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T1588.005 Exploits

Adversaries may buy, steal, or download exploits that can be used during targeting. An exploit takes advantage of a bug or vulnerability in order to cause unintended or unanticipated behavior to occur on computer hardware or software. Rather than developing their own exploits, an adversary may find/modify exploits from online or purchase them from exploit vendors.123

In addition to downloading free exploits from the internet, adversaries may purchase exploits from third-party entities. Third-party entities can include technology companies that specialize in exploit development, criminal marketplaces (including exploit kits), or from individuals.45 In addition to purchasing exploits, adversaries may steal and repurpose exploits from third-party entities (including other adversaries).2

An adversary may monitor exploit provider forums to understand the state of existing, as well as newly discovered, exploits. There is usually a delay between when an exploit is discovered and when it is made public. An adversary may target the systems of those known to conduct exploit research and development in order to gain that knowledge for use during a subsequent operation.

Adversaries may use exploits during various phases of the adversary lifecycle (i.e. Exploit Public-Facing Application, Exploitation for Client Execution, Exploitation for Privilege Escalation, Exploitation for Defense Evasion, Exploitation for Credential Access, Exploitation of Remote Services, and Application or System Exploitation).

Item Value
ID T1588.005
Sub-techniques T1588.001, T1588.002, T1588.003, T1588.004, T1588.005, T1588.006
Tactics TA0042
Platforms PRE
Version 1.0
Created 01 October 2020
Last Modified 15 April 2021

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
G0094 Kimsuky Kimsuky has obtained exploit code for various CVEs.6


ID Mitigation Description
M1056 Pre-compromise This technique cannot be easily mitigated with preventive controls since it is based on behaviors performed outside of the scope of enterprise defenses and controls.