System Service Discovery

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System Service Discovery
ID T1007
Tactic Discovery
Platform Windows
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
  • OilRig has used sc query on a victim to gather information about services.2
  • After compromising a victim, Poseidon Group discovers all running services.3
  • Turla surveys a system upon check-in to discover running services and associated processes using the tasklist /svc command.4
  • admin@338 actors used the following command following exploitation of a machine with LOWBALL malware to obtain information about services: net start >> %temp%\download5
  • BBSRAT can query service configuration information.6
  • Elise executes net start after initial communication is made to the remote server.7
  • Emissary has the capability to execute the command net start to interact with services.8
  • GeminiDuke collects information on programs and services on the victim that are configured to automatically run at startup.9
  • Hydraq creates a backdoor through which remote attackers can monitor services.1011
  • JPIN can list running services.12
  • The net start command can be used in Net to find information about Windows services.13
  • S-Type runs the command net start on a victim.14
  • Sykipot may use net start to display running services.15
  • Tasklist can be used to discover services running on a system.16
  • Volgmer queries the system to identify existing services.17
  • can enumerate services.18
  • ZLib has the ability to discover and manipulate Windows services.14


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 whitelisting19 tools, like AppLocker,2021 or Software Restriction Policies22 where appropriate.23


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.


  1. ^  Villeneuve, N., Bennett, J. T., Moran, N., Haq, T., Scott, M., & Geers, K. (2014). OPERATION “KE3CHANG”: Targeted Attacks Against Ministries of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved November 12, 2014.
  2. ^  Falcone, R. and Lee, B.. (2016, May 26). The OilRig Campaign: Attacks on Saudi Arabian Organizations Deliver Helminth Backdoor. Retrieved May 3, 2017.
  3. ^  Kaspersky Lab's Global Research and Analysis Team. (2016, February 9). Poseidon Group: a Targeted Attack Boutique specializing in global cyber-espionage. Retrieved March 16, 2016.
  4. ^  Kaspersky Lab's Global Research and Analysis Team. (2014, August 7). The Epic Turla Operation: Solving some of the mysteries of Snake/Uroburos. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  5. ^  FireEye Threat Intelligence. (2015, December 1). China-based Cyber Threat Group Uses Dropbox for Malware Communications and Targets Hong Kong Media Outlets. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
  6. ^  Lee, B. Grunzweig, J. (2015, December 22). BBSRAT Attacks Targeting Russian Organizations Linked to Roaming Tiger. Retrieved August 19, 2016.
  7. ^  Falcone, R., et al.. (2015, June 16). Operation Lotus Blossom. Retrieved February 15, 2016.
  8. ^  Falcone, R. and Miller-Osborn, J.. (2016, February 3). Emissary Trojan Changelog: Did Operation Lotus Blossom Cause It to Evolve?. Retrieved February 15, 2016.
  9. ^  F-Secure Labs. (2015, September 17). The Dukes: 7 years of Russian cyberespionage. Retrieved December 10, 2015.
  10. ^  Lelli, A. (2010, January 11). Trojan.Hydraq. Retrieved February 20, 2018.
  11. ^  Symantec Security Response. (2010, January 18). The Trojan.Hydraq Incident. Retrieved February 20, 2018.
  12. ^  Windows Defender Advanced Threat Hunting Team. (2016, April 29). PLATINUM: Targeted attacks in South and Southeast Asia. Retrieved February 15, 2018.