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T1059.005 Visual Basic

Adversaries may abuse Visual Basic (VB) for execution. VB is a programming language created by Microsoft with interoperability with many Windows technologies such as Component Object Model and the Native API through the Windows API. Although tagged as legacy with no planned future evolutions, VB is integrated and supported in the .NET Framework and cross-platform .NET Core.15

Derivative languages based on VB have also been created, such as Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) and VBScript. VBA is an event-driven programming language built into Microsoft Office, as well as several third-party applications.46 VBA enables documents to contain macros used to automate the execution of tasks and other functionality on the host. VBScript is a default scripting language on Windows hosts and can also be used in place of JavaScript on HTML Application (HTA) webpages served to Internet Explorer (though most modern browsers do not come with VBScript support).3

Adversaries may use VB payloads to execute malicious commands. Common malicious usage includes automating execution of behaviors with VBScript or embedding VBA content into Spearphishing Attachment payloads (which may also involve Mark-of-the-Web Bypass to enable execution).2

Item Value
ID T1059.005
Sub-techniques T1059.001, T1059.002, T1059.003, T1059.004, T1059.005, T1059.006, T1059.007, T1059.008, T1059.009
Tactics TA0002
Platforms Linux, Windows, macOS
Version 1.4
Created 09 March 2020
Last Modified 07 April 2023

