Disk Structure Wipe

Adversaries may corrupt or wipe the disk data structures on hard drive necessary to boot systems; targeting specific critical systems as well as a large number of systems in a network to interrupt availability to system and network resources.

Adversaries may attempt to render the system unable to boot by overwriting critical data located in structures such as the master boot record (MBR) or partition table.[1][2][3][4][5] The data contained in disk structures may include the initial executable code for loading an operating system or the location of the file system partitions on disk. If this information is not present, the computer will not be able to load an operating system during the boot process, leaving the computer unavailable. Disk Structure Wipe may be performed in isolation, or along with Disk Content Wipe if all sectors of a disk are wiped.

To maximize impact on the target organization, malware designed for destroying disk structures may have worm-like features to propagate across a network by leveraging other techniques like Valid Accounts, Credential Dumping, and Windows Admin Shares.[1][2][3][4]

ID: T1487

Tactic: Impact

Platform:  Windows, macOS, Linux

Permissions Required:  Administrator, root, SYSTEM

Data Sources:  Kernel drivers, MBR

Impact Type:  Availability

Version: 1.0



APT37 has access to destructive malware that is capable of overwriting a machine's Master Boot Record (MBR).[6][7]


APT38 has used a custom MBR wiper named BOOTWRECK to render systems inoperable.[8]

Lazarus Group

Lazarus Group malware SHARPKNOT overwrites and deletes the Master Boot Record (MBR) on the victim's machine and has possessed MBR wiper malware since at least 2009.[9][10]


RawDisk was used in Shamoon to help overwrite components of disk structure like the MBR and disk partitions.[3][5]


Shamoon has been seen overwriting features of disk structure such as the MBR.[1][2][3][5]


Consider implementing IT disaster recovery plans that contain procedures for taking regular data backups that can be used to restore organizational data.[11] Ensure backups are stored off system and is protected from common methods adversaries may use to gain access and destroy the backups to prevent recovery.

Identify potentially malicious software and audit and/or block it by using whitelisting[12] tools, like AppLocker,[13][14] or Software Restriction Policies[15] where appropriate.[16]


Look for attempts to read/write to sensitive locations like the master boot record and the disk partition table. Monitor for unusual kernel driver installation activity.