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T1059 Command and Scripting Interpreter

Adversaries may abuse command and script interpreters to execute commands, scripts, or binaries. These interfaces and languages provide ways of interacting with computer systems and are a common feature across many different platforms. Most systems come with some built-in command-line interface and scripting capabilities, for example, macOS and Linux distributions include some flavor of Unix Shell while Windows installations include the Windows Command Shell and PowerShell.

There are also cross-platform interpreters such as Python, as well as those commonly associated with client applications such as JavaScript and Visual Basic.

Adversaries may abuse these technologies in various ways as a means of executing arbitrary commands. Commands and scripts can be embedded in Initial Access payloads delivered to victims as lure documents or as secondary payloads downloaded from an existing C2. Adversaries may also execute commands through interactive terminals/shells, as well as utilize various Remote Services in order to achieve remote Execution.321

Item Value
ID T1059
Sub-techniques T1059.001, T1059.002, T1059.003, T1059.004, T1059.005, T1059.006, T1059.007, T1059.008, T1059.009
Tactics TA0002
Platforms Azure AD, Google Workspace, IaaS, Linux, Network, Office 365, Windows, macOS
Version 2.4
Created 31 May 2017
Last Modified 27 March 2023

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
G0073 APT19 APT19 downloaded and launched code within a SCT file.39
G0050 APT32 APT32 has used COM scriptlets to download Cobalt Strike beacons.44
G0067 APT37 APT37 has used Ruby scripts to execute payloads.38
G0087 APT39 APT39 has utilized AutoIt and custom scripts to perform internal reconnaissance.2829
S0234 Bandook Bandook can support commands to execute Java-based payloads.23
S0486 Bonadan Bonadan can create bind and reverse shells on the infected system.11
S0023 CHOPSTICK CHOPSTICK is capable of performing remote command execution.1617
S0334 DarkComet DarkComet can execute various types of scripts on the victim’s machine.26
S0695 Donut Donut can generate shellcode outputs that execute via Ruby.9
G0035 Dragonfly Dragonfly has used the command line for execution.46
S0363 Empire Empire uses a command-line interface to interact with systems.8
G0053 FIN5 FIN5 scans processes on all victim systems in the environment and uses automated scripts to pull back the results.47
G0037 FIN6 FIN6 has used scripting to iterate through a list of compromised PoS systems, copy data to a log file, and remove the original data files.4243
G0046 FIN7 FIN7 used SQL scripts to help perform tasks on the victim’s machine.303130
S0618 FIVEHANDS FIVEHANDS can receive a command line argument to limit file encryption to specified directories.1920
G0117 Fox Kitten Fox Kitten has used a Perl reverse shell to communicate with C2.45
S0460 Get2 Get2 has the ability to run executables with command-line arguments.27
S0032 gh0st RAT gh0st RAT is able to open a remote shell to execute commands.1415
S0434 Imminent Monitor Imminent Monitor has a CommandPromptPacket and ScriptPacket module(s) for creating a remote shell and executing scripts.10
G0004 Ke3chang Malware used by Ke3chang can run commands on the command-line interface.4041
S0487 Kessel Kessel can create a reverse shell between the infected host and a specified system.11
S0167 Matryoshka Matryoshka is capable of providing Meterpreter shell access.18
S0530 Melcoz Melcoz has been distributed through an AutoIt loader script.22
G0049 OilRig OilRig has used various types of scripting for execution.3233343536
C0005 Operation Spalax For Operation Spalax, the threat actors used Nullsoft Scriptable Install System (NSIS) scripts to install malware.49
S0598 P.A.S. Webshell P.A.S. Webshell has the ability to create reverse shells with Perl scripts.25
S0428 PoetRAT PoetRAT has executed a Lua script through a Lua interpreter for Windows.12
S0374 SpeakUp SpeakUp uses Perl scripts.21
G0038 Stealth Falcon Stealth Falcon malware uses WMI to script data collection and command execution on the victim.37
G0107 Whitefly Whitefly has used a simple remote shell tool that will call back to the C2 server and wait for commands.48
G0124 Windigo Windigo has used a Perl script for information gathering.11
S0219 WINERACK WINERACK can create a reverse shell that utilizes statically-linked Wine cmd.exe code to emulate Windows command prompt commands.24
S0330 Zeus Panda Zeus Panda can launch remote scripts on the victim’s machine.13


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 and JavaScript scripts from executing potentially malicious downloaded content 7.
M1045 Code Signing Where possible, only permit execution of signed scripts.
M1042 Disable or Remove Feature or Program Disable or remove any unnecessary or unused shells or interpreters.
M1038 Execution Prevention Use application control where appropriate. For example, PowerShell Constrained Language mode can be used to restrict access to sensitive or otherwise dangerous language elements such as those used to execute arbitrary Windows APIs or files (e.g., Add-Type).6
M1026 Privileged Account Management When PowerShell is necessary, consider restricting PowerShell execution policy to administrators. Be aware that there are methods of bypassing the PowerShell execution policy, depending on environment configuration.5
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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