System Location Discovery
Adversaries may gather information in an attempt to calculate the geographical location of a victim host. Adversaries may use the information from System Location Discovery during automated discovery to shape follow-on behaviors, including whether or not the adversary fully infects the target and/or attempts specific actions.
Adversaries may attempt to infer the location of a system using various system checks, such as time zone, keyboard layout, and/or language settings. Windows API functions such as
GetLocaleInfoW can also be used to determine the locale of the host. In cloud environments, an instance's availability zone may also be discovered by accessing the instance metadata service from the instance.
This type of attack technique cannot be easily mitigated with preventive controls since it is based on the abuse of system features.
System and network discovery techniques normally occur throughout an operation as an adversary learns the environment. Data and events should not be viewed in isolation, but as part of a chain of behavior that could lead to other activities based on the information obtained.
Monitor processes and command-line arguments for actions that could be taken to gather system location information. Remote access tools with built-in features may interact directly with the Windows API, such as calling
GetLocaleInfoW to gather information.
Monitor traffic flows to geo-location service provider sites, such as ip-api and ipinfo.
- FBI. (2020, November 19). Indicators of Compromise Associated with Ragnar Locker Ransomware. Retrieved April 1, 2021.
- Wisniewski, C. (2016, May 3). Location-based threats: How cybercriminals target you based on where you live. Retrieved April 1, 2021.
- Abrams, L. (2020, October 23). New RAT malware gets commands via Discord, has ransomware feature. Retrieved April 1, 2021.