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InstallUtil is a command-line utility that allows for installation and uninstallation of resources by executing specific installer components specified in .NET binaries. [1] InstallUtil is located in the .NET directories on a Windows system: C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v\InstallUtil.exe and C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework64\v\InstallUtil.exe. InstallUtil.exe is digitally signed by Microsoft.

Adversaries may use InstallUtil to proxy execution of code through a trusted Windows utility. InstallUtil may also be used to bypass process whitelisting through use of attributes within the binary that execute the class decorated with the attribute [System.ComponentModel.RunInstaller(true)]. [2]

ID: T1118
Tactic: Defense Evasion, Execution
Platform: Windows
Permissions Required: User
Data Sources: Process monitoring, Process command-line parameters
Defense Bypassed: Process whitelisting, Digital Certificate Validation
Contributors: Casey Smith; Travis Smith, Tripwire
Version: 1.2
Created: 31 May 2017
Last Modified: 31 July 2019


Mitigation Description
Disable or Remove Feature or Program

InstallUtil may not be necessary within a given environment.

Execution Prevention

Use application whitelisting configured to block execution of InstallUtil.exe if it is not required for a given system or network to prevent potential misuse by adversaries.


Use process monitoring to monitor the execution and arguments of InstallUtil.exe. Compare recent invocations of InstallUtil.exe with prior history of known good arguments and executed binaries to determine anomalous and potentially adversarial activity. Command arguments used before and after the InstallUtil.exe invocation may also be useful in determining the origin and purpose of the binary being executed.