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File and Directory Discovery

Adversaries may enumerate files and directories or may search in specific locations of a host or network share for certain information within a file system.

Windows

Example utilities used to obtain this information are dir and tree. [1] Custom tools may also be used to gather file and directory information and interact with the Windows API.

Mac and Linux

In Mac and Linux, this kind of discovery is accomplished with the ls, find, and locate commands.

ID: T1083
Tactic: Discovery
Platform: Linux, macOS, Windows
System Requirements: Some folders may require Administrator, SYSTEM or specific user depending on permission levels and access controls
Permissions Required: User, Administrator, SYSTEM
Data Sources: File monitoring, Process monitoring, Process command-line parameters
Version: 1.0

Procedure Examples

Name Description
3PARA RAT 3PARA RAT has a command to retrieve metadata for files on disk as well as a command to list the current working directory. [74]
4H RAT 4H RAT has the capability to obtain file and directory listings. [74]
admin@338 admin@338 actors used the following commands after exploiting a machine with LOWBALL malware to obtain information about files and directories: dir c:\ >> %temp%\download dir "c:\Documents and Settings" >> %temp%\download dir "c:\Program Files\" >> %temp%\download dir d:\ >> %temp%\download [127]
ADVSTORESHELL ADVSTORESHELL can list files and directories. [8] [63]
APT18 APT18 can list files information for specific directories. [121]
APT28 APT28 has used Forfiles to locate PDF, Excel, and Word documents during. The group also searched a compromised DCCC computer for specific terms. [3] [114]
APT3 APT3 has a tool that looks for files and directories on the local file system. [115] [116]
APT32 APT32's backdoor possesses the capability to list files and directories on a machine. [129]
AuditCred AuditCred can search through folders and files on the system. [67]
AutoIt backdoor AutoIt backdoor is capable of identifying documents on the victim with the following extensions: .doc; .pdf, .csv, .ppt, .docx, .pst, .xls, .xlsx, .pptx, and .jpeg. [39]
Azorult Azorult can recursively search for files in folders and collects files from the desktop with certain extensions. [98]
Backdoor.Oldrea Backdoor.Oldrea collects information about available drives, default browser, desktop file list, My Documents, Internet history, program files, and root of available drives. It also searches for ICS-related software files. [79]
BACKSPACE BACKSPACE allows adversaries to search for files. [49]
BADNEWS BADNEWS identifies files with certain extensions from USB devices, then copies them to a predefined directory. [24]
BadPatch BadPatch searches for files with specific file extensions. [43]
Bankshot Bankshot searches for files on the victim's machine. [48]
BBSRAT BBSRAT can list file and directory information. [28]
BLACKCOFFEE BLACKCOFFEE has the capability to enumerate files. [69]
BlackEnergy BlackEnergy gathers a list of installed apps from the uninstall program Registry. It also gathers registered mail, browser, and instant messaging clients from the Registry. BlackEnergy has searched for given file types. [91] [92]
Brave Prince Brave Prince gathers file and directory information from the victim’s machine. [80]
BRONZE BUTLER BRONZE BUTLER has collected a list of files from the victim and uploaded it to its C2 server, and then created a new list of specific files to steal. [117]
Cannon Cannon can obtain victim drive information as well as a list of folders in C:\Program Files. [19]
Cardinal RAT Cardinal RAT checks its current working directory upon execution and also contains watchdog functionality that ensures its executable is located in the correct path (else it will rewrite the payload). [72]
ChChes ChChes collects the victim's %TEMP% directory path and version of Internet Explorer. [51]
China Chopper China Chopper's server component can list directory contents. [29]
CHOPSTICK An older version of CHOPSTICK has a module that monitors all mounted volumes for files with the extensions .doc, .docx, .pgp, .gpg, .m2f, or .m2o. [8]
cmd cmd can be used to find files and directories with native functionality such as dir commands. [4]
CORALDECK CORALDECK searches for specified files. [47]
CosmicDuke CosmicDuke searches attached and mounted drives for file extensions and keywords that match a predefined list. [44]
Crimson Crimson contains commands to list files and directories, as well as search for files matching certain extensions from a defined list. [96]
CrossRAT CrossRAT can list all files on a system.
Dark Caracal Dark Caracal collected file listings of all default Windows directories. [126]
DDKONG DDKONG lists files on the victim’s machine. [35]
Denis Denis has several commands to search directories for files. [59] [60]
Derusbi Derusbi is capable of obtaining directory, file, and drive listings. [54] [29]
Dragonfly 2.0 Dragonfly 2.0 used a batch script to gather folder and file names from victim hosts. [122]
Dust Storm Dust Storm has used Android backdoors capable of enumerating specific files on the infected devices. [26]
DustySky DustySky scans the victim for files that contain certain keywords from a list that is obtained from the C2 as a text file. It also collects information about installed software. [37]
Elise A variant of Elise executes dir C:\progra~1 when initially run.
ELMER ELMER is capable of performing directory listings. [56]
Empire Empire includes various modules for finding files of interest on hosts and network shares. [6]
