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T1003.002 Security Account Manager

Adversaries may attempt to extract credential material from the Security Account Manager (SAM) database either through in-memory techniques or through the Windows Registry where the SAM database is stored. The SAM is a database file that contains local accounts for the host, typically those found with the net user command. Enumerating the SAM database requires SYSTEM level access.

A number of tools can be used to retrieve the SAM file through in-memory techniques:

Alternatively, the SAM can be extracted from the Registry with Reg:

  • reg save HKLM\sam sam
  • reg save HKLM\system system

Creddump7 can then be used to process the SAM database locally to retrieve hashes.1


  • RID 500 account is the local, built-in administrator.
  • RID 501 is the guest account.
  • User accounts start with a RID of 1,000+.
Item Value
ID T1003.002
Sub-techniques T1003.001, T1003.002, T1003.003, T1003.004, T1003.005, T1003.006, T1003.007, T1003.008
Tactics TA0006
Platforms Windows
Version 1.0
Created 11 February 2020
Last Modified 15 June 2022

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
C0017 C0017 During C0017, APT41 copied the SAM and SYSTEM Registry hives for credential harvesting.30
S0154 Cobalt Strike Cobalt Strike can recover hashed passwords.14
S0050 CosmicDuke CosmicDuke collects Windows account hashes.15
S0046 CozyCar Password stealer and NTLM stealer modules in CozyCar harvest stored credentials from the victim, including credentials used as part of Windows NTLM user authentication.20
S0488 CrackMapExec CrackMapExec can dump usernames and hashed passwords from the SAM.12
G0035 Dragonfly Dragonfly has dropped and executed SecretsDump to dump password hashes.24
S0120 Fgdump Fgdump can dump Windows password hashes.5
G0093 GALLIUM GALLIUM used reg commands to dump specific hives from the Windows Registry, such as the SAM hive, and obtain password hashes.29
S0008 gsecdump gsecdump can dump Windows password hashes from the SAM.6
S0376 HOPLIGHT HOPLIGHT has the capability to harvest credentials and passwords from the SAM database.19
S1022 IceApple IceApple‘s Credential Dumper module can dump encrypted password hashes from SAM registry keys, including HKLM\SAM\SAM\Domains\Account\F and HKLM\SAM\SAM\Domains\Account\Users\*\V.18
S0357 Impacket SecretsDump and Mimikatz modules within Impacket can perform credential dumping to obtain account and password information.4
G0004 Ke3chang Ke3chang has dumped credentials, including by using gsecdump.2526
S0250 Koadic Koadic can gather hashed passwords by dumping SAM/SECURITY hive.3
G0045 menuPass menuPass has used a modified version of pentesting tools wmiexec.vbs and to dump credentials.2728
S0002 Mimikatz Mimikatz performs credential dumping to obtain account and password information useful in gaining access to additional systems and enterprise network resources. It contains functionality to acquire information about credentials in many ways, including from the SAM table.78910
S0080 Mivast Mivast has the capability to gather NTLM password information.13
C0002 Night Dragon During Night Dragon, threat actors dumped account hashes using gsecdump.31
C0012 Operation CuckooBees During Operation CuckooBees, the threat actors leveraged a custom tool to dump OS credentials and used following commands: reg save HKLM\\SYSTEM, reg save HKLM\\SAM, and reg save HKLM\\SECURITY, to dump SAM, SYSTEM and SECURITY hives.32
S0371 POWERTON POWERTON has the ability to dump password hashes.17
S0006 pwdump pwdump can be used to dump credentials from the SAM.11
S0125 Remsec Remsec can dump the SAM database.16
G0027 Threat Group-3390 Threat Group-3390 actors have used gsecdump to dump credentials. They have also dumped credentials from domain controllers.2122
G0102 Wizard Spider Wizard Spider has acquired credentials from the SAM/SECURITY registry hives.23


ID Mitigation Description
M1028 Operating System Configuration Consider disabling or restricting NTLM.2
M1027 Password Policies Ensure that local administrator accounts have complex, unique passwords across all systems on the network.
M1026 Privileged Account Management Do not put user or admin domain accounts in the local administrator groups across systems unless they are tightly controlled, as this is often equivalent to having a local administrator account with the same password on all systems. Follow best practices for design and administration of an enterprise network to limit privileged account use across administrative tiers.
M1017 User Training Limit credential overlap across accounts and systems by training users and administrators not to use the same password for multiple accounts.


ID Data Source Data Component
DS0017 Command Command Execution
DS0022 File File Access
DS0024 Windows Registry Windows Registry Key Access


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  2. Microsoft. (2012, November 29). Using security policies to restrict NTLM traffic. Retrieved December 4, 2017. 

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  21. Dell SecureWorks Counter Threat Unit Threat Intelligence. (2015, August 5). Threat Group-3390 Targets Organizations for Cyberespionage. Retrieved August 18, 2018. 

  22. Counter Threat Unit Research Team. (2017, June 27). BRONZE UNION Cyberespionage Persists Despite Disclosures. Retrieved July 13, 2017. 

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  27. PwC and BAE Systems. (2017, April). Operation Cloud Hopper: Technical Annex. Retrieved April 13, 2017. 

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  29. Cybereason Nocturnus. (2019, June 25). Operation Soft Cell: A Worldwide Campaign Against Telecommunications Providers. Retrieved July 18, 2019. 

  30. Rufus Brown, Van Ta, Douglas Bienstock, Geoff Ackerman, John Wolfram. (2022, March 8). Does This Look Infected? A Summary of APT41 Targeting U.S. State Governments. Retrieved July 8, 2022. 

  31. McAfee® Foundstone® Professional Services and McAfee Labs™. (2011, February 10). Global Energy Cyberattacks: “Night Dragon”. Retrieved February 19, 2018. 

  32. Cybereason Nocturnus. (2022, May 4). Operation CuckooBees: Deep-Dive into Stealthy Winnti Techniques. Retrieved September 22, 2022.