Input Capture

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Input Capture
ID T1056
Tactic Collection, Credential Access
Platform Linux, macOS, Windows
Permissions Required Administrator, SYSTEM
Data Sources Windows Registry, Kernel drivers, Process monitoring, API monitoring
Contributors John Lambert, Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center

Adversaries can use methods of capturing user input for obtaining credentials for Valid Accounts and information Collection that include keylogging and user input field interception.

Keylogging is the most prevalent type of input capture, with many different ways of intercepting keystrokes,1 but other methods exist to target information for specific purposes, such as performing a UAC prompt or wrapping the Windows default credential provider.2

Keylogging is likely to be used to acquire credentials for new access opportunities when Credential Dumping efforts are not effective, and may require an adversary to remain passive on a system for a period of time before an opportunity arises.

Adversaries may also install code on externally facing portals, such as a VPN login page, to capture and transmit credentials of users who attempt to log into the service. This variation on input capture may be conducted post-compromise using legitimate administrative access as a backup measure to maintain network access through External Remote Services and Valid Accounts or as part of the initial compromise by exploitation of the externally facing web service.3


  • APT28 can deploy a tool to perform keylogging.4
  • APT3 has used a keylogging tool that records keystrokes in encrypted files.5
  • APT34 has used a keylogging tool called KEYPUNCH.6
  • Darkhotel uses a sophisticated keylogger.7
  • Malware used by Group5 is capable of capturing keystrokes.8
  • Lazarus Group malware KiloAlfa contains keylogging functionality.9
  • Magic Hound malware is capable of keylogging.10
  • PLATINUM has used several different keyloggers.11
  • Sowbug has used keylogging tools.12
  • Threat Group-3390 actors installed a credential logger on Microsoft Exchange servers.13
  • ADVSTORESHELL can perform keylogging.1415
  • When it first starts, BADNEWS spawns a new thread to log keystrokes.1617
  • BlackEnergy has run a keylogger plug-in on a victim.18
  • CHOPSTICK is capable of performing keylogging.1914
  • Carbanak contains keylogger functionality.20
  • Cobalt Strike can track key presses with a keylogger module.21
  • CosmicDuke uses a keylogger and steals clipboard contents from victims.22
  • is capable of logging keystrokes.23
  • captures keystrokes.24
  • Daserf can log keystrokes.2526
  • Derusbi is capable of logging keystrokes.27
  • Duqu can track key presses with a keylogger module.28
  • DustySky contains a keylogger.29
  • EvilGrab has the capability to capture keystrokes.30
  • FakeM contains a keylogger module.31
  • HTTPBrowser is capable of capturing keystrokes on victims.13
  • The executable version of Helminth has a module to log keystrokes.32
  • JPIN contains a custom keylogger.11
  • Kasidet has the ability to initiate keylogging.33
  • Matroyshka is capable of keylogging.3435
  • MoonWind has a keylogger.36
  • can perform keylogging.3738
  • NetTraveler contains a keylogger.39
  • OwaAuth captures and DES-encrypts credentials before writing the username and password to a log file, C:\log.txt.13
  • PoisonIvy contains a keylogger.40
  • PowerSploit's Get-Keystrokes Exfiltration module can log keystrokes.4142
  • Prikormka contains a keylogger module that collects keystrokes and the titles of foreground windows.43
  • Pupy uses a keylogger to capture keystrokes it then sends back to the server after it is stopped.44
  • RTM can record keystrokes from both the keyboard and virtual keyboard.45
  • Regin contains a keylogger.46
  • Remsec contains a keylogger component.4748
  • Rover has keylogging functionality.49
  • SslMM creates a new thread implementing a keylogging facility using Windows Keyboard Accelerators.50
  • Sykipot contains keylogging functionality to steal passwords.51
  • TinyZBot contains keylogger functionality.52
  • Unknown Logger is capable of recording keystrokes.16
  • XAgentOSX contains keylogging functionality that will monitor for active application windows and write them to the log, it can handle special characters, and it will buffer by default 50 characters before sending them out over the C2 infrastructure53.
  • The gh0st RAT has a keylogger.54


Identify and block potentially malicious software that may be used to acquire credentials or information from the user by using whitelisting55 tools, like AppLocker,5657 or Software Restriction Policies58 where appropriate.59

In cases where this behavior is difficult to detect or mitigate, efforts can be made to lessen some of the impact that might result from an adversary acquiring credential information. It is also good practice to follow mitigation recommendations for adversary use of Valid Accounts.


Keyloggers may take many forms, possibly involving modification to the Registry and installation of a driver, setting a hook, or polling to intercept keystrokes. Commonly used API calls include SetWindowsHook, GetKeyState, and GetAsynceyState.1 Monitor the Registry and file system for such changes and detect driver installs, as well as looking for common keylogging API calls. API calls alone are not an indicator of keylogging, but may provide behavioral data that is useful when combined with other information such as new files written to disk and unusual processes.

Monitor the Registry for the addition of a Custom Credential Provider.2 Detection of compromised Valid Accounts in use by adversaries may help to catch the result of user input interception if new techniques are used.


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