Permission Groups Discovery: Domain Groups

Adversaries may attempt to find domain-level groups and permission settings. The knowledge of domain-level permission groups can help adversaries determine which groups exist and which users belong to a particular group. Adversaries may use this information to determine which users have elevated permissions, such as domain administrators.

Commands such as net group /domain of the Net utility, dscacheutil -q group on macOS, and ldapsearch on Linux can list domain-level groups.

ID: T1069.002
Sub-technique of:  T1069
Tactic: Discovery
Platforms: Linux, Windows, macOS
Contributors: Harshal Tupsamudre, Qualys; Miriam Wiesner, @miriamxyra, Microsoft Security
Version: 1.2
Created: 21 February 2020
Last Modified: 07 April 2023

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
S0552 AdFind

AdFind can enumerate domain groups.[1][2][3][4]


BADHATCH can use net.exe group "domain admins" /domain to identify Domain Administrators.[5]

S1068 BlackCat

BlackCat can determine if a user on a compromised host has domain admin privileges.[6]

S0521 BloodHound

BloodHound can collect information about domain groups and members.[7]

S1063 Brute Ratel C4

Brute Ratel C4 can use net group for discovery on targeted domains.[8]

C0015 C0015

During C0015, the threat actors use the command net group "domain admins" /dom to enumerate domain groups.[9]

S0154 Cobalt Strike

Cobalt Strike can identify targets by querying account groups on a domain contoller.[10]

S0488 CrackMapExec

CrackMapExec can gather the user accounts within domain groups.[11]

G0035 Dragonfly

Dragonfly has used batch scripts to enumerate administrators and users in the domain.[12]

S0105 dsquery

dsquery can be used to gather information on permission groups within a domain.[13][14]

S0554 Egregor

Egregor can conduct Active Directory reconnaissance using tools such as Sharphound or AdFind.[15]

G0046 FIN7

FIN7 has used the command net group "domain admins" /domain to enumerate domain groups.[16]


GRIFFON has used a reconnaissance module that can be used to retrieve Windows domain membership information.[17]

S0170 Helminth

Helminth has checked for the domain admin group and Exchange Trusted Subsystem groups using the commands net group Exchange Trusted Subsystem /domain and net group domain admins /domain.[18]

G0100 Inception

Inception has used specific malware modules to gather domain membership.[19]

G0004 Ke3chang

Ke3chang performs discovery of permission groups net group /domain.[20]

S0236 Kwampirs

Kwampirs collects a list of domain groups with the command net localgroup /domain.[21]


LAPSUS$ has used the AD Explorer tool to enumerate groups on a victim's network.[22]

S0039 Net

Commands such as net group /domain can be used in Net to gather information about and manipulate groups.[23]

G0049 OilRig

OilRig has used net group /domain, net group "domain admins" /domain, and net group "Exchange Trusted Subsystem" /domain to find domain group permission settings.[24]

S0165 OSInfo

OSInfo specifically looks for Domain Admins and power users within the domain.[25]


POWRUNER may collect domain group information by running net group /domain or a series of other commands on a victim.[26]

S0496 REvil

REvil can identify the domain membership of a compromised host.[27][28][29]


SILENTTRINITY can use System.DirectoryServices namespace to retrieve domain group information.[30]

C0024 SolarWinds Compromise

During the SolarWinds Compromise, APT29 used AdFind to enumerate domain groups.[31]

S0516 SoreFang

SoreFang can enumerate domain groups by executing net.exe group /domain.[32]

G1022 ToddyCat

ToddyCat has executed net group "domain admins" /dom for discovery on compromised machines.[33]

G0010 Turla

Turla has used net group "Domain Admins" /domain to identify domain administrators.[34]

G1017 Volt Typhoon

Volt Typhoon has run net group in compromised environments to discover domain groups.[35]

S0514 WellMess

WellMess can identify domain group membership for the current user.[36]


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


ID Data Source Data Component Detects
DS0017 Command Command Execution

Monitor for executed commands and arguments that may attempt to find domain-level groups and permission settings.

DS0036 Group Group Enumeration

Monitor for logging that may suggest a list of available groups and/or their associated settings has been extracted, ex. Windows EID 4798 and 4799.

DS0009 Process OS API Execution

Monitor for API calls associated with finding domain-level groups and permission settings, such as NetGroupEnum. Other API calls relevant to Domain Group discovery include NetQueryDisplayInformation and NetGetDisplayInformationIndex.

Note: Most EDR tools do not support direct monitoring of API calls due to the sheer volume of calls produced by an endpoint but may have alerts or events that are based on abstractions of OS API calls. Dynamic malware analysis tools (i.e., sandboxes) can be used to trace the execution, including OS API calls, for a single PE binary.

Process Creation

Monitor newly executed processes that may attempt to find domain-level groups and permission settings.

For Linux, auditing frameworks that support alerting on process creation, including the audit daemon (auditd), can be used to alert on invocations of commands such as ldapsearch.

For MacOS, utilities that work in concert with Apple’s Endpoint Security Framework such as Process Monitor can be used to track usage of commands such as dscacheutil -q group.

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

Analytic 1 - Local Permission Group Discovery - Net

(source="WinEventLog:Microsoft-Windows-Sysmon/Operational" EventCode="1") OR (source="WinEventLog:Security" EventCode="4688") (Image= "net.exe" OR Image= "net1.exe") AND CommandLine="group/domain*")


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