The adversary is trying to avoid security defenses.
Evasion consists of techniques that adversaries use to avoid technical defenses throughout their campaign. Techniques used for evasion include removal of indicators of compromise, spoofing communications, and exploiting software vulnerabilities. Adversaries may also leverage and abuse trusted devices and processes to hide their activity, possibly by masquerading as master devices or native software. Methods of defense evasion for this purpose are often more passive in nature.
|17 October 2018
|09 March 2023
|Change Operating Mode
|Adversaries may change the operating mode of a controller to gain additional access to engineering functions such as Program Download. Programmable controllers typically have several modes of operation that control the state of the user program and control access to the controllers API. Operating modes can be physically selected using a key switch on the face of the controller but may also be selected with calls to the controllers API. Operating modes and the mechanisms by which they are selected often vary by vendor and product line. Some commonly implemented operating modes are described below:
|Exploitation for Evasion
|Adversaries may exploit a software vulnerability to take advantage of a programming error in a program, service, or within the operating system software or kernel itself to evade detection. Vulnerabilities may exist in software that can be used to disable or circumvent security features.
|Indicator Removal on Host
|Adversaries may attempt to remove indicators of their presence on a system in an effort to cover their tracks. In cases where an adversary may feel detection is imminent, they may try to overwrite, delete, or cover up changes they have made to the device.
|Adversaries may use masquerading to disguise a malicious application or executable as another file, to avoid operator and engineer suspicion. Possible disguises of these masquerading files can include commonly found programs, expected vendor executables and configuration files, and other commonplace application and naming conventions. By impersonating expected and vendor-relevant files and applications, operators and engineers may not notice the presence of the underlying malicious content and possibly end up running those masquerading as legitimate functions.
|Adversaries may deploy rootkits to hide the presence of programs, files, network connections, services, drivers, and other system components. Rootkits are programs that hide the existence of malware by intercepting and modifying operating-system API calls that supply system information. Rootkits or rootkit-enabling functionality may reside at the user or kernel level in the operating system, or lower.
|Spoof Reporting Message
|Adversaries may spoof reporting messages in control system environments for evasion and to impair process control. In control systems, reporting messages contain telemetry data (e.g., I/O values) pertaining to the current state of equipment and the industrial process. Reporting messages are important for monitoring the normal operation of a system or identifying important events such as deviations from expected values.