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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
Version: 1.0


Mitigation Description
Restrict File and Directory Permissions Ensure proper process, Registry, and file permissions are in place to prevent adversaries from disabling or interfering with security services.
User Account Management Ensure proper user permissions are in place to prevent adversaries from disabling or interfering with security services.


Name Description
Agent Tesla Agent Tesla has the capability to kill any running analysis processes and AV software. [19]
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. [3]
BADCALL BADCALL disables the Windows firewall before binding to a port. [11]
Brave Prince Brave Prince terminates antimalware processes. [16]
Carbanak Carbanak may use netsh to add local firewall rule exceptions. [40]
ChChes ChChes can alter the victim's proxy configuration. [4]
DarkComet DarkComet can disable Security Center functions like anti-virus and the Windows Firewall. [22] [23]
Dragonfly 2.0 Dragonfly 2.0 has disabled host-based firewalls. The group has also globally opened port 3389. [30] [31]
Ebury Ebury has disabled logging when the backdoor is used. [27]
Gold Dragon Gold Dragon terminates anti-malware processes if they’re found running on the system. [16]
Gorgon Group Gorgon Group malware can attempt to disable security features in Microsoft Office and Windows Defender using the taskkill command. [32]
H1N1 H1N1 kills and disables services for Windows Firewall, Windows Security Center, and Windows Defender. [5]
HARDRAIN HARDRAIN opens the Windows Firewall to modify incoming connections. [9]
HDoor HDoor kills anti-virus found on the victim. [6]
HOPLIGHT HOPLIGHT has modified the firewall using netsh. [26]
InvisiMole InvisiMole has a command to disable routing and the Firewall on the victim’s machine. [20]
JPIN JPIN lower disable security settings by changing Registry keys. [10]
Kasidet Kasidet has the ability to change firewall settings to allow a plug-in to be downloaded. [7]
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. [34] [35] [36] [37]
LockerGoga LockerGoga installation has been immediately preceded by a "task kill" command in order to disable anti-virus. [29]
NanHaiShu NanHaiShu can change Internet Explorer settings to reduce warnings about malware activity. [8]
NanoCore NanoCore can modify the victim's firewall and anti-virus. [14] [15]
netsh netsh can be used to disable local firewall settings. [1] [2]
Night Dragon Night Dragon has disabled anti-virus and anti-spyware tools in some instances on the victim’s machines. The actors have also disabled proxy settings to allow direct communication from victims to the Internet.[ [38]
njRAT njRAT has modified the Windows firewall to allow itself to communicate through the firewall. [28]
POWERSTATS POWERSTATS can disable Microsoft Office Protected View by changing Registry keys. [25]
Proton Proton kills security tools like Wireshark that are running. [17]
Putter Panda Malware used by Putter Panda attempts to terminate processes corresponding to two components of Sophos Anti-Virus (SAVAdminService.exe and SavService.exe). [33]
Remsec Remsec can add or remove applications or ports on the Windows firewall or disable it entirely. [21]
RunningRAT RunningRAT kills antimalware running process. [16]
SslMM SslMM identifies and kills anti-malware processes. [6]
Threat Group-3390 Threat Group-3390 has used appcmd.exe to disable logging on a victim server. [39]
TinyZBot TinyZBot can disable Avira anti-virus. [13]
TrickBot TrickBot can disable Windows Defender. [18]
Turla Turla has used a AMSI bypass, which patches the in-memory amsi.dll, in PowerShell scripts to bypass Windows antimalware products. [41]
TYPEFRAME TYPEFRAME can open the Windows Firewall on the victim’s machine to allow incoming connections. [12]
Unknown Logger Unknown Logger has functionality to disable security tools, including Kaspersky, BitDefender, and MalwareBytes. [24]


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.


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