Use Alternate Authentication Material: Pass the Hash

Adversaries may "pass the hash" using stolen password hashes to move laterally within an environment, bypassing normal system access controls. Pass the hash (PtH) is a method of authenticating as a user without having access to the user's cleartext password. This method bypasses standard authentication steps that require a cleartext password, moving directly into the portion of the authentication that uses the password hash.

When performing PtH, valid password hashes for the account being used are captured using a Credential Access technique. Captured hashes are used with PtH to authenticate as that user. Once authenticated, PtH may be used to perform actions on local or remote systems.

Adversaries may also use stolen password hashes to "overpass the hash." Similar to PtH, this involves using a password hash to authenticate as a user but also uses the password hash to create a valid Kerberos ticket. This ticket can then be used to perform Pass the Ticket attacks.[1]

ID: T1550.002
Sub-technique of:  T1550
Platforms: Windows
Data Sources: Active Directory: Active Directory Credential Request, Logon Session: Logon Session Creation, User Account: User Account Authentication
Defense Bypassed: System Access Controls
Contributors: Blake Strom, Microsoft 365 Defender; Travis Smith, Tripwire
Version: 1.1
Created: 30 January 2020
Last Modified: 15 March 2021

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
G0006 APT1

The APT1 group is known to have used pass the hash.[2]

G0007 APT28

APT28 has used pass the hash for lateral movement.[3]

G0050 APT32

APT32 has used pass the hash for lateral movement.[4]

G0114 Chimera

Chimera has dumped password hashes for use in pass the hash authentication attacks.[5]

S0154 Cobalt Strike

Cobalt Strike can perform pass the hash.[6]

S0488 CrackMapExec

CrackMapExec can pass the hash to authenticate via SMB.[7]

S0363 Empire

Empire can perform pass the hash attacks.[8]


GALLIUM used dumped hashes to authenticate to other machines via pass the hash.[9]


HOPLIGHT has been observed loading several APIs associated with Pass the Hash.[10]

G0094 Kimsuky

Kimsuky has used pass the hash for authentication to remote access software used in C2.[11]

S0002 Mimikatz

Mimikatz's SEKURLSA::Pth module can impersonate a user, with only a password hash, to execute arbitrary commands.[12][13]

G0014 Night Dragon

Night Dragon used pass-the-hash tools to gain usernames and passwords.[14]

S0122 Pass-The-Hash Toolkit

Pass-The-Hash Toolkit can perform pass the hash.[2]

S0378 PoshC2

PoshC2 has a number of modules that leverage pass the hash for lateral movement.[15]


ID Mitigation Description
M1026 Privileged Account Management

Limit credential overlap across systems to prevent the damage of credential compromise and reduce the adversary's ability to perform Lateral Movement between systems.

M1051 Update Software

Apply patch KB2871997 to Windows 7 and higher systems to limit the default access of accounts in the local administrator group.[16]

M1052 User Account Control

Enable pass the hash mitigations to apply UAC restrictions to local accounts on network logon. The associated Registry key is located HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System\LocalAccountTokenFilterPolicy.

Through GPO: Computer Configuration > [Policies] > Administrative Templates > SCM: Pass the Hash Mitigations: Apply UAC restrictions to local accounts on network logons.[17]

M1018 User Account Management

Do not allow a domain user to be in the local administrator group on multiple systems.


Audit all logon and credential use events and review for discrepancies. Unusual remote logins that correlate with other suspicious activity (such as writing and executing binaries) may indicate malicious activity. NTLM LogonType 3 authentications that are not associated to a domain login and are not anonymous logins are suspicious.

Event ID 4768 and 4769 will also be generated on the Domain Controller when a user requests a new ticket granting ticket or service ticket. These events combined with the above activity may be indicative of an overpass the hash attempt.[1]