Peripheral Device Discovery

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Peripheral Device Discovery
ID T1120
Tactic Discovery
Platform Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2012, Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Vista, Windows 8.1
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
  • Equation contains functionality to search for specific information about the attached hard drive that could be used to identify and overwrite the firmware.2
  • Gamaredon Group tools contained an application to check performance of USB flash drives.3
  • ADVSTORESHELL can list connected devices.4
  • BlackEnergy can gather very specific information about attached USB devices, to include device instance ID and drive geometry.5
  • T9000 searches through connected drives for removable storage devices.6
  • A module in Prikormka collects information on available printers and disk drives.7
  • BADNEWS checks for new hard drives on the victim, such as USB devices, by listening for the WM_DEVICECHANGE window message.8
  • USBStealer monitors victims for insertion of removable drives. When dropped onto a second victim, it also enumerates drives connected to the system.9
  • RTM can obtain a list of smart card readers attached to the victim.10
  • MoonWind obtains the number of removable drives from the victim.11


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 whitelisting12 tools, like AppLocker,1314 or Software Restriction Policies15 where appropriate.16


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.