User Execution: Malicious File
An adversary may rely upon a user opening a malicious file in order to gain execution. Users may be subjected to social engineering to get them to open a file that will lead to code execution. This user action will typically be observed as follow-on behavior from Spearphishing Attachment. Adversaries may use several types of files that require a user to execute them, including .doc, .pdf, .xls, .rtf, .scr, .exe, .lnk, .pif, and .cpl.
Adversaries may employ various forms of Masquerading on the file to increase the likelihood that a user will open it.
While Malicious File frequently occurs shortly after Initial Access it may occur at other phases of an intrusion, such as when an adversary places a file in a shared directory or on a user's desktop hoping that a user will click on it. This activity may also be seen shortly after Internal Spearphishing.
Application control may be able to prevent the running of executables masquerading as other files.
Use user training as a way to bring awareness to common phishing and spearphishing techniques and how to raise suspicion for potentially malicious events.
Monitor the execution of and command-line arguments for applications that may be used by an adversary to gain initial access that require user interaction. This includes compression applications, such as those for zip files, that can be used to Deobfuscate/Decode Files or Information in payloads.
Anti-virus can potentially detect malicious documents and files that are downloaded and executed on the user's computer. Endpoint sensing or network sensing can potentially detect malicious events once the file is opened (such as a Microsoft Word document or PDF reaching out to the internet or spawning powershell.exe).
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