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Graphical User Interface

The Graphical User Interfaces (GUI) is a common way to interact with an operating system. Adversaries may use a system's GUI during an operation, commonly through a remote interactive session such as Remote Desktop Protocol, instead of through a Command-Line Interface, to search for information and execute files via mouse double-click events, the Windows Run command [1], or other potentially difficult to monitor interactions.

ID: T1061
Tactic: Execution
Platform: Linux, macOS, Windows
Permissions Required: User, Administrator, SYSTEM
Data Sources: File monitoring, Process monitoring, Process command-line parameters, Binary file metadata
Supports Remote:  Yes
Version: 1.0
Created: 31 May 2017
Last Modified: 25 June 2019

Procedure Examples

Name Description

APT3 has interacted with compromised systems to browse and copy files through its graphical user interface in Remote Desktop Protocol sessions.[2]


This type of attack technique cannot be easily mitigated with preventive controls since it is based on the abuse of system features.


Detection of execution through the GUI will likely lead to significant false positives. Other factors should be considered to detect misuse of services that can lead to adversaries gaining access to systems through interactive remote sessions.

Unknown or unusual process launches outside of normal behavior on a particular system occurring through remote interactive sessions are suspicious. Collect and audit security logs that may indicate access to and use of Legitimate Credentials to access remote systems within the network.