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T1106 Native API

Adversaries may interact with the native OS application programming interface (API) to execute behaviors. Native APIs provide a controlled means of calling low-level OS services within the kernel, such as those involving hardware/devices, memory, and processes.149 These native APIs are leveraged by the OS during system boot (when other system components are not yet initialized) as well as carrying out tasks and requests during routine operations.

Native API functions (such as NtCreateProcess) may be directed invoked via system calls / syscalls, but these features are also often exposed to user-mode applications via interfaces and libraries.4610 For example, functions such as the Windows API CreateProcess() or GNU fork() will allow programs and scripts to start other processes.115 This may allow API callers to execute a binary, run a CLI command, load modules, etc. as thousands of similar API functions exist for various system operations.1287

Higher level software frameworks, such as Microsoft .NET and macOS Cocoa, are also available to interact with native APIs. These frameworks typically provide language wrappers/abstractions to API functionalities and are designed for ease-of-use/portability of code.13213

Adversaries may abuse these OS API functions as a means of executing behaviors. Similar to Command and Scripting Interpreter, the native API and its hierarchy of interfaces provide mechanisms to interact with and utilize various components of a victimized system. While invoking API functions, adversaries may also attempt to bypass defensive tools (ex: unhooking monitored functions via Disable or Modify Tools).

Item Value
ID T1106
Tactics TA0002
Platforms Linux, Windows, macOS
Version 2.1
Created 31 May 2017
Last Modified 19 April 2022

