System Time Discovery
|System Time Discovery|
|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.
- BRONZE BUTLER has used
net timeto check the local time on a target system.4
- Turla surveys a system upon check-in to discover the system time by using the
- MoonWind obtains the victim's current time.6
net timecommand can be used in Net to determine the local or remote system time.7
- PowerDuke has commands to get the time the machine was built, the time, and the time zone.8
- RTM can obtain the victim time zone.9
- Shamoon obtains the system time and will only activate if it is greater than a preset date.10
- T9000 gathers and beacons the system time during installation.11
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 whitelisting12 tools, like AppLocker,1314 or Software Restriction Policies15 where appropriate.16
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.
- Counter Threat Unit Research Team. (2017, October 12). BRONZE BUTLER Targets Japanese Enterprises. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
- 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.
- Miller-Osborn, J. and Grunzweig, J.. (2017, March 30). Trochilus and New MoonWind RATs Used In Attack Against Thai Organizations. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
- Microsoft. (n.d.). Net time. Retrieved November 25, 2016.
- Adair, S.. (2016, November 9). PowerDuke: Widespread Post-Election Spear Phishing Campaigns Targeting Think Tanks and NGOs. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
- Faou, M. and Boutin, J.. (2017, February). Read The Manual: A Guide to the RTM Banking Trojan. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
- Falcone, R.. (2016, November 30). Shamoon 2: Return of the Disttrack Wiper. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
- Grunzweig, J. and Miller-Osborn, J.. (2016, February 4). T9000: Advanced Modular Backdoor Uses Complex Anti-Analysis Techniques. Retrieved April 15, 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.