System Time Discovery

An adversary may gather the system time and/or time zone from a local or remote system. The system time is set and stored by the Windows Time Service within a domain to maintain time synchronization between systems and services in an enterprise network. [1] [2]

System time information may be gathered in a number of ways, such as with Net on Windows by performing net time \hostname to gather the system time on a remote system. The victim's time zone may also be inferred from the current system time or gathered by using w32tm /tz. [2]

This information could be useful for performing other techniques, such as executing a file with a Scheduled Task/Job [3], or to discover locality information based on time zone to assist in victim targeting (i.e. System Location Discovery). Adversaries may also use knowledge of system time as part of a time bomb, or delaying execution until a specified date/time.[4]

ID: T1124
Sub-techniques:  No sub-techniques
Tactic: Discovery
Platforms: Windows
Permissions Required: User
Data Sources: Command: Command Execution, Process: OS API Execution, Process: Process Creation
CAPEC ID: CAPEC-295
Contributors: FIRST.ORG's Cyber Threat Intelligence SIG
Version: 1.2
Created: 31 May 2017
Last Modified: 22 April 2021

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
S0331 Agent Tesla

Agent Tesla can collect the timestamp from the victim’s machine.[5]

S0373 Astaroth

Astaroth collects the timestamp from the infected machine. [6]

S0344 Azorult

Azorult can collect the time zone information from the system.[7][8]

S0534 Bazar

Bazar can collect the time on the compromised host.[9][10]

S0574 BendyBear

BendyBear has the ability to determine local time on a compromised host.[11]

G0060 BRONZE BUTLER

BRONZE BUTLER has used net time to check the local time on a target system.[12]

S0471 build_downer

build_downer has the ability to determine the local time to ensure malware installation only happens during the hours that the infected system is active.[13]

S0351 Cannon

Cannon can collect the current time zone information from the victim’s machine.[14]

S0335 Carbon

Carbon uses the command net time \127.0.0.1 to get information the system’s time.[15]

G0114 Chimera

Chimera has used time /t and net time \ip/hostname for system time discovery.[16]

S0126 ComRAT

ComRAT has checked the victim system's date and time to perform tasks during business hours (9 to 5, Monday to Friday).[17]

G0012 Darkhotel

Darkhotel malware can obtain system time from a compromised host.[18]

S0554 Egregor

Egregor contains functionality to query the local/system time.[19]

S0091 Epic

Epic uses the net time command to get the system time from the machine and collect the current date and time zone information.[20]

S0396 EvilBunny

EvilBunny has used the API calls NtQuerySystemTime, GetSystemTimeAsFileTime, and GetTickCount to gather time metrics as part of its checks to see if the malware is running in a sandbox.[21]

S0267 FELIXROOT

FELIXROOT gathers the time zone information from the victim’s machine.[22]

S0588 GoldMax

GoldMax can check the current date-time value of the compromised system, comparing it to the hardcoded execution trigger and can send the current timestamp to the C2 server.[23][24]

S0531 Grandoreiro

Grandoreiro can determine the time on the victim machine via IPinfo.[25]

S0237 GravityRAT

GravityRAT can obtain the date and time of a system.[26]

S0417 GRIFFON

GRIFFON has used a reconnaissance module that can be used to retrieve the date and time of the system.[27]

G0126 Higaisa

Higaisa used a function to gather the current time.[28]

S0376 HOPLIGHT

HOPLIGHT has been observed collecting system time from victim machines.[29]

S0260 InvisiMole

InvisiMole gathers the local system time from the victim’s machine.[30][31]

G0032 Lazarus Group

A Destover-like implant used by Lazarus Group can obtain the current system time and send it to the C2 server.[32]

S0455 Metamorfo

Metamorfo uses JavaScript to get the system time.[33]

S0149 MoonWind

MoonWind obtains the victim's current time.[34]

S0039 Net

The net time command can be used in Net to determine the local or remote system time.[35]

S0353 NOKKI

NOKKI can collect the current timestamp of the victim's machine.[36]

S0439 Okrum

Okrum can obtain the date and time of the compromised system.[37]

S0264 OopsIE

OopsIE checks to see if the system is configured with "Daylight" time and checks for a specific region to be set for the timezone.[38]

G0116 Operation Wocao

Operation Wocao has used the time command to retrieve the current time of a compromised system.[39]

S0501 PipeMon

PipeMon can send time zone information from a compromised host to C2.[40]

S0139 PowerDuke

PowerDuke has commands to get the time the machine was built, the time, and the time zone.[41]

S0238 Proxysvc

As part of the data reconnaissance phase, Proxysvc grabs the system time to send back to the control server.[32]

S0148 RTM

RTM can obtain the victim time zone.[42]

S0596 ShadowPad

ShadowPad has collected the current date and time of the victim system.[43]

S0140 Shamoon

Shamoon obtains the system time and will only activate if it is greater than a preset date.[44][45]

S0450 SHARPSTATS

SHARPSTATS has the ability to identify the current date and time on the compromised host.[46]

G0121 Sidewinder

Sidewinder has used tools to obtain the current system time.[47]

S0380 StoneDrill

StoneDrill can obtain the current date and time of the victim machine.[48]

S0098 T9000

T9000 gathers and beacons the system time during installation.[49]

S0586 TAINTEDSCRIBE

TAINTEDSCRIBE can execute GetLocalTime for time discovery.[50]

S0467 TajMahal

TajMahal has the ability to determine local time on a compromised host.[51]

G0089 The White Company

The White Company has checked the current date on the victim system.[52]

G0010 Turla

Turla surveys a system upon check-in to discover the system time by using the net time command.[20]

S0275 UPPERCUT

UPPERCUT has the capability to obtain the time zone information and current timestamp of the victim’s machine.[53]

S0466 WindTail

WindTail has the ability to generate the current date and time.[54]

S0251 Zebrocy

Zebrocy gathers the current time zone and date information from the system.[55][56]

S0330 Zeus Panda

Zeus Panda collects the current system time (UTC) and sends it back to the C2 server.[57]

G0128 ZIRCONIUM

ZIRCONIUM has used a tool to capture the time on a compromised host in order to register it with C2.[58]

Mitigations

This type of attack technique cannot be easily mitigated with preventive controls since it is based on the abuse of system features.

Detection

Command-line interface monitoring may be useful to detect instances of net.exe or other command-line utilities being used to gather system time or time zone. Methods of detecting API use for gathering this information are likely less useful due to how often they may be used by legitimate software.

References

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