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T1543.003 Windows Service

Adversaries may create or modify Windows services to repeatedly execute malicious payloads as part of persistence. When Windows boots up, it starts programs or applications called services that perform background system functions.3 Windows service configuration information, including the file path to the service’s executable or recovery programs/commands, is stored in the Windows Registry.

Adversaries may install a new service or modify an existing service to execute at startup in order to persist on a system. Service configurations can be set or modified using system utilities (such as sc.exe), by directly modifying the Registry, or by interacting directly with the Windows API.

Adversaries may also use services to install and execute malicious drivers. For example, after dropping a driver file (ex: .sys) to disk, the payload can be loaded and registered via Native API functions such as CreateServiceW() (or manually via functions such as ZwLoadDriver() and ZwSetValueKey()), by creating the required service Registry values (i.e. Modify Registry), or by using command-line utilities such as PnPUtil.exe.586 Adversaries may leverage these drivers as Rootkits to hide the presence of malicious activity on a system. Adversaries may also load a signed yet vulnerable driver onto a compromised machine (known as “Bring Your Own Vulnerable Driver” (BYOVD)) as part of Exploitation for Privilege Escalation.26

Services may be created with administrator privileges but are executed under SYSTEM privileges, so an adversary may also use a service to escalate privileges. Adversaries may also directly start services through Service Execution. To make detection analysis more challenging, malicious services may also incorporate Masquerade Task or Service (ex: using a service and/or payload name related to a legitimate OS or benign software component).

Item Value
ID T1543.003
Sub-techniques T1543.001, T1543.002, T1543.003, T1543.004
Tactics TA0003, TA0004
Platforms Windows
Version 1.3
Created 17 January 2020
Last Modified 21 April 2023