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
S0045 ADVSTORESHELL ADVSTORESHELL is capable of starting a process using CreateProcess.121
S1025 Amadey Amadey has used a variety of Windows API calls, including GetComputerNameA, GetUserNameA, and CreateProcessA.58
S0622 AppleSeed AppleSeed has the ability to use multiple dynamically resolved API calls.49
G0067 APT37 APT37 leverages the Windows API calls: VirtualAlloc(), WriteProcessMemory(), and CreateRemoteThread() for process injection.185
G0082 APT38 APT38 has used the Windows API to execute code within a victim’s system.187
S0456 Aria-body Aria-body has the ability to launch files using ShellExecute.53
S0438 Attor Attor‘s dispatcher has used CreateProcessW API for execution.170
S0640 Avaddon Avaddon has used the Windows Crypto API to generate an AES key.83
S1053 AvosLocker AvosLocker has used a variety of Windows API calls, including NtCurrentPeb and GetLogicalDrives.147
S0638 Babuk Babuk can use multiple Windows API calls for actions on compromised hosts including discovery and execution.140141142
S0475 BackConfig BackConfig can leverage API functions such as ShellExecuteA and HttpOpenRequestA in the process of downloading and executing files.144
S0606 Bad Rabbit Bad Rabbit has used various Windows API calls.158
S0128 BADNEWS BADNEWS has a command to download an .exe and execute it via CreateProcess API. It can also run with ShellExecute.6667
S0234 Bandook Bandook has used the ShellExecuteW() function call.137
S0239 Bankshot Bankshot creates processes using the Windows API calls: CreateProcessA() and CreateProcessAsUserA().34
S0534 Bazar Bazar can use various APIs to allocate memory and facilitate code execution/injection.108
S0470 BBK BBK has the ability to use the CreatePipe API to add a sub-process for execution via cmd.60
S0574 BendyBear BendyBear can load and execute modules and Windows Application Programming (API) calls using standard shellcode API hashing.61
S0268 Bisonal Bisonal has used the Windows API to communicate with the Service Control Manager to execute a thread.124
S0570 BitPaymer BitPaymer has used dynamic API resolution to avoid identifiable strings within the binary, including RegEnumKeyW.81
S1070 Black Basta Black Basta has the ability to use native APIs for numerous functions including discovery and defense evasion.40393738
G0098 BlackTech BlackTech has used built-in API functions.184
S0521 BloodHound BloodHound can use .NET API calls in the SharpHound ingestor component to pull Active Directory data.29
S0651 BoxCaon BoxCaon has used Windows API calls to obtain information about the compromised host.90
S1063 Brute Ratel C4 Brute Ratel C4 can call multiple Windows APIs for execution, to share memory, and defense evasion.2524
S0471 build_downer build_downer has the ability to use the WinExec API to execute malware on a compromised host.60
S1039 Bumblebee Bumblebee can use multiple Native APIs.148149
S0693 CaddyWiper CaddyWiper has the ability to dynamically resolve and use APIs, including SeTakeOwnershipPrivilege.56
S0484 Carberp Carberp has used the NtQueryDirectoryFile and ZwQueryDirectoryFile functions to hide files and directories.152
S0631 Chaes Chaes used the CreateFileW() API function with read permissions to access downloaded payloads.105
G0114 Chimera Chimera has used direct Windows system calls by leveraging Dumpert.178
S0667 Chrommme Chrommme can use Windows API including WinExec for execution.54
S0611 Clop Clop has used built-in API functions such as WNetOpenEnumW(), WNetEnumResourceW(), WNetCloseEnum(), GetProcAddress(), and VirtualAlloc().156157
S0154 Cobalt Strike Cobalt Strike‘s Beacon payload is capable of running shell commands without cmd.exe and PowerShell commands without powershell.exe135134136
S0126 ComRAT ComRAT can load a PE file from memory or the file system and execute it with CreateProcessW.45
S0575 Conti Conti has used API calls during execution.115116
S0614 CostaBricks CostaBricks has used a number of API calls, including VirtualAlloc, VirtualFree, LoadLibraryA, GetProcAddress, and ExitProcess.62
S0625 Cuba Cuba has used several built-in API functions for discovery like GetIpNetTable and NetShareEnum.123
S0687 Cyclops Blink Cyclops Blink can use various Linux API functions including those for execution and discovery.114
S1066 DarkTortilla DarkTortilla can use a variety of API calls for persistence and defense evasion.99
S1033 DCSrv DCSrv has used various Windows API functions, including DeviceIoControl, as part of its encryption process.174
S1052 DEADEYE DEADEYE can execute the GetComputerNameA and GetComputerNameExA WinAPI functions.168
S0354 Denis Denis used the IsDebuggerPresent, OutputDebugString, and SetLastError APIs to avoid debugging. Denis used GetProcAddress and LoadLibrary to dynamically resolve APIs. Denis also used the Wow64SetThreadContext API as part of a process hollowing process.154
