Account Discovery: Local Account

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

Commands such as net user and net localgroup of the Net utility and id and groups on macOS and Linux can list local users and groups.[1][2][3] On Linux, local users can also be enumerated through the use of the /etc/passwd file. On macOS the dscl . list /Users command can be used to enumerate local accounts.

ID: T1087.001
Sub-technique of:  T1087
Tactic: Discovery
Platforms: Linux, Windows, macOS
Contributors: Daniel Stepanic, Elastic; Miriam Wiesner, @miriamxyra, Microsoft Security
Version: 1.4
Created: 21 February 2020
Last Modified: 11 January 2024

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
G0018 admin@338

admin@338 actors used the following commands following exploitation of a machine with LOWBALL malware to enumerate user accounts: net user >> %temp%\download net user /domain >> %temp%\download[4]

S0331 Agent Tesla

Agent Tesla can collect account information from the victim’s machine.[5]

G0006 APT1

APT1 used the commands net localgroup,net user, and net group to find accounts on the system.[1]

G0022 APT3

APT3 has used a tool that can obtain info about local and global group users, power users, and administrators.[6]

G0050 APT32

APT32 enumerated administrative users using the commands net localgroup administrators.[7]

G0096 APT41

APT41 used built-in net commands to enumerate local administrator groups.[8]

S0239 Bankshot

Bankshot gathers domain and account names/information through process monitoring.[9]

S0534 Bazar

Bazar can identify administrator accounts on an infected host.[10]

S0570 BitPaymer

BitPaymer can enumerate the sessions for each user logged onto the infected host.[11]

S0521 BloodHound

BloodHound can identify users with local administrator rights.[12]

G0114 Chimera

Chimera has used net user for account discovery.[13]

S0244 Comnie

Comnie uses the net user command.[14]

S0038 Duqu

The discovery modules used with Duqu can collect information on accounts and permissions.[15]

S0081 Elise

Elise executes net user after initial communication is made to the remote server.[16]

S0363 Empire

Empire can acquire local and domain user account information.[17]

S0091 Epic

Epic gathers a list of all user accounts, privilege classes, and time of last logon.[18]

G0117 Fox Kitten

Fox Kitten has accessed ntuser.dat and UserClass.dat on compromised hosts.[19]

S0049 GeminiDuke

GeminiDuke collects information on local user accounts from the victim.[20]

S0537 HyperStack

HyperStack can enumerate all account names on a remote share.[21]

S0260 InvisiMole

InvisiMole has a command to list account information on the victim’s machine.[22]

S0265 Kazuar

Kazuar gathers information on local groups and members on the victim’s machine.[23]

G0004 Ke3chang

Ke3chang performs account discovery using commands such as net localgroup administrators and net group "REDACTED" /domain on specific permissions groups.[24]

S0236 Kwampirs

Kwampirs collects a list of accounts with the command net users.[25]

S1015 Milan

Milan has run C:\Windows\system32\cmd.exe /c cmd /c dir c:\users\ /s 2>&1 to discover local accounts.[26]

S0084 Mis-Type

Mis-Type may create a file containing the results of the command cmd.exe /c net user {Username}.[27]

G1009 Moses Staff

Moses Staff has collected the administrator username from a compromised host.[28]


MURKYTOP has the capability to retrieve information about users on remote hosts.[29]

S0039 Net

Commands under net user can be used in Net to gather information about and manipulate user accounts.[30]

G0049 OilRig

OilRig has run net user, net user /domain, net group "domain admins" /domain, and net group "Exchange Trusted Subsystem" /domain to get account listings on a victim.[31]

C0012 Operation CuckooBees

During Operation CuckooBees, the threat actors used the net user command to gather account information.[32]

S0165 OSInfo

OSInfo enumerates local and domain users[6]

S0598 P.A.S. Webshell

P.A.S. Webshell can display the /etc/passwd file on a compromised host.[33]

S0453 Pony

Pony has used the NetUserEnum function to enumerate local accounts.[34]

G0033 Poseidon Group

Poseidon Group searches for administrator accounts on both the local victim machine and the network.[35]

S0378 PoshC2

PoshC2 can enumerate local and domain user account information.[36]

S0194 PowerSploit

PowerSploit's Get-ProcessTokenGroup Privesc-PowerUp module can enumerate all SIDs associated with its current token.[37][38]


POWERSTATS can retrieve usernames from compromised hosts.[39]


PUNCHBUGGY can gather user names.[40]

S0192 Pupy

Pupy uses PowerView and Pywerview to perform discovery commands such as net user, net group, net local group, etc.[41]


RATANKBA uses the net user command.[42]

S0125 Remsec

Remsec can obtain a list of users.[43]

S0085 S-Type

S-Type has run the command net user on a victim.[27]


SHOTPUT has a command to retrieve information about connected users.[44]


SMOKEDHAM has used net.exe user and net.exe users to enumerate local accounts on a compromised host.[45]

S0516 SoreFang

SoreFang can collect usernames from the local system via net.exe user.[46]

S0603 Stuxnet

Stuxnet enumerates user accounts of the local host.[47]

G0027 Threat Group-3390

Threat Group-3390 has used net user to conduct internal discovery of systems.[48]

S0266 TrickBot

TrickBot collects the users of the system.[49][50]

G0010 Turla

Turla has used net user to enumerate local accounts on the system.[51][52]

S0452 USBferry

USBferry can use net user to gather information about local accounts.[53]

S0476 Valak

Valak has the ability to enumerate local admin accounts.[54]


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 at HKLM\ SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\CredUI\EnumerateAdministrators. It can be disabled through GPO: Computer Configuration > [Policies] > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Credential User Interface: Enumerate administrator accounts on elevation.[55]


ID Data Source Data Component Detects
DS0017 Command Command Execution

Monitor for execution of commands and arguments associated with enumeration or information gathering of local accounts and groups such as net user, net account, net localgroup, Get-LocalUser, and dscl.

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 Windows SAM database.

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

DS0036 Group Group Enumeration

Monitor for logging that may suggest a list of available groups and/or their associated settings has been extracted, ex. Windows EID 4798 and 4799.

DS0009 Process OS API Execution

Monitor for API calls (such as NetUserEnum()) that may attempt to gather local accounts information such as type of user, privileges and groups.

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.[56] Information may also be acquired through Windows system management tools such as Windows Management Instrumentation and PowerShell.

Note: Event IDs are for Sysmon (Event ID 1 - process creation) and Windows Security Log (Event ID 4688 - a new process has been created). - For Linux, auditing frameworks such as the Linux Auditing System (auditd) can be used to alert on the enumeration/reading of files that store local users, including /etc/passwd. - For MacOS, utilities that work in concert with Apple’s Endpoint Security Framework such as Process Monitor can be used to track usage of commands such as id and groups.

Analytic 1 - Net Discovery Commands

(source="WinEventLog:Microsoft-Windows-Sysmon/Operational" EventCode="1") OR (source="WinEventLog:Security" EventCode="4688") Image="net.exe" OR Image="net1.exe"


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