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T1564.008 Email Hiding Rules

Adversaries may use email rules to hide inbound emails in a compromised user’s mailbox. Many email clients allow users to create inbox rules for various email functions, including moving emails to other folders, marking emails as read, or deleting emails. Rules may be created or modified within email clients or through external features such as the New-InboxRule or Set-InboxRule PowerShell cmdlets on Windows systems.4156

Adversaries may utilize email rules within a compromised user’s mailbox to delete and/or move emails to less noticeable folders. Adversaries may do this to hide security alerts, C2 communication, or responses to Internal Spearphishing emails sent from the compromised account.

Any user or administrator within the organization (or adversary with valid credentials) may be able to create rules to automatically move or delete emails. These rules can be abused to impair/delay detection had the email content been immediately seen by a user or defender. Malicious rules commonly filter out emails based on key words (such as malware, suspicious, phish, and hack) found in message bodies and subject lines. 7

In some environments, administrators may be able to enable email rules that operate organization-wide rather than on individual inboxes. For example, Microsoft Exchange supports transport rules that evaluate all mail an organization receives against user-specified conditions, then performs a user-specified action on mail that adheres to those conditions.3 Adversaries that abuse such features may be able to automatically modify or delete all emails related to specific topics (such as internal security incident notifications).

Item Value
ID T1564.008
Sub-techniques T1564.001, T1564.002, T1564.003, T1564.004, T1564.005, T1564.006, T1564.007, T1564.008, T1564.009, T1564.010
Tactics TA0005
Platforms Google Workspace, Linux, Office 365, Windows, macOS
Version 1.2
Created 07 June 2021
Last Modified 12 April 2023

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
G0085 FIN4 FIN4 has created rules in victims’ Microsoft Outlook accounts to automatically delete emails containing words such as “hacked,” “phish,” and “malware” in a likely attempt to prevent organizations from communicating about their activities.10


ID Mitigation Description
M1047 Audit Enterprise email solutions may have monitoring mechanisms that may include the ability to audit inbox rules on a regular basis.


ID Data Source Data Component
DS0015 Application Log Application Log Content
DS0017 Command Command Execution
DS0022 File File Modification