Adversaries may abuse command and script interpreters to execute commands, scripts, or binaries. These interfaces and languages provide ways of interacting with computer systems and are a common feature across many different platforms. Most systems come with some built-in command-line interface and scripting capabilities, for example, macOS and Linux distributions include some flavor of Unix Shell while Windows installations include the Windows Command Shell and PowerShell.
Adversaries may abuse these technologies in various ways as a means of executing arbitrary commands. Commands and scripts can be embedded in Initial Access payloads delivered to victims as lure documents or as secondary payloads downloaded from an existing C2. Adversaries may also execute commands through interactive terminals/shells, as well as utilize various Remote Services in order to achieve remote Execution.
Anti-virus can be used to automatically quarantine suspicious files.
|M1040||Behavior Prevention on Endpoint|
Where possible, only permit execution of signed scripts.
|M1042||Disable or Remove Feature or Program||
Disable or remove any unnecessary or unused shells or interpreters.
Use application control where appropriate.
|M1026||Privileged Account Management||
When PowerShell is necessary, restrict PowerShell execution policy to administrators. Be aware that there are methods of bypassing the PowerShell execution policy, depending on environment configuration.
|M1021||Restrict Web-Based Content||
Script blocking extensions can help prevent the execution of scripts and HTA files that may commonly be used during the exploitation process. For malicious code served up through ads, adblockers can help prevent that code from executing in the first place.
|ID||Data Source||Data Component||Detects|
Monitor command-line arguments for script execution and subsequent behavior. Actions may be related to network and system information Discovery, Collection, or other scriptable post-compromise behaviors and could be used as indicators of detection leading back to the source script. Scripts are likely to perform actions with various effects on a system that may generate events, depending on the types of monitoring used.
Monitor for events associated with scripting execution, such as the loading of modules associated with scripting languages (ex: JScript.dll or vbscript.dll).
Monitor log files for process execution through command-line and scripting activities. This information can be useful in gaining additional insight to adversaries' actions through how they use native processes or custom tools. Also monitor for loading of modules associated with specific languages.
Monitor contextual data about a running process, which may include information such as environment variables, image name, user/owner, or other information that may reveal abuse of system features. For example, consider monitoring for Windows event ID (EID) 400, which shows the version of PowerShell executing in the
Monitor for any attempts to enable scripts running on a system would be considered suspicious. If scripts are not commonly used on a system, but enabled, scripts running out of cycle from patching or other administrator functions are suspicious. Scripts should be captured from the file system when possible to determine their actions and intent.