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
C0025 2016 Ukraine Electric Power Attack During the 2016 Ukraine Electric Power Attack, Sandworm Team used an arbitrary system service to load at system boot for persistence for Industroyer. They also replaced the ImagePath registry value of a Windows service with a new backdoor binary. 39
S0504 Anchor Anchor can establish persistence by creating a service.72
S0584 AppleJeus AppleJeus can install itself as a service.65
G0073 APT19 An APT19 Port 22 malware variant registers itself as a service.122
G0022 APT3 APT3 has a tool that creates a new service for persistence.134
G0050 APT32 APT32 modified Windows Services to ensure PowerShell scripts were loaded on the system. APT32 also creates a Windows service to establish persistence.130131132
G0082 APT38 APT38 has installed a new Windows service to establish persistence.125
G0096 APT41 APT41 modified legitimate Windows services to install malware backdoors.127129 APT41 created the StorSyncSvc service to provide persistence for Cobalt Strike.128
S0438 Attor Attor‘s dispatcher can establish persistence by registering a new service.119
S0347 AuditCred AuditCred is installed as a new service on the system.38
S0239 Bankshot Bankshot can terminate a specific process by its process id.4041
S0127 BBSRAT BBSRAT can modify service configurations.114
S0268 Bisonal Bisonal has been modified to be used as a Windows service.92
S0570 BitPaymer BitPaymer has attempted to install itself as a service to maintain persistence.64
S1070 Black Basta Black Basta can create a new service to establish persistence.6362
S0089 BlackEnergy One variant of BlackEnergy creates a new service using either a hard-coded or randomly generated name.24
G0108 Blue Mockingbird Blue Mockingbird has made their XMRIG payloads persistent as a Windows Service.126
S0204 Briba Briba installs a service pointing to a malicious DLL dropped to disk.67
G0008 Carbanak Carbanak malware installs itself as a service to provide persistence and SYSTEM privileges.142
S0335 Carbon Carbon establishes persistence by creating a service and naming it based off the operating system version running on the current machine.115
S0261 Catchamas Catchamas adds a new service named NetAdapter to establish persistence.91
S0660 Clambling Clambling can register itself as a system service to gain persistence.74
G0080 Cobalt Group Cobalt Group has created new services to establish persistence.141
S0154 Cobalt Strike Cobalt Strike can install a new service.120
S0608 Conficker Conficker copies itself into the %systemroot%\system32 directory and registers as a service.84
S0050 CosmicDuke CosmicDuke uses Windows services typically named “javamtsup” for persistence.16
S0046 CozyCar One persistence mechanism used by CozyCar is to register itself as a Windows service.108
S0625 Cuba Cuba can modify services by using the OpenService and ChangeServiceConfig functions.107
G0105 DarkVishnya DarkVishnya created new services for shellcode loaders distribution.121
S1033 DCSrv DCSrv has created new services for persistence by modifying the Registry.28
S0567 Dtrack Dtrack can add a service called WBService to establish persistence.54
S0038 Duqu Duqu creates a new service that loads a malicious driver when the system starts. When Duqu is active, the operating system believes that the driver is legitimate, as it has been signed with a valid private key.88
S0024 Dyre Dyre registers itself as a service by adding several Registry keys.30
G1006 Earth Lusca Earth Lusca created a service using the command sc create “SysUpdate” binpath= “cmd /c start “[file path]””&&sc config “SysUpdate” start= auto&&net
start SysUpdate for persistence.123
S0081 Elise Elise configures itself as a service.17
S0082 Emissary Emissary is capable of configuring itself as a service.21
S0367 Emotet Emotet has been observed creating new services to maintain persistence. 2627
S0363 Empire Empire can utilize built-in modules to modify service binaries and restore them to their original state.15
S0343 Exaramel for Windows The Exaramel for Windows dropper creates and starts a Windows service named wsmprovav with the description “Windows Check AV.”35
S0181 FALLCHILL FALLCHILL has been installed as a Windows service.65
G0046 FIN7 FIN7 created new Windows services and added them to the startup directories for persistence.124
S0182 FinFisher FinFisher creates a new Windows service with the malicious executable for persistence.9798
S1044 FunnyDream FunnyDream has established persistence by running sc.exe and by setting the WSearch service to run automatically.101
S0666 Gelsemium Gelsemium can drop itself in C:\Windows\System32\spool\prtprocs\x64\winprint.dll as an alternative Print Processor to be loaded automatically when the spoolsv Windows service starts.49
S0032 gh0st RAT gh0st RAT can create a new service to establish persistence.4546
S0493 GoldenSpy GoldenSpy has established persistence by running in the background as an autostart service.82
S0342 GreyEnergy GreyEnergy chooses a service, drops a DLL file, and writes it to that serviceDLL Registry key.89
S0071 hcdLoader hcdLoader installs itself as a service for persistence.8586
S0697 HermeticWiper HermeticWiper can load drivers by creating a new service using the CreateServiceW API.8
S0203 Hydraq Hydraq creates new services to establish persistence.116117118
S0604 Industroyer Industroyer can use an arbitrary system service to load at system boot for persistence and replaces the ImagePath registry value of a Windows service with a new backdoor binary.39
S0259 InnaputRAT Some InnaputRAT variants create a new Windows service to establish persistence.93
S0260 InvisiMole InvisiMole can register a Windows service named CsPower as part of its execution chain, and a Windows service named clr_optimization_v2.0.51527_X86 to achieve persistence.2
S0044 JHUHUGIT JHUHUGIT has registered itself as a service to establish persistence.47
S0265 Kazuar Kazuar can install itself as a new service.18
G0004 Ke3chang Ke3chang backdoor RoyalDNS established persistence through adding a service called Nwsapagent.133
S0387 KeyBoy KeyBoy installs a service pointing to a malicious DLL dropped to disk.87
G0094 Kimsuky Kimsuky has created new services for persistence.144145
S0356 KONNI KONNI has registered itself as a service using its export function.76
S0236 Kwampirs Kwampirs creates a new service named WmiApSrvEx to establish persistence.112
G0032 Lazarus Group Several Lazarus Group malware families install themselves as new services.140139
S0451 LoudMiner LoudMiner can automatically launch a Linux virtual machine as a service at startup if the AutoStart option is enabled in the VBoxVmService configuration file.81
S0149 MoonWind MoonWind installs itself as a new service with automatic startup to establish persistence. The service checks every 60 seconds to determine if the malware is running; if not, it will spawn a new instance.69
S0205 Naid Naid creates a new service to establish.70
S0630 Nebulae Nebulae can create a service to establish persistence.31
S0210 Nerex Nerex creates a Registry subkey that registers a new service.99
