Peripheral Device Discovery

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Peripheral Device Discovery
ID T1120
Tactic Discovery
Platform Windows
Permissions Required User, Administrator, SYSTEM

Adversaries may attempt to gather information about attached peripheral devices and components connected to a computer system. The information may be used to enhance their awareness of the system and network environment or may be used for further actions.


  • APT28 uses a module to receive a notification every time a USB mass storage device is inserted into a victim.1 They have also looked for the presence of iOS devices by looking for their backups 2.
  • Equation contains functionality to search for specific information about the attached hard drive that could be used to identify and overwrite the firmware.3
  • Gamaredon Group tools contained an application to check performance of USB flash drives.4
  • ADVSTORESHELL can list connected devices.5
  • BADNEWS checks for new hard drives on the victim, such as USB devices, by listening for the WM_DEVICECHANGE window message.6
  • BlackEnergy can gather very specific information about attached USB devices, to include device instance ID and drive geometry.7
  • MoonWind obtains the number of removable drives from the victim.8
  • A module in Prikormka collects information on available printers and disk drives.9
  • RTM can obtain a list of smart card readers attached to the victim.10
  • T9000 searches through connected drives for removable storage devices.11
  • USBStealer monitors victims for insertion of removable drives. When dropped onto a second victim, it also enumerates drives connected to the system.12
  • XAgentOSX contains the showBackupIosFolder function to check for IOS device backups by running ls -la ~/Library/Application\ Support/MobileSync/Backup/.2


Identify unnecessary system utilities or potentially malicious software that may be used to acquire information about peripheral devices, 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 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.