Inhibit System Recovery

Adversaries may delete or remove built-in operating system data and turn off services designed to aid in the recovery of a corrupted system to prevent recovery.[1][2] Operating systems may contain features that can help fix corrupted systems, such as a backup catalog, volume shadow copies, and automatic repair features. Adversaries may disable or delete system recovery features to augment the effects of Data Destruction and Data Encrypted for Impact.[1][2]

A number of native Windows utilities have been used by adversaries to disable or delete system recovery features:

  • vssadmin.exe can be used to delete all volume shadow copies on a system - vssadmin.exe delete shadows /all /quiet
  • Windows Management Instrumentation can be used to delete volume shadow copies - wmic shadowcopy delete
  • wbadmin.exe can be used to delete the Windows Backup Catalog - wbadmin.exe delete catalog -quiet
  • bcdedit.exe can be used to disable automatic Windows recovery features by modifying boot configuration data - bcdedit.exe /set {{default}} bootstatuspolicy ignoreallfailures & bcdedit /set {{default}} recoveryenabled no
ID: T1490
Sub-techniques:  No sub-techniques
Tactic: Impact
Platforms: Linux, Windows, macOS
Permissions Required: Administrator, SYSTEM, User, root
Data Sources: Command: Command Execution, File: File Deletion, Process: Process Creation, Service: Service Metadata, Windows Registry: Windows Registry Key Modification
Impact Type: Availability
Contributors: Yonatan Gotlib, Deep Instinct
Version: 1.0
Created: 02 April 2019
Last Modified: 14 July 2020

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
S0570 BitPaymer

BitPaymer attempts to remove the backup shadow files from the host using vssadmin.exe Delete Shadows /All /Quiet.[3]

S0575 Conti

Conti can delete Windows Volume Shadow Copies using vssadmin.[4]

S0132 H1N1

H1N1 disable recovery options and deletes shadow copies from the victim.[5]

S0260 InvisiMole

InvisiMole can can remove all system restore points.[6]

S0389 JCry

JCry has been observed deleting shadow copies to ensure that data cannot be restored easily.[7]

S0449 Maze

Maze has attempted to delete the shadow volumes of infected machines, once before and once after the encryption process.[8][9]

S0576 MegaCortex

MegaCortex has deleted volume shadow copies using vssadmin.exe.[10]

S0457 Netwalker

Netwalker can delete the infected system's Shadow Volumes to prevent recovery.[11][12]

S0365 Olympic Destroyer

Olympic Destroyer uses the native Windows utilities vssadmin, wbadmin, and bcdedit to delete and disable operating system recovery features such as the Windows backup catalog and Windows Automatic Repair.[1]

S0583 Pysa

Pysa has the functionality to delete shadow copies.[13]

S0481 Ragnar Locker

Ragnar Locker can delete volume shadow copies using vssadmin delete shadows /all /quiet.[14]

S0496 REvil

REvil can use vssadmin to delete volume shadow copies and bcdedit to disable recovery features.[15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23]

S0400 RobbinHood

RobbinHood deletes shadow copies to ensure that all the data cannot be restored easily.[24]

S0446 Ryuk

Ryuk has used vssadmin Delete Shadows /all /quiet to to delete volume shadow copies and vssadmin resize shadowstorage to force deletion of shadow copies created by third-party applications.[25]

S0366 WannaCry

WannaCry uses vssadmin, wbadmin, bcdedit, and wmic to delete and disable operating system recovery features.[26][2][27]

Mitigations

ID Mitigation Description
M1053 Data Backup

Consider implementing IT disaster recovery plans that contain procedures for taking regular data backups that can be used to restore organizational data.[28] 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.

M1028 Operating System Configuration

Consider technical controls to prevent the disabling of services or deletion of files involved in system recovery.

Detection

Use process monitoring to monitor the execution and command line parameters of binaries involved in inhibiting system recovery, such as vssadmin, wbadmin, and bcdedit. The Windows event logs, ex. Event ID 524 indicating a system catalog was deleted, may contain entries associated with suspicious activity.

