Infocerts

ATT&CK Goes to v11

ATT&CK Goes to v11: Structured Detections, Beta Sub-Techniques for Mobile, and ICS Joins the Band

These go to eleven

By Adam Pennington and Jason Ajmo

Right on cue, ATT&CK’s latest release is out, and this time we’ve gone to v11! If you’ve been following along with our roadmap there shouldn’t be any huge surprises in store, but we wanted to take a chance to go over our latest changes. The v11 set list includes detections now paired with related Data Sources: Data Components, a beta version of sub-techniques for ATT&CK for Mobile, ATT&CK for ICS on attack.mitre.org, as well as regular updates/additions across Techniques, Software, and Groups.

ATT&CK for Enterprise Structured Detections

Over the past few years, transforming various actionable ATT&CK fields into managed objects has been a reoccurring theme. In v5 of ATT&CK, we converted mitigations into objects to enhance their value and usability — with this conversion, you can now identify a mitigation and pivot to various techniques it can potentially prevent. This has been a feature that many of you have leveraged to map ATT&CK to different control/risk frameworks. We previously converted data sources to objects for the v10 release, enabling similar pivoting and analysis opportunities.

In today’s v11 release we’ve taken a parallel approach for detections in Enterprise ATT&CK, taking the previously free text detections featured in Techniques, and have refined and merged them into descriptions that are connected to Data Sources. We have typically tried to match the detection text on a Technique to its Data Sources, but this makes the paring explicit. This will let you now see for each detection what you need to collect as inputs (Data Sources) paired with how you could analyze that data to identify a given Technique (detection). Below is an example of how Data Sources and Detections have changed for Steal or Forge Kerberos Tickets (T1558).

Data sources and detections in ATT&CK v10 for Steal or Forge Kerberos Tickets (T1558)
Data sources and detections in ATT&CK v11 for Steal or Forge Kerberos Tickets (T1558)

Detections will also now be included on Data Source pages, associated with each Technique listed for a Data Component.

As with everything else in ATT&CK, these new detections also appear in our STIX as a part of the “detects” relationship added in our last ATT&CK release in its “description” field. For more information about ATT&CK’s STIX representation, including the data source objects and relationships added in ATT&CK v10, you can check out our STIX usage document.

Mobile Sub-Techniques Beta

In 2020, we added Sub-Techniques to ATT&CK for Enterprise. In the time since, they’ve been well-received and solved some of the growth issues we were having in our biggest matrix. As ATT&CK’s Mobile Lead Jason Ajmo recently talked about in the ATT&CK Blog, we’re now bringing this improvement to ATT&CK for Mobile as a beta release. The content on the main ATT&CK site now contains the Sub-Techniques beta, and the current, stable Mobile content can be accessed at https://attack.mitre.org/versions/v10/matrices/mobile/. We plan on making ATT&CK for Mobile with Sub-Techniques final this summer, after we’ve given the community time to check out the content, get ready for it, and send us any feedback they have to [email protected]. Until that time, the main STIX representation of ATT&CK for Mobile will remain the v10 pre-Sub-Techniques version.

How can I move to the beta ATT&CK for Mobile with sub-techniques?

First, you’ll need to support some changes to Mobile ATT&CK’s technique structure necessary to support sub-techniques. If you’re already using or have moved to versions of ATT&CK for Enterprise with sub-techniques, the structural changes and the process of moving are identical. As with ATT&CK for Enterprise, we’ve expanded Mobile technique IDs to identify corresponding sub-techniques: T[technique].[sub-technique]. In Mobile’s STIX representation of ATT&CK we’ve added the “x_mitre_is_subtechnique = true” to “attack-pattern” objects that represent a sub-technique, and “subtechnique-of” relationships between techniques and sub-techniques. Both are already contained in our STIX documentation. You can find a STIX representation of ATT&CK that includes the v11 Mobile Beta here.

