Remote Access Software

An adversary may use legitimate desktop support and remote access software to establish an interactive command and control channel to target systems within networks. These services, such as VNC, Team Viewer, AnyDesk, ScreenConnect, LogMein, AmmyyAdmin, and other remote monitoring and management (RMM) tools, are commonly used as legitimate technical support software and may be allowed by application control within a target environment.[1][2][3]

Remote access software may be installed and used post-compromise as an alternate communications channel for redundant access or as a way to establish an interactive remote desktop session with the target system. They may also be used as a component of malware to establish a reverse connection or back-connect to a service or adversary controlled system.

Adversaries may similarly abuse response features included in EDR and other defensive tools that enable remote access.

Installation of many remote access software may also include persistence (e.g., the software's installation routine creates a Windows Service).

ID: T1219
Sub-techniques:  No sub-techniques
Platforms: Linux, Windows, macOS
Contributors: Matt Kelly, @breakersall; Zachary Stanford, @svch0st
Version: 2.2
Created: 18 April 2018
Last Modified: 28 September 2023

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
C0015 C0015

During C0015, the threat actors installed the AnyDesk remote desktop application onto the compromised network.[4]

C0018 C0018

During C0018, the threat actors used AnyDesk to transfer tools between systems.[5][6]

C0027 C0027

During C0027, Scattered Spider directed victims to run remote monitoring and management (RMM) tools.[7]

S0030 Carbanak

Carbanak has a plugin for VNC and Ammyy Admin Tool.[8]

G0008 Carbanak

Carbanak used legitimate programs such as AmmyyAdmin and Team Viewer for remote interactive C2 to target systems.[9]

G0080 Cobalt Group

Cobalt Group used the Ammyy Admin tool as well as TeamViewer for remote access, including to preserve remote access if a Cobalt Strike module was lost.[10][11][12]

G0105 DarkVishnya

DarkVishnya used DameWare Mini Remote Control for lateral movement.[13]

S0384 Dridex

Dridex contains a module for VNC.[14]

S0554 Egregor

Egregor has checked for the LogMein event log in an attempt to encrypt files in remote machines.[15]

G0120 Evilnum

EVILNUM has used the malware variant, TerraTV, to run a legitimate TeamViewer application to connect to compromrised machines.[16]

G0046 FIN7

FIN7 has utilized the remote management tool Atera to download malware to a compromised system.[17]

G0115 GOLD SOUTHFIELD

GOLD SOUTHFIELD has used the cloud-based remote management and monitoring tool "ConnectWise Control" to deploy REvil.[18]

S0601 Hildegard

Hildegard has established tmate sessions for C2 communications.[19]

G0094 Kimsuky

Kimsuky has used a modified TeamViewer client as a command and control channel.[20][21]

G0069 MuddyWater

MuddyWater has used a legitimate application, ScreenConnect, to manage systems remotely and move laterally.[22][23]

G0129 Mustang Panda

Mustang Panda has installed TeamViewer on targeted systems.[24]

C0002 Night Dragon

During Night Dragon, threat actors used several remote administration tools as persistent infiltration channels.[25]

S0148 RTM

RTM has the capability to download a VNC module from command and control (C2).[26]

G0048 RTM

RTM has used a modified version of TeamViewer and Remote Utilities for remote access.[27]

G0034 Sandworm Team

Sandworm Team has used remote administration tools or remote industrial control system client software for execution and to maliciously release electricity breakers.[28][29]

G0139 TeamTNT

TeamTNT has established tmate sessions for C2 communications.[19][30]

G0076 Thrip

Thrip used a cloud-based remote access software called LogMeIn for their attacks.[31]

S0266 TrickBot

TrickBot uses vncDll module to remote control the victim machine.[32][33]

Mitigations

ID Mitigation Description
M1038 Execution Prevention

Use application control to mitigate installation and use of unapproved software that can be used for remote access.

M1037 Filter Network Traffic

Properly configure firewalls, application firewalls, and proxies to limit outgoing traffic to sites and services used by remote access software.

M1031 Network Intrusion Prevention

Network intrusion detection and prevention systems that use network signatures may be able to prevent traffic to remote access services.

Detection

ID Data Source Data Component Detects
DS0029 Network Traffic Network Connection Creation

Monitor for newly constructed network connections that are sent or received by untrusted hosts.

Network Traffic Content

Monitor and analyze traffic patterns and packet inspection associated to protocol(s) that do not follow the expected protocol standards and traffic flows (e.g extraneous packets that do not belong to established flows, gratuitous or anomalous traffic patterns, anomalous syntax, or structure). Consider correlation with process monitoring and command line to detect anomalous processes execution and command line arguments associated to traffic patterns (e.g. monitor anomalies in use of files that do not normally initiate connections for respective protocol(s)).

Network Traffic Flow

Monitor network data for uncommon data flows. Processes utilizing the network that do not normally have network communication or have never been seen before are suspicious.

