System Service Discovery

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System Service Discovery
ID T1007
Tactic Discovery
Platform Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2012, Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Vista, Windows 8.1, Windows 10
Permissions Required User, Administrator, SYSTEM
Data Sources Process command-line parameters, Process monitoring

Adversaries may try to get information about registered services. Commands that may obtain information about services using operating system utilities are "sc," "tasklist /svc" using Tasklist, and "net start" using Net, but adversaries may also use other tools as well.


  • Ke3chang performs service discovery using net start commands.1
  • After compromising a victim, Poseidon Group discovers all running services.2
  • Turla surveys a system upon check-in to discover running services and associated processes using the tasklist /svc command.3
  • admin@338 actors used the following command following exploitation of a machine with LOWBALL malware to obtain information about services: net start >> %temp%\download4
  • BBSRAT can query service configuration information.5
  • Elise executes net start after initial communication is made to the remote server.6
  • Emissary has the capability to execute the command net start to interact with services.7
  • GeminiDuke collects information on programs and services on the victim that are configured to automatically run at startup.8
  • The net start command can be used in Net to find information about Windows services.9
  • S-Type runs the command net start on a victim.10
  • Sykipot may use net start to display running services.11
  • Tasklist can be used to discover services running on a system.12
  • ZLib has the ability to discover and manipulate Windows services.10


Identify unnecessary system utilities or potentially malicious software that may be used to acquire information about services, and audit and/or block them by using whitelisting13 tools, like AppLocker,1415 or Software Restriction Policies16 where appropriate.17


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, such as Lateral Movement, based on the information obtained.

Monitor processes and command-line arguments for actions that could be taken to gather system information related to services. Remote access tools with built-in features may interact directly with the Windows API to gather information. Information may also be acquired through Windows system management tools such as Windows Management Instrumentation and PowerShell.