Epic Epic recursively searches for all .doc files on the system and collects a directory listing of the Desktop, %TEMP%, and %WINDOWS%\Temp directories. [65] [66]
FALLCHILL FALLCHILL can search files on a victim. [31]
FinFisher FinFisher enumerates directories and scans for certain files. [40] [41]
FLASHFLOOD FLASHFLOOD searches for interesting files (either a default or customized set of file extensions) on the local system and removable media. [49]
Forfiles Forfiles can be used to locate certain types of files/directories in a system.(ex: locate all files with a specific extension, name, and/or age) [3]
FruitFly FruitFly looks for specific files and file types. [13]
GeminiDuke GeminiDuke collects information from the victim, including installed drivers, programs previously executed by users, programs and services configured to automatically run at startup, files and folders present in any user's home folder, files and folders present in any user's My Documents, programs installed to the Program Files folder, and recently accessed files, folders, and programs. [32]
Gold Dragon Gold Dragon lists the directories for Desktop, program files, and the user’s recently accessed files. [80]
GravityRAT GravityRAT collects the volumes mapped on the system, and also steals files with the following extensions: .docx, .doc, .pptx, .ppt, .xlsx, .xls, .rtf, and .pdf. [55]
Honeybee Honeybee's service-based DLL implant traverses the FTP server’s directories looking for files with keyword matches for computer names or certain keywords. [124]
HOPLIGHT HOPLIGHT has been observed enumerating system drives and partitions. [103]
HTTPBrowser HTTPBrowser is capable of listing files, folders, and drives on a victim. [42] [62]
Hydraq Hydraq creates a backdoor through which remote attackers can check for the existence of files, including its own components, as well as retrieve a list of logical drives. [21] [22]
InnaputRAT InnaputRAT enumerates directories and obtains file attributes on a system. [9]
InvisiMole InvisiMole can lists information about files in a directory. [38]
Ixeshe Ixeshe can list file and directory information. [109]
JPIN JPIN can enumerate drives and their types. It can also change file permissions using cacls.exe. [20]
jRAT jRAT can browse file systems. [106] [107]
Kasidet Kasidet has the ability to search for a given filename on a victim. [70]
Kazuar Kazuar finds a specified directory, lists the files and metadata about those files. [52]
Ke3chang Ke3chang uses command-line interaction to search files and directories. [123]
KeyBoy KeyBoy has a command to launch a file browser or explorer on the system. [111]
KEYMARBLE KEYMARBLE has a command to search for files on the victim’s machine. [94]
KONNI A version of KONNI searches for filenames created with a previous version of the malware, suggesting different versions targeted the same victims and the versions may work together. [73]
Kwampirs Kwampirs collects a list of files and directories in C:\ with the command dir /s /a c:\ >> "C:\windows\TEMP[RANDOM].tmp". [75]
Lazarus Group Several Lazarus Group malware samples use a common function to identify target files by their extension. Lazarus Group malware families can also enumerate files and directories, including a Destover-like variant that lists files and gathers information for all drives. [125] [101]
Leafminer Leafminer used a tool called MailSniper to search for files on the desktop and another utility called Sobolsoft to extract attachments from EML files. [120]
Linfo Linfo creates a backdoor through which remote attackers can list contents of drives and search for files. [61]
Magic Hound Magic Hound malware can list a victim's logical drives and the type, as well the total/free space of the fixed devices. Other malware can list a directory's contents. [113]
Micropsia Micropsia can perform a recursive directory listing for all volume drives available on the victim's machine and can also fetch specific files by their paths. [10]
Misdat Misdat is capable of running commands to obtain a list of files and directories, as well as enumerating logical drives. [26]
MobileOrder MobileOrder has a command to upload to its C2 server information about files on the victim mobile device, including SD card size, installed app list, SMS content, contacts, and calling history. [77]
MoonWind MoonWind has a command to return a directory listing for a specified directory. [46]
MuddyWater MuddyWater has used malware that checked if the ProgramData folder had folders or files with the keywords "Kasper," "Panda," or "ESET." [128]
NDiskMonitor NDiskMonitor can obtain a list of all files and directories as well as logical drives. [24]
NETEAGLE NETEAGLE allows adversaries to enumerate and modify the infected host's file system. It supports searching for directories, creating directories, listing directory contents, reading and writing to files, retrieving file attributes, and retrieving volume information. [49]
njRAT njRAT can browse file systems using a file manager module. [110]
OceanSalt OceanSalt can extract drive information from the endpoint and search files on the system. [23]
Octopus Octopus collects information on the Windows directory and searches for compressed RAR files on the host. [85]
Orz Orz can gather victim drive information. [30]
OwaAuth OwaAuth has a command to list its directory and logical drives. [42]
Pasam Pasam creates a backdoor through which remote attackers can retrieve lists of files. [36]
Patchwork A Patchwork payload has searched all fixed drives on the victim for files matching a specified list of extensions. [112] [24]
