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
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]


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 \ 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]


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]


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]


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]


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]


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]


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]


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]


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


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


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.


  1. Microsoft. (n.d.). System Time. Retrieved November 25, 2016.
  2. Mathers, B. (2016, September 30). Windows Time Service Tools and Settings. Retrieved November 25, 2016.
  3. Rivner, U., Schwartz, E. (2012). They’re Inside… Now What?. Retrieved November 25, 2016.
  4. Malicious History. (2020, September 17). Time Bombs: Malware With Delayed Execution. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
  5. The DigiTrust Group. (2017, January 12). The Rise of Agent Tesla. Retrieved November 5, 2018.
  6. Doaty, J., Garrett, P.. (2018, September 10). We’re Seeing a Resurgence of the Demonic Astaroth WMIC Trojan. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  7. Yan, T., et al. (2018, November 21). New Wine in Old Bottle: New Azorult Variant Found in FindMyName Campaign using Fallout Exploit Kit. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  8. Proofpoint. (2018, July 30). New version of AZORult stealer improves loading features, spreads alongside ransomware in new campaign. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  9. Cybereason Nocturnus. (2020, July 16). A BAZAR OF TRICKS: FOLLOWING TEAM9’S DEVELOPMENT CYCLES. Retrieved November 18, 2020.
  10. Pantazopoulos, N. (2020, June 2). In-depth analysis of the new Team9 malware family. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  11. Harbison, M. (2021, February 9). BendyBear: Novel Chinese Shellcode Linked With Cyber Espionage Group BlackTech. Retrieved February 16, 2021.
  12. Counter Threat Unit Research Team. (2017, October 12). BRONZE BUTLER Targets Japanese Enterprises. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
  13. Chen, J. et al. (2019, November). Operation ENDTRADE: TICK’s Multi-Stage Backdoors for Attacking Industries and Stealing Classified Data. Retrieved June 9, 2020.
  14. Falcone, R., Lee, B. (2018, November 20). Sofacy Continues Global Attacks and Wheels Out New ‘Cannon’ Trojan. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  15. GovCERT. (2016, May 23). Technical Report about the Espionage Case at RUAG. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  16. Jansen, W . (2021, January 12). Abusing cloud services to fly under the radar. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
  17. CISA. (2020, October 29). Malware Analysis Report (AR20-303A). Retrieved December 9, 2020.
  18. Arunpreet Singh, Clemens Kolbitsch. (2015, November 5). Defeating Darkhotel Just-In-Time Decryption. Retrieved April 15, 2021.
  19. Joe Security. (n.d.). Analysis Report fasm.dll. Retrieved January 6, 2021.
  20. Kaspersky Lab's Global Research and Analysis Team. (2014, August 7). The Epic Turla Operation: Solving some of the mysteries of Snake/Uroburos. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  21. Marschalek, M.. (2014, December 16). EvilBunny: Malware Instrumented By Lua. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  22. Cherepanov, A. (2018, October). GREYENERGY A successor to BlackEnergy. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
  23. Nafisi, R., Lelli, A. (2021, March 4). GoldMax, GoldFinder, and Sibot: Analyzing NOBELIUM’s layered persistence. Retrieved March 8, 2021.
  24. Smith, L., Leathery, J., Read, B. (2021, March 4). New SUNSHUTTLE Second-Stage Backdoor Uncovered Targeting U.S.-Based Entity; Possible Connection to UNC2452. Retrieved March 12, 2021.
  25. ESET. (2020, April 28). Grandoreiro: How engorged can an EXE get?. Retrieved November 13, 2020.
  26. Mercer, W., Rascagneres, P. (2018, April 26). GravityRAT - The Two-Year Evolution Of An APT Targeting India. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
