Archive Collected Data: Archive via Utility

An adversary may compress or encrypt data that is collected prior to exfiltration using 3rd party utilities. Many utilities exist that can archive data, including 7-Zip[1], WinRAR[2], and WinZip[3]. Most utilities include functionality to encrypt and/or compress data.

Some 3rd party utilities may be preinstalled, such as tar on Linux and macOS or zip on Windows systems.

ID: T1560.001
Sub-technique of:  T1560
Tactic: Collection
Platforms: Linux, Windows, macOS
Data Sources: Binary file metadata, File monitoring, Process command-line parameters, Process monitoring
Version: 1.0
Created: 20 February 2020
Last Modified: 25 March 2020

Procedure Examples

Name Description

APT1 has used RAR to compress files before moving them outside of the victim network.[4]


APT3 has used tools to compress data before exfilling it.[5]


APT33 has used WinRAR to compress data prior to exfil.[6]


APT39 has used WinRAR and 7-Zip to compress an archive stolen data. [7]


APT41 created a RAR archive of targeted files for exfiltration.[8]


BRONZE BUTLER has compressed data into password-protected RAR archives prior to exfiltration.[9][10]


Calisto uses the zip -r command to compress the data collected on the local system.[11][12]


Chimera has used modified RAR software to archive data with a password.[13]


CopyKittens uses ZPP, a .NET console program, to compress files with ZIP.[14]


CORALDECK has created password-protected RAR, WinImage, and zip archives to be exfiltrated.[15]


Daserf hides collected data in password-protected .rar archives.[16]


DustySky can compress files via RAR while staging data to be exfiltrated.[17]


FIN8 has used RAR to compress collected data before Exfiltration.[18]


Gallmaker has used WinZip, likely to archive data prior to exfiltration.[19]


iKitten will zip up the /Library/Keychains directory before exfiltrating it.[20]


InvisiMole uses WinRAR to compress data that is intended to be exfiltrated.[21]


Ke3chang is known to use RAR with passwords to encrypt data prior to exfiltration.[22]

Magic Hound

Magic Hound has used RAR to stage and compress local folders.[23]


menuPass has compressed files before exfiltration using TAR and RAR.[24][25]


Micropsia creates a RAR archive based on collected files on the victim's machine.[26]


MuddyWater has used the native Windows cabinet creation tool, makecab.exe, likely to compress stolen data to be uploaded.[27]


Okrum was seen using a RAR archiver tool to compress/decompress data.[28]


OopsIE compresses collected files with GZipStream before sending them to its C2 server.[29]


PoetRAT has the ability to compress files with zip.[30]


PoshC2 contains a module for compressing data using ZIP.[31]


PowerShower has used 7Zip to compress .txt, .pdf, .xls or .doc files prior to exfiltration.[32]


PUNCHBUGGY has Gzipped information and saved it to a random temp file before exfil.[33]


Pupy can compress data with Zip before sending it over C2.[34]


Ramsay can compress and archive collected files using WinRAR.[35]

Soft Cell

Soft Cell used WinRAR to compress and encrypt stolen data prior to exfiltration.[36]


Sowbug extracted documents and bundled them into a RAR archive.[37]


Turla has encrypted files stolen from connected USB drives into a RAR file before exfiltration.[38]


UNC2452 used 7-Zip to compress stolen emails into password-protected archives prior to exfiltration.[39][40]


WindTail has the ability to use the macOS built-in zip utility to archive files.[41]


Mitigation Description

System scans can be performed to identify unauthorized archival utilities.


Common utilities that may be present on the system or brought in by an adversary may be detectable through process monitoring and monitoring for command-line arguments for known archival utilities. This may yield a significant number of benign events, depending on how systems in the environment are typically used.

Consider detecting writing of files with extensions and/or headers associated with compressed or encrypted file types. Detection efforts may focus on follow-on exfiltration activity, where compressed or encrypted files can be detected in transit with a network intrusion detection or data loss prevention system analyzing file headers.[42]


