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T1574.011 Services Registry Permissions Weakness

Adversaries may execute their own malicious payloads by hijacking the Registry entries used by services. Adversaries may use flaws in the permissions for Registry keys related to services to redirect from the originally specified executable to one that they control, in order to launch their own code when a service starts. Windows stores local service configuration information in the Registry under HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services. The information stored under a service’s Registry keys can be manipulated to modify a service’s execution parameters through tools such as the service controller, sc.exe, PowerShell, or Reg. Access to Registry keys is controlled through access control lists and user permissions. 64

If the permissions for users and groups are not properly set and allow access to the Registry keys for a service, adversaries may change the service’s binPath/ImagePath to point to a different executable under their control. When the service starts or is restarted, then the adversary-controlled program will execute, allowing the adversary to establish persistence and/or privilege escalation to the account context the service is set to execute under (local/domain account, SYSTEM, LocalService, or NetworkService).

Adversaries may also alter other Registry keys in the service’s Registry tree. For example, the FailureCommand key may be changed so that the service is executed in an elevated context anytime the service fails or is intentionally corrupted.31

The Performance key contains the name of a driver service’s performance DLL and the names of several exported functions in the DLL.7 If the Performance key is not already present and if an adversary-controlled user has the Create Subkey permission, adversaries may create the Performance key in the service’s Registry tree to point to a malicious DLL.2

Adversaries may also add the Parameters key, which stores driver-specific data, or other custom subkeys for their malicious services to establish persistence or enable other malicious activities.78 Additionally, If adversaries launch their malicious services using svchost.exe, the service’s file may be identified using HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\servicename\Parameters\ServiceDll.4

Item Value
ID T1574.011
Sub-techniques T1574.001, T1574.002, T1574.004, T1574.005, T1574.006, T1574.007, T1574.008, T1574.009, T1574.010, T1574.011, T1574.012, T1574.013
Tactics TA0003, TA0004, TA0005
Platforms Windows
Permissions required Administrator, User
Version 1.1
Created 13 March 2020
Last Modified 30 March 2023

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
C0006 Operation Honeybee During Operation Honeybee, the threat actors used a batch file that modified the COMSysApp service to load a malicious ipnet.dll payload and to load a DLL into the svchost.exe process.9


ID Mitigation Description
M1024 Restrict Registry Permissions Ensure proper permissions are set for Registry hives to prevent users from modifying keys for system components that may lead to privilege escalation.


ID Data Source Data Component
DS0017 Command Command Execution
DS0009 Process Process Creation
DS0019 Service Service Modification
DS0024 Windows Registry Windows Registry Key Modification