  27. Namestnikov, Y. and Aime, F. (2019, May 8). FIN7.5: the infamous cybercrime rig “FIN7” continues its activities. Retrieved October 11, 2019.
  28. Singh, S. Singh, A. (2020, June 11). The Return on the Higaisa APT. Retrieved March 2, 2021.
  29. US-CERT. (2019, April 10). MAR-10135536-8 – North Korean Trojan: HOPLIGHT. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  1. Hromcová, Z. (2018, June 07). InvisiMole: Surprisingly equipped spyware, undercover since 2013. Retrieved July 10, 2018.
  2. Hromcova, Z. and Cherpanov, A. (2020, June). INVISIMOLE: THE HIDDEN PART OF THE STORY. Retrieved July 16, 2020.
  3. Sherstobitoff, R., Malhotra, A. (2018, April 24). Analyzing Operation GhostSecret: Attack Seeks to Steal Data Worldwide. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
  4. Erlich, C. (2020, April 3). The Avast Abuser: Metamorfo Banking Malware Hides By Abusing Avast Executable. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  5. Miller-Osborn, J. and Grunzweig, J.. (2017, March 30). Trochilus and New MoonWind RATs Used In Attack Against Thai Organizations. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  6. Microsoft. (n.d.). Net time. Retrieved November 25, 2016.
  7. Grunzweig, J., Lee, B. (2018, September 27). New KONNI Malware attacking Eurasia and Southeast Asia. Retrieved November 5, 2018.
  8. Hromcova, Z. (2019, July). OKRUM AND KETRICAN: AN OVERVIEW OF RECENT KE3CHANG GROUP ACTIVITY. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  9. Falcone, R., et al. (2018, September 04). OilRig Targets a Middle Eastern Government and Adds Evasion Techniques to OopsIE. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  10. Dantzig, M. v., Schamper, E. (2019, December 19). Operation Wocao: Shining a light on one of China’s hidden hacking groups. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  11. Tartare, M. et al. (2020, May 21). No “Game over” for the Winnti Group. Retrieved August 24, 2020.
  12. Adair, S.. (2016, November 9). PowerDuke: Widespread Post-Election Spear Phishing Campaigns Targeting Think Tanks and NGOs. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
  13. Faou, M. and Boutin, J. (2017, February). Read The Manual: A Guide to the RTM Banking Trojan. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
  14. Kaspersky Lab. (2017, August). ShadowPad: popular server management software hit in supply chain attack. Retrieved March 22, 2021.
  15. Falcone, R.. (2016, November 30). Shamoon 2: Return of the Disttrack Wiper. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
  16. Falcone, R. (2018, December 13). Shamoon 3 Targets Oil and Gas Organization. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
  17. Lunghi, D. and Horejsi, J.. (2019, June 10). MuddyWater Resurfaces, Uses Multi-Stage Backdoor POWERSTATS V3 and New Post-Exploitation Tools. Retrieved May 14, 2020.
  18. Hegel, T. (2021, January 13). A Global Perspective of the SideWinder APT. Retrieved January 27, 2021.
  19. Kaspersky Lab. (2017, March 7). From Shamoon to StoneDrill: Wipers attacking Saudi organizations and beyond. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
  20. Grunzweig, J. and Miller-Osborn, J.. (2016, February 4). T9000: Advanced Modular Backdoor Uses Complex Anti-Analysis Techniques. Retrieved April 15, 2016.
  21. USG. (2020, May 12). MAR-10288834-2.v1 – North Korean Trojan: TAINTEDSCRIBE. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  22. GReAT. (2019, April 10). Project TajMahal – a sophisticated new APT framework. Retrieved October 14, 2019.
  23. Livelli, K, et al. (2018, November 12). Operation Shaheen. Retrieved May 1, 2019.
  24. Matsuda, A., Muhammad I. (2018, September 13). APT10 Targeting Japanese Corporations Using Updated TTPs. Retrieved September 17, 2018.
  25. Wardle, Patrick. (2018, December 20). Middle East Cyber-Espionage analyzing WindShift's implant: OSX.WindTail (part 1). Retrieved October 3, 2019.
  26. ESET. (2018, November 20). Sednit: What’s going on with Zebrocy?. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
  27. CISA. (2020, October 29). Malware Analysis Report (AR20-303B). Retrieved December 9, 2020.
  28. Ebach, L. (2017, June 22). Analysis Results of Zeus.Variant.Panda. Retrieved November 5, 2018.
  29. Singh, S. and Antil, S. (2020, October 27). APT-31 Leverages COVID-19 Vaccine Theme and Abuses Legitimate Online Services. Retrieved March 24, 2021.