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M1018 User Account Management

Manage the creation, modification, use, and permissions associated to user accounts.

Item Value
ID M1018
Version 1.1
Created 06 June 2019
Last Modified 20 May 2020
Navigation Layer View In ATT&CK® Navigator

Techniques Addressed by Mitigation

Domain ID Name Use
enterprise T1134 Access Token Manipulation An adversary must already have administrator level access on the local system to make full use of this technique; be sure to restrict users and accounts to the least privileges they require.
enterprise T1134.001 Token Impersonation/Theft An adversary must already have administrator level access on the local system to make full use of this technique; be sure to restrict users and accounts to the least privileges they require.
enterprise T1134.002 Create Process with Token An adversary must already have administrator level access on the local system to make full use of this technique; be sure to restrict users and accounts to the least privileges they require.
enterprise T1134.003 Make and Impersonate Token An adversary must already have administrator level access on the local system to make full use of this technique; be sure to restrict users and accounts to the least privileges they require.
enterprise T1087 Account Discovery -
enterprise T1087.004 Cloud Account Limit permissions to discover cloud accounts in accordance with least privilege. Organizations should limit the number of users within the organization with an IAM role that has administrative privileges, strive to reduce all permanent privileged role assignments, and conduct periodic entitlement reviews on IAM users, roles and policies.
enterprise T1098 Account Manipulation -
enterprise T1098.004 SSH Authorized Keys In cloud environments, ensure that only users who explicitly require the permissions to update instance metadata or configurations can do so.
enterprise T1197 BITS Jobs
Consider limiting access to the BITS interface to specific users or groups.3
enterprise T1547 Boot or Logon Autostart Execution -
enterprise T1547.004 Winlogon Helper DLL Limit the privileges of user accounts so that only authorized administrators can perform Winlogon helper changes.
enterprise T1547.006 Kernel Modules and Extensions Use MDM to disable user’s ability to install or approve kernel extensions, and ensure all approved kernel extensions are in alignment with policies specified in com.apple.syspolicy.kernel-extension-policy.1213
enterprise T1547.009 Shortcut Modification Limit permissions for who can create symbolic links in Windows to appropriate groups such as Administrators and necessary groups for virtualization. This can be done through GPO: Computer Configuration > [Policies] > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Local Policies > User Rights Assignment: Create symbolic links. 17
enterprise T1547.012 Print Processors Limit user accounts that can load or unload device drivers by disabling SeLoadDriverPrivilege.
enterprise T1547.013 XDG Autostart Entries Limit privileges of user accounts so only authorized privileged users can create and modify XDG autostart entries.
enterprise T1185 Browser Session Hijacking Since browser pivoting requires a high integrity process to launch from, restricting user permissions and addressing Privilege Escalation and Bypass User Account Control opportunities can limit the exposure to this technique.
enterprise T1110 Brute Force Proactively reset accounts that are known to be part of breached credentials either immediately, or after detecting bruteforce attempts.
enterprise T1110.004 Credential Stuffing Proactively reset accounts that are known to be part of breached credentials either immediately, or after detecting bruteforce attempts.
enterprise T1580 Cloud Infrastructure Discovery Limit permissions to discover cloud infrastructure in accordance with least privilege. Organizations should limit the number of users within the organization with an IAM role that has administrative privileges, strive to reduce all permanent privileged role assignments, and conduct periodic entitlement reviews on IAM users, roles and policies.
enterprise T1538 Cloud Service Dashboard Enforce the principle of least-privilege by limiting dashboard visibility to only the resources required. This may limit the discovery value of the dashboard in the event of a compromised account.
enterprise T1619 Cloud Storage Object Discovery Restrict granting of permissions related to listing objects in cloud storage to necessary accounts.
enterprise T1059 Command and Scripting Interpreter -
enterprise T1059.008 Network Device CLI Use of Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting (AAA) systems will limit actions users can perform and provide a history of user actions to detect unauthorized use and abuse. Ensure least privilege principles are applied to user accounts and groups so that only authorized users can perform configuration changes. 1
enterprise T1609 Container Administration Command Enforce authentication and role-based access control on the container service to restrict users to the least privileges required.11
enterprise T1613 Container and Resource Discovery Enforce the principle of least privilege by limiting dashboard visibility to only the required users.
enterprise T1543 Create or Modify System Process Limit privileges of user accounts and groups so that only authorized administrators can interact with system-level process changes and service configurations.
enterprise T1543.002 Systemd Service Limit user access to system utilities such as ‘systemctl’ to only users who have a legitimate need.
enterprise T1543.003 Windows Service Limit privileges of user accounts and groups so that only authorized administrators can interact with service changes and service configurations.
enterprise T1543.004 Launch Daemon Limit privileges of user accounts and remediate Privilege Escalation vectors so only authorized administrators can create new Launch Daemons.