S0118 Nidiran Nidiran can create a new service named msamger (Microsoft Security Accounts Manager).60
S0439 Okrum To establish persistence, Okrum can install itself as a new service named NtmSsvc.19
C0012 Operation CuckooBees During Operation CuckooBees, the threat actors modified the IKEEXT and PrintNotify Windows services for persistence.148
C0006 Operation Honeybee During Operation Honeybee, threat actors installed DLLs and backdoors as Windows services.147
S0664 Pandora Pandora has the ability to gain system privileges through Windows services.32
S1031 PingPull PingPull has the ability to install itself as a service.113
S0501 PipeMon PipeMon can establish persistence by registering a malicious DLL as an alternative Print Processor which is loaded when the print spooler service starts.71
S0013 PlugX PlugX can be added as a service to establish persistence. PlugX also has a module to change service configurations as well as start, control, and delete services.5559585657
S0012 PoisonIvy PoisonIvy creates a Registry subkey that registers a new service. PoisonIvy also creates a Registry entry modifying the Logical Disk Manager service to point to a malicious DLL dropped to disk.83
S0194 PowerSploit PowerSploit contains a collection of Privesc-PowerUp modules that can discover and replace/modify service binaries, paths, and configs.1112
G0056 PROMETHIUM PROMETHIUM has created new services and modified existing services for persistence.138
S0029 PsExec PsExec can leverage Windows services to escalate privileges from administrator to SYSTEM with the -s argument.14
S0650 QakBot QakBot can remotely create a temporary service on a target host.110
S0481 Ragnar Locker Ragnar Locker has used sc.exe to create a new service for the VirtualBox driver.42
S0629 RainyDay RainyDay can use services to establish persistence.31
S0169 RawPOS RawPOS installs itself as a service to maintain persistence.777879
S0495 RDAT RDAT has created a service when it is installed on the victim machine.51
S0172 Reaver Reaver installs itself as a new service.90
S0074 Sakula Some Sakula samples install themselves as services for persistence by calling WinExec with the net start argument.73
S0345 Seasalt Seasalt is capable of installing itself as a service.100
S0140 Shamoon Shamoon creates a new service named “ntssrv” to execute the payload. Newer versions create the “MaintenaceSrv” and “hdv_725x” services.105106
S0444 ShimRat ShimRat has installed a Windows service to maintain persistence on victim machines.96
S0692 SILENTTRINITY SILENTTRINITY can establish persistence by creating a new service.13
S0533 SLOTHFULMEDIA SLOTHFULMEDIA has created a service on victim machines named “TaskFrame” to establish persistence.50
S1037 STARWHALE STARWHALE has the ability to create the following Windows service to establish persistence on an infected host: sc create Windowscarpstss binpath= "cmd.exe /c cscript.exe c:\\windows\\system32\\w7_1.wsf humpback_whale" start= "auto" obj= "LocalSystem".36
S0142 StreamEx StreamEx establishes persistence by installing a new service pointing to its DLL and setting the service to auto-start.20
S0491 StrongPity StrongPity has created new services and modified existing services for persistence.48
S0603 Stuxnet Stuxnet uses a driver registered as a boot start service as the main load-point.111
S1049 SUGARUSH SUGARUSH has created a service named Service1 for persistence.25
S0663 SysUpdate SysUpdate can create a service to establish persistence.32
S0164 TDTESS If running as administrator, TDTESS installs itself as a new service named bmwappushservice to establish persistence.66
G0139 TeamTNT TeamTNT has used malware that adds cryptocurrency miners as a service.146
S0560 TEARDROP TEARDROP ran as a Windows service from the c:\windows\syswow64 folder.9495
G0027 Threat Group-3390 Threat Group-3390‘s malware can create a new service, sometimes naming it after the config information, to gain persistence.136135
S0665 ThreatNeedle ThreatNeedle can run in memory and register its payload as a Windows service.22
S0004 TinyZBot TinyZBot can install as a Windows service for persistence.75
S0266 TrickBot TrickBot establishes persistence by creating an autostart service that allows it to run whenever the machine boots.29
G0081 Tropic Trooper Tropic Trooper has installed a service pointing to a malicious DLL dropped to disk.137
S0263 TYPEFRAME TYPEFRAME variants can add malicious DLL modules as new services.TYPEFRAME can also delete services from the victim’s machine.80
S0386 Ursnif Ursnif has registered itself as a system service in the Registry for automatic execution at system startup.109
S0180 Volgmer Volgmer installs a copy of itself in a randomly selected service, then overwrites the ServiceDLL entry in the service’s Registry entry. Some Volgmer variants also install .dll files as services with names generated by a list of hard-coded strings.103102104
S0366 WannaCry WannaCry creates the service “mssecsvc2.0” with the display name “Microsoft Security Center (2.0) Service.”5253
S0612 WastedLocker WastedLocker created and established a service that runs until the encryption process is complete.61
S0206 Wiarp Wiarp creates a backdoor through which remote attackers can create a service.68
S0176 Wingbird Wingbird uses services.exe to register a new autostart service named “Audit Service” using a copy of the local lsass.exe file.3334
S0141 Winnti for Windows Winnti for Windows sets its DLL file as a new service in the Registry to establish persistence.37
G0102 Wizard Spider Wizard Spider has installed TrickBot as a service named ControlServiceA in order to establish persistence.143
S0230 ZeroT ZeroT can add a new service to ensure PlugX persists on the system when delivered as another payload onto the system.57
S0086 ZLib ZLib creates Registry keys to allow itself to run as various services.44
S0350 zwShell zwShell has established persistence by adding itself as a new service.43
S0412 ZxShell ZxShell can create a new service using the service parser function ProcessScCommand.23


ID Mitigation Description
M1047 Audit Use auditing tools capable of detecting privilege and service abuse opportunities on systems within an enterprise and correct them.
M1040 Behavior Prevention on Endpoint On Windows 10, enable Attack Surface Reduction (ASR) rules to prevent an application from writing a signed vulnerable driver to the system.9 On Windows 10 and 11, enable Microsoft Vulnerable Driver Blocklist to assist in hardening against third party-developed service drivers.10
M1045 Code Signing Enforce registration and execution of only legitimately signed service drivers where possible.
M1028 Operating System Configuration Ensure that Driver Signature Enforcement is enabled to restrict unsigned drivers from being installed.
M1018 User Account Management Limit privileges of user accounts and groups so that only authorized administrators can interact with service changes and service configurations.


ID Data Source Data Component
DS0017 Command Command Execution
DS0027 Driver Driver Load
DS0009 Process OS API Execution
DS0019 Service Service Creation
DS0024 Windows Registry Windows Registry Key Creation


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