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T1546.015 Component Object Model Hijacking

Adversaries may establish persistence by executing malicious content triggered by hijacked references to Component Object Model (COM) objects. COM is a system within Windows to enable interaction between software components through the operating system.3 References to various COM objects are stored in the Registry.

Adversaries can use the COM system to insert malicious code that can be executed in place of legitimate software through hijacking the COM references and relationships as a means for persistence. Hijacking a COM object requires a change in the Registry to replace a reference to a legitimate system component which may cause that component to not work when executed. When that system component is executed through normal system operation the adversary’s code will be executed instead.2 An adversary is likely to hijack objects that are used frequently enough to maintain a consistent level of persistence, but are unlikely to break noticeable functionality within the system as to avoid system instability that could lead to detection.

Item Value
ID T1546.015
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 User
Version 1.1
Created 16 March 2020
Last Modified 21 April 2023

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
S0045 ADVSTORESHELL Some variants of ADVSTORESHELL achieve persistence by registering the payload as a Shell Icon Overlay handler COM object.13
G0007 APT28 APT28 has used COM hijacking for persistence by replacing the legitimate MMDeviceEnumerator object with a payload.616
S0127 BBSRAT BBSRAT has been seen persisting via COM hijacking through replacement of the COM object for MruPidlList {42aedc87-2188-41fd-b9a3-0c966feabec1} or Microsoft WBEM New Event Subsystem {F3130CDB-AA52-4C3A-AB32-85FFC23AF9C1} depending on the system’s CPU architecture.11
S0126 ComRAT ComRAT samples have been seen which hijack COM objects for persistence by replacing the path to shell32.dll in registry location HKCU\Software\Classes\CLSID{42aedc87-2188-41fd-b9a3-0c966feabec1}\InprocServer32.8
S0679 Ferocious Ferocious can use COM hijacking to establish persistence.12
S0044 JHUHUGIT JHUHUGIT has used COM hijacking to establish persistence by hijacking a class named MMDeviceEnumerator and also by registering the payload as a Shell Icon Overlay handler COM object ({3543619C-D563-43f7-95EA-4DA7E1CC396A}).67
S0356 KONNI KONNI has modified ComSysApp service to load the malicious DLL payload.10
S0256 Mosquito Mosquito uses COM hijacking as a method of persistence.14
S1050 PcShare PcShare has created the HKCU\\Software\\Classes\\CLSID\\{42aedc87-2188-41fd-b9a3-0c966feabec1}\\InprocServer32 Registry key for persistence.4
S0692 SILENTTRINITY SILENTTRINITY can add a CLSID key for payload execution through Registry.CurrentUser.CreateSubKey("Software\\Classes\\CLSID\\{" + clsid + "}\\InProcServer32").5
S1064 SVCReady SVCReady has created the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\CLSID\{E6D34FFC-AD32-4d6a-934C-D387FA873A19} Registry key for persistence.9
S0670 WarzoneRAT WarzoneRAT can perform COM hijacking by setting the path to itself to the HKCU\Software\Classes\Folder\shell\open\command key with a DelegateExecute parameter.15


ID Data Source Data Component
DS0017 Command Command Execution
DS0011 Module Module Load
DS0009 Process Process Creation
DS0024 Windows Registry Windows Registry Key Modification


  1. Ewing, P. Strom, B. (2016, September 15). How to Hunt: Detecting Persistence & Evasion with the COM. Retrieved September 15, 2016. 

  2. G DATA. (2014, October). COM Object hijacking: the discreet way of persistence. Retrieved August 13, 2016. 

  3. Microsoft. (n.d.). The Component Object Model. Retrieved August 18, 2016. 

  4. Vrabie, V. (2020, November). Dissecting a Chinese APT Targeting South Eastern Asian Government Institutions. Retrieved September 19, 2022. 

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

  6. ESET. (2016, October). En Route with Sednit - Part 1: Approaching the Target. Retrieved November 8, 2016. 

  7. Mercer, W., et al. (2017, October 22). “Cyber Conflict” Decoy Document Used in Real Cyber Conflict. Retrieved November 2, 2018. 

  8. Rascagneres, P. (2015, May). Tools used by the Uroburos actors. Retrieved August 18, 2016. 

  9. Schlapfer, Patrick. (2022, June 6). A New Loader Gets Ready. Retrieved December 13, 2022. 

  10. Karmi, D. (2020, January 4). A Look Into Konni 2019 Campaign. Retrieved April 28, 2020. 

  11. Lee, B. Grunzweig, J. (2015, December 22). BBSRAT Attacks Targeting Russian Organizations Linked to Roaming Tiger. Retrieved August 19, 2016. 

  12. Yamout, M. (2021, November 29). WIRTE’s campaign in the Middle East ‘living off the land’ since at least 2019. Retrieved February 1, 2022. 

  13. ESET. (2016, October). En Route with Sednit - Part 2: Observing the Comings and Goings. Retrieved November 21, 2016. 

  14. ESET, et al. (2018, January). Diplomats in Eastern Europe bitten by a Turla mosquito. Retrieved July 3, 2018. 

  15. Harakhavik, Y. (2020, February 3). Warzone: Behind the enemy lines. Retrieved December 17, 2021. 

  16. ESET Research. (2019, May 22). A journey to Zebrocy land. Retrieved June 20, 2019.