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
C0025 2016 Ukraine Electric Power Attack During the 2016 Ukraine Electric Power Attack, Sandworm Team created VBScripts to run on an SSH server.148
G0099 APT-C-36 APT-C-36 has embedded a VBScript within a malicious Word document which is executed upon the document opening.95
G0050 APT32 APT32 has used macros, COM scriptlets, and VBS scripts.8667
G0064 APT33 APT33 has used VBScript to initiate the delivery of payloads.110
G0067 APT37 APT37 executes shellcode and a VBA script to decode Base64 strings.111
G0082 APT38 APT38 has used VBScript to execute commands and other operational tasks.153
G0087 APT39 APT39 has utilized malicious VBS scripts in malware.112
S0373 Astaroth Astaroth has used malicious VBS e-mail attachments for execution.17
S0475 BackConfig BackConfig has used VBS to install its downloader component and malicious documents with VBA macro code.25
S0234 Bandook Bandook has used malicious VBA code against the target system.85
S0268 Bisonal Bisonal‘s dropper creates VBS scripts on the victim’s machine.1112
G0060 BRONZE BUTLER BRONZE BUTLER has used VBS and VBE scripts for execution.129130
S1039 Bumblebee Bumblebee can create a Visual Basic script to enable persistence.5453
C0011 C0011 For C0011, Transparent Tribe used malicious VBA macros within a lure document as part of the Crimson malware installation process onto a compromised host.159
C0015 C0015 During C0015, the threat actors used a malicious HTA file that contained a mix of HTML and JavaScript/VBScript code.160
S0631 Chaes Chaes has used VBscript to execute malicious code.13
G0080 Cobalt Group Cobalt Group has sent Word OLE compound documents with malicious obfuscated VBA macros that will run upon user execution.118119120121122123
S0154 Cobalt Strike Cobalt Strike can use VBA to perform execution.192120
S0244 Comnie Comnie executes VBS scripts.41
G0142 Confucius Confucius has used VBScript to execute malicious code.142
S1014 DanBot DanBot can use a VBA macro embedded in an Excel file to drop the payload.84
S0695 Donut Donut can generate shellcode outputs that execute via VBScript.8
G1006 Earth Lusca Earth Lusca used VBA scripts.109
S0367 Emotet Emotet has sent Microsoft Word documents with embedded macros that will invoke scripts to download additional payloads. 3031323334
S0343 Exaramel for Windows Exaramel for Windows has a command to execute VBS scripts on the victim’s machine.22
S0679 Ferocious Ferocious has the ability to use Visual Basic scripts for execution.10
G0085 FIN4 FIN4 has used VBA macros to display a dialog box and collect victim credentials.141140
G0046 FIN7 FIN7 used VBS scripts to help perform tasks on the victim’s machine.15115268
S0696 Flagpro Flagpro can execute malicious VBA macros embedded in .xlsm files.48
C0001 Frankenstein During Frankenstein, the threat actors used Word documents that prompted the victim to enable macros and run a Visual Basic script.162
C0007 FunnyDream During FunnyDream, the threat actors used a Visual Basic script to run remote commands.164
G0047 Gamaredon Group Gamaredon Group has embedded malicious macros in document templates, which executed VBScript. Gamaredon Group has also delivered Microsoft Outlook VBA projects with embedded macros.100101102103104
S0477 Goopy Goopy has the ability to use a Microsoft Outlook backdoor macro to communicate with its C2.67
G0078 Gorgon Group Gorgon Group has used macros in Spearphishing Attachments as well as executed VBScripts on victim machines.87
S0531 Grandoreiro Grandoreiro can use VBScript to execute malicious code.1723
S0170 Helminth One version of Helminth consists of VBScript scripts.78
G1001 HEXANE HEXANE has used a VisualBasic script named MicrosoftUpdator.vbs for execution of a PowerShell keylogger.94
G0126 Higaisa Higaisa has used VBScript code on the victim’s machine.106
S0483 IcedID IcedID has used obfuscated VBA string expressions.27
G0100 Inception Inception has used VBScript to execute malicious commands and payloads.18144
S0528 Javali Javali has used embedded VBScript to download malicious payloads from C2.17
S0389 JCry JCry has used VBS scripts. 36
S0283 jRAT jRAT has been distributed as HTA files with VBScript.29
S0648 JSS Loader JSS Loader can download and execute VBScript files.68
S0585 Kerrdown Kerrdown can use a VBS base64 decoder function published by Motobit.38
S0387 KeyBoy KeyBoy uses VBS scripts for installing files and performing execution.49
G0094 Kimsuky Kimsuky has used Visual Basic to download malicious payloads.92919089 Kimsuky has also used malicious VBA macros within maldocs disguised as forms that trigger when a victim types any content into the lure.89
S0250 Koadic Koadic performs most of its operations using Windows Script Host (VBScript) and runs arbitrary shellcode .9
S0669 KOCTOPUS KOCTOPUS has used VBScript to call wscript to execute a PowerShell command.16
G0032 Lazarus Group Lazarus Group has used VBA and embedded macros in Word documents to execute malicious code.150149
G0140 LazyScripter LazyScripter has used VBScript to execute malicious code.16
G0065 Leviathan Leviathan has used VBScript.97
S0447 Lokibot Lokibot has used VBS scripts and XLS macros for execution.74
S0582 LookBack LookBack has used VBA macros in Microsoft Word attachments to drop additional files to the host.45
G0095 Machete Machete has embedded malicious macros within spearphishing attachments to download additional files.88
G0059 Magic Hound Magic Hound malware has used VBS scripts for execution.127
S0530 Melcoz Melcoz can use VBS scripts to execute malicious DLLs.17
S0455 Metamorfo Metamorfo has used VBS code on victims’ systems.82
G0021 Molerats Molerats used various implants, including those built with VBScript, on target machines.107108
