Permission Groups Discovery
|Permission Groups Discovery|
|Platform||Linux, macOS, Windows|
|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
- 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” /domainto 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 /domainand
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 localgroupcan 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 /domainor 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.
- Symantec Security Response. (2016, September 6). Buckeye cyberespionage group shifts gaze from US to Hong Kong. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
- 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.
- Falcone, R. and Lee, B.. (2016, May 26). The OilRig Campaign: Attacks on Saudi Arabian Organizations Deliver Helminth Backdoor. Retrieved May 3, 2017.
- 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.
- Falcone, R. and Miller-Osborn, J.. (2016, February 3). Emissary Trojan Changelog: Did Operation Lotus Blossom Cause It to Evolve?. Retrieved February 15, 2016.
- Unit 42. (2017, December 15). Unit 42 Playbook Viewer - OilRig. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
- Windows Defender Advanced Threat Hunting Team. (2016, April 29). PLATINUM: Targeted attacks in South and Southeast Asia. Retrieved February 15, 2018.
- FireEye. (2018, March 16). Suspected Chinese Cyber Espionage Group (TEMP.Periscope) Targeting U.S. Engineering and Maritime Industries. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
- Savill, J. (1999, March 4). Net.exe reference. Retrieved September 22, 2015.
- Sardiwal, M, et al. (2017, December 7). New Targeted Attack in the Middle East by APT34, a Suspected Iranian Threat Group, Using CVE-2017-11882 Exploit. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
- Baumgartner, K., Golovkin, M.. (2015, May). The MsnMM Campaigns: The Earliest Naikon APT Campaigns. Retrieved December 17, 2015.
- Microsoft. (n.d.). Dsquery. Retrieved April 18, 2016.
- Beechey, J. (2010, December). Application Whitelisting: Panacea or Propaganda?. Retrieved November 18, 2014.
- Tomonaga, S. (2016, January 26). Windows Commands Abused by Attackers. Retrieved February 2, 2016.
- NSA Information Assurance Directorate. (2014, August). Application Whitelisting Using Microsoft AppLocker. Retrieved March 31, 2016.
- Corio, C., & Sayana, D. P. (2008, June). Application Lockdown with Software Restriction Policies. Retrieved November 18, 2014.
- Microsoft. (2012, June 27). Using Software Restriction Policies and AppLocker Policies. Retrieved April 7, 2016.