Command and Scripting Interpreter: Windows Command Shell

Adversaries may abuse the Windows command shell for execution. The Windows command shell (cmd) is the primary command prompt on Windows systems. The Windows command prompt can be used to control almost any aspect of a system, with various permission levels required for different subsets of commands.

Batch files (ex: .bat or .cmd) also provide the shell with a list of sequential commands to run, as well as normal scripting operations such as conditionals and loops. Common uses of batch files include long or repetitive tasks, or the need to run the same set of commands on multiple systems.

Adversaries may leverage cmd to execute various commands and payloads. Common uses include cmd to execute a single command, or abusing cmd interactively with input and output forwarded over a command and control channel.

ID: T1059.003
Sub-technique of:  T1059
Tactic: Execution
Platforms: Windows
Permissions Required: User
Data Sources: Command: Command Execution, Process: Process Creation
Version: 1.1
Created: 09 March 2020
Last Modified: 14 April 2021

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
S0065 4H RAT

4H RAT has the capability to create a remote shell.[1]

S0469 ABK

ABK has the ability to use cmd to run a Portable Executable (PE) on the compromised host.[2]

S0202 adbupd

adbupd can run a copy of cmd.exe.[3]

G0018 admin@338

Following exploitation with LOWBALL malware, admin@338 actors created a file containing a list of commands to be executed on the compromised computer.[4]


ADVSTORESHELL can create a remote shell and run a given command.[5][6]

S0504 Anchor

Anchor has used cmd.exe to run its self deletion routine.[7]

G0006 APT1

APT1 has used the Windows command shell to execute commands, and batch scripting to automate execution.[8]

G0026 APT18

APT18 uses cmd.exe to execute commands on the victim’s machine.[9][10]

G0007 APT28

An APT28 loader Trojan uses a cmd.exe and batch script to run its payload.[11] The group has also used macros to execute payloads.[12][13][14][15]

G0016 APT29

APT29 used cmd.exe to execute commands on remote machines.[16][17]

G0022 APT3

An APT3 downloader uses the Windows command "cmd.exe" /C whoami. The group also uses a tool to execute commands on remote computers.[18][19]

G0050 APT32

APT32 has used cmd.exe for execution.[20]

G0067 APT37

APT37 has used the command-line interface.[21][22]

G0082 APT38

APT38 has used a command-line tunneler, NACHOCHEESE, to give them shell access to a victim’s machine.[23]

G0096 APT41

APT41 used cmd.exe /c to execute commands on remote machines.[24]APT41 used a batch file to install persistence for the Cobalt Strike BEACON loader.[25]

S0373 Astaroth

Astaroth spawns a CMD process to execute commands. [26]

S0347 AuditCred

AuditCred can open a reverse shell on the system to execute commands.[27]

S0414 BabyShark

BabyShark has used cmd.exe to execute commands.[28]

S0475 BackConfig

BackConfig can download and run batch files to execute commands on a compromised host.[29]


Adversaries can direct BACKSPACE to execute from the command line on infected hosts, or have BACKSPACE create a reverse shell.[30]


BADNEWS is capable of executing commands via cmd.exe.[31][32]

S0234 Bandook

Bandook is capable of spawning a Windows command shell.[33]

S0239 Bankshot

Bankshot uses the command-line interface to execute arbitrary commands.[34][35]

S0534 Bazar

Bazar can launch cmd.exe to perform reconnaissance commands.[36][37]

S0470 BBK

BBK has the ability to use cmd to run a Portable Executable (PE) on the compromised host.[2]


BISCUIT has a command to launch a command shell on the system.[38]

S0268 Bisonal

Bisonal can launch cmd.exe to execute commands on the system.[39]


BLACKCOFFEE has the capability to create a reverse shell.[40]

S0564 BlackMould

BlackMould can run cmd.exe with parameters.[41]


BLINDINGCAN has executed commands via cmd.exe.[42]

G0108 Blue Mockingbird

Blue Mockingbird has used batch script files to automate execution and deployment of payloads.[43]


BONDUPDATER can read batch commands in a file sent from its C2 server and execute them with cmd.exe.[44]


