Windows Management Instrumentation Event Subscription
|Windows Management Instrumentation Event Subscription|
|Permissions Required||Administrator, SYSTEM|
|Data Sources||WMI Objects|
Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) can be used to install event filters, providers, consumers, and bindings that execute code when a defined event occurs. Adversaries may use the capabilities of WMI to subscribe to an event and execute arbitrary code when that event occurs, providing persistence on a system. Adversaries may attempt to evade detection of this technique by compiling WMI scripts.1 Examples of events that may be subscribed to are the wall clock time or the computer's uptime.2 Several threat groups have reportedly used this technique to maintain persistence.3
- APT29 has used WMI event filters to establish persistence.4
- Leviathan has used WMI for persistence.5
- POSHSPY uses a WMI event subscription to establish persistence.6
- SeaDuke uses an event filter in WMI code to execute a previously dropped executable shortly after system startup.7
- adbupd can use a WMI script to achieve persistence.8
Disabling WMI services 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 that are allowed to connect, or disallow all users from connecting remotely to WMI. Prevent credential overlap across systems of administrator and privileged accounts.7
Monitor WMI event subscription entries, comparing current WMI event subscriptions to known good subscriptions for each host. Tools such as Sysinternals Autoruns may also be used to detect WMI changes that could be attempts at persistence.9
- Dell SecureWorks Counter Threat Unit™ (CTU) Research Team. (2016, March 28). A Novel WMI Persistence Implementation. Retrieved March 30, 2016.
- Kazanciyan, R. & Hastings, M. (2014). Defcon 22 Presentation. Investigating PowerShell Attacks [slides]. Retrieved November 3, 2014.
- Mandiant. (2015, February 24). M-Trends 2015: A View from the Front Lines. Retrieved May 18, 2016.
- Dunwoody, M. and Carr, N.. (2016, September 27). No Easy Breach DerbyCon 2016. Retrieved October 4, 2016.
- FireEye. (2018, March 16). Suspected Chinese Cyber Espionage Group (TEMP.Periscope) Targeting U.S. Engineering and Maritime Industries. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
- Dunwoody, M.. (2017, April 3). Dissecting One of APT29’s Fileless WMI and PowerShell Backdoors (POSHSPY). Retrieved April 5, 2017.
- Ballenthin, W., et al. (2015). Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) Offense, Defense, and Forensics. Retrieved March 30, 2016.
- Windows Defender Advanced Threat Hunting Team. (2016, April 29). PLATINUM: Targeted attacks in South and Southeast Asia. Retrieved February 15, 2018.
- Russinovich, M. (2016, January 4). Autoruns for Windows v13.51. Retrieved June 6, 2016.