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T1552.001 Credentials In Files

Adversaries may search local file systems and remote file shares for files containing insecurely stored credentials. These can be files created by users to store their own credentials, shared credential stores for a group of individuals, configuration files containing passwords for a system or service, or source code/binary files containing embedded passwords.

It is possible to extract passwords from backups or saved virtual machines through OS Credential Dumping. 1 Passwords may also be obtained from Group Policy Preferences stored on the Windows Domain Controller. 2

In cloud and/or containerized environments, authenticated user and service account credentials are often stored in local configuration and credential files.3 They may also be found as parameters to deployment commands in container logs.4 In some cases, these files can be copied and reused on another machine or the contents can be read and then used to authenticate without needing to copy any files.5

Item Value
ID T1552.001
Sub-techniques T1552.001, T1552.002, T1552.003, T1552.004, T1552.005, T1552.006, T1552.007, T1552.008
Tactics TA0006
Platforms Containers, IaaS, Linux, Windows, macOS
Permissions required Administrator, SYSTEM, User
Version 1.1
Created 04 February 2020
Last Modified 30 March 2023

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
S0677 AADInternals AADInternals can gather unsecured credentials for Azure AD services, such as Azure AD Connect, from a local machine.6
S0331 Agent Tesla Agent Tesla has the ability to extract credentials from configuration or support files.17
G0022 APT3 APT3 has a tool that can locate credentials in files on the file system such as those from Firefox or Chrome.37
G0064 APT33 APT33 has used a variety of publicly available tools like LaZagne to gather credentials.3435
S0344 Azorult Azorult can steal credentials in files belonging to common software such as Skype, Telegram, and Steam.16
S0089 BlackEnergy BlackEnergy has used a plug-in to gather credentials stored in files on the host by various software programs, including The Bat! email client, Outlook, and Windows Credential Store.2021
S0367 Emotet Emotet has been observed leveraging a module that retrieves passwords stored on a system for the current logged-on user. 1819
S0363 Empire Empire can use various modules to search for files containing passwords.12
G0117 Fox Kitten Fox Kitten has accessed files to gain valid credentials.36
S0601 Hildegard Hildegard has searched for SSH keys, Docker credentials, and Kubernetes service tokens.3
S0283 jRAT jRAT can capture passwords from common chat applications such as MSN Messenger, AOL, Instant Messenger, and and Google Talk.25
G0094 Kimsuky Kimsuky has used tools that are capable of obtaining credentials from saved mail.27
S0349 LaZagne LaZagne can obtain credentials from chats, databases, mail, and WiFi.7
G0077 Leafminer Leafminer used several tools for retrieving login and password information, including LaZagne.32
G0069 MuddyWater MuddyWater has run a tool that steals passwords saved in victim email.33
G0049 OilRig OilRig has used credential dumping tools such as LaZagne to steal credentials to accounts logged into the compromised system and to Outlook Web Access.41394038
S0067 pngdowner If an initial connectivity check fails, pngdowner attempts to extract proxy details and credentials from Windows Protected Storage and from the IE Credentials Store. This allows the adversary to use the proxy credentials for subsequent requests if they enable outbound HTTP access.23
S0378 PoshC2 PoshC2 contains modules for searching for passwords in local and remote files.10
S0192 Pupy Pupy can use Lazagne for harvesting credentials.11
S0583 Pysa Pysa has extracted credentials from the password database before encrypting the files.26
S0262 QuasarRAT QuasarRAT can obtain passwords from FTP clients.89
S0226 Smoke Loader Smoke Loader searches for files named logins.json to parse for credentials.24
G0092 TA505 TA505 has used malware to gather credentials from FTP clients and Outlook.31
G0139 TeamTNT TeamTNT has searched for unsecured AWS credentials and Docker API credentials.283029
S0266 TrickBot TrickBot can obtain passwords stored in files from several applications such as Outlook, Filezilla, OpenSSH, OpenVPN and WinSCP.1314 Additionally, it searches for the “.vnc.lnk” affix to steal VNC credentials.15
S0117 XTunnel XTunnel is capable of accessing locally stored passwords on victims.22


ID Mitigation Description
M1047 Audit Preemptively search for files containing passwords and take actions to reduce the exposure risk when found.
M1027 Password Policies Establish an organizational policy that prohibits password storage in files.
M1022 Restrict File and Directory Permissions Restrict file shares to specific directories with access only to necessary users.
M1017 User Training Ensure that developers and system administrators are aware of the risk associated with having plaintext passwords in software configuration files that may be left on endpoint systems or servers.


ID Data Source Data Component
DS0017 Command Command Execution
DS0022 File File Access


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