BRONZE BUTLER has used batch scripts and the command-line interface for execution.[45]


CALENDAR has a command to run cmd.exe to execute commands.[38]

S0030 Carbanak

Carbanak has a command to create a reverse shell.[46]

S0348 Cardinal RAT

Cardinal RAT can execute commands.[47]


CARROTBAT has the ability to execute command line arguments on a compromised host.[48]

S0572 Caterpillar WebShell

Caterpillar WebShell can run commands on the compromised asset with CMD functions.[49]

G0114 Chimera

Chimera has used the Windows Command Shell and batch scripts for execution on compromised hosts.[50]

S0020 China Chopper

China Chopper's server component is capable of opening a command terminal.[51][52][53]

S0106 cmd

cmd is used to execute programs and other actions at the command-line interface.[54]

G0080 Cobalt Group

Cobalt Group has used a JavaScript backdoor that is capable of launching cmd.exe to execute shell commands.[55] The group has used an exploit toolkit known as Threadkit that launches .bat files.[56][57][58][55][59][60]

S0154 Cobalt Strike

Cobalt Strike uses a command-line interface to interact with systems.[61][62]

S0338 Cobian RAT

Cobian RAT can launch a remote command shell interface for executing commands.[63]

S0369 CoinTicker

CoinTicker executes a bash script to establish a reverse shell.[64]

S0244 Comnie

Comnie executes BAT scripts.[65]

S0126 ComRAT

ComRAT has used cmd.exe to execute commands.[66]

S0575 Conti

Conti can utilize command line options to allow an attacker control over how it scans and encrypts files.[67]

S0046 CozyCar

A module in CozyCar allows arbitrary commands to be executed by invoking C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe.[68]

G0070 Dark Caracal

Dark Caracal has used macros in Word documents that would download a second stage if executed.[69]

S0334 DarkComet

DarkComet can launch a remote shell to execute commands on the victim’s machine.[70]

G0012 Darkhotel

Darkhotel has dropped an mspaint.lnk shortcut to disk which launches a shell script that downloads and executes a file.[71]

S0187 Daserf

Daserf can execute shell commands.[72][45]

S0243 DealersChoice

DealersChoice makes modifications to open-source scripts from GitHub and executes them on the victim’s machine.[73]

S0354 Denis

Denis can launch a remote shell to execute arbitrary commands on the victim’s machine.[74][20]

S0200 Dipsind

Dipsind can spawn remote shells.[3]

S0186 DownPaper

DownPaper uses the command line.[75]

G0074 Dragonfly 2.0

Dragonfly 2.0 used various types of scripting to perform operations, including batch scripts.[76][77]

S0547 DropBook

DropBook can execute arbitrary shell commands on the victims' machines.[78][79]

S0567 Dtrack

Dtrack has used cmd.exe to add a persistent service.[80]


ECCENTRICBANDWAGON can use cmd to execute commands on a victim’s machine.[81]

S0554 Egregor

Egregor has used batch files for execution and can launch Internet Explorer from cmd.exe.[82][83]

S0082 Emissary

Emissary has the capability to create a remote shell and execute specified commands.[84]

S0367 Emotet

Emotet has used cmd.exe to run a PowerShell script. [85]

S0363 Empire

Empire has modules for executing scripts.[86]

S0396 EvilBunny

EvilBunny has an integrated scripting engine to download and execute Lua scripts.[87]

S0343 Exaramel for Windows

Exaramel for Windows has a command to launch a remote shell and executes commands on the victim’s machine.[88]

S0171 Felismus

Felismus uses command line for execution.[89]


FELIXROOT executes batch scripts on the victim’s machine, and can launch a reverse shell for command execution.[90][91]

G0051 FIN10

FIN10 has executed malicious .bat files containing PowerShell commands.[92]

G0037 FIN6

FIN6 has used kill.bat script to disable security tools.[93]

G0046 FIN7

FIN7 used the command prompt to launch commands on the victim’s machine.[94][95]

G0061 FIN8

FIN8 has used a Batch file to automate frequently executed post compromise cleanup activities.[96] FIN8 executes commands remotely via cmd.exe.[97]

