Windows Management Instrumentation

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Windows Management Instrumentation
Technique
ID T1047
Tactic Execution
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
System Requirements

WMI service, winmgmt, running. Host/network firewalls allowing SMB and WMI ports from source to destination.

SMB authentication.
Permissions Required User, Administrator
Data Sources Authentication logs, Netflow/Enclave netflow, Process command-line parameters, Process monitoring
Supports Remote Yes

Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) is a Windows administration feature that provides a uniform environment for local and remote access to Windows system components. It relies on the WMI service for local and remote access and the server message block (SMB)1 and Remote Procedure Call Service (RPCS)2 for remote access. RPCS operates over port 135.3

An adversary can use WMI to interact with local and remote systems and use it as a means to perform many tactic functions, such as gathering information for Discovery and remote Execution of files as part of Lateral Movement.4

Examples

  • The Deep Panda group is known to utilize WMI for lateral movement.5
  • APT29 used WMI to steal credentials and execute backdoors at a future time.6
  • Lazarus Group malware SierraAlfa uses the Windows Management Instrumentation Command-line application wmic to start itself on a target system during lateral movement.7
  • Stealth Falcon malware gathers system information via Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI).8
  • The DustySky dropper uses Windows Management Instrumentation to extract information about the operating system and whether an anti-virus is active.9
  • A BlackEnergy 2 plug-in uses WMI to gather victim host details.10

Mitigation

Disabling WMI or RPCS may cause system instability and should be evaluated to assess the impact to a network. By default, only administrators are allowed to connect remotely using WMI. Restrict other users who are allowed to connect, or disallow all users to connect remotely to WMI. Prevent credential overlap across systems of administrator and privileged accounts.4

Detection

Monitor network traffic for WMI connections; the use of WMI in environments that do not typically use WMI may be suspect. Perform process monitoring to capture command-line arguments of "wmic" and detect commands that are used to perform remote behavior.4