Monitor the status of services involved in system recovery. Monitor the registry for changes associated with system recovery features (ex: the creation of HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\PreviousVersions\DisableLocalPage).

References

  1. Mercer, W. and Rascagneres, P. (2018, February 12). Olympic Destroyer Takes Aim At Winter Olympics. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
  2. Berry, A., Homan, J., and Eitzman, R. (2017, May 23). WannaCry Malware Profile. Retrieved March 15, 2019.
  3. Frankoff, S., Hartley, B. (2018, November 14). Big Game Hunting: The Evolution of INDRIK SPIDER From Dridex Wire Fraud to BitPaymer Targeted Ransomware. Retrieved January 6, 2021.
  4. Baskin, B. (2020, July 8). TAU Threat Discovery: Conti Ransomware. Retrieved February 17, 2021.
  5. Reynolds, J.. (2016, September 14). H1N1: Technical analysis reveals new capabilities – part 2. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  6. Hromcová, Z. (2018, June 07). InvisiMole: Surprisingly equipped spyware, undercover since 2013. Retrieved July 10, 2018.
  7. Lee, S.. (2019, May 14). JCry Ransomware. Retrieved June 18, 2019.
  8. Mundo, A. (2020, March 26). Ransomware Maze. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
  9. Brandt, A., Mackenzie, P.. (2020, September 17). Maze Attackers Adopt Ragnar Locker Virtual Machine Technique. Retrieved October 9, 2020.
  10. Del Fierro, C. Kessem, L.. (2020, January 8). From Mega to Giga: Cross-Version Comparison of Top MegaCortex Modifications. Retrieved February 15, 2021.
  11. Victor, K.. (2020, May 18). Netwalker Fileless Ransomware Injected via Reflective Loading . Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  12. Szappanos, G., Brandt, A.. (2020, May 27). Netwalker ransomware tools give insight into threat actor. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  13. CERT-FR. (2020, April 1). ATTACKS INVOLVING THE MESPINOZA/PYSA RANSOMWARE. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  14. SophosLabs. (2020, May 21). Ragnar Locker ransomware deploys virtual machine to dodge security. Retrieved June 29, 2020.
  1. Mamedov, O, et al. (2019, July 3). Sodin ransomware exploits Windows vulnerability and processor architecture. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  2. Cylance. (2019, July 3). hreat Spotlight: Sodinokibi Ransomware. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  3. Secureworks . (2019, September 24). REvil: The GandCrab Connection. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  4. Cadieux, P, et al (2019, April 30). Sodinokibi ransomware exploits WebLogic Server vulnerability. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  5. McAfee. (2019, October 2). McAfee ATR Analyzes Sodinokibi aka REvil Ransomware-as-a-Service – What The Code Tells Us. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  6. Intel 471 Malware Intelligence team. (2020, March 31). REvil Ransomware-as-a-Service – An analysis of a ransomware affiliate operation. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  7. Ozarslan, S. (2020, January 15). A Brief History of Sodinokibi. Retrieved August 5, 2020.
  8. Counter Threat Unit Research Team. (2019, September 24). REvil/Sodinokibi Ransomware. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  9. Tetra Defense. (2020, March). CAUSE AND EFFECT: SODINOKIBI RANSOMWARE ANALYSIS. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
  10. Lee, S. (2019, May 17). CB TAU Threat Intelligence Notification: RobbinHood Ransomware Stops 181 Windows Services Before Encryption. Retrieved July 29, 2019.
  11. Hanel, A. (2019, January 10). Big Game Hunting with Ryuk: Another Lucrative Targeted Ransomware. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
  12. Noerenberg, E., Costis, A., and Quist, N. (2017, May 16). A Technical Analysis of WannaCry Ransomware. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  13. Counter Threat Unit Research Team. (2017, May 18). WCry Ransomware Analysis. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  14. Ready.gov. (n.d.). IT Disaster Recovery Plan. Retrieved March 15, 2019.