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. Adversaries may use the information from File and Directory Discovery during automated discovery to shape follow-on behaviors, including whether or not the adversary fully infects the target and/or attempts specific actions.

Many command shell utilities can be used to obtain this information. Examples include dir, tree, ls, find, and locate. [1] Custom tools may also be used to gather file and directory information and interact with the Native API.

ID: T1083
Sub-techniques:  No sub-techniques
Tactic: Discovery
Platforms: Linux, Windows, macOS
System Requirements: Some folders may require Administrator, SYSTEM or specific user depending on permission levels and access controls
Permissions Required: Administrator, SYSTEM, User
Data Sources: Command: Command Execution, Process: OS API Execution, Process: Process Creation
Version: 1.3
Created: 31 May 2017
Last Modified: 16 September 2020

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description

3PARA RAT has a command to retrieve metadata for files on disk as well as a command to list the current working directory.[2]

S0065 4H RAT

4H RAT has the capability to obtain file and directory listings.[2]

G0018 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[3]


ADVSTORESHELL can list files and directories.[4][5]

G0026 APT18

APT18 can list files information for specific directories.[6]

G0007 APT28

APT28 has used Forfiles to locate PDF, Excel, and Word documents during collection. The group also searched a compromised DCCC computer for specific terms.[7][8]

G0016 APT29

APT29 obtained information about the configured Exchange virtual directory using Get-WebServicesVirtualDirectory.[9]

G0022 APT3

APT3 has a tool that looks for files and directories on the local file system.[10][11]

G0050 APT32

APT32's backdoor possesses the capability to list files and directories on a machine. [12]

G0087 APT39

APT39 has used tools with the ability to search for files on a compromised host.[13]

G0096 APT41

APT41 has executed file /bin/pwd on exploited victims, perhaps to return architecture related information.[14]

S0456 Aria-body

Aria-body has the ability to gather metadata from a file and to search for file and directory names.[15]

S0438 Attor

Attor has a plugin that enumerates files with specific extensions on all hard disk drives and stores file information in encrypted log files.[16]

S0347 AuditCred

AuditCred can search through folders and files on the system.[17]

S0129 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.[18]

S0473 Avenger

Avenger has the ability to browse files in directories such as Program Files and the Desktop.[19]

S0344 Azorult

Azorult can recursively search for files in folders and collects files from the desktop with certain extensions.[20]

S0414 BabyShark

BabyShark has used dir to search for "programfiles" and "appdata".[21]

S0475 BackConfig

BackConfig has the ability to identify folders and files related to previous infections.[22]

S0093 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.[23]


BACKSPACE allows adversaries to search for files.[24]


BADNEWS identifies files with certain extensions from USB devices, then copies them to a predefined directory.[25]

S0337 BadPatch

BadPatch searches for files with specific file extensions.[26]

S0239 Bankshot

Bankshot searches for files on the victim's machine.[27]

S0534 Bazar

Bazar can enumerate the victim's desktop.[28][29]


BBSRAT can list file and directory information.[30]


BLACKCOFFEE has the capability to enumerate files.[31]

S0089 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.[32][33]

S0564 BlackMould

BlackMould has the ability to find files on the targeted system.[34]


BLINDINGCAN can search, read, write, move, and execute files.[35][36]

S0252 Brave Prince

Brave Prince gathers file and directory information from the victim’s machine.[37]


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.[38]

S0351 Cannon

Cannon can obtain victim drive information as well as a list of folders in C:\Program Files.[39]

S0348 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).[40]

S0572 Caterpillar WebShell

Caterpillar WebShell can search for files in directories.[41]

S0144 ChChes

ChChes collects the victim's %TEMP% directory path and version of Internet Explorer.[42]

G0114 Chimera

Chimera has utilized multiple commands to identify data of interest in file and directory listings.[43]

S0020 China Chopper

China Chopper's server component can list directory contents.[44]


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.[4]

S0106 cmd

cmd can be used to find files and directories with native functionality such as dir commands.[45]

S0575 Conti

Conti can discover files on a local system.[46]

S0492 CookieMiner

CookieMiner has looked for files in the user's home directory with "wallet" in their name using find.[47]


CORALDECK searches for specified files.[48]

S0050 CosmicDuke

CosmicDuke searches attached and mounted drives for file extensions and keywords that match a predefined list.[49]

S0488 CrackMapExec

CrackMapExec can discover specified filetypes and log files on a targeted system.[50]

S0115 Crimson

Crimson contains commands to list files and directories, as well as search for files matching certain extensions from a defined list.[51]

S0235 CrossRAT

CrossRAT can list all files on a system.

