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Disabling Security Tools

Adversaries may disable security tools to avoid possible detection of their tools and activities. This can take the form of killing security software or event logging processes, deleting Registry keys so that tools do not start at run time, or other methods to interfere with security scanning or event reporting.

ID: T1089

Tactic: Defense Evasion

Platform:  Linux, macOS, Windows

Data Sources:  API monitoring, File monitoring, Services, Windows Registry, Process command-line parameters, Anti-virus

Defense Bypassed:  File monitoring, Host intrusion prevention systems, Signature-based detection, Log analysis, Anti-virus

CAPEC ID:  CAPEC-578

Version: 1.0

Examples

NameDescription
BACKSPACE

The "ZR" variant of BACKSPACE will check to see if known host-based firewalls are installed on the infected systems. BACKSPACE will attempt to establish a C2 channel, then will examine open windows to identify a pop-up from the firewall software and will simulate a mouse-click to allow the connection to proceed.[1]

BADCALL

BADCALL disables the Windows firewall before binding to a port.[2]

Brave Prince

Brave Prince terminates antimalware processes.[3]

Carbanak

Carbanak may use netsh to add local firewall rule exceptions.[4]

ChChes

ChChes can alter the victim's proxy configuration.[5]

Dragonfly 2.0

Dragonfly 2.0 has disabled host-based firewalls. The group has also globally opened port 3389.[6][7]

Gold Dragon

Gold Dragon terminates anti-malware processes if they’re found running on the system.[3]

Gorgon Group

Gorgon Group malware can attempt to disable security features in Microsoft Office and Windows Defender using the taskkill command.[8]

H1N1

H1N1 kills and disables services for Windows Firewall, Windows Security Center, and Windows Defender.[9]

HARDRAIN

HARDRAIN opens the Windows Firewall to modify incoming connections.[10]

HDoor

HDoor kills anti-virus found on the victim.[11]

InvisiMole

InvisiMole has a command to disable routing and the Firewall on the victim’s machine.[12]

JPIN

JPIN lower disable security settings by changing Registry keys.[13]

Kasidet

Kasidet has the ability to change firewall settings to allow a plug-in to be downloaded.[14]

Lazarus Group

Various Lazarus Group malware modifies the Windows firewall to allow incoming connections or disable it entirely using netsh. Lazarus Group malware TangoDelta attempts to terminate various processes associated with McAfee. Additionally, Lazarus Group malware SHARPKNOT disables the Microsoft Windows System Event Notification and Alerter services.[15][16][17][18]

NanHaiShu

NanHaiShu can change Internet Explorer settings to reduce warnings about malware activity.[19]

netsh

netsh can be used to disable local firewall settings.[20][21]

POWERSTATS

POWERSTATS can disable Microsoft Office Protected View by changing Registry keys.[22]

Proton

Proton kills security tools like Wireshark that are running.[23]

Putter Panda

Malware used by Putter Panda attempts to terminate processes corresponding to two components of Sophos Anti-Virus (SAVAdminService.exe and SavService.exe).[24]

Remsec

Remsec can add or remove applications or ports on the Windows firewall or disable it entirely.[25]

RunningRAT

RunningRAT kills antimalware running process.[3]

SslMM

SslMM identifies and kills anti-malware processes.[11]

Threat Group-3390

Threat Group-3390 has used appcmd.exe to disable logging on a victim server.[26]

TinyZBot

TinyZBot can disable Avira anti-virus.[27]

TYPEFRAME

TYPEFRAME can open the Windows Firewall on the victim’s machine to allow incoming connections.[28]

Unknown Logger

Unknown Logger has functionality to disable security tools, including Kaspersky, BitDefender, and MalwareBytes.[29]

Mitigation

Ensure proper process, registry, and file permissions are in place to prevent adversaries from disabling or interfering with security services.

Detection

Monitor processes and command-line arguments to see if security tools are killed or stop running. Monitor Registry edits for modifications to services and startup programs that correspond to security tools. Lack of log or event file reporting may be suspicious.