G0117 Fox Kitten

Fox Kitten has used cmd.exe likely as a password changing mechanism.[98]

G0101 Frankenstein

Frankenstein has run a command script to set up persistence as a scheduled task named "WinUpdate", as well as other encoded commands from the command-line.[99]


GALLIUM used the Windows command shell to execute commands.[100]

G0047 Gamaredon Group

Gamaredon Group has used various batch scripts to establish C2 and download additional files. Gamaredon Group's backdoor malware has also been written to a batch file.[101][102]

S0249 Gold Dragon

Gold Dragon uses cmd.exe to execute commands for discovery.[103]

S0493 GoldenSpy

GoldenSpy can execute remote commands via the command-line interface.[104]

S0588 GoldMax

GoldMax can spawn a command shell, and execute native commands.[105][106]

S0477 Goopy

Goopy has the ability to use cmd.exe to execute commands passed from an Outlook C2 channel.[20]

G0078 Gorgon Group

Gorgon Group malware can use cmd.exe to download and execute payloads and to execute commands on the system.[107]

S0237 GravityRAT

GravityRAT executes commands remotely on the infected host.[108]

S0342 GreyEnergy

GreyEnergy uses cmd.exe to execute itself in-memory.[91]

S0132 H1N1

H1N1 kills and disables services by using cmd.exe.[109]


HARDRAIN uses cmd.exe to execute netshcommands.[110]


HAWKBALL has created a cmd.exe reverse shell, executed commands, and uploaded output via the command line.[111]

S0071 hcdLoader

hcdLoader provides command-line access to the compromised system.[112]

S0170 Helminth

Helminth can provide a remote shell. One version of Helminth uses batch scripting.[113]

S0087 Hi-Zor

Hi-Zor has the ability to create a reverse shell.[114]

S0394 HiddenWasp

HiddenWasp uses a script to automate tasks on the victim's machine and to assist in execution.[115]

G0126 Higaisa

Higaisa used cmd.exe for execution.[116][117][118]

S0009 Hikit

Hikit has the ability to create a remote shell and run given commands.[119]


HOMEFRY uses a command-line interface.[120]

G0072 Honeybee

Several commands are supported by the Honeybee's implant via the command-line interface and there’s also a utility to execute any custom command on an infected endpoint.[121] Honeybee used batch scripting.[121]


HOPLIGHT can launch cmd.exe to execute commands on the system.[122]

S0431 HotCroissant

HotCroissant can remotely open applications on the infected host with the ShellExecuteA command.[123]

S0070 HTTPBrowser

HTTPBrowser is capable of spawning a reverse shell on a victim.[124]

S0068 httpclient

httpclient opens cmd.exe on the victim.[1]

G0119 Indrik Spider

Indrik Spider has used batch scripts on victim's machines.[125]

S0259 InnaputRAT

InnaputRAT launches a shell to execute commands on the victim’s machine.[126]

S0260 InvisiMole

InvisiMole can launch a remote shell to execute commands.[127][128]

S0015 Ixeshe

Ixeshe is capable of executing commands via cmd.[129]

S0389 JCry

JCry has used cmd.exe to launch PowerShell.[130]


JHUHUGIT uses a .bat file to execute a .dll.[12]

S0201 JPIN

JPIN can use the command-line utility cacls.exe to change file permissions.[3]

S0283 jRAT

jRAT has command line access.[131]

S0088 Kasidet

Kasidet can execute commands using cmd.exe.[132]

S0265 Kazuar

Kazuar uses cmd.exe to execute commands on the victim’s machine.[133]

G0004 Ke3chang

Ke3chang has used batch scripts in its malware to install persistence mechanisms.[134]

S0387 KeyBoy

KeyBoy can launch interactive shells for communicating with the victim machine.[135][136]


KEYMARBLE can execute shell commands using cmd.exe.[137]


KGH_SPY has the ability to set a Registry key to run a cmd.exe command.[138]

S0250 Koadic

Koadic can open an interactive command-shell to perform command line functions on victim machines.[139] Koadic performs most of its operations using Windows Script Host (Jscript) and runs arbitrary shellcode .[139]


KOMPROGO is capable of creating a reverse shell.[140]


