System Time Discovery
|System Time 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|
|Data Sources||Process monitoring, Process command-line parameters, API monitoring|
An adversary may gather the system time and/or time zone from a local or remote system. This information may be gathered in a number of ways, such as with Net on Windows by performing
net time \\hostname to gather the system time on a remote system. The victim's time zone may also be inferred from the current system time or gathered by using
w32tm /tz.2 The information could be useful for performing other techniques, such as executing a file with a Scheduled Task3, or to discover locality information based on time zone to assist in victim targeting.
- Turla surveys a system upon check-in to discover the system time by using the net time command.4
- The net time command can be used in Net to determine the local or remote system time.5
- T9000 gathers and beacons the system time during installation.6
- PowerDuke has commands to get the time the machine was built, the time, and the time zone.7
- Shamoon obtains the system time and will only activate if it is greater than a preset date.8
Benign software uses legitimate processes to gather system time. Efforts should be focused on preventing unwanted or unknown code from executing on a system. Some common tools, such as net.exe, may be blocked by policy to prevent common ways of acquiring remote system time.
Identify unnecessary system utilities or potentially malicious software that may be used to acquire system time information, and audit and/or block them by using whitelisting9 tools, like AppLocker,1011 or Software Restriction Policies12 where appropriate.13
Command-line interface monitoring may be useful to detect instances of net.exe or other command-line utilities being used to gather system time or time zone. Methods of detecting API use for gathering this information are likely less useful due to how often they may be used by legitimate software.
- Microsoft. (n.d.). System Time. Retrieved November 25, 2016.
- Mathers, B. (2016, September 30). Windows Time Service Tools and Settings. Retrieved November 25, 2016.
- Rivner, U., Schwartz, E. (2012). They’re Inside… Now What?. Retrieved November 25, 2016.
- Kaspersky Lab's Global Research and Analysis Team. (2014, August 7). The Epic Turla Operation: Solving some of the mysteries of Snake/Uroburos. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
- Microsoft. (n.d.). Net time. Retrieved November 25, 2016.
- Grunzweig, J. and Miller-Osborn, J.. (2016, February 4). T9000: Advanced Modular Backdoor Uses Complex Anti-Analysis Techniques. Retrieved April 15, 2016.
- Adair, S.. (2016, November 9). PowerDuke: Widespread Post-Election Spear Phishing Campaigns Targeting Think Tanks and NGOs. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
- Falcone, R.. (2016, November 30). Shamoon 2: Return of the Disttrack Wiper. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
- 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.