Adversaries may gather information about the victim's host software that can be used during targeting. Information about installed software may include a variety of details such as types and versions on specific hosts, as well as the presence of additional components that might be indicative of added defensive protections (ex: antivirus, SIEMs, etc.).
Adversaries may gather this information in various ways, such as direct collection actions via Active Scanning (ex: listening ports, server banners, user agent strings) or Phishing for Information. Adversaries may also compromise sites then include malicious content designed to collect host information from visitors. Information about the installed software may also be exposed to adversaries via online or other accessible data sets (ex: job postings, network maps, assessment reports, resumes, or purchase invoices). Gathering this information may reveal opportunities for other forms of reconnaissance (ex: Search Open Websites/Domains or Search Open Technical Databases), establishing operational resources (ex: Develop Capabilities or Obtain Capabilities), and/or for initial access (ex: Supply Chain Compromise or External Remote Services).
Sandworm Team has researched software code to enable supply-chain operations, most notably for the 2017 NotPetya attack. Sandworm Team also collected a list of computers using specific software as part of its targeting efforts.
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.
Internet scanners may be used to look for patterns associated with malicious content designed to collect host software information from visitors.Much of this activity may have a very high occurrence and associated false positive rate, as well as potentially taking place outside the visibility of the target organization, making detection difficult for defenders. Detection efforts may be focused on related stages of the adversary lifecycle, such as during Initial Access.