enterprise T1530 Data from Cloud Storage Object Configure user permissions groups and roles for access to cloud storage.4 Implement strict Identity and Access Management (IAM) controls to prevent access to storage solutions except for the applications, users, and services that require access.5 Ensure that temporary access tokens are issued rather than permanent credentials, especially when access is being granted to entities outside of the internal security boundary.6
enterprise T1213 Data from Information Repositories Enforce the principle of least-privilege. Consider implementing access control mechanisms that include both authentication and authorization.
enterprise T1213.001 Confluence Enforce the principle of least-privilege. Consider implementing access control mechanisms that include both authentication and authorization.
enterprise T1213.002 Sharepoint Enforce the principle of least-privilege. Consider implementing access control mechanisms that include both authentication and authorization.
enterprise T1213.003 Code Repositories Enforce the principle of least-privilege. Consider implementing access control mechanisms that include both authentication and authorization for code repositories.
enterprise T1610 Deploy Container Enforce the principle of least privilege by limiting container dashboard access to only the necessary users.
enterprise T1484 Domain Policy Modification Consider implementing WMI and security filtering to further tailor which users and computers a GPO will apply to.141516
enterprise T1484.001 Group Policy Modification Consider implementing WMI and security filtering to further tailor which users and computers a GPO will apply to.141516
enterprise T1546 Event Triggered Execution -
enterprise T1546.003 Windows Management Instrumentation Event Subscription By default, only administrators are allowed to connect remotely using WMI; restrict other users that are allowed to connect, or disallow all users from connecting remotely to WMI.
enterprise T1606 Forge Web Credentials Ensure that user accounts with administrative rights follow best practices, including use of privileged access workstations, Just in Time/Just Enough Administration (JIT/JEA), and strong authentication. Reduce the number of users that are members of highly privileged Directory Roles.2
enterprise T1606.002 SAML Tokens Ensure that user accounts with administrative rights follow best practices, including use of privileged access workstations, Just in Time/Just Enough Administration (JIT/JEA), and strong authentication. Reduce the number of users that are members of highly privileged Directory Roles.2
enterprise T1574 Hijack Execution Flow Limit privileges of user accounts and groups so that only authorized administrators can interact with service changes and service binary target path locations. Deny execution from user directories such as file download directories and temp directories where able.
enterprise T1574.005 Executable Installer File Permissions Weakness Limit privileges of user accounts and groups so that only authorized administrators can interact with service changes and service binary target path locations. Deny execution from user directories such as file download directories and temp directories where able.
enterprise T1574.010 Services File Permissions Weakness Limit privileges of user accounts and groups so that only authorized administrators can interact with service changes and service binary target path locations. Deny execution from user directories such as file download directories and temp directories where able.
enterprise T1574.012 COR_PROFILER Limit the privileges of user accounts so that only authorized administrators can edit system environment variables.
enterprise T1562 Impair Defenses Ensure proper user permissions are in place to prevent adversaries from disabling or interfering with security/logging services.
enterprise T1562.001 Disable or Modify Tools Ensure proper user permissions are in place to prevent adversaries from disabling or interfering with security services.
enterprise T1562.002 Disable Windows Event Logging Ensure proper user permissions are in place to prevent adversaries from disabling or interfering with logging.
enterprise T1562.004 Disable or Modify System Firewall Ensure proper user permissions are in place to prevent adversaries from disabling or modifying firewall settings.
enterprise T1562.006 Indicator Blocking Ensure event tracers/forwarders 8, firewall policies, and other associated mechanisms are secured with appropriate permissions and access controls and cannot be manipulated by user accounts.
enterprise T1562.007 Disable or Modify Cloud Firewall Ensure least privilege principles are applied to Identity and Access Management (IAM) security policies.10
enterprise T1562.008 Disable Cloud Logs Configure default account policy to enable logging. Manage policies to ensure only necessary users have permissions to make changes to logging policies.
enterprise T1578 Modify Cloud Compute Infrastructure Limit permissions for creating, deleting, and otherwise altering compute components in accordance with least privilege. Organizations should limit the number of users within the organization with an IAM role that has administrative privileges, strive to reduce all permanent privileged role assignments, and conduct periodic entitlement reviews on IAM users, roles and policies.7
enterprise T1578.001 Create Snapshot Limit permissions for creating snapshots or backups in accordance with least privilege. Organizations should limit the number of users within the organization with an IAM role that has administrative privileges, strive to reduce all permanent privileged role assignments, and conduct periodic entitlement reviews on IAM users, roles and policies.7
enterprise T1578.002 Create Cloud Instance Limit permissions for creating new instances in accordance with least privilege. Organizations should limit the number of users within the organization with an IAM role that has administrative privileges, strive to reduce all permanent privileged role assignments, and conduct periodic entitlement reviews on IAM users, roles and policies.7