Next, if you want to get a head start and remap your content from a previous version of Mobile ATT&CK, to this beta release. As we did when we released Sub-Techniques for ATT&CK for Enterprise, we’re providing a translation table or “crosswalk” from previous release Mobile technique IDs to beta ones to help with the transition. The JSON file shows what happened to each technique in the beta release. The top-level technique ID represents each technique from the v10 release, and the structure underneath shows what changed with the v11 beta release, if anything.

Thanks to the excellent feedback from the community, we identified four key types of changes:

  1. Remains Technique
  2. Became a Sub-Technique
  3. One or More Techniques Became New Technique
  4. Deprecated

Each of these types of changes is represented in the “change-type” field in the JSON. Some of these changes are simpler to implement than others. We recognize this, and in the following steps, we incorporate the four types of changes into tips on how to move from our previous release to ATT&CK with sub-techniques.

Step 1: Start with the easy to remap techniques first and automate

For “Remains Technique”, “Became a Sub-Technique”, or “One or More Techniques Became New Technique” change types you can replace the previous technique ID with the new technique ID.

In some cases, technique names have changed, or tactics have been removed, so it’s also worth checking the “explanation” in the JSON.

Remains Technique

The first thing that’s easy to remap — the techniques that aren’t changing and don’t need to be remapped. Anything labeled “Remains Technique” is still a technique with an unchanged technique ID like T1398 in the above example.

Became a Sub-Technique

Next in the “easy to remap category” are the technique to sub-technique transitions, labeled “Became a Sub-Technique”. These techniques were converted into the sub-technique of another technique. In this example, Modify System Partition (T1400) became Hijack Execution Flow: System Runtime API Hijacking (T1625.001).

Finally, there are a few techniques that merged with other techniques.

One or More Techniques Became New Technique

For techniques labeled “One or More Techniques Became New Technique” a new technique was created covering the scope and content of one or more previous techniques. For example, Network Traffic Capture or Redirection (T1410) and a few other techniques merged together to create Adversary-in-the-Middle (T1638).

For any of these “easy” types of changes anything represented by the previous ATT&CK technique ID should be transitioned to the new technique or sub-technique ID. The ATT&CK STIX objects represent this type of change as a revoked object which leaves behind a pointer to what they were revoked by. In the case of T1400, that means it was revoked by T1625.001.

In all of these cases, it’s enough to take what’s listed as the top-level key and replace it with what’s listed in the nested “id” key.

Step 2: Look at the deprecated techniques to see what changed

This is where some manual effort will take place. Deprecated techniques are not as straightforward.

Deprecated

For techniques labeled as “Deprecated”, we removed them from ATT&CK without replacing them. They were deprecated because we felt they did not fit into ATT&CK or due to a lack of observed in the wild use. For example, Remotely Wipe Data Without Authorization (T1469) was removed because we hadn’t been able to find evidence of any adversary using it in the wild.

Step 3: Review the techniques that have new sub-techniques to see if the new granularity changes how you’d map

If you want to take full advantage of sub-techniques, there’s one more step. Many “Remains Technique” techniques now have new sub-techniques you can take advantage of.

One great example of an existing technique that now has new sub-techniques is Application Discovery (T1418). Its name was updated to Software Discovery, and its content was broken out into a new sub-technique: Security Software Discovery (T1418.001).

The new sub-techniques add more detail and taking advantage of them will require some manual analysis. The good news is that the additional granularity will allow you to represent different types of software discovery that can happen at a more detailed level. These types of remaps can be done over time, because if you keep something mapped to Software Discovery, then it’s still correct. You can map new stuff to the sub-techniques and come back to the old ones to make them more precise as you have time and resources.

TL;DR, if you do just Step 1 while mapping things that are deprecated to NULL, then it will still be correct. If you do Step 2, then you’ll have pretty much everything you mapped before now also mapped to the new Mobile ATT&CK. If you complete Step 3, then you’ll get the newfound power of sub-techniques!

ATT&CK for ICS Joins attack.mitre.org

ATT&CK for ICS launched at the beginning of 2020 on a MediaWiki site similar to how attack.mitre.org used to appear. Being on a separate site has let it develop and mature independently while we’ve added it to one ATT&CK resource at a time. Today we’ve added ATT&CK for ICS to our most visible resource, the ATT&CK website (attack.mitre.org).

