Create Account

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Create Account
Technique
ID T1136
Tactic Persistence
Platform Linux, macOS, Windows
Permissions Required Administrator
Data Sources Process Monitoring, Process command-line parameters, Authentication logs, Windows event logs

Adversaries with a sufficient level of access may create a local system or domain account. Such accounts may be used for persistence that do not require persistent remote access tools to be deployed on the system.

The net user commands can be used to create a local or domain account.

Examples

  • APT3 has been known to create or enable accounts, such as support_388945a0. 1
  • Dragonfly created accounts that appeared to be tailored to each individual staging target.2
  • Flame can create backdoor accounts with the login "HelpAssistant" with the Limbo module.3
  • Mis-Type may create a temporary user on the system named “Lost_{Unique Identifier}.”4
  • The net user username \password and net user username \password \domain commands in Net can be used to create a local or domain account respectively.5
  • S-Type may create a temporary user on the system named “Lost_{Unique Identifier}” with the password “pond~!@6”{Unique Identifier}.”4

Mitigation

Use and enforce multifactor authentication. Follow guidelines to prevent or limit adversary access to Valid Accounts that may be used to create privileged accounts within an environment.

Adversaries that create local accounts on systems may have limited access within a network if access levels are properly locked down. These accounts may only be needed for persistence on individual systems and their usefulness depends on the utility of the system they reside on.

Protect domain controllers by ensuring proper security configuration for critical servers. Configure access controls and firewalls to limit access to these systems. Do not allow domain administrator accounts to be used for day-to-day operations that may expose them to potential adversaries on unprivileged systems.

Detection

Collect data on account creation within a network. Event ID 4720 is generated when a user account is created on a Windows system and domain controller.6 Perform regular audits of domain and local system accounts to detect suspicious accounts that may have been created by an adversary.