Obtain Capabilities: Vulnerabilities
Before compromising a victim, adversaries may acquire information about vulnerabilities that can be used during targeting. A vulnerability is a weakness in computer hardware or software that can, potentially, be exploited by an adversary to cause unintended or unanticipated behavior to occur. Adversaries may find vulnerability information by searching open databases or gaining access to closed vulnerability databases.
An adversary may monitor vulnerability disclosures/databases to understand the state of existing, as well as newly discovered, vulnerabilities. There is usually a delay between when a vulnerability is discovered and when it is made public. An adversary may target the systems of those known to conduct vulnerability research (including commercial vendors). Knowledge of a vulnerability may cause an adversary to search for an existing exploit (i.e. Exploits) or to attempt to develop one themselves (i.e. Exploits).
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 behaviors relating to the potential use of exploits for vulnerabilities (i.e. Exploit Public-Facing Application, Exploitation for Client Execution, Exploitation for Privilege Escalation, Exploitation for Defense Evasion, Exploitation for Credential Access, Exploitation of Remote Services, and Application or System Exploitation).