S0498 Cryptoistic

Cryptoistic can scan a directory to identify files for deletion.[52]

S0497 Dacls

Dacls can scan directories on a compromised host.[53]

G0070 Dark Caracal

Dark Caracal collected file listings of all default Windows directories.[54]

G0012 Darkhotel

Darkhotel has used malware that searched for files with specific patterns.[55]


DDKONG lists files on the victim’s machine.[56]

S0354 Denis

Denis has several commands to search directories for files.[57][58]

S0021 Derusbi

Derusbi is capable of obtaining directory, file, and drive listings.[59][44]

S0600 Doki

Doki has resolved the path of a process PID to use as a script argument.[60]

S0472 down_new

down_new has the ability to list the directories on a compromised host.[19]

G0074 Dragonfly 2.0

Dragonfly 2.0 used a batch script to gather folder and file names from victim hosts.[61]

S0547 DropBook

DropBook can collect the names of all files and folders in the Program Files directories.[62][63]

S0567 Dtrack

Dtrack can list files on available disk volumes.[64][65]

G0031 Dust Storm

Dust Storm has used Android backdoors capable of enumerating specific files on the infected devices.[66]

S0062 DustySky

DustySky scans the victim for files that contain certain keywords and document types including PDF, DOC, DOCX, XLS, and XLSX, from a list that is obtained from the C2 as a text file. It can also identify logical drives for the infected machine.[67][68]

S0377 Ebury

Ebury can list directory entries.[69]

S0081 Elise

A variant of Elise executes dir C:\progra~1 when initially run.[70][71]


ELMER is capable of performing directory listings.[72]

S0363 Empire

Empire includes various modules for finding files of interest on hosts and network shares.[73]

S0091 Epic

Epic recursively searches for all .doc files on the system and collects a directory listing of the Desktop, %TEMP%, and %WINDOWS%\Temp directories.[74][75]


FALLCHILL can search files on a victim.[76]

S0512 FatDuke

FatDuke can enumerate directories on target machines.[77]

S0182 FinFisher

FinFisher enumerates directories and scans for certain files.[78][79]


FLASHFLOOD searches for interesting files (either a default or customized set of file extensions) on the local system and removable media.[24]

S0193 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)[7]

G0117 Fox Kitten

Fox Kitten has used WizTree to obtain network files and directory listings.[80]

S0277 FruitFly

FruitFly looks for specific files and file types.[81]

S0410 Fysbis

Fysbis has the ability to search for files.[82]

G0047 Gamaredon Group

Gamaredon Group macros can scan for Microsoft Word and Excel files to inject with additional malicious macros. Gamaredon Group has also used its backdoors to automatically list interesting files (such as Office documents) found on a system.[83]

S0049 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.[84]

S0249 Gold Dragon

Gold Dragon lists the directories for Desktop, program files, and the user’s recently accessed files.[37]

S0493 GoldenSpy

GoldenSpy has included a program "ExeProtector", which monitors for the existence of GoldenSpy on the infected system and redownloads if necessary.[85]

S0237 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.[86]

G0072 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.[87]


HOPLIGHT has been observed enumerating system drives and partitions.[88]

S0431 HotCroissant

HotCroissant has the ability to retrieve a list of files in a given directory as well as drives and drive types.[89]

S0070 HTTPBrowser

HTTPBrowser is capable of listing files, folders, and drives on a victim.[90][91]

S0203 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.[92][93]

S0434 Imminent Monitor

Imminent Monitor has a dynamic debugging feature to check whether it is located in the %TEMP% directory, otherwise it copies itself there.[94]

G0100 Inception

Inception used a file listing plugin to collect information about file and directories both on local and remote drives.[95]

S0259 InnaputRAT

InnaputRAT enumerates directories and obtains file attributes on a system.[96]

S0260 InvisiMole

InvisiMole can list information about files in a directory and recently opened or used documents. InvisiMole can also search for specific files by supplied file mask.[97]

S0015 Ixeshe

Ixeshe can list file and directory information.[98]

S0201 JPIN

JPIN can enumerate drives and their types. It can also change file permissions using cacls.exe.[99]

S0283 jRAT

jRAT can browse file systems.[100][101]

S0088 Kasidet

Kasidet has the ability to search for a given filename on a victim.[102]

S0265 Kazuar

Kazuar finds a specified directory, lists the files and metadata about those files.[103]

G0004 Ke3chang

Ke3chang uses command-line interaction to search files and directories.[104]

S0387 KeyBoy

KeyBoy has a command to launch a file browser or explorer on the system.[105]


KEYMARBLE has a command to search for files on the victim’s machine.[106]


KGH_SPY can enumerate files and directories on a compromised host.[107]

G0094 Kimsuky

Kimsuky has the ability to enumerate all the drives on an infected system.[108]

S0599 Kinsing

Kinsing has used the find command to search for specific files.[109]

S0437 Kivars

Kivars has the ability to list drives on the infected host.[110]


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.[111]

