Exploitation of Remote Services

Adversaries may exploit remote services to gain unauthorized access to internal systems once inside of a network. Exploitation of a software vulnerability occurs when an adversary takes advantage of a programming error in a program, service, or within the operating system software or kernel itself to execute adversary-controlled code. A common goal for post-compromise exploitation of remote services is for lateral movement to enable access to a remote system.

An adversary may need to determine if the remote system is in a vulnerable state, which may be done through Network Service Discovery or other Discovery methods looking for common, vulnerable software that may be deployed in the network, the lack of certain patches that may indicate vulnerabilities, or security software that may be used to detect or contain remote exploitation. Servers are likely a high value target for lateral movement exploitation, but endpoint systems may also be at risk if they provide an advantage or access to additional resources.

There are several well-known vulnerabilities that exist in common services such as SMB [1] and RDP [2] as well as applications that may be used within internal networks such as MySQL [3] and web server services.[4]

Depending on the permissions level of the vulnerable remote service an adversary may achieve Exploitation for Privilege Escalation as a result of lateral movement exploitation as well.

ID: T1210
Sub-techniques:  No sub-techniques
Platforms: Linux, Windows, macOS
System Requirements: Unpatched software or otherwise vulnerable target. Depending on the target and goal, the system and exploitable service may need to be remotely accessible from the internal network.
Permissions Required: User
Contributors: ExtraHop
Version: 1.1
Created: 18 April 2018
Last Modified: 24 February 2022

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
G0007 APT28

APT28 exploited a Windows SMB Remote Code Execution Vulnerability to conduct lateral movement.[5][6][7]

S0606 Bad Rabbit

Bad Rabbit used the EternalRomance SMB exploit to spread through victim networks.[8]

S0608 Conficker

Conficker exploited the MS08-067 Windows vulnerability for remote code execution through a crafted RPC request.[9]

G0035 Dragonfly

Dragonfly has exploited a Windows Netlogon vulnerability (CVE-2020-1472) to obtain access to Windows Active Directory servers.[10]

G1006 Earth Lusca

Earth Lusca has used Mimikatz to exploit a domain controller via the ZeroLogon exploit (CVE-2020-1472).[11]

S0367 Emotet

Emotet has been seen exploiting SMB via a vulnerability exploit like EternalBlue (MS17-010) to achieve lateral movement and propagation.[12][13][14][15]

S0363 Empire

Empire has a limited number of built-in modules for exploiting remote SMB, JBoss, and Jenkins servers.[16]

G0046 FIN7

FIN7 has exploited ZeroLogon (CVE-2020-1472) against vulnerable domain controllers.[17]

S0143 Flame

Flame can use MS10-061 to exploit a print spooler vulnerability in a remote system with a shared printer in order to move laterally.[18][19]

G0117 Fox Kitten

Fox Kitten has exploited known vulnerabilities in remote services including RDP.[20][21][22]

S0260 InvisiMole

InvisiMole can spread within a network via the BlueKeep (CVE-2019-0708) and EternalBlue (CVE-2017-0144) vulnerabilities in RDP and SMB respectively.[23]

S0532 Lucifer

Lucifer can exploit multiple vulnerabilities including EternalBlue (CVE-2017-0144) and EternalRomance (CVE-2017-0144).[24]

G0045 menuPass

menuPass has used tools to exploit the ZeroLogon vulnerability (CVE-2020-1472).[25]

G0069 MuddyWater

MuddyWater has exploited the Microsoft Netlogon vulnerability (CVE-2020-1472).[26]

S0368 NotPetya

NotPetya can use two exploits in SMBv1, EternalBlue and EternalRomance, to spread itself to other remote systems on the network.[27][28][29]

S0378 PoshC2

PoshC2 contains a module for exploiting SMB via EternalBlue.[30]

S0650 QakBot

QakBot can move laterally using worm-like functionality through exploitation of SMB.[31]

S0603 Stuxnet

Stuxnet propagates using the MS10-061 Print Spooler and MS08-067 Windows Server Service vulnerabilities.[32]

G0027 Threat Group-3390

Threat Group-3390 has exploited MS17-010 to move laterally to other systems on the network.[33]

G0131 Tonto Team

Tonto Team has used EternalBlue exploits for lateral movement.[34]

S0266 TrickBot

TrickBot utilizes EternalBlue and EternalRomance exploits for lateral movement in the modules wormwinDll, wormDll, mwormDll, nwormDll, tabDll.[35]

S0366 WannaCry

WannaCry uses an exploit in SMBv1 to spread itself to other remote systems on a network.[36][37][38]

G0102 Wizard Spider

Wizard Spider has exploited or attempted to exploit Zerologon (CVE-2020-1472) and EternalBlue (MS17-010) vulnerabilities.[39][40][41]


ID Mitigation Description
M1048 Application Isolation and Sandboxing

Make it difficult for adversaries to advance their operation through exploitation of undiscovered or unpatched vulnerabilities by using sandboxing. Other types of virtualization and application microsegmentation may also mitigate the impact of some types of exploitation. Risks of additional exploits and weaknesses in these systems may still exist. [42]

M1042 Disable or Remove Feature or Program

Minimize available services to only those that are necessary.

M1050 Exploit Protection

Security applications that look for behavior used during exploitation such as Windows Defender Exploit Guard (WDEG) and the Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) can be used to mitigate some exploitation behavior. [43] Control flow integrity checking is another way to potentially identify and stop a software exploit from occurring. [44] Many of these protections depend on the architecture and target application binary for compatibility and may not work for all software or services targeted.

M1030 Network Segmentation

Segment networks and systems appropriately to reduce access to critical systems and services to controlled methods.

M1026 Privileged Account Management

Minimize permissions and access for service accounts to limit impact of exploitation.

M1019 Threat Intelligence Program

Develop a robust cyber threat intelligence capability to determine what types and levels of threat may use software exploits and 0-days against a particular organization.

M1051 Update Software

Update software regularly by employing patch management for internal enterprise endpoints and servers.

M1016 Vulnerability Scanning

Regularly scan the internal network for available services to identify new and potentially vulnerable services.


ID Data Source Data Component Detects
DS0015 Application Log Application Log Content

Detecting software exploitation may be difficult depending on the tools available. Software exploits may not always succeed or may cause the exploited process to become unstable or crash. Web Application Firewalls may detect improper inputs attempting exploitation.

DS0029 Network Traffic Network Traffic Content

Use deep packet inspection to look for artifacts of common exploit traffic, such as known payloads.


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  18. Gostev, A. (2012, May 28). The Flame: Questions and Answers. Retrieved March 1, 2017.
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  1. Hromcova, Z. and Cherpanov, A. (2020, June). INVISIMOLE: THE HIDDEN PART OF THE STORY. Retrieved July 16, 2020.
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  3. Symantec. (2020, November 17). Japan-Linked Organizations Targeted in Long-Running and Sophisticated Attack Campaign. Retrieved December 17, 2020.
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  9. CS. (2020, October 7). Duck Hunting with Falcon Complete: A Fowl Banking Trojan Evolves, Part 2. Retrieved September 27, 2021.
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  15. Berry, A., Homan, J., and Eitzman, R. (2017, May 23). WannaCry Malware Profile. Retrieved March 15, 2019.
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  17. Kimberly Goody, Jeremy Kennelly, Joshua Shilko, Steve Elovitz, Douglas Bienstock. (2020, October 28). Unhappy Hour Special: KEGTAP and SINGLEMALT With a Ransomware Chaser. Retrieved October 28, 2020.
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