Create Account

Adversaries may create an account to maintain access to victim systems. With a sufficient level of access, creating such accounts may be used to establish secondary credentialed access that do not require persistent remote access tools to be deployed on the system.

Accounts may be created on the local system or within a domain or cloud tenant. In cloud environments, adversaries may create accounts that only have access to specific services, which can reduce the chance of detection.

ID: T1136
Sub-techniques:  T1136.001, T1136.002, T1136.003
Tactic: Persistence
Platforms: Azure AD, Google Workspace, IaaS, Linux, Office 365, Windows, macOS
Permissions Required: Administrator
Data Sources: Command: Command Execution, Process: Process Creation, User Account: User Account Creation
Contributors: Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC); Praetorian
Version: 2.2
Created: 14 December 2017
Last Modified: 16 March 2021

Mitigations

ID Mitigation Description
M1032 Multi-factor Authentication

Use multi-factor authentication for user and privileged accounts.

M1030 Network Segmentation

Configure access controls and firewalls to limit access to domain controllers and systems used to create and manage accounts.

M1028 Operating System Configuration

Protect domain controllers by ensuring proper security configuration for critical servers.

M1026 Privileged Account Management

Do not allow domain administrator accounts to be used for day-to-day operations that may expose them to potential adversaries on unprivileged systems.

Detection

Monitor for processes and command-line parameters associated with account creation, such as net user or useradd. Collect data on account creation within a network. Event ID 4720 is generated when a user account is created on a Windows system and domain controller. [1] Perform regular audits of domain and local system accounts to detect suspicious accounts that may have been created by an adversary.

Collect usage logs from cloud administrator accounts to identify unusual activity in the creation of new accounts and assignment of roles to those accounts. Monitor for accounts assigned to admin roles that go over a certain threshold of known admins.

References