Skip to content

ATT&CK Framework

Initial access

  • Supply chain compromise
  • Attachment spearphishing
  • Credential phishing
  • Spearphishing over a service (like Twitter)
  • Sending an operative to work at the victim company
  • Plugging in an infected USB drive
  • Bribing or extorting an insider
  • Obtaining secrets from an an GitHub repo
  • Compromising a public web app
  • Zero day
  • Writing an exploit for a recently disclosed vulnerability
  • Buying an infected host in network from a botnet owner
  • Hardware keylogger, packet sniffer, etc
  • Keylogging password for password manager

Information gathering

From an endpoint, can gather:

  • Accounts
  • Open applications (Helps keylogger)
  • Browser extensions
  • Files/directories on disk
  • Network shares
  • Running processes
  • Security software on machine
  • System info (patches, OS version, etc)
  • Network connections

Can also:

  • Port scan other hosts
  • Sniff network traffic
  • Query registry

Lateral Movement

  • Use JAMF, Ansible etc to deploy malware
  • Exploit vulnerable network services
  • Pass the hash
  • Pass the ticket
  • Upload malicious files onto internal website
  • Embed macros into shared documents
  • Execute commands remotely using internally hosted software (eg, Carbon Black)
  • Keylog user's password. Then execute commands remotely with winrm
  • Copy adversary's tools to other PCs with FTP/SCP
  • RDP session hijacking
  • Log in with a legitimate RDP/SSH/other service password
  • SSH hijacking

Privilege escalation

  • Scheduled tasks in older versions of Windows run as SYSTEM
  • Stealing an admin's credentials
  • Exploiting an program running as SYSTEM


  • Autoruns in Windows Registry
  • DLL Search Order Hijacking
  • Shortcut Hijacking
  • Bootkit
  • .bashrc and .bash_profile
  • Web shells
  • Browser extensions
  • Firmware
  • Login item (macOS)

Startup folders

  • Each user has a startup folder
  • When he logs in, every program in the folder gets executed
  • Can add a LNK file to execute say a powershell command on startup

Scheduled tasks

  • Using at or schtasks
  • Stored as *.job files

System binary modification

  • Can use Windows Resource Protection to counter-act this
  • Also, if a system binary changes, its hash will change
  • And its digital signature will be invalidated

Defense Evasion

  • Access token manipulation - Security tokens determine who owns a process. If you're an administrator, you can use runas to run a process under a different user.
  • Can pretend to be a sysadmin, for example, while port scanning hosts
  • Binary padding. Add/remove bytes from malware, without changing its functionality, to change its hash. Evades signature based AV
  • Clear .bash_history
  • Clear Windows Event logs
  • Edit Windows Event logs (Shadow Brokers)
  • Kill Windows event log thread in lsasse.exe (Shadow Brokers)
  • Sign malware with stolen certificates
  • Obfuscating strings. Could help avoid detection from Yara. Eg, instead of "bad00string", write "bad" + "00string"
  • Kill processes of security tools
  • Or removing their registry keys so they don't start on startup
  • Process injection
  • Process hiding
  • Not running in a VM
  • Installing a root certificate
  • Packing
  • Timestomping
  • Overwriting programs like ls and ps

VM detection techniques

  • Check CPU temperature
  • Can check other hardware like Motherboard, Processor, etc
  • Check for processes like VMWare Tools
  • Check for driver files on disk
  • Check for registry keys
  • Check if MAC address of network adapter corresponds to VMWare, VirtualBox, etc
  • Examine OS data structures in memory

Process hollowing

  • Launch a legitimate process like calc.exe, then suspend the process and replace the process's memory with the code of another program
  • Causes Windows to think the original process is running, but it's not
  • To detect: use Volatility to dump a process's code to an executable. Then, compare that executable with the original file on the filesystem

Stealing credentials

  • Creating admin accounts
  • Checking .bash_history for usernames/passwords
  • Checking employee's desk for written down asswords
  • Finding credentials on GitHub or internal version control server
  • Keylogging password for password manager
  • Brute forcing (eg a web server)
  • Dumping hashes (eg of /etc/shadow) then cracking them offline
  • Keylogging
  • Asking for password or TOTP token over phone
  • Credential phishing
  • Viewing saved passwords with Keychain
  • Or revealing them in Google Chrome
  • Faking an "password required" OS prompt

Pass the hash

  • Can read an NTLM hash from memory with mimikatz
  • Or dump all hashes from NTDS.DIT on domain controller
  • Attacker then puts the hash in his lsass.exe memory. Lets him access any service victim could with those credentials
  • Attack is possible because NTLM challenge-response doesn't require a plaintext password, just the hash

Command and Control

  • Using a web service (like Twitter)
  • Using a non-standard C&C protocol (like ICMP)
  • ICMP could be useful if there's a local C&C server on the LAN
  • Use a proxy. Can chain multiple proxies
  • Split communication over multiple chaanels
  • Encrypt C&C body, even while using HTTPS


  • Schedule transfer at certain times in day, to blend in with normal traffic
  • Copy data onto removable drive
  • Exfiltrate over bluetooth, cellular signal etc
  • Exfiltrate over multiple channels
  • Encrypt, split, compress files
  • Steganography