S0659 Diavol Diavol has used several API calls like GetLogicalDriveStrings, SleepEx, SystemParametersInfoAPI, CryptEncrypt, and others to execute parts of its attack.139
S0695 Donut Donut code modules use various API functions to load and inject code.30
S0694 DRATzarus DRATzarus can use various API calls to see if it is running in a sandbox.48
S0384 Dridex Dridex has used the OutputDebugStringW function to avoid malware analysis as part of its anti-debugging technique.103
S0554 Egregor Egregor has used the Windows API to make detection more difficult.164
S0363 Empire Empire contains a variety of enumeration modules that have an option to use API calls to carry out tasks.26
S0396 EvilBunny EvilBunny has used various API calls as part of its checks to see if the malware is running in a sandbox.43
S0569 Explosive Explosive has a function to call the OpenClipboard wrapper.173
S0512 FatDuke FatDuke can call ShellExecuteW to open the default browser on the URL localhost.65
S0696 Flagpro Flagpro can use Native API to enable obfuscation including GetLastError and GetTickCount.71
S0661 FoggyWeb FoggyWeb‘s loader can use API functions to load the FoggyWeb backdoor into the same Application Domain within which the legitimate AD FS managed code is executed.36
S1044 FunnyDream FunnyDream can use Native API for defense evasion, discovery, and collection.27
G0047 Gamaredon Group Gamaredon Group malware has used CreateProcess to launch additional malicious components.189
S0666 Gelsemium Gelsemium has the ability to use various Windows API functions to perform tasks.54
S0032 gh0st RAT gh0st RAT has used the InterlockedExchange, SeShutdownPrivilege, and ExitWindowsEx Windows API functions.138
S0493 GoldenSpy GoldenSpy can execute remote commands in the Windows command shell using the WinExec() API.145
S0477 Goopy Goopy has the ability to enumerate the infected system’s user name via GetUserNameW.154
G0078 Gorgon Group Gorgon Group malware can leverage the Windows API call, CreateProcessA(), for execution.193
S0531 Grandoreiro Grandoreiro can execute through the WinExec API.177
S0632 GrimAgent GrimAgent can use Native API including GetProcAddress and ShellExecuteW.59
S0561 GuLoader GuLoader can use a number of different APIs for discovery and execution.143
S0499 Hancitor Hancitor has used CallWindowProc and EnumResourceTypesA to interpret and execute shellcode.89
S0391 HAWKBALL HAWKBALL has leveraged several Windows API calls to create processes, gather disk information, and detect debugger activity.153
S0697 HermeticWiper HermeticWiper can call multiple Windows API functions used for privilege escalation, service execution, and to overwrite random bites of data.166167107165
S0698 HermeticWizard HermeticWizard can connect to remote shares using WNetAddConnection2W.107
G0126 Higaisa Higaisa has called various native OS APIs.190
S0431 HotCroissant HotCroissant can perform dynamic DLL importing and API lookups using LoadLibrary and GetProcAddress on obfuscated strings.161
S0398 HyperBro HyperBro has the ability to run an application (CreateProcessW) or script/file (ShellExecuteW) via API.51
S0537 HyperStack HyperStack can use Windows API’s ConnectNamedPipe and WNetAddConnection2 to detect incoming connections and connect to remote shares.57
S0483 IcedID IcedID has called ZwWriteVirtualMemory, ZwProtectVirtualMemory, ZwQueueApcThread, and NtResumeThread to inject itself into a remote process.84
S0434 Imminent Monitor Imminent Monitor has leveraged CreateProcessW() call to execute the debugger.23
S0259 InnaputRAT InnaputRAT uses the API call ShellExecuteW for execution.163
S0260 InvisiMole InvisiMole can use winapiexec tool for indirect execution of ShellExecuteW and CreateProcessA.74
S1020 Kevin Kevin can use the ShowWindow API to avoid detection.100
S0607 KillDisk KillDisk has called the Windows API to retrieve the hard disk handle and shut down the machine.50
S0669 KOCTOPUS KOCTOPUS can use the LoadResource and CreateProcessW APIs for execution.42
S0356 KONNI KONNI has hardcoded API calls within its functions to use on the victim’s machine.151
G0032 Lazarus Group Lazarus Group has used the Windows API ObtainUserAgentString to obtain the User-Agent from a compromised host to connect to a C2 server.179 Lazarus Group has also used various, often lesser known, functions to perform various types of Discovery and Process Injection.180181
S0395 LightNeuron LightNeuron is capable of starting a process using CreateProcess.82
S0680 LitePower LitePower can use various API calls.131
S0681 Lizar Lizar has used various Windows API functions on a victim’s machine.44
S0447 Lokibot Lokibot has used LoadLibrary(), GetProcAddress() and CreateRemoteThread() API functions to execute its shellcode.88