References

  1. FireEye Labs. (2015, April). APT30 AND THE MECHANICS OF A LONG-RUNNING CYBER ESPIONAGE OPERATION. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
  2. US-CERT. (2018, February 06). Malware Analysis Report (MAR) - 10135536-G. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
  3. Sherstobitoff, R., Saavedra-Morales, J. (2018, February 02). Gold Dragon Widens Olympics Malware Attacks, Gains Permanent Presence on Victims’ Systems. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  4. Group-IB and Fox-IT. (2014, December). Anunak: APT against financial institutions. Retrieved April 20, 2016.
  5. PwC and BAE Systems. (2017, April). Operation Cloud Hopper: Technical Annex. Retrieved April 13, 2017.
  6. US-CERT. (2018, March 16). Alert (TA18-074A): Russian Government Cyber Activity Targeting Energy and Other Critical Infrastructure Sectors. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  7. US-CERT. (2017, October 20). Alert (TA17-293A): Advanced Persistent Threat Activity Targeting Energy and Other Critical Infrastructure Sectors. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  8. Falcone, R., et al. (2018, August 02). The Gorgon Group: Slithering Between Nation State and Cybercrime. Retrieved August 7, 2018.
  9. Reynolds, J.. (2016, September 14). H1N1: Technical analysis reveals new capabilities – part 2. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  10. US-CERT. (2018, February 05). Malware Analysis Report (MAR) - 10135536-F. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  11. Baumgartner, K., Golovkin, M.. (2015, May). The MsnMM Campaigns: The Earliest Naikon APT Campaigns. Retrieved December 17, 2015.
  12. Hromcová, Z. (2018, June 07). InvisiMole: Surprisingly equipped spyware, undercover since 2013. Retrieved July 10, 2018.
  13. Windows Defender Advanced Threat Hunting Team. (2016, April 29). PLATINUM: Targeted attacks in South and Southeast Asia. Retrieved February 15, 2018.
  14. Yadav, A., et al. (2016, January 29). Malicious Office files dropping Kasidet and Dridex. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  15. Novetta Threat Research Group. (2016, February 24). Operation Blockbuster: Unraveling the Long Thread of the Sony Attack. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  1. Novetta Threat Research Group. (2016, February 24). Operation Blockbuster: Loaders, Installers and Uninstallers Report. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  2. Novetta Threat Research Group. (2016, February 24). Operation Blockbuster: Tools Report. Retrieved March 10, 2016.
  3. US-CERT. (2018, March 09). Malware Analysis Report (MAR) - 10135536.11.WHITE. Retrieved June 13, 2018.
  4. Axel F, Pierre T. (2017, October 16). Leviathan: Espionage actor spearphishes maritime and defense targets. Retrieved February 15, 2018.
  5. Microsoft. (n.d.). Using Netsh. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  6. Microsoft. (2009, June 3). Netsh Commands for Windows Firewall. Retrieved April 20, 2016.
  7. Singh, S. et al.. (2018, March 13). Iranian Threat Group Updates Tactics, Techniques and Procedures in Spear Phishing Campaign. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  8. Patrick Wardle. (n.d.). Mac Malware of 2017. Retrieved September 21, 2018.
  9. Crowdstrike Global Intelligence Team. (2014, June 9). CrowdStrike Intelligence Report: Putter Panda. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
  10. Kaspersky Lab's Global Research & Analysis Team. (2016, August 9). The ProjectSauron APT. Technical Analysis. Retrieved August 17, 2016.
  11. Counter Threat Unit Research Team. (2017, June 27). BRONZE UNION Cyberespionage Persists Despite Disclosures. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
  12. Cylance. (2014, December). Operation Cleaver. Retrieved September 14, 2017.
  13. US-CERT. (2018, June 14). MAR-10135536-12 – North Korean Trojan: TYPEFRAME. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  14. Settle, A., et al. (2016, August 8). MONSOON - Analysis Of An APT Campaign. Retrieved September 22, 2016.