KONNI has used cmd.exe execute arbitrary commands on the infected host across different stages of the infection change.[141][142]

G0032 Lazarus Group

Lazarus Group malware uses cmd.exe to execute commands on victims.[143][144][145][146][147] A Destover-like variant used by Lazarus Group uses a batch file mechanism to delete its binaries from the system.[148]

G0065 Leviathan

Leviathan uses a backdoor known as BADFLICK that is is capable of generating a reverse shell, and has used multiple types of scripting for execution, including JavaScript and JavaScript Scriptlets in XML.[149].[120]

S0395 LightNeuron

LightNeuron is capable of executing commands via cmd.exe.[150]

S0211 Linfo

Linfo creates a backdoor through which remote attackers can start a remote shell.[151]

S0582 LookBack

LookBack executes the cmd.exe command.[152]

S0451 LoudMiner

LoudMiner used a batch script to run the Linux virtual machine as a service.[153]

S0532 Lucifer

Lucifer can issue shell commands to download and execute additional payloads.[154]

G0095 Machete

Machete has used batch files to initiate additional downloads of malicious files.[155]

G0059 Magic Hound

Magic Hound has used the command-line interface.[156]

S0449 Maze

The Maze encryption process has used batch scripts with various commands.[157][158]

S0500 MCMD

MCMD can launch a console process (cmd.exe) with redirected standard input and output.[159]

S0459 MechaFlounder

MechaFlounder has the ability to run commands on a compromised host.[160]

S0576 MegaCortex

MegaCortex has used .cmd scripts on the victim's system.[161]

G0045 menuPass

menuPass executes commands using a command-line interface and reverse shell. The group has used a modified version of pentesting script wmiexec.vbs to execute commands.[162][163][164][165] menuPass has used malicious macros embedded inside Office documents to execute files.[166][165]

S0455 Metamorfo

Metamorfo has used cmd.exe /c to execute files.[167]

S0339 Micropsia

Micropsia creates a command-line shell using cmd.exe.[168]

S0280 MirageFox

MirageFox has the capability to execute commands using cmd.exe.[169]

S0084 Mis-Type

Mis-Type uses cmd.exe to run commands for enumerating the host.[170]

S0083 Misdat

Misdat is capable of providing shell functionality to the attacker to execute commands.[170]

S0080 Mivast

Mivast has the capability to open a remote shell and run basic commands.[171]

S0553 MoleNet

MoleNet can execute commands via the command line utility.[78]

S0149 MoonWind

MoonWind can execute commands via an interactive command shell.[172] MoonWind uses batch scripts for various purposes, including to restart and uninstall itself.[172]

S0284 More_eggs

More_eggs has used cmd.exe for execution.[173][174]

S0256 Mosquito

Mosquito executes cmd.exe and uses a pipe to read the results and send back the output to the C2 server.[175]

G0069 MuddyWater

MuddyWater has used a custom tool for creating reverse shells.[176]


MURKYTOP uses the command-line interface.[120]

G0129 Mustang Panda

Mustang Panda has executed HTA files via cmd.exe, and used batch scripts for collection.[177][178]

S0336 NanoCore

NanoCore can open a remote command-line interface and execute commands.[179] NanoCore uses JavaScript files.[180]

S0247 NavRAT

NavRAT leverages cmd.exe to perform discovery techniques.[181] NavRAT loads malicious shellcode and executes it in memory.[181]


NETEAGLE allows adversaries to execute shell commands on the infected host.[30]

S0457 Netwalker

Operators deploying Netwalker have used batch scripts to retrieve the Netwalker payload.[182]


NETWIRE can issue commands using cmd.exe.[183][184]

S0385 njRAT

njRAT can launch a command shell interface for executing commands.[185]

S0346 OceanSalt

OceanSalt can create a reverse shell on the infected endpoint using cmd.exe.[186] OceanSalt has been executed via malicious macros.[186]

G0049 OilRig

OilRig has used macros to deliver malware such as QUADAGENT and OopsIE.[187][188][189][190][191] OilRig has used batch scripts.[187][188][189][190][191]

