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T1190 Exploit Public-Facing Application

Adversaries may attempt to take advantage of a weakness in an Internet-facing computer or program using software, data, or commands in order to cause unintended or unanticipated behavior. The weakness in the system can be a bug, a glitch, or a design vulnerability. These applications are often websites, but can include databases (like SQL), standard services (like SMB or SSH), network device administration and management protocols (like SNMP and Smart Install), and any other applications with Internet accessible open sockets, such as web servers and related services.32754 Depending on the flaw being exploited this may include Exploitation for Defense Evasion.

If an application is hosted on cloud-based infrastructure and/or is containerized, then exploiting it may lead to compromise of the underlying instance or container. This can allow an adversary a path to access the cloud or container APIs, exploit container host access via Escape to Host, or take advantage of weak identity and access management policies.

For websites and databases, the OWASP top 10 and CWE top 25 highlight the most common web-based vulnerabilities.61

Item Value
ID T1190
Tactics TA0001
Platforms Containers, IaaS, Linux, Network, Windows, macOS
Version 2.3
Created 18 April 2018
Last Modified 19 April 2022

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
G0007 APT28 APT28 has used a variety of public exploits, including CVE 2020-0688 and CVE 2020-17144, to gain execution on vulnerable Microsoft Exchange; they have also conducted SQL injection attacks against external websites.2526
G0016 APT29 APT29 has exploited CVE-2019-19781 for Citrix, CVE-2019-11510 for Pulse Secure VPNs, CVE-2018-13379 for FortiGate VPNs, and CVE-2019-9670 in Zimbra software to gain access. They have also exploited CVE-2020-0688 against the Microsoft Exchange Control Panel to regain access to a network.424344
G0087 APT39 APT39 has used SQL injection for initial compromise.19
G0096 APT41 APT41 exploited CVE-2020-10189 against Zoho ManageEngine Desktop Central, and CVE-2019-19781 to compromise Citrix Application Delivery Controllers (ADC) and gateway devices.29
G0001 Axiom Axiom has been observed using SQL injection to gain access to systems.1516
G0135 BackdoorDiplomacy BackdoorDiplomacy has exploited CVE-2020-5902, an F5 BIP-IP vulnerability, to drop a Linux backdoor. BackdoorDiplomacy has also exploited mis-configured Plesk servers.46
G0098 BlackTech BlackTech has exploited a buffer overflow vulnerability in Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) 6.0, CVE-2017-7269, in order to establish a new HTTP or command and control (C2) server.34
G0108 Blue Mockingbird Blue Mockingbird has gained initial access by exploiting CVE-2019-18935, a vulnerability within Telerik UI for ASP.NET AJAX.45
G0035 Dragonfly Dragonfly has conducted SQL injection attacks, exploited vulnerabilities CVE-2019-19781 and CVE-2020-0688 for Citrix and MS Exchange, and CVE-2018-13379 for Fortinet VPNs.33
G0117 Fox Kitten Fox Kitten has exploited known vulnerabilities in Fortinet, PulseSecure, and Palo Alto VPN appliances.3536373839
G0093 GALLIUM GALLIUM exploited a publicly-facing servers including Wildfly/JBoss servers to gain access to the network.2324
G0115 GOLD SOUTHFIELD GOLD SOUTHFIELD has exploited Oracle WebLogic vulnerabilities for initial compromise.27
G0125 HAFNIUM HAFNIUM has exploited CVE-2021-26855, CVE-2021-26857, CVE-2021-26858, and CVE-2021-27065 to compromise on-premises versions of Microsoft Exchange Server, enabling access to email accounts and installation of additional malware.222120
S0224 Havij Havij is used to automate SQL injection.8
G0004 Ke3chang Ke3chang has compromised networks by exploiting Internet-facing applications, including vulnerable Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint servers.13
G0094 Kimsuky Kimsuky has exploited various vulnerabilities for initial access, including Microsoft Exchange vulnerability CVE-2020-0688.28
G0059 Magic Hound Magic Hound has used open-source JNDI exploit kits to leverage the Log4j (CVE-2021-44228) vulnerability.14
G0045 menuPass menuPass has leveraged vulnerabilities in Pulse Secure VPNs to hijack sessions.47
G0014 Night Dragon Night Dragon has performed SQL injection attacks of extranet web servers to gain access.40
G0116 Operation Wocao Operation Wocao has gained initial access via vulnerable webservers.41
G0106 Rocke Rocke exploited Apache Struts, Oracle WebLogic (CVE-2017-10271), and Adobe ColdFusion (CVE-2017-3066) vulnerabilities to deliver malware.1718
S0623 Siloscape Siloscape is executed after the attacker gains initial access to a Windows container using a known vulnerability.11
S0516 SoreFang SoreFang can gain access by exploiting a Sangfor SSL VPN vulnerability that allows for the placement and delivery of malicious update binaries.10
S0225 sqlmap sqlmap can be used to automate exploitation of SQL injection vulnerabilities.9
G0027 Threat Group-3390 Threat Group-3390 has exploited the Microsoft SharePoint vulnerability CVE-2019-0604 and CVE-2021-26855, CVE-2021-26857, CVE-2021-26858, and CVE-2021-27065 in Exchange Server.32
G0123 Volatile Cedar Volatile Cedar has targeted publicly facing web servers, with both automatic and manual vulnerability discovery.30 31
S0412 ZxShell ZxShell has been dropped through exploitation of CVE-2011-2462, CVE-2013-3163, and CVE-2014-0322.12


ID Mitigation Description
M1048 Application Isolation and Sandboxing Application isolation will limit what other processes and system features the exploited target can access.
M1050 Exploit Protection Web Application Firewalls may be used to limit exposure of applications to prevent exploit traffic from reaching the application.
M1030 Network Segmentation Segment externally facing servers and services from the rest of the network with a DMZ or on separate hosting infrastructure.
M1026 Privileged Account Management Use least privilege for service accounts will limit what permissions the exploited process gets on the rest of the system.
M1051 Update Software Update software regularly by employing patch management for externally exposed applications.
M1016 Vulnerability Scanning Regularly scan externally facing systems for vulnerabilities and establish procedures to rapidly patch systems when critical vulnerabilities are discovered through scanning and through public disclosure.6


ID Data Source Data Component
DS0015 Application Log Application Log Content
DS0029 Network Traffic Network Traffic Content


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