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T1546.003 Windows Management Instrumentation Event Subscription

Adversaries may establish persistence and elevate privileges by executing malicious content triggered by a Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) event subscription. WMI can be used to install event filters, providers, consumers, and bindings that execute code when a defined event occurs. Examples of events that may be subscribed to are the wall clock time, user loging, or the computer’s uptime.6

Adversaries may use the capabilities of WMI to subscribe to an event and execute arbitrary code when that event occurs, providing persistence on a system.31 Adversaries may also compile WMI scripts into Windows Management Object (MOF) files (.mof extension) that can be used to create a malicious subscription.29

WMI subscription execution is proxied by the WMI Provider Host process (WmiPrvSe.exe) and thus may result in elevated SYSTEM privileges.

Item Value
ID T1546.003
Sub-techniques T1546.001, T1546.002, T1546.003, T1546.004, T1546.005, T1546.006, T1546.007, T1546.008, T1546.009, T1546.010, T1546.011, T1546.012, T1546.013, T1546.014, T1546.015, T1546.016
Tactics TA0004, TA0003
Platforms Windows
Permissions required Administrator, SYSTEM
Version 1.3
Created 24 January 2020
Last Modified 21 April 2023

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
S0202 adbupd adbupd can use a WMI script to achieve persistence.18
G0016 APT29 APT29 has used WMI event subscriptions for persistence.22
G0064 APT33 APT33 has attempted to use WMI event subscriptions to establish persistence on compromised hosts.24
G0108 Blue Mockingbird Blue Mockingbird has used mofcomp.exe to establish WMI Event Subscription persistence mechanisms configured from a *.mof file.21
G0061 FIN8 FIN8 has used WMI event subscriptions for persistence.20
G0065 Leviathan Leviathan has used WMI for persistence.25
G1013 Metador Metador has established persistence through the use of a WMI event subscription combined with unusual living-off-the-land binaries such as cdb.exe.15
S1059 metaMain metaMain registered a WMI event subscription consumer called “hard_disk_stat” to establish persistence.15
G0129 Mustang Panda Mustang Panda‘s custom ORat tool uses a WMI event consumer to maintain persistence.23
C0023 Operation Ghost During Operation Ghost, APT29 used WMI event subscriptions to establish persistence for malware.16
S0378 PoshC2 PoshC2 has the ability to persist on a system using WMI events.12
S0150 POSHSPY POSHSPY uses a WMI event subscription to establish persistence.14
S0371 POWERTON POWERTON can use WMI for persistence.17
S0511 RegDuke RegDuke can persist using a WMI consumer that is launched every time a process named WINWORD.EXE is started.16
S0053 SeaDuke SeaDuke uses an event filter in WMI code to execute a previously dropped executable shortly after system startup.1
S0692 SILENTTRINITY SILENTTRINITY can create a WMI Event to execute a payload for persistence.11
C0024 SolarWinds Compromise During the SolarWinds Compromise, APT29 used a WMI event filter to invoke a command-line event consumer at system boot time to launch a backdoor with rundll32.exe.2726
S0682 TrailBlazer TrailBlazer has the ability to use WMI for persistence.13
G0010 Turla Turla has used WMI event filters and consumers to establish persistence.19


ID Mitigation Description
M1040 Behavior Prevention on Endpoint On Windows 10, enable Attack Surface Reduction (ASR) rules to prevent malware from abusing WMI to attain persistence.10
M1026 Privileged Account Management Prevent credential overlap across systems of administrator and privileged accounts.1
M1018 User Account Management By default, only administrators are allowed to connect remotely using WMI; restrict other users that are allowed to connect, or disallow all users from connecting remotely to WMI.


ID Data Source Data Component
DS0017 Command Command Execution
DS0009 Process Process Creation
DS0005 WMI WMI Creation


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  2. Dell SecureWorks Counter Threat Unit™ (CTU) Research Team. (2016, March 28). A Novel WMI Persistence Implementation. Retrieved March 30, 2016. 

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  6. Microsoft. (n.d.). Retrieved January 24, 2020. 

  7. Russinovich, M. (2016, January 4). Autoruns for Windows v13.51. Retrieved June 6, 2016. 

  8. Satran, M. (2018, May 30). Managed Object Format (MOF). Retrieved January 24, 2020. 

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  10. Salvati, M. (2019, August 6). SILENTTRINITY Modules. Retrieved March 24, 2022. 

  11. Nettitude. (2018, July 23). Python Server for PoshC2. Retrieved April 23, 2019. 

  12. CrowdStrike. (2022, January 27). Early Bird Catches the Wormhole: Observations from the StellarParticle Campaign. Retrieved February 7, 2022. 

  13. Dunwoody, M.. (2017, April 3). Dissecting One of APT29’s Fileless WMI and PowerShell Backdoors (POSHSPY). Retrieved April 5, 2017. 

  14. Ehrlich, A., et al. (2022, September). THE MYSTERY OF METADOR | AN UNATTRIBUTED THREAT HIDING IN TELCOS, ISPS, AND UNIVERSITIES. Retrieved January 23, 2023. 

  15. Faou, M., Tartare, M., Dupuy, T. (2019, October). OPERATION GHOST. Retrieved September 23, 2020. 

  16. Ackerman, G., et al. (2018, December 21). OVERRULED: Containing a Potentially Destructive Adversary. Retrieved January 17, 2019. 

  17. Windows Defender Advanced Threat Hunting Team. (2016, April 29). PLATINUM: Targeted attacks in South and Southeast Asia. Retrieved February 15, 2018. 

  18. Faou, M. and Dumont R.. (2019, May 29). A dive into Turla PowerShell usage. Retrieved June 14, 2019. 

  19. Martin Zugec. (2021, July 27). Deep Dive Into a FIN8 Attack - A Forensic Investigation. Retrieved September 1, 2021. 

  20. Lambert, T. (2020, May 7). Introducing Blue Mockingbird. Retrieved May 26, 2020. 

  21. Dunwoody, M. and Carr, N.. (2016, September 27). No Easy Breach DerbyCon 2016. Retrieved October 4, 2016. 

  22. Counter Threat Unit Research Team. (2019, December 29). BRONZE PRESIDENT Targets NGOs. Retrieved April 13, 2021. 

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  24. FireEye. (2018, March 16). Suspected Chinese Cyber Espionage Group (TEMP.Periscope) Targeting U.S. Engineering and Maritime Industries. Retrieved April 11, 2018. 

  25. Microsoft 365 Defender Team. (2020, December 28). Using Microsoft 365 Defender to protect against Solorigate. Retrieved January 7, 2021. 

  26. MSTIC, CDOC, 365 Defender Research Team. (2021, January 20). Deep dive into the Solorigate second-stage activation: From SUNBURST to TEARDROP and Raindrop . Retrieved January 22, 2021.