Permission Groups Discovery

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Permission Groups Discovery
ID T1069
Tactic Discovery
Platform Linux, macOS, Windows
Permissions Required User
Data Sources API monitoring, Process command-line parameters, Process monitoring

Adversaries may attempt to find local system or domain-level groups and permissions settings.


Examples of commands that can list groups are net group /domain and net localgroup using the Net utility.


On Mac, this same thing can be accomplished with the dscacheutil -q group for the domain, or dscl . -list /Groups for local groups.


On Linux, local groups can be enumerated with the groups command and domain groups via the ldapsearch command.


  • APT3 has a tool that can enumerate the permissions associated with Windows groups.1
  • Ke3chang performs discovery of permission groups net group /domain.2
  • OilRig has used net group /domain, net localgroup administrators, net group “domain admins” /domain, and net group “Exchange Trusted Subsystem” /domain to find group permission settings on a victim.3
  • admin@338 actors used the following command following exploitation of a machine with LOWBALL malware to list local groups: net localgroup administrator >> %temp%\download4
  • Emissary has the capability to execute the command net localgroup administrators.5
  • Helminth has checked for the local admin group domain admin group and Exchange Trusted Subsystem groups using the commands net group Exchange Trusted Subsystem /domain and net group domain admins /domain.6
  • JPIN can obtain the victim user name.7
  • MURKYTOP has the capability to retrieve information about groups.8
  • Commands such as net group and net localgroup can be used in Net to gather information about and manipulate groups.9
  • OSInfo specifically looks for Domain Admins, Power Users, and the Administrators groups within the domain and locally 1
  • POWRUNER may collect permission group information by running net group /domain or a series of other commands on a victim.10
  • Sys10 collects the group name of the logged-in user and sends it to the C2.11
  • dsquery can be used to gather information on permission groups within a domain.12


Identify unnecessary system utilities or potentially malicious software that may be used to acquire information about groups and permissions, 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 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.