Collected data is staged in a central location or directory prior to Exfiltration. Data may be kept in separate files or combined into one file through techniques such as Data Compressed or Data Encrypted.
Interactive command shells may be used, and common functionality within cmd and bash may be used to copy data into a staging location.
|ADVSTORESHELL||ADVSTORESHELL stores output from command execution in a .dat file in the %TEMP% directory. |
|APT28||APT28 has stored captured credential information in a file named pi.log. |
|APT3||APT3 has been known to stage files for exfiltration in a single location. |
|Astaroth||Astaroth collects data in a plaintext file named r1.log before exfiltration. |
BADNEWS copies documents under 15MB found on the victim system to is the user's
|BadPatch||BadPatch stores collected data in log files before exfiltration. |
|Calisto||Calisto uses a hidden directory named .calisto to store data from the victim’s machine before exfiltration.  |
|Carbon||Carbon creates a base directory that contains the files and folders that are collected. |
|Catchamas||Catchamas stores the gathered data from the machine in .db files and .bmp files under four separate locations. |
|Dragonfly 2.0||Dragonfly 2.0 created a directory named "out" in the user's %AppData% folder and copied files to it. |
|Duqu||Modules can be pushed to and executed by Duqu that copy data to a staging area, compress it, and XOR encrypt it. |
Elise creates a file in
|FIN5||FIN5 scripts save memory dump data into a specific directory on hosts in the victim environment. |
TRINITY malware used by FIN6 identifies payment card track data on the victim and then copies it to a local file in a subdirectory of
|FIN8||FIN8 aggregates staged data from a network into a single location. |
|FLASHFLOOD||FLASHFLOOD stages data it copies from the local system or removable drives in the "%WINDIR%\$NtUninstallKB885884$\" directory. |
|Gold Dragon||Gold Dragon stores information gathered from the endpoint in a file named 1.hwp. |
|Helminth||Helminth creates folders to store output from batch scripts prior to sending the information to its C2 server. |
|Honeybee||Honeybee adds collected files to a temp.zip file saved in the %temp% folder, then base64 encodes it and uploads it to control server. |
|InvisiMole||InvisiMole determines a working directory where it stores all the gathered data about the compromised machine. |
|Kazuar||Kazuar stages command output and collected data in files before exfiltration. |
|Lazarus Group||Lazarus Group malware IndiaIndia saves information gathered about the victim to a file that is saved in the %TEMP% directory, then compressed, encrypted, and uploaded to a C2 server.  |
|Leviathan||Leviathan has used C:\Windows\Debug and C:\Perflogs as staging directories. |
LightNeuron can store email data in files and directories specified in its configuration, such as
|menuPass||menuPass stages data prior to exfiltration in multi-part archives, often saved in the Recycle Bin. |
|MoonWind||MoonWind saves information from its keylogging routine as a .zip file in the present working directory. |
|NavRAT||NavRAT writes multiple outputs to a TMP file using the >> method. |
|Night Dragon||Night Dragon has copied files to company web servers and subsequently downloaded them. |
NOKKI can collect data from the victim and stage it in
|OopsIE||OopsIE stages the output from command execution and collected files in specific folders before exfiltration. |
|Patchwork||Patchwork copied all targeted files to a directory called index that was eventually uploaded to the C&C server. |
|PoisonIvy||PoisonIvy stages collected data in a text file. |
Prikormka creates a directory,
Pteranodon creates various subdirectories under
|PUNCHBUGGY||PUNCHBUGGY has saved information to a random temp file before exfil. |
|PUNCHTRACK||PUNCHTRACK aggregates collected data in a tmp file. |
|RawPOS||Data captured by RawPOS is placed in a temporary file under a directory named "memdump". |
Rover copies files from removable drives to
|Soft Cell||Soft Cell compressed and staged files in multi-part archives in the Recycle Bin prior to exfiltration. |
|SPACESHIP||SPACESHIP identifies files with certain extensions and copies them to a directory in the user's profile. |
|TEMP.Veles||TEMP.Veles has created staging folders in directories that were infrequently used by legitimate users or processes. |
|Threat Group-3390||Threat Group-3390 has staged encrypted archives for exfiltration on Internet-facing servers that had previously been compromised with China Chopper. |
Trojan.Karagany can create a directory (
|Ursnif||Ursnif has used tmp files to stage gathered information. |
|USBStealer||USBStealer collects files matching certain criteria from the victim and stores them in a local directory for later exfiltration.  |
|Zebrocy||Zebrocy stores all collected information in a single file before exfiltration. |
This type of attack technique cannot be easily mitigated with preventive controls since it is based on the abuse of system features.
Processes that appear to be reading files from disparate locations and writing them to the same directory or file may be an indication of data being staged, especially if they are suspected of performing encryption or compression on the files.
Monitor processes and command-line arguments for actions that could be taken to collect and combine files. Remote access tools with built-in features may interact directly with the Windows API to gather and copy to a location. Data may also be acquired and staged through Windows system management tools such as Windows Management Instrumentation and PowerShell.
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