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T1497.002 User Activity Based Checks

Adversaries may employ various user activity checks to detect and avoid virtualization and analysis environments. This may include changing behaviors based on the results of checks for the presence of artifacts indicative of a virtual machine environment (VME) or sandbox. If the adversary detects a VME, they may alter their malware to disengage from the victim or conceal the core functions of the implant. They may also search for VME artifacts before dropping secondary or additional payloads. Adversaries may use the information learned from Virtualization/Sandbox Evasion during automated discovery to shape follow-on behaviors.1

Adversaries may search for user activity on the host based on variables such as the speed/frequency of mouse movements and clicks 2 , browser history, cache, bookmarks, or number of files in common directories such as home or the desktop. Other methods may rely on specific user interaction with the system before the malicious code is activated, such as waiting for a document to close before activating a macro 3 or waiting for a user to double click on an embedded image to activate.4

Item Value
ID T1497.002
Sub-techniques T1497.001, T1497.002, T1497.003
Tactics TA0005, TA0007
Platforms Linux, Windows, macOS
Version 1.1
Created 06 March 2020
Last Modified 18 October 2021

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
G0012 Darkhotel Darkhotel has used malware that repeatedly checks the mouse cursor position to determine if a real user is on the system.7
G0046 FIN7 FIN7 used images embedded into document lures that only activate the payload when a user double clicks to avoid sandboxes.4
S0439 Okrum Okrum loader only executes the payload after the left mouse button has been pressed at least three times, in order to avoid being executed within virtualized or emulated environments.5
S0543 Spark Spark has used a splash screen to check whether an user actively clicks on the screen before running malicious code.6


ID Data Source Data Component
DS0017 Command Command Execution
DS0009 Process OS API Execution