G0069 MuddyWater MuddyWater has used VBScript files to execute its POWERSTATS payload, as well as macros.13613813213780131135134133
G0129 Mustang Panda Mustang Panda has embedded VBScript components in LNK files to download additional files and automate collection.124125126
S0228 NanHaiShu NanHaiShu executes additional VBScript code on the victim’s machine.28
S0336 NanoCore NanoCore uses VBS files.47
S0198 NETWIRE NETWIRE has been executed through use of VBScripts.1415
G0049 OilRig OilRig has used VBSscipt macros for execution on compromised hosts.96
S0264 OopsIE OopsIE creates and uses a VBScript as part of its persistent execution.7677
C0012 Operation CuckooBees During Operation CuckooBees, the threat actors executed an encoded VBScript file using wscript and wrote the decoded output to a text file.169
C0022 Operation Dream Job During Operation Dream Job, Lazarus Group executed a VBA written malicious macro after victims download malicious DOTM files; Lazarus Group also used Visual Basic macro code to extract a double Base64 encoded DLL implant.167166
C0016 Operation Dust Storm During Operation Dust Storm, the threat actors used Visual Basic scripts.165
C0006 Operation Honeybee For Operation Honeybee, the threat actors used a Visual Basic script embedded within a Word document to download an implant.158
C0013 Operation Sharpshooter During Operation Sharpshooter, the threat actors used a VBA macro to execute a simple downloader that installed Rising Sun.161
C0014 Operation Wocao During Operation Wocao, threat actors used VBScript to conduct reconnaissance on targeted systems.168
S0352 OSX_OCEANLOTUS.D OSX_OCEANLOTUS.D uses Word macros for execution.24
G0040 Patchwork Patchwork used Visual Basic Scripts (VBS) on victim machines.156157
S0428 PoetRAT PoetRAT has used Word documents with VBScripts to execute malicious activities.5152
S0441 PowerShower PowerShower has the ability to save and execute VBScript.18
S0223 POWERSTATS POWERSTATS can use VBScript (VBE) code for execution.8081
S0147 Pteranodon Pteranodon can use a malicious VBS file for execution.69
S0650 QakBot QakBot can use VBS to download and execute malicious files.63
S0458 Ramsay Ramsay has included embedded Visual Basic scripts in malicious documents.4344
G0075 Rancor Rancor has used VBS scripts as well as embedded macros for execution.154
S0375 Remexi Remexi uses AutoIt and VBS scripts throughout its execution process.70
S0496 REvil REvil has used obfuscated VBA macros for execution.3940
S0240 ROKRAT ROKRAT has used Visual Basic for execution.56
S1018 Saint Bot Saint Bot has used .vbs scripts for execution.37
G0034 Sandworm Team Sandworm Team has created VBScripts to run an SSH server.146145147148
S0589 Sibot Sibot executes commands using VBScript.73
G1008 SideCopy SideCopy has sent Microsoft Office Publisher documents to victims that have embedded malicious macros that execute an hta file via calling mshta.exe.105
G0121 Sidewinder Sidewinder has used VBScript to drop and execute malware loaders.93
G0091 Silence Silence has used VBS scripts.128
S0226 Smoke Loader Smoke Loader adds a Visual Basic script in the Startup folder to deploy the payload.50
C0024 SolarWinds Compromise For the SolarWinds Compromise, APT29 wrote malware such as Sibot in Visual Basic.163
S1030 Squirrelwaffle Squirrelwaffle has used malicious VBA macros in Microsoft Word documents and Excel spreadsheets that execute an AutoOpen subroutine.7172
S1037 STARWHALE STARWHALE can use the VBScript function GetRef as part of its persistence mechanism.26
S0380 StoneDrill StoneDrill has several VBS scripts used throughout the malware’s lifecycle.79
S0559 SUNBURST SUNBURST used VBScripts to initiate the execution of payloads.55
S1064 SVCReady SVCReady has used VBA macros to execute shellcode.42
G0062 TA459 TA459 has a VBScript for execution.139
G0092 TA505 TA505 has used VBS for code execution.114115116117
G0134 Transparent Tribe Transparent Tribe has crafted VBS-based malicious documents.9899
G0010 Turla Turla has used VBS scripts throughout its operations.113
S0263 TYPEFRAME TYPEFRAME has used a malicious Word document for delivery with VBA macros for execution.83
S0386 Ursnif Ursnif droppers have used VBA macros to download and execute the malware’s full executable payload.46
S0442 VBShower VBShower has the ability to execute VBScript files.66
S0689 WhisperGate WhisperGate can use a Visual Basic script to exclude the C:\ drive from Windows Defender.5857
G0112 Windshift Windshift has used Visual Basic 6 (VB6) payloads.143
G0090 WIRTE WIRTE has used VBScript in its operations.155
S0341 Xbash Xbash can execute malicious VBScript payloads on the victim’s machine.75


ID Mitigation Description
M1049 Antivirus/Antimalware Anti-virus can be used to automatically quarantine suspicious files.
M1040 Behavior Prevention on Endpoint On Windows 10, enable Attack Surface Reduction (ASR) rules to prevent Visual Basic scripts from executing potentially malicious downloaded content 7.
M1042 Disable or Remove Feature or Program Turn off or restrict access to unneeded VB components.
M1038 Execution Prevention Use application control where appropriate. VBA macros obtained from the Internet, based on the file’s Mark of the Web (MOTW) attribute, may be blocked from executing in Office applications (ex: Access, Excel, PowerPoint, Visio, and Word) by default starting in Windows Version 2203.2
M1021 Restrict Web-Based Content Script blocking extensions can help prevent the execution of scripts and HTA files that may commonly be used during the exploitation process. For malicious code served up through ads, adblockers can help prevent that code from executing in the first place.


ID Data Source Data Component
DS0017 Command Command Execution
DS0011 Module Module Load
DS0009 Process Process Creation
DS0012 Script Script Execution


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