What’s changed? First off, ATT&CK for ICS will no longer have that nostalgic ATT&CK Wiki look and feel, and links to ATT&CK for ICS will need to be updated. Second, we’ve merged the Groups and Software from ICS, adding ICS techniques to Group and Software pages that existed on both sites, and updating descriptions to include both.

Finally, we’ve merged Data Sources and Data Components in from ATT&CK for ICS. Since there’s quite a bit of overlap between ICS and Enterprise Data Sources we’ve added a filter that allows you to see just Enterprise, just ICS, and all Data Sources and Components on both the overall Data Sources list and individual Data Source pages.

What hasn’t changed? ATT&CK for ICS’s content hasn’t changed and its STIX representation remains in the same place. We will also be keeping the previous website in place until October 2022 to avoid breaking your deep links. We will have increasingly dire warnings on each page reminding people to update their links before it is eventually deprecated. In the future, content will only be updated on attack.mitre.org and not the MediaWiki site.

What’s Left in 2022?

We’ve just released our 2022 roadmap and continue to work across the framework. In v12 we plan on adding a new object related to groups in ATT&CK, Campaigns. Check out the slides from Matt Malone’s talk from ATT&CKcon 3.0, our recent roadmap blog post, or stay tuned for more details coming soon about their implementation.

We continue our work on improving the macOS platform and plan to focus on improvements to Linux between now and October. Please reach out to us via [email protected] or via our Slack if you’d like to contribute knowledge of what adversaries have been up to on either platform.

As always, if you have feedback, comments, contributions, or just want to ask questions, connect with us on email, Twitter, or Slack.

©2022 The MITRE Corporation. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Approved for public release. Distribution unlimited 22–00744–2.


ATT&CK Goes to v11 was originally published in MITRE ATT&CK® on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Intelligence Failures of Lincoln’s Top Spies: What CTI Analysts Can Learn From the Civil War

Guest Post by ATT&CKcon 3.0 Keynote Speaker, Selena Larson

Allan Pinkerton (Alexander Gardner — Library of Congress)

At the onset of the Civil War, a man whose name would eventually become synonymous with famous American detectives was reportedly providing false reports to the Union’s top general. Allan Pinkerton, who once successfully smuggled Abraham Lincoln into Washington, D.C. to avoid a rumored assassination attempt before he was even sworn in as president, acted as General George McClellan’s top intelligence officer. He was considered one of the best spymasters in the United States, responsible for effectively founding the nation’s first secret service.

In this piece, we’ll dive into some major intelligence reporting failures that dogged the renowned spymaster, how effective and concise intelligence reporting can change the course of history, and how the MITRE ATT&CK framework can help streamline and effectively communicate actionable threat intelligence.

Pinkerton was a detective when he first got to know Lincoln, but quickly became an indispensable intelligencer for the Union, first in the nation’s capital and then on the battlefield, working as a Civil War spymaster in 1861–1862. He operated a large team of spies who conducted counterespionage operations throughout Washington and information gathering expeditions into enemy territory. Pinkerton’s successes and failures are many — he made many of his own tactical intelligence failures that cost at least one spy his life during the Civil War — but there is a lot modern day intelligence analysts can learn from him. Specifically, from his intelligence reports.

According to author Douglas Waller, author of Lincoln’s Spies, Pinkerton was not very good at validating or communicating information, or transforming it from data into intelligence. Throughout his time operating a secret service on behalf of the Union, he collected a lot of information. But that information was frequently poorly vetted, based on single sources, or received from biased narrators. And often, the information was ineffectively communicated, or outright falsified.

By dissecting the failures of the nation’s first intelligence service spymaster, modern day threat intelligence analysts can learn how and why effective intelligence communication and report writing can have major effects on an organization — and, in some cases, have the potential to change the course of history.

