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T1563.001 SSH Hijacking

Adversaries may hijack a legitimate user’s SSH session to move laterally within an environment. Secure Shell (SSH) is a standard means of remote access on Linux and macOS systems. It allows a user to connect to another system via an encrypted tunnel, commonly authenticating through a password, certificate or the use of an asymmetric encryption key pair.

In order to move laterally from a compromised host, adversaries may take advantage of trust relationships established with other systems via public key authentication in active SSH sessions by hijacking an existing connection to another system. This may occur through compromising the SSH agent itself or by having access to the agent’s socket. If an adversary is able to obtain root access, then hijacking SSH sessions is likely trivial.1234

SSH Hijacking differs from use of SSH because it hijacks an existing SSH session rather than creating a new session using Valid Accounts.

Item Value
ID T1563.001
Sub-techniques T1563.001, T1563.002
Tactics TA0008
Platforms Linux, macOS
Permissions required root
Version 1.0
Created 25 February 2020
Last Modified 23 March 2020


ID Mitigation Description
M1042 Disable or Remove Feature or Program Ensure that agent forwarding is disabled on systems that do not explicitly require this feature to prevent misuse. 5
M1027 Password Policies Ensure SSH key pairs have strong passwords and refrain from using key-store technologies such as ssh-agent unless they are properly protected.
M1026 Privileged Account Management Do not allow remote access via SSH as root or other privileged accounts.
M1022 Restrict File and Directory Permissions Ensure proper file permissions are set and harden system to prevent root privilege escalation opportunities.


ID Data Source Data Component
DS0017 Command Command Execution
DS0028 Logon Session Logon Session Creation
DS0029 Network Traffic Network Traffic Content
DS0009 Process Process Creation