|Tactic||Persistence, Privilege Escalation|
|Permissions Required||Administrator, SYSTEM|
|Effective Permissions||Administrator, SYSTEM|
|Data Sources||Loaded DLLs, Process Monitoring, Windows Registry|
Dynamic-link libraries (DLLs) that are specified in the AppCertDLLs value in the Registry key
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager are loaded into every process that calls the ubiquitously used application programming interface (API) functions:1
Similar to Process Injection, this value can be abused to obtain persistence and privilege escalation by causing a malicious DLL to be loaded and run in the context of separate processes on the computer.
Monitor DLL loads by processes, specifically looking for DLLs that are not recognized or not normally loaded into a process. Monitor the AppCertDLLs Registry value for modifications that do not correlate with known software, patch cycles, etc. Monitor and analyze application programming interface (API) calls that are indicative of Registry edits such as RegCreateKeyEx and RegSetValueEx.1
Look for abnormal process behavior that may be due to a process loading a malicious DLL. Data and events should not be viewed in isolation, but as part of a chain of behavior that could lead to other activities, such as making network connections for Command and Control, learning details about the environment through Discovery, and conducting Lateral Movement.
- Hosseini, A. (2017, July 18). Ten Process Injection Techniques: A Technical Survey Of Common And Trending Process Injection Techniques. Retrieved December 7, 2017.
- Elovitz, S. & Ahl, I. (2016, August 18). Know Your Enemy: New Financially-Motivated & Spear-Phishing Group. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
- 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.
- Russinovich, M. (2016, January 4). Autoruns for Windows v13.51. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
- Microsoft. (2007, October 24). Windows Sysinternals - AppCertDlls. Retrieved December 18, 2017.