S0236 Kwampirs

Kwampirs collects a list of files and directories in C:\ with the command dir /s /a c:\ >> "C:\windows\TEMP[RANDOM].tmp".[112]

G0032 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.[113][114]

G0077 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.[115]

S0211 Linfo

Linfo creates a backdoor through which remote attackers can list contents of drives and search for files.[116]

S0582 LookBack

LookBack can retrieve file listings from the victim machine.[117]

S0409 Machete

Machete produces file listings in order to search for files to be exfiltrated.[118][119][120]

G0059 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.[121]

S0576 MegaCortex

MegaCortex can parse the available drives and directories to determine which files to encrypt.[122]

G0045 menuPass

menuPass has searched compromised systems for folders of interest including those related to HR, audit and expense, and meeting memos.[123]


MESSAGETAP checks for the existence of two configuration files (keyword_parm.txt and parm.txt) and attempts to read the files every 30 seconds.[124]

S0455 Metamorfo

Metamorfo has searched the Program Files directories for specific folders and has searched for strings related to its mutexes.[125][126][127]

S0339 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.[128]

S0051 MiniDuke

MiniDuke can enumerate local drives.[77]

S0083 Misdat

Misdat is capable of running commands to obtain a list of files and directories, as well as enumerating logical drives.[66]

S0079 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.[129]

S0149 MoonWind

MoonWind has a command to return a directory listing for a specified directory.[130]

G0069 MuddyWater

MuddyWater has used malware that checked if the ProgramData folder had folders or files with the keywords "Kasper," "Panda," or "ESET."[131]

G0129 Mustang Panda

Mustang Panda has searched the entire target system for DOC, DOCX, PPT, PPTX, XLS, XLSX, and PDF files.[132]

S0272 NDiskMonitor

NDiskMonitor can obtain a list of all files and directories as well as logical drives.[25]


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.[24]


NETWIRE has the ability to search for files on the compromised host.[133]

S0385 njRAT

njRAT can browse file systems using a file manager module.[134]

S0368 NotPetya

NotPetya searches for files ending with dozens of different file extensions prior to encryption.[135]

S0346 OceanSalt

OceanSalt can extract drive information from the endpoint and search files on the system.[136]

S0340 Octopus

Octopus collects information on the Windows directory and searches for compressed RAR files on the host.[137]

S0439 Okrum

Okrum has used DriveLetterView to enumerate drive information.[138]

G0116 Operation Wocao

Operation Wocao has gathered a recursive directory listing to find files and directories of interest.[139]

S0229 Orz

Orz can gather victim drive information.[140]

S0072 OwaAuth

OwaAuth has a command to list its directory and logical drives.[90]

S0598 P.A.S. Webshell

P.A.S. Webshell has the ability to list files and file characteristics including extension, size, ownership, and permissions.[141]

S0208 Pasam

Pasam creates a backdoor through which remote attackers can retrieve lists of files.[142]

G0040 Patchwork

A Patchwork payload has searched all fixed drives on the victim for files matching a specified list of extensions.[143][25]

S0587 Penquin

Penquin can use the command code do_vslist to send file names, size, and status to C2.[144]

S0048 PinchDuke

PinchDuke searches for files created within a certain timeframe and whose file extension matches a predefined list.[84]

S0124 Pisloader

Pisloader has commands to list drives on the victim machine and to list file information for a given directory.[145]


PLEAD has the ability to list drives and files on the compromised host.[110][146]

S0013 PlugX

PlugX has a module to enumerate drives and find files recursively.[147]

S0428 PoetRAT

PoetRAT has the ability to list files upon receiving the ls command from C2.[148]


POORAIM can conduct file browsing.[48]

S0378 PoshC2

PoshC2 can enumerate files on the local file system and includes a module for enumerating recently accessed files.[149]

S0139 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.[150]


POWRUNER may enumerate user directories on a victim.[151]

S0113 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.[152]

S0238 Proxysvc

Proxysvc lists files in directories.[114]

S0078 Psylo

Psylo has commands to enumerate all storage devices and to find all files that start with a particular string.[129]

S0147 Pteranodon

Pteranodon identifies files matching certain file extension and copies them to subdirectories it created.[153]

S0192 Pupy

Pupy can walk through directories and recursively search for strings in files.[154]

S0458 Ramsay

Ramsay can collect directory and file lists.[155][156]


RARSTONE obtains installer properties from Uninstall Registry Key entries to obtain information about installed applications and how to uninstall certain applications.[157]

S0153 RedLeaves

RedLeaves can enumerate and search for files and directories.[158][42]

S0332 Remcos

Remcos can search for files on the infected machine.[159]

S0375 Remexi

Remexi searches for files on the system. [160]

S0592 RemoteUtilities

RemoteUtilities can enumerate files and directories on a target machine.[161]