enterprise T1578.003 Delete Cloud Instance Limit permissions for deleting new instances in accordance with least privilege. Organizations should limit the number of users within the organization with an IAM role that has administrative privileges, strive to reduce all permanent privileged role assignments, and conduct periodic entitlement reviews on IAM users, roles and policies.7
enterprise T1040 Network Sniffing In cloud environments, ensure that users are not granted permissions to create or modify traffic mirrors unless this is explicitly required.
enterprise T1566 Phishing -
enterprise T1566.002 Spearphishing Link Azure AD Administrators apply limitations upon the ability for users to grant consent to unfamiliar or unverified third-party applications.
enterprise T1563 Remote Service Session Hijacking Limit remote user permissions if remote access is necessary.
enterprise T1563.002 RDP Hijacking Limit remote user permissions if remote access is necessary.
enterprise T1021 Remote Services Limit the accounts that may use remote services. Limit the permissions for accounts that are at higher risk of compromise; for example, configure SSH so users can only run specific programs.
enterprise T1021.001 Remote Desktop Protocol Limit remote user permissions if remote access is necessary.
enterprise T1021.004 SSH Limit which user accounts are allowed to login via SSH.
enterprise T1053 Scheduled Task/Job Limit privileges of user accounts and remediate Privilege Escalation vectors so only authorized administrators can create scheduled tasks on remote systems.
enterprise T1053.002 At Limit privileges of user accounts and remediate Privilege Escalation vectors so only authorized administrators can create scheduled tasks on remote systems. In Linux environments, users account-level access to at can be managed using at.allow and at.deny files. Users listed in the at.allow are enabled to schedule actions using at, whereas users listed in at.deny file disabled from the utility.
enterprise T1053.003 Cron cron permissions are controlled by /etc/cron.allow and /etc/cron.deny. If there is a cron.allow file, then the user or users that need to use cron will need to be listed in the file. cron.deny is used to explicitly disallow users from using cron. If neither files exist, then only the super user is allowed to run cron.
enterprise T1053.005 Scheduled Task Limit privileges of user accounts and remediate Privilege Escalation vectors so only authorized administrators can create scheduled tasks on remote systems.
enterprise T1053.006 Systemd Timers Limit user access to system utilities such as ‘systemctl’ or ‘systemd-run’ to users who have a legitimate need.
enterprise T1053.007 Container Orchestration Job Limit privileges of user accounts and remediate privilege escalation vectors so only authorized administrators can create container orchestration jobs.
enterprise T1505 Server Software Component Enforce the principle of least privilege by limiting privileges of user accounts so only authorized accounts can modify and/or add server software components.9
enterprise T1505.003 Web Shell Enforce the principle of least privilege by limiting privileges of user accounts so only authorized accounts can modify the web directory.9
enterprise T1489 Service Stop Limit privileges of user accounts and groups so that only authorized administrators can interact with service changes and service configurations.
enterprise T1072 Software Deployment Tools Ensure that any accounts used by third-party providers to access these systems are traceable to the third-party and are not used throughout the network or used by other third-party providers in the same environment. Ensure there are regular reviews of accounts provisioned to these systems to verify continued business need, and ensure there is governance to trace de-provisioning of access that is no longer required. Ensure proper system and access isolation for critical network systems through use of account privilege separation.
enterprise T1528 Steal Application Access Token Enforce role-based access control to limit accounts to the least privileges they require. A Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) can be used to set usage policies and manage user permissions on cloud applications to prevent access to application access tokens. In Kubernetes applications, set “automountServiceAccountToken: false” in the YAML specification of pods that do not require access to service account tokens.11
enterprise T1569 System Services Prevent users from installing their own launch agents or launch daemons.
enterprise T1569.001 Launchctl Prevent users from installing their own launch agents or launch daemons.
enterprise T1537 Transfer Data to Cloud Account Limit user account and IAM policies to the least privileges required. Consider using temporary credentials for accounts that are only valid for a certain period of time to reduce the effectiveness of compromised accounts.
enterprise T1552 Unsecured Credentials -
enterprise T1552.007 Container API Enforce authentication and role-based access control on the container API to restrict users to the least privileges required.11
enterprise T1550 Use Alternate Authentication Material Enforce the principle of least-privilege. Do not allow a domain user to be in the local administrator group on multiple systems.
enterprise T1550.002 Pass the Hash Do not allow a domain user to be in the local administrator group on multiple systems.
enterprise T1550.003 Pass the Ticket Do not allow a user to be a local administrator for multiple systems.
enterprise T1078 Valid Accounts Regularly audit user accounts for activity and deactivate or remove any that are no longer needed.
enterprise T1078.004 Cloud Accounts Periodically review user accounts and remove those that are inactive or unnecessary. Limit the ability for user accounts to create additional accounts.
enterprise T1047 Windows Management Instrumentation By default, only administrators are allowed to connect remotely using WMI. Restrict other users who are allowed to connect, or disallow all users to connect remotely to WMI.