HiPPO Bias

One of the biggest failures plaguing Pinkerton’s reporting apparatus was his desire to please his boss. General McClellan was famously slow to take any offensive actions against the enemy, holding a deep fear of failure that paralyzed him into inaction.

McClellan reportedly believed the Confederate military to be much larger than it actually was, in part due to the “intelligence” provided to him by his top spy. In fact, the relationship between Pinkerton and McClellan was more like a self-licking ice cream cone. While stationed with McClellan in Washington, Virginia, and Maryland, Pinkerton worked his network of operators to collect information on enemy troop movement and the size of the Confederate army. Sometimes information proved to be correct; other times it was outright false. But in most cases, Pinkerton cherry-picked data that supported his boss’s beliefs of an opposing force either equal to or out-sizing the Union military, ignoring accurate information on the small size of the Confederate forces and further inflating already inflated estimates to appeal to McClellan’s beliefs.

“Loyal to the point of sycophancy, Pinkerton never doubted the general’s ability as a commander. Instead of serving his country or his president as a true intelligence officer, he made his friend happy.” Lincoln’s Spies

Pinkerton was demonstrating Highest Paid Person’s Opinion (HiPPO) bias, or the idea that analysts collect and disseminate information in a way that favors or appeals to existing beliefs within an organization, typically driven by leadership.

“Pinkerton admitted that he and McClellan had conspired to cook the books. In a later November 15 letter to the general, Pinkerton explained that his estimate of Confederate strength ‘was made large, as intimated to you at the time, so as to be sure to cover the entire number of the Enemy that our army was to meet.’ The controversial sentence appeared to show that before Pinkerton issued his October 4 report [reporting double the total number of actual Confederate troops], he and McClellan agreed to deliberately inflate the confederate numbers to be sure they included troops Pinkerton’s agents might not know about. ”

This can be a frequent issue for analysts tasked with certain objectives and directives, but it can also be detrimental to the organization’s decision making and ultimate success. For example, if leadership believes that Russian state-sponsored threats are the most important and likely the most targeted to their organization, defenders and analysts will be spending more key resources hunting for and defending against these threats, with the potential to miss or disregard tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) associated with other relevant, but different, activity.

Use data to build your case. In her 2019 ATT&CKcon 2.0 keynote, Google’s Toni Gidwandi explained how the MITRE ATT&CK matrix can be a “powerful corrective” to HiPPO bias and enable security teams to understand what is happening in the landscape and how it translates to impacts on their organizations.

Beyond indicators of compromise (IOCs), ATT&CK allows defenders to visualize threat behaviors in a digestible way to show what TTPs are observed and impacting an organization versus what stakeholders expect or want to focus on.

Analysts can create mappings of MITRE ATT&CK to malware, malware families and techniques observed in their environment. Subsequently, analysts can craft search queries to help with threat hunting and detection efforts. For example, mapping and searching on specific execution techniques such as certutil or BITSAdmin which are being used to download follow-on payloads.

By identifying the most impactful behaviors, and possible gaps in defense, security teams can prioritize hunting, detection, and response based on observable threat behaviors rather than requests or knee-jerk reactions from stakeholders.

Ultimately, Pinkerton’s analysis failed his organization — his reporting coupled with McClellan’s ego and general aversion to taking decisive action may have cost the Union military successes early on in the Civil War.

Reporting Is Not Letter Writing

In addition to some reports containing easily disproved inaccuracies, Pinkerton and many of his staff typically wrote very long reports, with much of the key details hidden among flowery language, tens of pages deep. Effectively communicating actionable intelligence is a common issue with cyber threat intelligence dissemination, and it’s nice to know our predecessors experienced similar flaws.

“He always wrote [intelligence reports] in the form of a letter, and they began with a flowery opening officers of the day commonly used, such as ‘I have the honor to report…’” Lincoln’s Spies

Pinkerton also reportedly doodled in the margins, drawing cartoon fingers to indicate what the most important parts of the reports were.

Succinctly and effectively communicating intelligence through written reports is difficult, but there are some key characteristics of good intelligence reporting that can help improve efficiency, streamline the writing process, and provide stakeholders with relevant data.