S1016 MacMa MacMa has used macOS API functions to perform tasks.9798
S1060 Mafalda Mafalda can use a variety of API calls.102
S0652 MarkiRAT MarkiRAT can run the ShellExecuteW API via the Windows Command Shell.113
S0449 Maze Maze has used several Windows API functions throughout the encryption process including IsDebuggerPresent, TerminateProcess, Process32FirstW, among others.117
S0576 MegaCortex After escalating privileges, MegaCortex calls TerminateProcess(), CreateRemoteThread, and other Win32 APIs.146
G0045 menuPass menuPass has used native APIs including GetModuleFileName, lstrcat, CreateFile, and ReadFile.186
S1059 metaMain metaMain can execute an operator-provided Windows command by leveraging functions such as WinExec, WriteFile, and ReadFile.102106
S0455 Metamorfo Metamorfo has used native WINAPI calls.159160
S0688 Meteor Meteor can use WinAPI to remove a victim machine from an Active Directory domain.31
S1015 Milan Milan can use the API DnsQuery_A for DNS resolution.100
S0084 Mis-Type Mis-Type has used Windows API calls, including NetUserAdd and NetUserDel.35
S0083 Misdat Misdat has used Windows APIs, including ExitWindowsEx and GetKeyboardType.35
S0256 Mosquito Mosquito leverages the CreateProcess() and LoadLibrary() calls to execute files with the .dll and .exe extensions.91
S0630 Nebulae Nebulae has the ability to use CreateProcess to execute a process.87
S0457 Netwalker Netwalker can use Windows API functions to inject the ransomware DLL.112
S0198 NETWIRE NETWIRE can use Native API including CreateProcess GetProcessById, and WriteProcessMemory.86
S0385 njRAT njRAT has used the ShellExecute() function within a script.118
C0022 Operation Dream Job During Operation Dream Job, Lazarus Group used Windows API ObtainUserAgentString to obtain the victim’s User-Agent and used the value to connect to their C2 server.179
C0006 Operation Honeybee During Operation Honeybee, the threat actors deployed malware that used API calls, including CreateProcessAsUser.196
C0013 Operation Sharpshooter During Operation Sharpshooter, the first stage downloader resolved various Windows libraries and APIs, including LoadLibraryA(), GetProcAddress(), and CreateProcessA().77
C0014 Operation Wocao During Operation Wocao, threat actors used the CreateProcessA and ShellExecute API functions to launch commands after being injected into a selected process.195
S1050 PcShare PcShare has used a variety of Windows API functions.27
S0517 Pillowmint Pillowmint has used multiple native Windows APIs to execute and conduct process injections.162
S0501 PipeMon PipeMon‘s first stage has been executed by a call to CreateProcess with the decryption password in an argument. PipeMon has used a call to LoadLibrary to load its installer.169
S0435 PLEAD PLEAD can use ShellExecute to execute applications.76
S0013 PlugX PlugX can use the Windows API functions GetProcAddress, LoadLibrary, and CreateProcess to execute another process.9293
S0518 PolyglotDuke PolyglotDuke can use LoadLibraryW and CreateProcess to load and execute code.65
S0453 Pony Pony has used several Windows functions for various purposes.133
S1058 Prestige Prestige has used the Wow64DisableWow64FsRedirection() and Wow64RevertWow64FsRedirection() functions to disable and restore file system redirection.64
S0147 Pteranodon Pteranodon has used various API calls.122
S0650 QakBot QakBot can use GetProcAddress to help delete malicious strings from memory.75
S0629 RainyDay The file collection tool used by RainyDay can utilize native API including ReadDirectoryChangeW for folder monitoring.87
S0458 Ramsay Ramsay can use Windows API functions such as WriteFile, CloseHandle, and GetCurrentHwProfile during its collection and file storage operations. Ramsay can execute its embedded components via CreateProcessA and ShellExecute.111
S0662 RCSession RCSession can use WinSock API for communication including WSASend and WSARecv.47
S0416 RDFSNIFFER RDFSNIFFER has used several Win32 API functions to interact with the victim machine.130
S0496 REvil REvil can use Native API for execution and to retrieve active services.9596
S0448 Rising Sun Rising Sun used dynamic API resolutions to various Windows APIs by leveraging LoadLibrary() and GetProcAddress().77
S0240 ROKRAT ROKRAT can use a variety of API calls to execute shellcode.109
S1073 Royal Royal can use multiple APIs for discovery, communication, and execution.132
S0148 RTM RTM can use the FindNextUrlCacheEntryA and FindFirstUrlCacheEntryA functions to search for specific strings within browser history.55
S0446 Ryuk Ryuk has used multiple native APIs including ShellExecuteW to run executables,GetWindowsDirectoryW to create folders, and VirtualAlloc, WriteProcessMemory, and CreateRemoteThread for process injection.70
S0085 S-Type S-Type has used Windows APIs, including GetKeyboardType, NetUserAdd, and NetUserDel.35
