Email Collection: Local Email Collection

Adversaries may target user email on local systems to collect sensitive information. Files containing email data can be acquired from a user’s local system, such as Outlook storage or cache files.

Outlook stores data locally in offline data files with an extension of .ost. Outlook 2010 and later supports .ost file sizes up to 50GB, while earlier versions of Outlook support up to 20GB.[1] IMAP accounts in Outlook 2013 (and earlier) and POP accounts use Outlook Data Files (.pst) as opposed to .ost, whereas IMAP accounts in Outlook 2016 (and later) use .ost files. Both types of Outlook data files are typically stored in C:\Users\<username>\Documents\Outlook Files or C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook.[2]

ID: T1114.001
Sub-technique of:  T1114
Tactic: Collection
Platforms: Windows
Permissions Required: User
Version: 1.0
Created: 19 February 2020
Last Modified: 24 March 2020

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
G0006 APT1

APT1 uses two utilities, GETMAIL and MAPIGET, to steal email. GETMAIL extracts emails from archived Outlook .pst files.[3]

S0030 Carbanak

Carbanak searches recursively for Outlook personal storage tables (PST) files within user directories and sends them back to the C2 server.[4]

G0114 Chimera

Chimera has harvested data from victim's e-mail including through execution of wmic /node: process call create "cmd /c copy c:\Users\\\backup.pst c:\windows\temp\backup.pst" copy "i:\\\My Documents\.pst"copy.[5]

S0050 CosmicDuke

CosmicDuke searches for Microsoft Outlook data files with extensions .pst and .ost for collection and exfiltration.[6]

S0115 Crimson

Crimson contains a command to collect and exfiltrate emails from Outlook.[7]

S0367 Emotet

Emotet has been observed leveraging a module that scrapes email data from Outlook.[8]

S0363 Empire

Empire has the ability to collect emails on a target system.[9]


KGH_SPY can harvest data from mail clients.[10]

G0059 Magic Hound

Magic Hound has collected .PST archives.[11]

C0002 Night Dragon

During Night Dragon, threat actors used RAT malware to exfiltrate email archives.[12]

S0594 Out1

Out1 can parse e-mails on a target machine.[13]

S0192 Pupy

Pupy can interact with a victim’s Outlook session and look through folders and emails.[14]

S0650 QakBot

QakBot can target and steal locally stored emails to support thread hijacking phishing campaigns.[15][16][17]

S0226 Smoke Loader

Smoke Loader searches through Outlook files and directories (e.g., inbox, sent, templates, drafts, archives, etc.).[18]


ID Mitigation Description
M1041 Encrypt Sensitive Information

Use of encryption provides an added layer of security to sensitive information sent over email. Encryption using public key cryptography requires the adversary to obtain the private certificate along with an encryption key to decrypt messages.


ID Data Source Data Component Detects
DS0017 Command Command Execution

Monitor executed commands and arguments for actions that could be taken to gather local email files. Remote access tools with built-in features may interact directly with the Windows API to gather information. Information may also be acquired through Windows system management tools such as Windows Management Instrumentation and PowerShell.

DS0022 File File Access

Monitor for unusual processes accessing local email files that may target user email on local systems to collect sensitive information.