Credentials in Registry

The Windows Registry stores configuration information that can be used by the system or other programs. Adversaries may query the Registry looking for credentials and passwords that have been stored for use by other programs or services. Sometimes these credentials are used for automatic logons.

Example commands to find Registry keys related to password information: [1]

  • Local Machine Hive: reg query HKLM /f password /t REG_SZ /s
  • Current User Hive: reg query HKCU /f password /t REG_SZ /s
ID: T1214

Tactic: Credential Access

Platform:  Windows

System Requirements:  Ability to query some Registry locations depends on the adversary's level of access. User permissions are usually limited to access of user-related Registry keys.

Permissions Required:  User, Administrator

Data Sources:  Windows Registry, Process command-line parameters, Process monitoring

Contributors:  Sudhanshu Chauhan, @Sudhanshu_C
Version: 1.0

Mitigations

Mitigation Description
Audit Proactively search for credentials within the Registry and attempt to remediate the risk.
Password Policies Do not store credentials within the Registry.
Privileged Account Management If it is necessary that software must store credentials in the Registry, then ensure the associated accounts have limited permissions so they cannot be abused if obtained by an adversary.

Examples

Name Description
PowerSploit

PowerSploit has several modules that search the Windows Registry for stored credentials: Get-UnattendedInstallFile, Get-Webconfig, Get-ApplicationHost, Get-SiteListPassword, Get-CachedGPPPassword, and Get-RegistryAutoLogon.[1]

Reg

Reg may be used to find credentials in the Windows Registry.[1]

Soft Cell

Soft Cell used reg commands to dump specific hives from the Windows Registry, such as the SAM hive, and obtain password hashes.[2]

TrickBot

TrickBot has retrieved PuTTY credentials by querying the Software\SimonTatham\Putty\Sessions registry key[3]

Detection

Monitor processes for applications that can be used to query the Registry, such as Reg, and collect command parameters that may indicate credentials are being searched. Correlate activity with related suspicious behavior that may indicate an active intrusion to reduce false positives.

References