Gather Victim Identity Information

Adversaries may gather information about the victim's identity that can be used during targeting. Information about identities may include a variety of details, including personal data (ex: employee names, email addresses, security question responses, etc.) as well as sensitive details such as credentials or multi-factor authentication (MFA) configurations.

Adversaries may gather this information in various ways, such as direct elicitation via Phishing for Information. Information about users could also be enumerated via other active means (i.e. Active Scanning) such as probing and analyzing responses from authentication services that may reveal valid usernames in a system or permitted MFA /methods associated with those usernames.[1][2] Information about victims may also be exposed to adversaries via online or other accessible data sets (ex: Social Media or Search Victim-Owned Websites).[3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10]

Gathering this information may reveal opportunities for other forms of reconnaissance (ex: Search Open Websites/Domains or Phishing for Information), establishing operational resources (ex: Compromise Accounts), and/or initial access (ex: Phishing or Valid Accounts).

ID: T1589
Sub-techniques:  T1589.001, T1589.002, T1589.003
Tactic: Reconnaissance
Platforms: PRE
Contributors: Jannie Li, Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC); Obsidian Security
Version: 1.3
Created: 02 October 2020
Last Modified: 19 April 2024

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
G0050 APT32

APT32 has conducted targeted surveillance against activists and bloggers.[11]

G1016 FIN13

FIN13 has researched employees to target for social engineering attacks.[12]


HEXANE has identified specific potential victims at targeted organizations.[13]


LAPSUS$ has gathered detailed information of target employees to enhance their social engineering lures.[14]

G0059 Magic Hound

Magic Hound has acquired mobile phone numbers of potential targets, possibly for mobile malware or additional phishing operations.[15]

C0022 Operation Dream Job

For Operation Dream Job, Lazarus Group conducted extensive reconnaissance research on potential targets.[16]

C0014 Operation Wocao

During Operation Wocao, threat actors targeted people based on their organizational roles and privileges.[17]


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. Efforts should focus on minimizing the amount and sensitivity of data available to external parties.


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

Monitor for suspicious network traffic that could be indicative of probing for user information, such as large/iterative quantities of authentication requests originating from a single source (especially if the source is known to be associated with an adversary/botnet). Analyzing web metadata may also reveal artifacts that can be attributed to potentially malicious activity, such as referer or user-agent string HTTP/S fields.