Credentials from Password Stores: Windows Credential Manager

Adversaries may acquire credentials from the Windows Credential Manager. The Credential Manager stores credentials for signing into websites, applications, and/or devices that request authentication through NTLM or Kerberos in Credential Lockers (previously known as Windows Vaults).[1][2]

The Windows Credential Manager separates website credentials from application or network credentials in two lockers. As part of Credentials from Web Browsers, Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge website credentials are managed by the Credential Manager and are stored in the Web Credentials locker. Application and network credentials are stored in the Windows Credentials locker.

Credential Lockers store credentials in encrypted .vcrd files, located under %Systemdrive%\Users\[Username]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\[Vault/Credentials]\. The encryption key can be found in a file named Policy.vpol, typically located in the same folder as the credentials.[3][4]

Adversaries may list credentials managed by the Windows Credential Manager through several mechanisms. vaultcmd.exe is a native Windows executable that can be used to enumerate credentials stored in the Credential Locker through a command-line interface. Adversaries may gather credentials by reading files located inside of the Credential Lockers. Adversaries may also abuse Windows APIs such as CredEnumerateA to list credentials managed by the Credential Manager.[5][6]

Adversaries may use password recovery tools to obtain plain text passwords from the Credential Manager.[4]

ID: T1555.004
Sub-technique of:  T1555
Platforms: Windows
Permissions Required: User
Data Sources: Command: Command Execution, File: File Access, Process: OS API Execution, Process: Process Creation
Contributors: Bernaldo Penas Antelo; Mugdha Peter Bansode
Version: 1.0
Created: 23 November 2020
Last Modified: 29 April 2021

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
S0526 KGH_SPY

KGH_SPY can collect credentials from the Windows Credential Manager.[7]

S0349 LaZagne

LaZagne can obtain credentials from Vault files.[8]

S0002 Mimikatz

Mimikatz contains functionality to acquire credentials from the Windows Credential Manager.[6]

G0049 OilRig

OilRig has used credential dumping tool named VALUEVAULT to steal credentials from the Windows Credential Manager.[9]

S0194 PowerSploit

PowerSploit contains a collection of Exfiltration modules that can harvest credentials from Windows vault credential objects.[10][11]

S0240 ROKRAT

ROKRAT steals credentials by leveraging the Windows Vault mechanism.[12]

G0038 Stealth Falcon

Stealth Falcon malware gathers passwords from the Windows Credential Vault.[13]

G0010 Turla

Turla has gathered credentials from the Windows Credential Manager tool.[14]

S0476 Valak

Valak can use a .NET compiled module named exchgrabber to enumerate credentials from the Credential Manager.[15]

Mitigations

ID Mitigation Description
M1042 Disable or Remove Feature or Program

Consider enabling the "Network access: Do not allow storage of passwords and credentials for network authentication" setting that will prevent network credentials from being stored by the Credential Manager.[16]

Detection

Monitor process and command-line parameters of vaultcmd.exe for suspicious activity, such as listing credentials from the Windows Credentials locker (i.e., vaultcmd /listcreds:"Windows Credentials").[4]

Consider monitoring API calls such as CredEnumerateA that may list credentials from the Windows Credential Manager.[5][6]

Consider monitoring file reads to Vault locations, %Systemdrive%\Users\[Username]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\[Vault/Credentials]\, for suspicious activity.[4]

References