Steal Web Session Cookie

An adversary may steal web application or service session cookies and use them to gain access to web applications or Internet services as an authenticated user without needing credentials. Web applications and services often use session cookies as an authentication token after a user has authenticated to a website.

Cookies are often valid for an extended period of time, even if the web application is not actively used. Cookies can be found on disk, in the process memory of the browser, and in network traffic to remote systems. Additionally, other applications on the targets machine might store sensitive authentication cookies in memory (e.g. apps which authenticate to cloud services). Session cookies can be used to bypasses some multi-factor authentication protocols.[1]

There are several examples of malware targeting cookies from web browsers on the local system.[2][3] Adversaries may also steal cookies by injecting malicious JavaScript content into websites or relying on User Execution by tricking victims into running malicious JavaScript in their browser.[4][5]

There are also open source frameworks such as Evilginx2 and Muraena that can gather session cookies through a malicious proxy (e.g., Adversary-in-the-Middle) that can be set up by an adversary and used in phishing campaigns.[6][7]

After an adversary acquires a valid cookie, they can then perform a Web Session Cookie technique to login to the corresponding web application.

ID: T1539
Sub-techniques:  No sub-techniques
Platforms: Google Workspace, Linux, Office 365, SaaS, Windows, macOS
Contributors: Goldstein Menachem; Johann Rehberger; Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC)
Version: 1.3
Created: 08 October 2019
Last Modified: 16 April 2024

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description

BLUELIGHT can harvest cookies from Internet Explorer, Edge, Chrome, and Naver Whale browsers.[8]

S0631 Chaes

Chaes has used a script that extracts the web session cookie and sends it to the C2 server.[9]

S0492 CookieMiner

CookieMiner can steal Google Chrome and Apple Safari browser cookies from the victim’s machine. [10]


EVILNUM can harvest cookies and upload them to the C2 server.[11]

G0120 Evilnum

Evilnum can steal cookies and session information from browsers.[12]

S0531 Grandoreiro

Grandoreiro can steal the victim's cookies to use for duplicating the active session from another device.[13]

G1014 LuminousMoth

LuminousMoth has used an unnamed post-exploitation tool to steal cookies from the Chrome browser.[14]

S0650 QakBot

QakBot has the ability to capture web session cookies.[15][16]

G0034 Sandworm Team

Sandworm Team used information stealer malware to collect browser session cookies.[17]

G1015 Scattered Spider

Scattered Spider retrieves browser cookies via Raccoon Stealer.[18]

C0024 SolarWinds Compromise

During the SolarWinds Compromise, APT29 stole Chrome browser cookies by copying the Chrome profile directories of targeted users.[19]

S0467 TajMahal

TajMahal has the ability to steal web session cookies from Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, FireFox and RealNetworks applications.[2]


XCSSET uses scp to access the ~/Library/Cookies/Cookies.binarycookies file.[20]


ID Mitigation Description
M1032 Multi-factor Authentication

A physical second factor key that uses the target login domain as part of the negotiation protocol will prevent session cookie theft through proxy methods.[21]

M1054 Software Configuration

Configure browsers or tasks to regularly delete persistent cookies.

Additionally, minimize the length of time a web cookie is viable to potentially reduce the impact of stolen cookies while also increasing the needed frequency of cookie theft attempts – providing defenders with additional chances at detection.[22] For example, use non-persistent cookies to limit the duration a session ID will remain on the web client cache where an attacker could obtain it.[23]

M1017 User Training

Train users to identify aspects of phishing attempts where they're asked to enter credentials into a site that has the incorrect domain for the application they are logging into. Additionally, train users not to run untrusted JavaScript in their browser, such as by copying and pasting code or dragging and dropping bookmarklets.


ID Data Source Data Component Detects
DS0022 File File Access

Monitor for an attempt by a user to gain access to a network or computing resource, often by providing credentials to cloud service management consoles. Some cloud providers, such as AWS, provide distinct log events for login attempts to the management console.

DS0009 Process Process Access

Monitor for attempts by programs to inject into or dump browser process memory.