S1018 Saint Bot Saint Bot has used different API calls, including GetProcAddress, VirtualAllocEx, WriteProcessMemory, CreateProcessA, and SetThreadContext.119120
S0444 ShimRat ShimRat has used Windows API functions to install the service and shim.22
S0445 ShimRatReporter ShimRatReporter used several Windows API functions to gather information from the infected system.22
G1008 SideCopy SideCopy has executed malware by calling the API function CreateProcessW.188
S0610 SideTwist SideTwist can use GetUserNameW, GetComputerNameW, and GetComputerNameExW to gather information.80
G0091 Silence Silence has leveraged the Windows API, including using CreateProcess() or ShellExecute(), to perform a variety of tasks.191192
S0692 SILENTTRINITY SILENTTRINITY has the ability to leverage API including GetProcAddress and LoadLibrary.28
S0623 Siloscape Siloscape makes various native API calls.85
S0627 SodaMaster SodaMaster can use RegOpenKeyW to access the Registry.94
S0615 SombRAT SombRAT has the ability to respawn itself using ShellExecuteW and CreateProcessW.62
S1034 StrifeWater StrifeWater can use a variety of APIs for execution.63
S0603 Stuxnet Stuxnet uses the SetSecurityDescriptorDacl API to reduce object integrity levels.127
S0562 SUNSPOT SUNSPOT used Windows API functions such as MoveFileEx and NtQueryInformationProcess as part of the SUNBURST injection process.46
S1064 SVCReady SVCReady can use Windows API calls to gather information from an infected host.110
S0242 SynAck SynAck parses the export tables of system DLLs to locate and call various Windows API functions.7879
S0663 SysUpdate SysUpdate can call the GetNetworkParams API as part of its C2 establishment process.175
G0092 TA505 TA505 has deployed payloads that use Windows API calls on a compromised host.194
S0011 Taidoor Taidoor has the ability to use native APIs for execution including GetProcessHeap, GetProcAddress, and LoadLibrary.171172
S0595 ThiefQuest ThiefQuest uses various API to perform behaviors such as executing payloads and performing local enumeration.101
S0668 TinyTurla TinyTurla has used WinHTTP, CreateProcess, and other APIs for C2 communications and other functions.128
S0678 Torisma Torisma has used various Windows API calls.150
S0266 TrickBot TrickBot uses the Windows API call, CreateProcessW(), to manage execution flow.125 TrickBot has also used Nt* API functions to perform Process Injection.126
G0081 Tropic Trooper Tropic Trooper has used multiple Windows APIs including HttpInitialize, HttpCreateHttpHandle, and HttpAddUrl.182
G0010 Turla Turla and its RPC backdoors have used APIs calls for various tasks related to subverting AMSI and accessing then executing commands through RPC and/or named pipes.183
S0386 Ursnif Ursnif has used CreateProcessW to create child processes.104
S0180 Volgmer Volgmer executes payloads using the Windows API call CreateProcessW().155
S0670 WarzoneRAT WarzoneRAT can use a variety of API calls on a compromised host.41
S0612 WastedLocker WastedLocker‘s custom crypter, CryptOne, leveraged the VirtualAlloc() API function to help execute the payload.176
S0579 Waterbear Waterbear can leverage API functions for execution.129
S0689 WhisperGate WhisperGate has used the ExitWindowsEx to flush file buffers to disk and stop running processes and other API calls.3233
S0466 WindTail WindTail can invoke Apple APIs contentsOfDirectoryAtPath, pathExtension, and (string) compare.72
S0141 Winnti for Windows Winnti for Windows can use Native API to create a new process and to start services.73
S1065 Woody RAT Woody RAT can use multiple native APIs, including WriteProcessMemory, CreateProcess, and CreateRemoteThread for process injection.69
S0161 XAgentOSX XAgentOSX contains the execFile function to execute a specified file on the system using the NSTask:launch method.52
S0653 xCaon xCaon has leveraged native OS function calls to retrieve victim’s network adapter’s information using GetAdapterInfo() API.90
S0412 ZxShell ZxShell can leverage native API including RegisterServiceCtrlHandler to register a service.RegisterServiceCtrlHandler
S1013 ZxxZ ZxxZ has used API functions such as Process32First, Process32Next, and ShellExecuteA.68


ID Mitigation Description
M1040 Behavior Prevention on Endpoint On Windows 10, enable Attack Surface Reduction (ASR) rules to prevent Office VBA macros from calling Win32 APIs. 15
M1038 Execution Prevention Identify and block potentially malicious software executed that may be executed through this technique by using application control 16 tools, like Windows Defender Application Control17, AppLocker, 18 19 or Software Restriction Policies 20 where appropriate. 21


ID Data Source Data Component
DS0011 Module Module Load
DS0009 Process OS API Execution


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