Account Discovery

Adversaries may attempt to get a listing of accounts on a system or within an environment. This information can help adversaries determine which accounts exist to aid in follow-on behavior.

ID: T1087
Sub-techniques:  T1087.001, T1087.002, T1087.003, T1087.004
Tactic: Discovery
Platforms: Azure AD, Google Workspace, IaaS, Linux, Office 365, SaaS, Windows, macOS
Permissions Required: User
Contributors: Daniel Stepanic, Elastic; Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC); Travis Smith, Tripwire
Version: 2.3
Created: 31 May 2017
Last Modified: 13 October 2021

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
G0016 APT29

APT29 obtained a list of users and their roles from an Exchange server using Get-ManagementRoleAssignment.[1]

S0445 ShimRatReporter

ShimRatReporter listed all non-privileged and privileged accounts available on the machine.[2]


XCSSET attempts to discover accounts from various locations such as a user's Evernote, AppleID, Telegram, Skype, and WeChat data.[3]


ID Mitigation Description
M1028 Operating System Configuration

Prevent administrator accounts from being enumerated when an application is elevating through UAC since it can lead to the disclosure of account names. The Registry key is located HKLM\ SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\CredUI\EnumerateAdministrators. It can be disabled through GPO: Computer Configuration > [Policies] > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Credential User Interface: E numerate administrator accounts on elevation. [4]


ID Data Source Data Component Detects
DS0017 Command Command Execution

Monitor logs and other sources of command execution history for actions that could be taken to gather information about accounts, including the use of calls to cloud APIs that perform account discovery.

System and network discovery techniques normally occur throughout an operation as an adversary learns the environment, and also to an extent in normal network operations. Therefore discovery 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.

DS0022 File File Access

Monitor access to file resources that contain local accounts and groups information such as /etc/passwd, /Users directories, and the SAM database.

If access requires high privileges, look for non-admin objects (such as users or processes) attempting to access restricted file resources.

DS0009 Process Process Creation

Monitor for processes that can be used to enumerate user accounts and groups such as net.exe and net1.exe, especially when executed in quick succession.[5] Information may also be acquired through Windows system management tools such as Windows Management Instrumentation and PowerShell.