Obtain Capabilities: Malware

Adversaries may buy, steal, or download malware that can be used during targeting. Malicious software can include payloads, droppers, post-compromise tools, backdoors, packers, and C2 protocols. Adversaries may acquire malware to support their operations, obtaining a means for maintaining control of remote machines, evading defenses, and executing post-compromise behaviors.

In addition to downloading free malware from the internet, adversaries may purchase these capabilities from third-party entities. Third-party entities can include technology companies that specialize in malware development, criminal marketplaces (including Malware-as-a-Service, or MaaS), or from individuals. In addition to purchasing malware, adversaries may steal and repurpose malware from third-party entities (including other adversaries).

ID: T1588.001
Sub-technique of:  T1588
Platforms: PRE
Version: 1.1
Created: 01 October 2020
Last Modified: 17 October 2021

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
G0138 Andariel

Andariel has used a variety of publicly-available remote access Trojans (RATs) for its operations.[1]

G0006 APT1

APT1 used publicly available malware for privilege escalation.[2]

G0143 Aquatic Panda

Aquatic Panda has acquired and used njRAT in its operations.[3]

G0135 BackdoorDiplomacy

BackdoorDiplomacy has obtained and used leaked malware, including DoublePulsar, EternalBlue, EternalRocks, and EternalSynergy, in its operations.[4]

C0015 C0015

For C0015, the threat actors used Cobalt Strike and Conti ransomware.[5]

G1006 Earth Lusca

Earth Lusca has acquired and used a variety of malware, including Cobalt Strike.[6]

C0007 FunnyDream

For FunnyDream, the threat actors used a new backdoor named FunnyDream.[7]


LAPSUS$ acquired and used the Redline password stealer in their operations.[8]

G0140 LazyScripter

LazyScripter has used a variety of open-source remote access Trojans for its operations.[9]

G1014 LuminousMoth

LuminousMoth has obtained and used malware such as Cobalt Strike.[10][11]

G1013 Metador

Metador has used unique malware in their operations, including metaMain and Mafalda.[12]

C0002 Night Dragon

During Night Dragon, threat actors used Trojans from underground hacker websites.[13]

C0005 Operation Spalax

For Operation Spalax, the threat actors obtained malware, including Remcos, njRAT, and AsyncRAT.[14]

G1018 TA2541

TA2541 has used multiple strains of malware available for purchase on criminal forums or in open-source repositories.[15]

G0092 TA505

TA505 has used malware such as Azorult and Cobalt Strike in their operations.[16]

G0010 Turla

Turla has used malware obtained after compromising other threat actors, such as OilRig.[17][18]


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
DS0004 Malware Repository Malware Content

Consider analyzing malware for features that may be associated with malware providers, such as compiler used, debugging artifacts, code similarities, or even group identifiers associated with specific MaaS offerings. Malware repositories can also be used to identify additional samples associated with the developers and the adversary utilizing their services. Identifying overlaps in malware use by different adversaries may indicate malware was obtained by the adversary rather than developed by them. In some cases, identifying overlapping characteristics in malware used by different adversaries may point to a shared quartermaster.[19]

Malware Metadata

Monitor for contextual data about a malicious payload, such as compilation times, file hashes, as well as watermarks or other identifiable configuration information. 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 post-compromise phases of the adversary lifecycle.