S0125 Remsec

Remsec is capable of listing contents of folders on the victim. Remsec also searches for custom network encryption software on victims.[162][163][164]

S0496 REvil

REvil has the ability to identify specific files and directories that are not to be encrypted.[165][166][167][168][169][170]

S0448 Rising Sun

Rising Sun can enumerate information about files from the infected system, including file size, attributes, creation time, last access time, and write time. Rising Sun can enumerate the compilation timestamp of Windows executable files.[171]


ROKRAT has the ability to gather a list of files and directories on the infected system.[172][173]

S0090 Rover

Rover automatically searches for files on local drives based on a predefined list of file extensions.[174]

S0148 RTM

RTM can check for specific files and directories associated with virtualization and malware analysis.[175]

S0446 Ryuk

Ryuk has called GetLogicalDrives to emumerate all mounted drives, and GetDriveTypeW to determine the drive type.[176]

G0034 Sandworm Team

Sandworm Team has enumerated files on a compromised host.[135]

S0461 SDBbot

SDBbot has the ability to get directory listings or drive information on a compromised host.[177]

S0345 Seasalt

Seasalt has the capability to identify the drive type on a victim.[136]

S0444 ShimRat

ShimRat can list directories.[178]


SHOTPUT has a command to obtain a directory listing.[179]

G0121 Sidewinder

Sidewinder has used malware to collect information on files and directories.[180]

S0468 Skidmap

Skidmap has checked for the existence of specific files including /usr/sbin/setenforce and /etc/selinux/config. It also has the ability to monitor the cryptocurrency miner file and process. [181]


SLOTHFULMEDIA can enumerate files and directories.[182]

S0226 Smoke Loader

Smoke Loader recursively searches through directories for files.[183]

S0516 SoreFang

SoreFang has the ability to list directories.[184]


SOUNDBITE is capable of enumerating and manipulating files and directories.[185]

G0054 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.[186]


SPACESHIP identifies files and directories for collection by searching for specific file extensions or file modification time.[24]

S0142 StreamEx

StreamEx has the ability to enumerate drive types.[187]

S0491 StrongPity

StrongPity can parse the hard drive on a compromised host to identify specific file extensions.[188]


SUNBURST had commands to enumerate files and directories.[189][190]


SUNSPOT enumerated the Orion software Visual Studio solution directory path.[191]

S0242 SynAck

SynAck checks its directory location in an attempt to avoid launching in a sandbox.[192][193]


TAINTEDSCRIBE can use DirectoryList to enumerate files in a specified directory.[194]

S0467 TajMahal

TajMahal has the ability to index files from drives, user profiles, and removable drives.[195]


TINYTYPHON searches through the drive containing the OS, then all drive letters C through to Z, for documents matching certain extensions.[18]

S0266 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.[196][197]

S0094 Trojan.Karagany

Trojan.Karagany can enumerate files and directories on a compromised host.[198]

G0081 Tropic Trooper

Tropic Trooper has monitored files' modified time.[199]

S0436 TSCookie

TSCookie has the ability to discover drive information on the infected host.[200]

G0010 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, the Program Files directory, and Recent.[74][201] Turla RPC backdoors have also searched for files matching the lPH*.dll pattern.[202]


TYPEFRAME can search directories for files on the victim’s machine.[203]


UPPERCUT has the capability to gather the victim's current directory.[204]

S0452 USBferry

USBferry can detect the victim's file or folder list.[199]

S0136 USBStealer

USBStealer searches victim drives for files matching certain extensions (".skr",".pkr" or ".key") or names.[205][206]

S0180 Volgmer

Volgmer can list directories on a victim.[207]

S0366 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.[208][209]

G0124 Windigo

Windigo has used a script to check for the presence of files created by OpenSSH backdoors.[210]

S0466 WindTail

WindTail has the ability to enumerate the users home directory and the path to its own application bundle.[211][212]


WINERACK can enumerate files and directories.[48]

S0059 WinMM

WinMM sets a WH_CBT Windows hook to search for and capture files on the victim.[213]

S0161 XAgentOSX

XAgentOSX contains the readFiles function to return a detailed listing (sometimes recursive) of a specified directory.[214] XAgentOSX contains the showBackupIosFolder function to check for IOS device backups by running ls -la ~/Library/Application\ Support/MobileSync/Backup/.[214]

S0248 yty

yty gathers information on victim’s drives and has a plugin for document listing.[215]

S0251 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.[216][217][218] Zebrocy can obtain the current execution path as well as perform drive enumeration.[219][220]

S0330 Zeus Panda

Zeus Panda searches for specific directories on the victim’s machine.[221]

S0086 ZLib

ZLib has the ability to enumerate files and drives.[66]

S0350 zwShell

zwShell can browse the file system.[222]

S0412 ZxShell

ZxShell has a command to open a file manager and explorer on the system.[223]


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 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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