PinchDuke PinchDuke searches for files created within a certain timeframe and whose file extension matches a predefined list. [32]
Pisloader Pisloader has commands to list drives on the victim machine and to list file information for a given directory. [71]
PlugX PlugX has a module to enumerate drives and find files recursively. [57]
POORAIM POORAIM can conduct file browsing. [47]
PoshC2 PoshC2 can enumerate files on the local file system and includes a module for enumerating recently accessed files. [7]
PowerDuke PowerDuke has commands to get the current directory name as well as the size of a file. It also has commands to obtain information about logical drives, drive type, and free space. [86]
POWRUNER POWRUNER may enumerate user directories on a victim. [12]
Prikormka A module in Prikormka collects information about the paths, size, and creation time of files with specific file extensions, but not the actual content of the file. [78]
Proxysvc Proxysvc lists files in directories. [101]
Psylo Psylo has commands to enumerate all storage devices and to find all files that start with a particular string. [77]
Pteranodon Pteranodon identifies files matching certain file extension and copies them to subdirectories it created. [95]
Pupy Pupy can walk through directories and recursively search for strings in files. [2]
RARSTONE RARSTONE obtains installer properties from Uninstall Registry Key entries to obtain information about installed applications and how to uninstall certain applications. [81]
RedLeaves RedLeaves can enumerate and search for files and directories. [50] [51]
Remcos Remcos can search for files on the infected machine. [5]
Remexi Remexi searches for files on the system. [102]
Remsec Remsec is capable of listing contents of folders on the victim. Remsec also searches for custom network encryption software on victims. [82] [83] [84]
ROKRAT ROKRAT has the ability to gather a list of files and directories on the infected system. [108]
Rover Rover automatically searches for files on local drives based on a predefined list of file extensions. [93]
RTM RTM can scan victim drives to look for specific banking software on the machine to determine next actions. It also looks at browsing history and open tabs for specific strings. [45]
Seasalt Seasalt has the capability to identify the drive type on a victim. [23]
SHOTPUT SHOTPUT has a command to obtain a directory listing. [33]
Smoke Loader Smoke Loader recursively searches through directories for files. [27]
SOUNDBITE SOUNDBITE is capable of enumerating and manipulating files and directories. [76]
Sowbug Sowbug identified and extracted all Word documents on a server by using a command containing * .doc and *.docx. The actors also searched for documents based on a specific date range and attempted to identify all installed software on a victim. [119]
SPACESHIP SPACESHIP identifies files and directories for collection by searching for specific file extensions or file modification time. [49]
StreamEx StreamEx has the ability to enumerate drive types. [11]
SynAck SynAck checks its directory location in an attempt to avoid launching in a sandbox. [99] [100]
TINYTYPHON TINYTYPHON searches through the drive containing the OS, then all drive letters C through to Z, for documents matching certain extensions. [39]
TrickBot TrickBot searches the system for all of the following file extensions: .avi, .mov, .mkv, .mpeg, .mpeg4, .mp4, .mp3, .wav, .ogg, .jpeg, .jpg, .png, .bmp, .gif, .tiff, .ico, .xlsx, and .zip. It can also obtain browsing history, cookies, and plug-in information. [17] [18]
Turla Turla surveys a system upon check-in to discover files in specific locations on the hard disk %TEMP% directory, the current user's desktop, and in the Program Files directory. Turla RPC backdoors have also searched for files matching the lPH*.dll pattern. [65] [118]
TYPEFRAME TYPEFRAME can search directories for files on the victim’s machine. [53]
UPPERCUT UPPERCUT has the capability to gather the victim's current directory. [64]
USBStealer USBStealer searches victim drives for files matching certain extensions (“.skr”,“.pkr” or “.key”) or names. [14] [15]
Volgmer Volgmer can list directories on a victim. [68]
WannaCry WannaCry searches for variety of user files by file extension before encrypting them using RSA and AES, including Office, PDF, image, audio, video, source code, archive/compression format, and key and certificate files. [104] [105]
WINERACK WINERACK can enumerate files and directories. [47]
WinMM WinMM sets a WH_CBT Windows hook to search for and capture files on the victim. [34]
XAgentOSX XAgentOSX contains the readFiles function to return a detailed listing (sometimes recursive) of a specified directory. [16]
yty yty gathers information on victim’s drives and has a plugin for document listing. [25]
Zebrocy Zebrocy searches for files that are 60mb and less and contain the following extensions: .doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx, .ppt, .pptx, .exe, .zip, and .rar. Zebrocy also runs the echo %APPDATA% command to list the contents of the directory. Zebrocy can obtain the current execution path as well as perform drive enumeration. [87] [88] [89] [90]
Zeus Panda Zeus Panda searches for specific directories on the victim’s machine. [97]
ZLib ZLib has the ability to enumerate files and drives. [26]
zwShell zwShell can browse the file system. [58]

Mitigations

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

Detection

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 Collection and Exfiltration, 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.

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