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The adversary is trying to run malicious code.
Execution consists of techniques that result in adversary-controlled code running on a local or remote system. Techniques that run malicious code are often paired with techniques from all other tactics to achieve broader goals, like exploring a network or stealing data. For example, an adversary might use a remote access tool to run a PowerShell script that does Remote System Discovery.
T1059.001 Command and Scripting Interpreter: PowerShell
Adversaries may abuse PowerShell commands and scripts for execution. PowerShell is a powerful interactive command-line interface and scripting environment included in the Windows operating system.(Citation: TechNet PowerShell) Adversaries can use PowerShell to perform a number of actions, including discovery of information and execution of code. Examples include the
Start-Process cmdlet which can be used to run an executable and the
Invoke-Command cmdlet which runs a command locally or on a remote computer (though administrator permissions are required to use PowerShell to connect to remote systems).
PowerShell may also be used to download and run executables from the Internet, which can be executed from disk or in memory without touching disk.
A number of PowerShell-based offensive testing tools are available, including Empire, PowerSploit, PoshC2, and PSAttack.(Citation: Github PSAttack)
PowerShell commands/scripts can also be executed without directly invoking the
powershell.exe binary through interfaces to PowerShell's underlying
System.Management.Automation assembly DLL exposed through the .NET framework and Windows Common Language Interface (CLI).(Citation: Sixdub PowerPick Jan 2016)(Citation: SilentBreak Offensive PS Dec 2015)(Citation: Microsoft PSfromCsharp APR 2014)
TA0005 Defense Evasion
The adversary is trying to avoid being detected.
Defense Evasion consists of techniques that adversaries use to avoid detection throughout their compromise. Techniques used for defense evasion include uninstalling/disabling security software or obfuscating/encrypting data and scripts. Adversaries also leverage and abuse trusted processes to hide and masquerade their malware. Other tactics’ techniques are cross-listed here when those techniques include the added benefit of subverting defenses.
T1564.003 Hide Artifacts: Hidden Window
Adversaries may use hidden windows to conceal malicious activity from the plain sight of users. In some cases, windows that would typically be displayed when an application carries out an operation can be hidden. This may be utilized by system administrators to avoid disrupting user work environments when carrying out administrative tasks.
On Windows, there are a variety of features in scripting languages in Windows, such as PowerShell, Jscript, and Visual Basic to make windows hidden. One example of this is
powershell.exe -WindowStyle Hidden. (Citation: PowerShell About 2019)
Similarly, on macOS the configurations for how applications run are listed in property list (plist) files. One of the tags in these files can be
apple.awt.UIElement, which allows for Java applications to prevent the application's icon from appearing in the Dock. A common use for this is when applications run in the system tray, but don't also want to show up in the Dock.
Adversaries may abuse these functionalities to hide otherwise visible windows from users so as not to alert the user to adversary activity on the system.(Citation: Antiquated Mac Malware)
The adversary is trying to figure out your environment.
Discovery consists of techniques an adversary may use to gain knowledge about the system and internal network. These techniques help adversaries observe the environment and orient themselves before deciding how to act. They also allow adversaries to explore what they can control and what’s around their entry point in order to discover how it could benefit their current objective. Native operating system tools are often used toward this post-compromise information-gathering objective.
T1012 Query Registry
Adversaries may interact with the Windows Registry to gather information about the system, configuration, and installed software.* © 2024 The MITRE Corporation. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of The MITRE Corporation.
The Registry contains a significant amount of information about the operating system, configuration, software, and security.(Citation: Wikipedia Windows Registry) Information can easily be queried using the Reg utility, though other means to access the Registry exist. Some of the information may help adversaries to further their operation within a network. Adversaries may use the information from Query Registry during automated discovery to shape follow-on behaviors, including whether or not the adversary fully infects the target and/or attempts specific actions.
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