuke collects information on running processes and environment variables from the victim. [29]
gh0st RAT gh0st RAT has the capability to list processes. [89]
Gold Dragon Gold Dragon checks the running processes on the victim’s machine. [52]
GravityRAT GravityRAT lists the running processes on the system. [50]
HALFBAKED HALFBAKED can obtain information about running processes on the victim. [68]
Helminth Helminth has used Tasklist to get information on processes. [34]
Honeybee Honeybee gathers a list of processes using the tasklist command and then is sent back to the control server. [106]
Hydraq Hydraq creates a backdoor through which remote attackers can monitor processes. [54] [55]
iKitten iKitten lists the current processes running. [22]
InvisiMole InvisiMole obtains a list of running processes. [10]
Ixeshe Ixeshe can list running processes. [101]
JHUHUGIT JHUHUGIT obtains a list of running processes on the victim. [86] [87]
JPIN JPIN can list running processes. [7]
jRAT jRAT can query and kill system processes. [98]
Kasidet Kasidet has the ability to search for a given process name in processes currently running in the system. [92]
Kazuar Kazuar obtains a list of running processes through WMI querying and the ps command. [37]
Ke3chang Ke3chang performs process discovery using tasklist commands. [114] [115]
KEYMARBLE KEYMARBLE can obtain a list of running processes on the system. [21]
Komplex The OsInfo function in Komplex collects a running process list. [74]
Kwampirs Kwampirs collects a list of running services with the command tasklist /v. [41]
Lazarus Group Several Lazarus Group malware families gather a list of running processes on a victim system and send it to their C2 server. A Destover-like variant used by Lazarus Group also gathers process times. [116] [117] [118] [39]
Linfo Linfo creates a backdoor through which remote attackers can retrieve a list of running processes. [80]
Magic Hound Magic Hound malware can list running processes. [122]
MobileOrder MobileOrder has a command to upload information about all running processes to its C2 server. [67]
Molerats Molerats actors obtained a list of active processes on the victim and sent them to C2 servers. [12]
MoonWind MoonWind has a command to return a list of running processes. [75]
Mosquito Mosquito runs tasklist to obtain running processes. [19]
MuddyWater MuddyWater has used malware to obtain a list of running processes on the system. [123]
NavRAT NavRAT uses tasklist /v to check running processes. [30]
NETEAGLE NETEAGLE can send process listings over the C2 channel. [14]
OceanSalt OceanSalt can collect the name and ID for every process running on the system. [26]
OilRig OilRig has run tasklist on a victim's machine. [104]
Orz Orz can gather a process list from the victim. [20]
Pasam Pasam creates a backdoor through which remote attackers can retrieve lists of running processes. [51]
PLAINTEE PLAINTEE performs the tasklist command to list running processes. [36]
PlugX PlugX has a module to list the processes running on a machine. [15]
POORAIM POORAIM can enumerate processes. [16]
Poseidon Group After compromising a victim, Poseidon Group lists all running processes. [112]
PowerDuke PowerDuke has a command to list the victim's processes. [18]
PowerSploit PowerSploit's Get-ProcessTokenPrivilege Privesc-PowerUp module can enumerate privileges for a given process. [3] [4]
PowerStallion PowerStallion has been used to monitor process lists. [102]
POWRUNER POWRUNER may collect process information by running tasklist on a victim. [25]
Proxysvc Proxysvc lists processes running on the system. [39]
Pupy Pupy can list the running processes and get the process ID and parent process’s ID. [1]
RATANKBA RATANKBA lists the system’s processes. [46] [47]
Remsec Remsec can obtain a process list from the victim. [81]
RogueRobin RogueRobin checks the running processes for evidence it may be running in a sandbox environment. It specifically enumerates processes for Wireshark and Sysinternals. [77]
ROKRAT ROKRAT lists the current running processes on the system. [64]
RTM RTM can obtain information about process integrity levels. [9]
Seasalt Seasalt has a command to perform a process listing. [71]
SHOTPUT SHOTPUT has a command to obtain a process listing. [11]
Socksbot Socksbot can list all running processes. [88]
Stealth Falcon Stealth Falcon malware gathers a list of running processes. [120]
StreamEx StreamEx has the ability to enumerate processes. [73]
Sykipot Sykipot may gather a list of running processes by running tasklist /v. [38]
SynAck SynAck enumerates all running processes. [48] [49]
Tasklist Tasklist can be used to discover processes running on a system. [5]
Trojan.Karagany Trojan.Karagany can use tasklist to collect a list of running tasks. [13]
Tropic Trooper Tropic Trooper enumerates the running processes on the system. [119]
Turla Turla surveys a system upon check-in to discover running processes using the tasklist /v command. Turla RPC backdoors have also enumerated processes associated with specific open ports or named pipes. [69] [102]
UBoatRAT UBoatRAT can list running processes on the system. [24]
Ursnif Ursnif has gathered information about running processes. [99] [100]
VERMIN VERMIN can get a list of the processes and running tasks on the system. [59]
Volgmer Volgmer can gather a list of processes. [63]
WINERACK WINERACK can enumerate processes. [16]
WinMM WinMM sets a WH_CBT Windows hook to collect information on process creation. [90]
Winnti Group Winnti Group looked for a specific process running on infected servers. [109]
XAgentOSX XAgentOSX contains the getProcessList function to run ps aux to get running processes. [56]
yty yty gets an output of running processes using the tasklist command. [76]
Zebrocy Zebrocy uses the tasklist and wmic process get Capture, ExecutablePath commands to gather the processes running on the system. [27] [93] [28] [94] [95]
Zeus Panda Zeus Panda checks for running processes on the victim’s machine. [91]


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 that look like process 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.


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