S0439 Okrum

Okrum's backdoor has used cmd.exe to execute arbitrary commands as well as batch scripts to update itself to a newer version.[192]

S0264 OopsIE

OopsIE uses the command prompt to execute commands on the victim's machine.[189][193]

G0116 Operation Wocao

Operation Wocao has spawned a new cmd.exe process to execute commands.[194]

S0229 Orz

Orz can execute shell commands.[149] Orz can execute commands with JavaScript.[149]

S0594 Out1

Out1 can use native command line for execution.[195]

G0040 Patchwork

Patchwork ran a reverse shell with Meterpreter.[196] Patchwork used JavaScript code and .SCT files on victim machines.[32][197]


PHOREAL is capable of creating reverse shell.[140]

S0124 Pisloader

Pisloader uses cmd.exe to set the Registry Run key value. It also has a command to spawn a command shell.[198]


PLAINTEE uses cmd.exe to execute commands on the victim’s machine.[199]


PLEAD has the ability to execute shell commands on the compromised host.[200]

S0013 PlugX

PlugX allows actors to spawn a reverse shell on a victim.[124][201]

S0428 PoetRAT

PoetRAT has called cmd through a Word document macro.[202]

S0012 PoisonIvy

PoisonIvy creates a backdoor through which remote attackers can open a command-line interface.[203]

S0453 Pony

Pony has used batch scripts to delete itself after execution.[204]

S0139 PowerDuke

PowerDuke runs cmd.exe /c and sends the output to its C2.[205]


POWRUNER can execute commands from its C2 server.[187]

S0238 Proxysvc

Proxysvc executes a binary on the system and logs the results into a temp file by using: cmd.exe /c " > %temp%\PM* .tmp 2>&1".[148]

S0147 Pteranodon

Pteranodon can execute commands on the victim.[101]


QUADAGENT uses cmd.exe to execute scripts and commands on the victim’s machine.[190]

S0262 QuasarRAT

QuasarRAT can launch a remote shell to execute commands on the victim’s machine.[206]

S0481 Ragnar Locker

Ragnar Locker has used cmd.exe and batch scripts to execute commands.[207]

G0075 Rancor

Rancor has used cmd.exe to execute commmands.[199]


RATANKBA uses cmd.exe to execute commands.[208][209]

S0495 RDAT

RDAT has executed commands using cmd.exe /c.[210]

S0153 RedLeaves

RedLeaves can receive and execute commands with cmd.exe. It can also provide a reverse shell.[163][211]

S0332 Remcos

Remcos can launch a remote command line to execute commands on the victim’s machine.[212]

S0375 Remexi

Remexi silently executes received commands with cmd.exe.[213]

S0379 Revenge RAT

Revenge RAT uses cmd.exe to execute commands and run scripts on the victim's machine.[214]

S0496 REvil

REvil can use the Windows command line to delete volume shadow copies and disable recovery.[215][216][217][218]

S0258 RGDoor

RGDoor uses cmd.exe to execute commands on the victim’s machine.[219]

S0448 Rising Sun

Rising Sun executed commands using cmd.exe.[220]

S0400 RobbinHood

RobbinHood uses cmd.exe on the victim's computer.[221]

S0270 RogueRobin

RogueRobin uses Windows Script Components.[222][223]

S0148 RTM

RTM uses the command line and rundll32.exe to execute.[224]

S0253 RunningRAT

RunningRAT uses a batch file to kill a security program task and then attempts to remove itself.[103]

S0446 Ryuk

Ryuk has used cmd.exe to create a Registry entry to establish persistence.[225]

S0074 Sakula

Sakula calls cmd.exe to run various DLL files via rundll32 and also to perform file cleanup. Sakula also has the capability to invoke a reverse shell.[226]

S0370 SamSam

SamSam uses custom batch scripts to execute some of its components.[227]

S0461 SDBbot

SDBbot has the ability to use the command shell to execute commands on a compromised host.[228]

S0053 SeaDuke

SeaDuke is capable of executing commands.[229]

S0345 Seasalt

Seasalt uses cmd.exe to create a reverse shell on the infected endpoint.[38]


SEASHARPEE can execute commands on victims.[230]

