Compromise Accounts: Cloud Accounts

Adversaries may compromise cloud accounts that can be used during targeting. Adversaries can use compromised cloud accounts to further their operations, including leveraging cloud storage services such as Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, or AWS S3 buckets for Exfiltration to Cloud Storage or to Upload Tools. Cloud accounts can also be used in the acquisition of infrastructure, such as Virtual Private Servers or Serverless infrastructure. Compromising cloud accounts may allow adversaries to develop sophisticated capabilities without managing their own servers.[1]

A variety of methods exist for compromising cloud accounts, such as gathering credentials via Phishing for Information, purchasing credentials from third-party sites, conducting Password Spraying attacks, or attempting to Steal Application Access Tokens.[2] Prior to compromising cloud accounts, adversaries may conduct Reconnaissance to inform decisions about which accounts to compromise to further their operation. In some cases, adversaries may target privileged service provider accounts with the intent of leveraging a Trusted Relationship between service providers and their customers.[2]

ID: T1586.003
Sub-technique of:  T1586
Platforms: PRE
Contributors: Francesco Bigarella
Version: 1.0
Created: 27 May 2022
Last Modified: 21 October 2022


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.


Much of this activity will take place outside the visibility of the target organization, making detection of this behavior difficult. Detection efforts may be focused on related stages of the adversary lifecycle, such as during exfiltration (ex: Transfer Data to Cloud Account).