Skip to content

T1564.009 Resource Forking

Adversaries may abuse resource forks to hide malicious code or executables to evade detection and bypass security applications. A resource fork provides applications a structured way to store resources such as thumbnail images, menu definitions, icons, dialog boxes, and code.5 Usage of a resource fork is identifiable when displaying a file’s extended attributes, using ls -l@ or xattr -l commands. Resource forks have been deprecated and replaced with the application bundle structure. Non-localized resources are placed at the top level directory of an application bundle, while localized resources are placed in the /Resources folder.23

Adversaries can use resource forks to hide malicious data that may otherwise be stored directly in files. Adversaries can execute content with an attached resource fork, at a specified offset, that is moved to an executable location then invoked. Resource fork content may also be obfuscated/encrypted until execution.41

Item Value
ID T1564.009
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 macOS
Version 1.0
Created 12 October 2021
Last Modified 05 May 2022

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
S0276 Keydnap Keydnap uses a resource fork to present a macOS JPEG or text file icon rather than the executable’s icon assigned by the operating system.7
S0402 OSX/Shlayer OSX/Shlayer has used a resource fork to hide a compressed binary file of itself from the terminal, Finder, and potentially evade traditional scanners.14


ID Mitigation Description
M1013 Application Developer Guidance Configure applications to use the application bundle structure which leverages the /Resources folder location.6


ID Data Source Data Component
DS0017 Command Command Execution
DS0022 File File Creation
DS0009 Process Process Creation