Establish Accounts: Social Media Accounts

ID Name
T1585.001 Social Media Accounts
T1585.002 Email Accounts
T1585.003 Cloud Accounts

Adversaries may create and cultivate social media accounts that can be used during targeting. Adversaries can create social media accounts that can be used to build a persona to further operations. Persona development consists of the development of public information, presence, history and appropriate affiliations.[1][2]

For operations incorporating social engineering, the utilization of a persona on social media may be important. These personas may be fictitious or impersonate real people. The persona may exist on a single social media site or across multiple sites (ex: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.). Establishing a persona on social media may require development of additional documentation to make them seem real. This could include filling out profile information, developing social networks, or incorporating photos.

Once a persona has been developed an adversary can use it to create connections to targets of interest. These connections may be direct or may include trying to connect through others.[1][2] These accounts may be leveraged during other phases of the adversary lifecycle, such as during Initial Access (ex: Spearphishing via Service).

ID: T1585.001
Sub-technique of:  T1585
Platforms: PRE
Version: 1.1
Created: 01 October 2020
Last Modified: 16 October 2021

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
G0050 APT32

APT32 has set up Facebook pages in tandem with fake websites.[3]

G0003 Cleaver

Cleaver has created fake LinkedIn profiles that included profile photos, details, and connections.[4]


CURIUM has established a network of fictitious social media accounts, including on Facebook and LinkedIn, to establish relationships with victims, often posing as an attractive woman.[5]


EXOTIC LILY has established social media profiles to mimic employees of targeted companies.[6]

G0117 Fox Kitten

Fox Kitten has used a Twitter account to communicate with ransomware victims.[7]


HEXANE has established fraudulent LinkedIn accounts impersonating HR department employees to target potential victims with fake job offers.[8]

G0094 Kimsuky

Kimsuky has created social media accounts to monitor news and security trends as well as potential targets.[9]

G0032 Lazarus Group

Lazarus Group has created new Twitter accounts to conduct social engineering against potential victims.[10]

G0065 Leviathan

Leviathan has created new social media accounts for targeting efforts.[11]

G0059 Magic Hound

Magic Hound has created fake LinkedIn and other social media accounts to contact targets and convince them--through messages and voice communications--to open malicious links.[12]

C0022 Operation Dream Job

For Operation Dream Job, Lazarus Group created fake LinkedIn accounts for their targeting efforts.[13][14]

C0023 Operation Ghost

For Operation Ghost, APT29 registered Twitter accounts to host C2 nodes.[15]

G0034 Sandworm Team

Sandworm Team has established social media accounts to disseminate victim internal-only documents and other sensitive data.[16]


ID Mitigation Description
M1056 Pre-compromise

This technique cannot be easily mitigated with preventive controls since it is based on behaviors performed outside of the scope of enterprise defenses and controls.


ID Data Source Data Component Detects
DS0029 Network Traffic Network Traffic Content

Monitor and analyze traffic patterns and packet inspection associated to protocol(s) that do not follow the expected protocol standards and traffic flows (e.g extraneous packets that do not belong to established flows, gratuitous or anomalous traffic patterns, anomalous syntax, or structure). Consider correlation with process monitoring and command line to detect anomalous processes execution and command line arguments associated to traffic patterns (e.g. monitor anomalies in use of files that do not normally initiate connections for respective protocol(s)).

DS0021 Persona Social Media

Consider monitoring social media activity related to your organization. Suspicious activity may include personas claiming to work for your organization or recently created/modified accounts making numerous connection requests to accounts affiliated with your organization.Detection efforts may be focused on related stages of the adversary lifecycle, such as during Initial Access (ex: Spearphishing via Service).