Analytic 1 - Suspicious Port Usage

suspicious_ports = filter network_traffic where ((protocol ="6" and (serverPort = 5938 or serverPort = 6568 or serverPort = 5650 or serverPort = 5655 or serverPort =5631)) or (protocol = "17" and (serverPort = 15000 and serverPort = 5632 )) or(httpHost = "remoteutilities.com"))

DS0009 Process Process Creation

Monitor for applications and processes related to remote admin software. Correlate activity with other suspicious behavior that may reduce false positives if this type of software is used by legitimate users and administrators. Domain Fronting may be used in conjunction to avoid defenses. Adversaries will likely need to deploy and/or install these remote software to compromised systems. It may be possible to detect or prevent the installation of this type of software with host-based solutions.

References

  1. Wueest, C., Anand, H. (2017, July). Living off the land and fileless attack techniques. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
  2. CrowdStrike Intelligence. (2016). 2015 Global Threat Report. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  3. CrySyS Lab. (2013, March 20). TeamSpy – Obshie manevri. Ispolzovat’ tolko s razreshenija S-a. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  4. DFIR Report. (2021, November 29). CONTInuing the Bazar Ransomware Story. Retrieved September 29, 2022.
  5. Venere, G. Neal, C. (2022, June 21). Avos ransomware group expands with new attack arsenal. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  6. Costa, F. (2022, May 1). RaaS AvosLocker Incident Response Analysis. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  7. Parisi, T. (2022, December 2). Not a SIMulation: CrowdStrike Investigations Reveal Intrusion Campaign Targeting Telco and BPO Companies. Retrieved June 30, 2023.
  8. Bennett, J., Vengerik, B. (2017, June 12). Behind the CARBANAK Backdoor. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  9. Group-IB and Fox-IT. (2014, December). Anunak: APT against financial institutions. Retrieved April 20, 2016.
  10. Positive Technologies. (2017, August 16). Cobalt Strikes Back: An Evolving Multinational Threat to Finance. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  11. Positive Technologies. (2016, December 16). Cobalt Snatch. Retrieved October 9, 2018.
  12. Matveeva, V. (2017, August 15). Secrets of Cobalt. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  13. Golovanov, S. (2018, December 6). DarkVishnya: Banks attacked through direct connection to local network. Retrieved May 15, 2020.
  14. Dell SecureWorks Counter Threat Unit Threat Intelligence. (2015, October 13). Dridex (Bugat v5) Botnet Takeover Operation. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  15. Cybleinc. (2020, October 31). Egregor Ransomware – A Deep Dive Into Its Activities and Techniques. Retrieved December 29, 2020.
  16. Porolli, M. (2020, July 9). More evil: A deep look at Evilnum and its toolset. Retrieved January 22, 2021.
  17. Abdo, B., et al. (2022, April 4). FIN7 Power Hour: Adversary Archaeology and the Evolution of FIN7. Retrieved April 5, 2022.
  1. Tetra Defense. (2020, March). CAUSE AND EFFECT: SODINOKIBI RANSOMWARE ANALYSIS. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
  2. Chen, J. et al. (2021, February 3). Hildegard: New TeamTNT Cryptojacking Malware Targeting Kubernetes. Retrieved April 5, 2021.
  3. Tarakanov , D.. (2013, September 11). The “Kimsuky” Operation: A North Korean APT?. Retrieved August 13, 2019.
  4. Crowdstrike. (2020, March 2). 2020 Global Threat Report. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  5. Peretz, A. and Theck, E. (2021, March 5). Earth Vetala – MuddyWater Continues to Target Organizations in the Middle East. Retrieved March 18, 2021.
  6. Mele, G. et al. (2021, February 10). Probable Iranian Cyber Actors, Static Kitten, Conducting Cyberespionage Campaign Targeting UAE and Kuwait Government Agencies. Retrieved March 17, 2021.
  7. Counter Threat Unit Research Team. (2019, December 29). BRONZE PRESIDENT Targets NGOs. Retrieved April 13, 2021.
  8. McAfee® Foundstone® Professional Services and McAfee Labs™. (2011, February 10). Global Energy Cyberattacks: “Night Dragon”. Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  9. Faou, M. and Boutin, J. (2017, February). Read The Manual: A Guide to the RTM Banking Trojan. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
  10. Skulkin, O. (2019, August 5). Following the RTM Forensic examination of a computer infected with a banking trojan. Retrieved May 11, 2020.
  11. US-CERT. (2016, February 25). ICS Alert (IR-ALERT-H-16-056-01) Cyber-Attack Against Ukrainian Critical Infrastructure. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  12. MSTIC. (2022, October 14). New “Prestige” ransomware impacts organizations in Ukraine and Poland. Retrieved January 19, 2023.
  13. Darin Smith. (2022, April 21). TeamTNT targeting AWS, Alibaba. Retrieved August 4, 2022.
  14. Security Response Attack Investigation Team. (2018, June 19). Thrip: Espionage Group Hits Satellite, Telecoms, and Defense Companies. Retrieved July 10, 2018.
  15. Boutin, J. (2020, October 12). ESET takes part in global operation to disrupt Trickbot. Retrieved March 15, 2021.
  16. Tudorica, R., Maximciuc, A., Vatamanu, C. (2020, March 18). New TrickBot Module Bruteforces RDP Connections, Targets Select Telecommunication Services in US and Hong Kong. Retrieved March 15, 2021.