System Network Connections Discovery

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System Network Connections Discovery
ID T1049
Tactic Discovery
Platform Linux, macOS, Windows
Permissions Required User, Administrator
Data Sources Process command-line parameters, Process monitoring

Adversaries may attempt to get a listing of network connections to or from the compromised system they are currently accessing or from remote systems by querying for information over the network.


Utilities and commands that acquire this information include netstat, "net use," and "net session" with Net.

Mac and Linux

In Mac and Linux, netstat and lsof can be used to list current connections. who -a and w can be used to show which users are currently logged in, similar to "net session".


  • APT3 has a tool that can enumerate current network connections.12 3
  • Ke3chang performs local network connection discovery using netstat -ano commands.4
  • OilRig has used netstat -an on a victim to get a listing of network connections.5
  • Poseidon Group obtains and saves information about victim network interfaces and addresses.6
  • Threat Group-3390 has used net use to conduct internal discovery of systems. The group has also used quser.exe to identify existing RDP sessions on a victim.7
  • Turla surveys a system upon check-in to discover active local network connections using the netstat -an, net use, net file, and net session commands.8
  • admin@338 actors used the following command following exploitation of a machine with LOWBALL malware to display network connections: netstat -ano >> %temp%\download9
  • menuPass has used net use to conduct connectivity checks to machines.10
  • BlackEnergy has gathered information about local network connections using netstat.1112
  • The discovery modules used with Duqu can collect information on network connections.13
  • Commands such as net use and net session can be used in Net to gather information about network connections from a particular host.14
  • OSInfo enumerates the current network connections similar to net use 1.
  • POWRUNER may collect active network connections by running netstat -an on a victim.15
  • RedLeaves can enumerate drives and Remote Desktop sessions.16
  • Remsec can obtain a list of active connections and open ports.17
  • SHOTPUT uses netstat to list TCP connection status.18
  • Sykipot may use netstat -ano to display active network connections.19
  • nbtstat can be used to discover current NetBIOS sessions.
  • netstat can be used to enumerate local network connections, including active TCP connections and other network statistics.20


Identify unnecessary system utilities or potentially malicious software that may be used to acquire information about network connections, and audit and/or block them by using whitelisting21 tools, like AppLocker,2223 or Software Restriction Policies24 where appropriate.25


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 and network information. 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. a b  Symantec Security Response. (2016, September 6). Buckeye cyberespionage group shifts gaze from US to Hong Kong. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  2. ^  Chen, X., Scott, M., Caselden, D.. (2014, April 26). New Zero-Day Exploit targeting Internet Explorer Versions 9 through 11 Identified in Targeted Attacks. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
  3. ^  Yates, M. (2017, June 18). APT3 Uncovered: The code evolution of Pirpi. Retrieved September 28, 2017.
  4. ^  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.
  5. ^  Falcone, R. and Lee, B.. (2016, May 26). The OilRig Campaign: Attacks on Saudi Arabian Organizations Deliver Helminth Backdoor. Retrieved May 3, 2017.
  6. ^  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.
  7. ^  Counter Threat Unit Research Team. (2017, June 27). BRONZE UNION Cyberespionage Persists Despite Disclosures. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
  8. ^  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.
  9. ^  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.
  10. ^  PwC and BAE Systems. (2017, April). Operation Cloud Hopper. Retrieved April 5, 2017.
  11. ^  F-Secure Labs. (2014). BlackEnergy & Quedagh: The convergence of crimeware and APT attacks. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  12. ^  Baumgartner, K. and Garnaeva, M.. (2014, November 3). BE2 custom plugins, router abuse, and target profiles. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  13. ^  Symantec Security Response. (2011, November). W32.Duqu: The precursor to the next Stuxnet. Retrieved September 17, 2015.