Adversaries may abuse CMSTP to proxy execution of malicious code. The Microsoft Connection Manager Profile Installer (CMSTP.exe) is a command-line program used to install Connection Manager service profiles.  CMSTP.exe accepts an installation information file (INF) as a parameter and installs a service profile leveraged for remote access connections.
Adversaries may supply CMSTP.exe with INF files infected with malicious commands.  Similar to Regsvr32 / "Squiblydoo", CMSTP.exe may be abused to load and execute DLLs  and/or COM scriptlets (SCT) from remote servers.    This execution may also bypass AppLocker and other application control defenses since CMSTP.exe is a legitimate binary that may be signed by Microsoft.
|M1042||Disable or Remove Feature or Program||
CMSTP.exe may not be necessary within a given environment (unless using it for VPN connection installation).
Consider using application control configured to block execution of CMSTP.exe if it is not required for a given system or network to prevent potential misuse by adversaries.
|ID||Data Source||Data Component||Detects|
Monitor executed commands and arguments that may gather information about the victim's hosts that can be used during targeting.
Note: Event ID 4104 (from the Microsoft-Windows-Powershell/Operational log) captures Powershell script blocks, which can be analyzed and used to detect on abuse of CMSTP.
|DS0029||Network Traffic||Network Connection Creation||
Monitor for newly constructed network connections that are sent or received by untrusted hosts, such as Sysmon Event 3 (Network connection) where Image contains CMSTP.exe and DestinationIP is external.
Use process monitoring to detect and analyze the execution and arguments of CMSTP.exe. Compare recent invocations of CMSTP.exe with prior history of known good arguments and loaded files to determine anomalous and potentially adversarial activity. Sysmon events can also be used to identify potential abuses of CMSTP.exe. Detection strategy may depend on the specific adversary procedure, but potential rules include: * To detect loading and execution of local/remote payloads - Event 1 (Process creation) where ParentImage contains CMSTP.exe* Also monitor for events, such as the creation of processes (Sysmon Event 1), that involve auto-elevated CMSTP COM interfaces such as CMSTPLUA (3E5FC7F9-9A51-4367-9063-A120244FBEC7) and CMLUAUTIL (3E000D72-A845-4CD9-BD83-80C07C3B881F).
Note: Event IDs are for Sysmon (Event ID 1 - process create) and Windows Security Log (Event ID 4688 - a new process has been created). The Analytic looks for the creation of a new CMSTP.exe process which initiates a network connection to a non-local IP address. This is a specific implementation where CMSTP.exe can be leveraged to setup listeners that will receive and install malware from remote sources in a trusted fashion.
Analytic 1 - CMSTP