S0382 ServHelper

ServHelper can execute shell commands against cmd.[231][232]

S0546 SharpStage

SharpStage can execute arbitrary commands with the command line.[78][79]

S0444 ShimRat

ShimRat can be issued a command shell function from the C2.[233]

G0091 Silence

Silence has used Windows command-line to run commands.[234][235][236]


SLOTHFULMEDIA can open a command line to execute commands.[237]


SNUGRIDE is capable of executing commands and spawning a reverse shell.[211]

G0054 Sowbug

Sowbug has used command line during its intrusions.[238]

S0543 Spark

Spark can use cmd.exe to run commands.[239]

S0390 SQLRat

SQLRat has used SQL to execute JavaScript and VB scripts on the host system.[95]

S0142 StreamEx

StreamEx has the ability to remotely execute commands.[240]

G0039 Suckfly

Several tools used by Suckfly have been command-line driven.[241]


SYSCON has the ability to execute commands through cmd on a compromised host.[48]

G0092 TA505

TA505 has executed commands using cmd.exe.[242]

G0127 TA551

TA551 has used cmd.exe to execute commands.[243]


TAINTEDSCRIBE can enable Windows CLI access and execute files.[244]


TDTESS provides a reverse shell on the victim.[245]


TEXTMATE executes cmd.exe to provide a reverse shell to adversaries.[246][247]

G0028 Threat Group-1314

Threat Group-1314 actors spawned shells on remote systems on a victim network to execute commands.[248]

G0027 Threat Group-3390

Threat Group-3390 has used command-line interfaces for execution.[51][249]

S0004 TinyZBot

TinyZBot supports execution from the command-line.[250]

S0266 TrickBot

TrickBot has used macros in Excel documents to download and deploy the malware on the user’s machine.[251]

S0094 Trojan.Karagany

Trojan.Karagany can perform reconnaissance commands on a victim machine via a cmd.exe process.[252]

G0081 Tropic Trooper

Tropic Trooper has used Windows command scripts.[253]

S0436 TSCookie

TSCookie has the ability to execute shell commands on the infected host.[254]

G0010 Turla

Turla RPC backdoors have used cmd.exe to execute commands.[255][256]


TURNEDUP is capable of creating a reverse shell.[257]


TYPEFRAME can uninstall malware components using a batch script.[258] TYPEFRAME can execute commands using a shell.[258]

S0333 UBoatRAT

UBoatRAT can start a command shell.[259]

S0221 Umbreon

Umbreon provides access using both standard facilities like SSH and additional access using its backdoor Espeon, providing a reverse shell upon receipt of a special packet[260]


UPPERCUT uses cmd.exe to execute commands on the victim’s machine.[165]

S0452 USBferry

USBferry can execute various Windows commands.[253]

S0180 Volgmer

Volgmer can execute commands on the victim's machine.[261][262]

S0109 WEBC2

WEBC2 can open an interactive command shell.[8]

S0514 WellMess

WellMess can execute command line scripts received from C2.[263]

S0206 Wiarp

Wiarp creates a backdoor through which remote attackers can open a command line interface.[264]

G0102 Wizard Spider

Wizard Spider has used cmd.exe to execute commands on a victim's machine.[265]

S0117 XTunnel

XTunnel has been used to execute remote commands.[266]

S0251 Zebrocy

Zebrocy uses cmd.exe to execute commands on the system.[267][268]

S0330 Zeus Panda

Zeus Panda can launch an interface where it can execute several commands on the victim’s PC.[269]


ZIRCONIUM has used a tool to open a Windows Command Shell on a remote host.[270]

S0086 ZLib

ZLib has the ability to execute shell commands.[170]

S0350 zwShell

zwShell can launch command-line shells.[271]

S0412 ZxShell

ZxShell can launch a reverse command shell.[24][272][273]


ID Mitigation Description
M1038 Execution Prevention

Use application control where appropriate.


Usage of the Windows command shell may be common on administrator, developer, or power user systems depending on job function. If scripting is restricted for normal users, then any attempt 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.

Scripts are likely to perform actions with various effects on a system that may generate events, depending on the types of monitoring used. Monitor processes and 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.


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