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T1055.002 Portable Executable Injection

Adversaries may inject portable executables (PE) into processes in order to evade process-based defenses as well as possibly elevate privileges. PE injection is a method of executing arbitrary code in the address space of a separate live process.

PE injection is commonly performed by copying code (perhaps without a file on disk) into the virtual address space of the target process before invoking it via a new thread. The write can be performed with native Windows API calls such as VirtualAllocEx and WriteProcessMemory, then invoked with CreateRemoteThread or additional code (ex: shellcode). The displacement of the injected code does introduce the additional requirement for functionality to remap memory references. 1

Running code in the context of another process may allow access to the process’s memory, system/network resources, and possibly elevated privileges. Execution via PE injection may also evade detection from security products since the execution is masked under a legitimate process.

Item Value
ID T1055.002
Sub-techniques T1055.001, T1055.002, T1055.003, T1055.004, T1055.005, T1055.008, T1055.009, T1055.011, T1055.012, T1055.013, T1055.014, T1055.015
Tactics TA0005, TA0004
Platforms Windows
Permissions required User
Version 1.1
Created 14 January 2020
Last Modified 18 October 2021

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
S0030 Carbanak Carbanak downloads an executable and injects it directly into a new process.2
G0078 Gorgon Group Gorgon Group malware can download a remote access tool, ShiftyBug, and inject into another process.7
S0342 GreyEnergy GreyEnergy has a module to inject a PE binary into a remote process.4
S0260 InvisiMole InvisiMole can inject its backdoor as a portable executable into a target process.5
S0681 Lizar Lizar can execute PE files in the address space of the specified process.3
G0106 Rocke Rocke‘s miner, “TermsHost.exe”, evaded defenses by injecting itself into Windows processes, including Notepad.exe.8
S0330 Zeus Panda Zeus Panda checks processes on the system and if they meet the necessary requirements, it injects into that process.6


ID Mitigation Description
M1040 Behavior Prevention on Endpoint Some endpoint security solutions can be configured to block some types of process injection based on common sequences of behavior that occur during the injection process.


ID Data Source Data Component
DS0009 Process OS API Execution