References


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  2. MSRC. (2020, December 13). Customer Guidance on Recent Nation-State Cyber Attacks. Retrieved December 17, 2020. 

  3. Florio, E. (2007, May 9). Malware Update with Windows Update. Retrieved January 12, 2018. 

  4. Amlekar, M., Brooks, C., Claman, L., et. al.. (2019, March 20). Azure Storage security guide. Retrieved October 4, 2019. 

  5. Amazon. (2019, May 17). How can I secure the files in my Amazon S3 bucket?. Retrieved October 4, 2019. 

  6. Amazon. (n.d.). Temporary Security Credentials. Retrieved October 18, 2019. 

  7. Microsoft. (2018, May 30). Event Tracing. Retrieved September 6, 2018. 

  8. NSA and ASD. (2020, April 3). Detect and Prevent Web Shell Malware. Retrieved July 23, 2021. 

  9. Anthony Randazzo, Britton Manahan and Sam Lipton. (2020, April 28). Finding Evil in AWS. Retrieved June 25, 2020. 

  10. National Security Agency, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. (2022, March). Kubernetes Hardening Guide. Retrieved April 1, 2022. 

  11. Apple. (2018, April 19). Technical Note TN2459: User-Approved Kernel Extension Loading. Retrieved June 30, 2020. 

  12. Apple. (2019, May 3). Configuration Profile Reference, Developer. Retrieved April 15, 2022. 

  13. Robbins, A. (2018, April 2). A Red Teamer’s Guide to GPOs and OUs. Retrieved March 5, 2019. 

  14. Microsoft. (2008, September 11). Fun with WMI Filters in Group Policy. Retrieved March 13, 2019. 

  15. Microsoft. (2018, May 30). Filtering the Scope of a GPO. Retrieved March 13, 2019. 

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