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T1078.001 Default Accounts

Adversaries may obtain and abuse credentials of a default account as a means of gaining Initial Access, Persistence, Privilege Escalation, or Defense Evasion. Default accounts are those that are built-into an OS, such as the Guest or Administrator accounts on Windows systems. Default accounts also include default factory/provider set accounts on other types of systems, software, or devices, including the root user account in AWS and the default service account in Kubernetes.123

Default accounts are not limited to client machines, rather also include accounts that are preset for equipment such as network devices and computer applications whether they are internal, open source, or commercial. Appliances that come preset with a username and password combination pose a serious threat to organizations that do not change it post installation, as they are easy targets for an adversary. Similarly, adversaries may also utilize publicly disclosed or stolen Private Keys or credential materials to legitimately connect to remote environments via Remote Services.4

Item Value
ID T1078.001
Sub-techniques T1078.001, T1078.002, T1078.003, T1078.004
Tactics TA0005, TA0003, TA0004, TA0001
Platforms Azure AD, Containers, Google Workspace, IaaS, Linux, Office 365, SaaS, Windows, macOS
Permissions required Administrator, User
Version 1.2
Created 13 March 2020
Last Modified 30 March 2023

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
S0537 HyperStack HyperStack can use default credentials to connect to IPC$ shares on remote machines.7
G0059 Magic Hound Magic Hound enabled and used the default system managed account, DefaultAccount, via "powershell.exe" /c net user DefaultAccount /active:yes to connect to a targeted Exchange server over RDP.8
S0603 Stuxnet Stuxnet infected WinCC machines via a hardcoded database server password.6


ID Mitigation Description
M1027 Password Policies Applications and appliances that utilize default username and password should be changed immediately after the installation, and before deployment to a production environment. 5


ID Data Source Data Component
DS0028 Logon Session Logon Session Creation
DS0002 User Account User Account Authentication