Adversaries may directly interact with the native OS application programming interface (API) to execute behaviors. Native APIs provide a controlled means of calling low-level OS services within the kernel, such as those involving hardware/devices, memory, and processes. These native APIs are leveraged by the OS during system boot (when other system components are not yet initialized) as well as carrying out tasks and requests during routine operations.
Functionality provided by native APIs are often also exposed to user-mode applications via interfaces and libraries. For example, functions such as the Windows API
CreateProcess() or GNU
fork() will allow programs and scripts to start other processes. This may allow API callers to execute a binary, run a CLI command, load modules, etc. as thousands of similar API functions exist for various system operations.
Higher level software frameworks, such as Microsoft .NET and macOS Cocoa, are also available to interact with native APIs. These frameworks typically provide language wrappers/abstractions to API functionalities and are designed for ease-of-use/portability of code.
Adversaries may abuse these native API functions as a means of executing behaviors. Similar to Command and Scripting Interpreter, the native API and its hierarchy of interfaces, provide mechanisms to interact with and utilize various components of a victimized system.
Denis used the
Ryuk has used multiple native APIs including
Identify and block potentially malicious software executed that may be executed through this technique by using application control  tools, like Windows Defender Application Control, AppLocker,   or Software Restriction Policies  where appropriate. 
Monitoring API calls may generate a significant amount of data and may not be useful for defense unless collected under specific circumstances, since benign use of API functions are common and difficult to distinguish from malicious behavior. Correlation of other events with behavior surrounding API function calls using API monitoring will provide additional context to an event that may assist in determining if it is due to malicious behavior. Correlation of activity by process lineage by process ID may be sufficient.
Utilization of the Windows API may involve processes loading/accessing system DLLs associated with providing called functions (ex: kernel32.dll, advapi32.dll, user32.dll, and gdi32.dll). Monitoring for DLL loads, especially to abnormal/unusual or potentially malicious processes, may indicate abuse of the Windows API. Though noisy, this data can be combined with other indicators to identify adversary activity.
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