Before compromising a victim, adversaries may build capabilities that can be used during targeting. Rather than purchasing, freely downloading, or stealing capabilities, adversaries may develop their own capabilities in-house. This is the process of identifying development requirements and building solutions such as malware, exploits, and self-signed certificates. Adversaries may develop capabilities to support their operations throughout numerous phases of the adversary lifecycle.
As with legitimate development efforts, different skill sets may be required for developing capabilities. The skills needed may be located in-house, or may need to be contracted out. Use of a contractor may be considered an extension of that adversary's development capabilities, provided the adversary plays a role in shaping requirements and maintains a degree of exclusivity to the capability.
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 Defense Evasion or Command and Control.