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  2. A. Roshal. (2020). RARLAB. Retrieved February 20, 2020.
  3. Corel Corporation. (2020). WinZip. Retrieved February 20, 2020.
  4. Mandiant. (n.d.). APT1 Exposing One of China’s Cyber Espionage Units. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
  5. valsmith. (2012, September 21). More on APTSim. Retrieved September 28, 2017.
  6. Security Response attack Investigation Team. (2019, March 27). Elfin: Relentless Espionage Group Targets Multiple Organizations in Saudi Arabia and U.S.. Retrieved April 10, 2019.
  7. Hawley et al. (2019, January 29). APT39: An Iranian Cyber Espionage Group Focused on Personal Information. Retrieved February 19, 2019.
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  9. Counter Threat Unit Research Team. (2017, October 12). BRONZE BUTLER Targets Japanese Enterprises. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
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  11. Kuzin, M., Zelensky S. (2018, July 20). Calisto Trojan for macOS. Retrieved September 7, 2018.
  12. Pantig, J. (2018, July 30). OSX.Calisto. Retrieved September 7, 2018.
  13. Cycraft. (2020, April 15). APT Group Chimera - APT Operation Skeleton key Targets Taiwan Semiconductor Vendors. Retrieved August 24, 2020.
  14. ClearSky Cyber Security and Trend Micro. (2017, July). Operation Wilted Tulip: Exposing a cyber espionage apparatus. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  15. FireEye. (2018, February 20). APT37 (Reaper): The Overlooked North Korean Actor. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  16. DiMaggio, J. (2016, April 28). Tick cyberespionage group zeros in on Japan. Retrieved July 16, 2018.
  17. GReAT. (2019, April 10). Gaza Cybergang Group1, operation SneakyPastes. Retrieved May 13, 2020.
  18. Elovitz, S. & Ahl, I. (2016, August 18). Know Your Enemy: New Financially-Motivated & Spear-Phishing Group. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  19. Symantec Security Response. (2018, October 10). Gallmaker: New Attack Group Eschews Malware to Live off the Land. Retrieved November 27, 2018.
  20. Patrick Wardle. (n.d.). Mac Malware of 2017. Retrieved September 21, 2018.
  21. Hromcová, Z. (2018, June 07). InvisiMole: Surprisingly equipped spyware, undercover since 2013. Retrieved July 10, 2018.
  1. Villeneuve, N., Bennett, J. T., Moran, N., Haq, T., Scott, M., & Geers, K. (2014). OPERATION “KE3CHANG”: Targeted Attacks Against Ministries of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved November 12, 2014.
  2. Mandiant. (2018). Mandiant M-Trends 2018. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  3. PwC and BAE Systems. (2017, April). Operation Cloud Hopper. Retrieved April 5, 2017.
  4. PwC and BAE Systems. (2017, April). Operation Cloud Hopper: Technical Annex. Retrieved April 13, 2017.
  5. Tsarfaty, Y. (2018, July 25). Micropsia Malware. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  6. Symantec DeepSight Adversary Intelligence Team. (2018, December 10). Seedworm: Group Compromises Government Agencies, Oil & Gas, NGOs, Telecoms, and IT Firms. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  7. Hromcova, Z. (2019, July). OKRUM AND KETRICAN: AN OVERVIEW OF RECENT KE3CHANG GROUP ACTIVITY. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  8. Lee, B., Falcone, R. (2018, February 23). OopsIE! OilRig Uses ThreeDollars to Deliver New Trojan. Retrieved July 16, 2018.
  9. Mercer, W, et al. (2020, April 16). PoetRAT: Python RAT uses COVID-19 lures to target Azerbaijan public and private sectors. Retrieved April 27, 2020.
  10. Nettitude. (2018, July 23). Python Server for PoshC2. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
  11. GReAT. (2019, August 12). Recent Cloud Atlas activity. Retrieved May 8, 2020.
  12. Gorelik, M.. (2019, June 10). SECURITY ALERT: FIN8 IS BACK IN BUSINESS, TARGETING THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
  13. Nicolas Verdier. (n.d.). Retrieved January 29, 2018.
  14. Sanmillan, I.. (2020, May 13). Ramsay: A cyber‑espionage toolkit tailored for air‑gapped networks. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  15. Cybereason Nocturnus. (2019, June 25). Operation Soft Cell: A Worldwide Campaign Against Telecommunications Providers. Retrieved July 18, 2019.
  16. Symantec Security Response. (2017, November 7). Sowbug: Cyber espionage group targets South American and Southeast Asian governments. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
  17. Symantec DeepSight Adversary Intelligence Team. (2019, June 20). Waterbug: Espionage Group Rolls Out Brand-New Toolset in Attacks Against Governments. Retrieved July 8, 2019.
  18. Cash, D. et al. (2020, December 14). Dark Halo Leverages SolarWinds Compromise to Breach Organizations. Retrieved December 29, 2020.
  19. MSTIC, CDOC, 365 Defender Research Team. (2021, January 20). Deep dive into the Solorigate second-stage activation: From SUNBURST to TEARDROP and Raindrop . Retrieved January 22, 2021.
  20. Wardle, Patrick. (2019, January 15). Middle East Cyber-Espionage analyzing WindShift's implant: OSX.WindTail (part 2). Retrieved October 3, 2019.
  21. Wikipedia. (2016, March 31). List of file signatures. Retrieved April 22, 2016.