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
Permissions Required: User
Data Sources: API monitoring, Process command-line parameters, Process monitoring
Version: 1.0
Created: 21 February 2020
Last Modified: 12 March 2020

Procedure Examples

Name Description

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


BloodHound can collect information about domain groups and members.[4]


CrackMapExec can gather the user accounts within domain groups.[5]

Dragonfly 2.0

Dragonfly 2.0 used batch scripts to enumerate administrators and users in the domain.[6]


dsquery can be used to gather information on permission groups within a domain.[7]


FIN6 has used tools like Adfind to query users, groups, organizational units, and trusts.[2]


GRIFFON has used a reconnaissance module that can be used to retrieve Windows domain membership information.[8]


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.[9]


Inception has used specific malware modules to gather domain membership.[10]


Ke3chang performs discovery of permission groups net group /domain.[11]


Kwampirs collects a list of domain groups with the command net localgroup /domain.[12]


Commands such as net group /domain can be used in Net to gather information about and manipulate groups.[13]


OilRig has used net group /domain, net group "domain admins" /domain, and net group "Exchange Trusted Subsystem" /domain to find domain group permission settings.[14]


OSInfo specifically looks for Domain Admins and power users within the domain.[15]


POWRUNER may collect domain group information by running net group /domain or a series of other commands on a victim.[16]


REvil can identify the domain membership of a compromised host.[17][18][19]


SoreFang can enumerate domain groups by executing net.exe group /domain.[20]


Turla has used net group "Domain Admins" /domain to identify domain administrators.[21]


WellMess can identify domain group membership for the current user.[22]

Wizard Spider

Wizard Spider has used AdFind.exe to collect information about Active Directory groups and accounts.[3][23][24][1]


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.

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.


  1. Brian Donohue, Katie Nickels, Paul Michaud, Adina Bodkins, Taylor Chapman, Tony Lambert, Jeff Felling, Kyle Rainey, Mike Haag, Matt Graeber, Aaron Didier.. (2020, October 29). A Bazar start: How one hospital thwarted a Ryuk ransomware outbreak. Retrieved October 30, 2020.
  2. McKeague, B. et al. (2019, April 5). Pick-Six: Intercepting a FIN6 Intrusion, an Actor Recently Tied to Ryuk and LockerGoga Ransomware. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  3. Goody, K., et al (2019, January 11). A Nasty Trick: From Credential Theft Malware to Business Disruption. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
  4. Red Team Labs. (2018, April 24). Hidden Administrative Accounts: BloodHound to the Rescue. Retrieved October 28, 2020.
  5. byt3bl33d3r. (2018, September 8). SMB: Command Reference. Retrieved July 17, 2020.
  6. US-CERT. (2018, March 16). Alert (TA18-074A): Russian Government Cyber Activity Targeting Energy and Other Critical Infrastructure Sectors. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  7. Microsoft. (n.d.). Dsquery. Retrieved April 18, 2016.
  8. Namestnikov, Y. and Aime, F. (2019, May 8). FIN7.5: the infamous cybercrime rig “FIN7” continues its activities. Retrieved October 11, 2019.
  9. Unit 42. (2017, December 15). Unit 42 Playbook Viewer. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  10. Symantec. (2018, March 14). Inception Framework: Alive and Well, and Hiding Behind Proxies. Retrieved May 8, 2020.
  11. Villeneuve, N., Bennett, J. T., Moran, N., Haq, T., Scott, M., & Geers, K. (2014). OPERATION “KE3CHANG”: Targeted Attacks Against Ministries of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved November 12, 2014.
  12. Symantec Security Response Attack Investigation Team. (2018, April 23). New Orangeworm attack group targets the healthcare sector in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Retrieved May 8, 2018.