Put the most important information first. Frequently referred to as the stating Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF), immediately detailing the findings of your reporting and why they matter to an organization is crucial. This can be considered the “So What?” portion of the report. Most people — especially key stakeholders like executive audiences — will not read every word of an in-depth intelligence report. It is therefore important to ensure that in the short amount of time allotted for consuming reporting, they can read and understand the points that matter most.

Be concise. Pinkerton didn’t need flowery language and neither do you. I have said this before, but I firmly believe people should not require a thesaurus to read and understand threat intelligence reporting. The report should contain relevant information such as: What happened, why does it matter, and what can we do about it? Items such as anecdotes, extraneous clauses, and navel-gazing are generally unnecessary.

Consider your audience. Executives likely don’t need details of deconstructed malware. Security operations analysts likely don’t need geopolitical analysis of events occurring in places where the business does not operate. Threat intelligence analysts should always be aware of who is reading reports and why. Make sure you know the answer to: What decisions are being made based on this data? Gathering intelligence requirements and understanding how your audience is using intelligence throughout the organization can help shape and improve your reporting.

MITRE ATT&CK has become the universal framework for threat actor TTPs, and can be used to quickly distill and communicate threat intelligence. But where and how it’s used varies based on the audience receiving the information.

For example, in February 2022, intelligence agencies from the United States and United Kingdom published a joint advisory on a new malware called Cyclops Blink targeting small office/home office routers attributed to the Russian state actor Sandworm. The 10-page advisory was designed as an overview of the malware and related threats, documenting Sandworm’s historic and current activity and its relevance in the overall threat landscape. In this report, the MITRE ATT&CK mappings were presented at the end, to add additional insight and technical details to an otherwise fairly high-level, strategic report. However, in a companion malware analysis report published by the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre, the ATT&CK mappings were presented on page three of 20, demonstrating the framework can be used to summarize tactical threat intelligence.

Like any tool, where and how you use MITRE ATT&CK to document TTPs is crucial for an audience’s understanding of the threats.

Always Evaluate OSINT

While Pinkerton collected massive amounts of information and distributed it whole cloth to his superiors, there was little explanation given to where the information came from or its validity.

“Rarely did Pinkerton include in his reports an evaluation of a source’s reliability beyond a general impression he had of it.” Lincoln’s Spies

Pinkerton was operating based on human intelligence, information collected by his operatives in the field. Much of it was gossip; some of it reached his ears by a convoluted game of telephone. A lot of it was reliable and accurate — some of it was not.

As intelligence analysts, understanding and evaluating the veracity of information is crucial to communicating and acting on it. Primary sources of intelligence — the data we collect on our networks — we typically understand to be reliable. But we also rely on open source intelligence (OSINT) to form a whole picture of adversary threat behaviors and an understanding of the threat landscape.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of bad information on the internet. The online claims of unconfirmed hacking campaigns during the ongoing war in Ukraine is an excellent example of information spreading far and wide without validation, and likely making it into intelligence briefings on the conflict.

There are multiple questions analysts should ask themselves when reviewing third-party data to support original research, for example:

  • What is the visibility of the individual or organization?
  • What evidence are their claims based on?
  • Is this evidence available to me?
  • Does this overlap with known threat activity?
  • Cui bono? Or, who benefits and how?

There is always inherent bias in visibility; vendors or anti-virus companies will only have data from the organizations and geographies in which it is used. If the visibility is limited, it might not be an effective source for verifying or supporting existing hypotheses. Being able to independently validate or invalidate evidence provided in open-source artifacts with internal tools and resources can help further your own investigations or reporting. And finally, considering political, financial, economic, etc. motivations in external reporting can help identify potential biases in reporting and inform your assessments of a source’s reliability.

The MITRE ATT&CK framework exists in part to help answer these questions, especially for providing validated, authoritative third-party intelligence reporting.

A Dictionary of Threats

While the United States was fighting the bloodiest war in the nation’s history, an idea was blossoming among philologists in the United Kingdom. English speakers had colonized many parts of the world, with English customs and culture forcing itself into existing cultures and communities, with paltry existing resources standardizing vocabulary. Academics in the UK argued that there should be a single authoritative resource to define the English language, documenting and establishing the correct form of communications.

Formally proposed in 1857, what would become known as the Oxford English Dictionary would eventually achieve its goal of standardizing English words beginning in 1884. It was a massive undertaking that brought together academics, historians, and the English-speaking public to collect and define words. In fact, the dictionary could not have been written without considerable public assistance.

The MITRE ATT&CK framework has become the universal dictionary of TTPs, in large part due to contributions from analysts and researchers around the globe. According to MITRE, 155 people contributed to the framework in 2021. (In fact, this year my Proofpoint colleague Michael Raggi contributed an update to ATT&CK Technique T1221 to include a novel RTF template injection technique observed in use by multiple threat actors.)

The authoritative nature of the framework has allowed analysts to verify open-source reporting, and better understand the nature of threat actors. It has also allowed researchers to more effectively document and communicate threat behaviors, prioritize detections, and improve defense. By standardizing how we identify and classify threat behaviors, actionable intelligence can be more easily communicated to a variety of stakeholders.

Pinkerton did not have a reliable threat intelligence framework or dictionary off which to operate; indeed he was trailblazing the creation of a secret service that had never before existed. And while his early work helped pave the way for modern day spying and the development of the Secret Service, he and his team were far from perfect. But by examining the intelligence reporting failures documented by modern historians, threat intelligence analysts can be better prepared when they too one day may be called on to help change the course of history.


Intelligence Failures of Lincoln’s Top Spies: What CTI Analysts Can Learn From the Civil War was originally published in MITRE ATT&CK® on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

ATT&CK for Mobile: Reintroduction and 2022 Goals

With the huge rise in critical work data on smartphones over the past couple of years, mobile security is more important than ever before. With this in mind, since early 2021 we’ve been re-designing and rewriting the entirety of ATT&CK for Mobile. We’ve also spent a lot of time considering how we want to continue to enhance Mobile moving forward, including increasing community understanding of the mobile threat landscape.

ATT&CK for Mobile Redux

To start out with, we’d like to take this opportunity to (re)introduce ATT&CK for Mobile, by walking through why it exists, how it’s a bit different from ATT&CK for Enterprise, and what’s coming in 2022.

Our ATT&CK for Mobile expedition launched way back in 2016, leveraging community contributions and building on the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) publication Assessing Threats to Mobile Devices & Infrastructure: The Mobile Threat Catalogue, and the accompanying Mobile Threat Catalogue website. ATT&CK for Mobile was originally created to help with the NIST National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) Mobile Device Security project and the Department of Homeland Security’s Study on Mobile Device Security (2017).

Mobile devices, which we currently scope to smartphones and tablets running Android, iOS, or iPadOS, are almost always powered on, ubiquitously connected to a variety of networks, contain a vast array of sensors, and run a diverse set of applications. While these properties make mobile devices incredibly useful, they also bring significant security threats.

The security architectures featured on mobile devices are based on lessons learned from the traditional PC environment, notably by providing application sandboxes and permission controls. These architectures provide significant security advantages, but threats still exist against mobile devices. The same detection and mitigation approaches used in enterprise PC environments often don’t work in the mobile environment and alternate approaches have to be leveraged. When ATT&CK for Mobile was publicly released in 2017, the goal was to provide those alternate detection and mitigation approaches, and to serve as dedicated resource to the broader mobile community.

Matrix Structure

Like ATT&CK for ICS, and ATT&CK for Enterprise, ATT&CK for Mobile is a Domain in ATT&CK, with its own separate matrix and content. Despite this separation, Mobile’s matrix still leverages ATT&CK for Enterprise’s structure, just with a distinctly Mobile flavor. ATT&CK for Mobile currently features 92 techniques, each with Android and/or iOS (and iPadOS) specific descriptions, procedures, detections, and mitigations. Mobile also shares the same Software and Groups sections as ATT&CK for Enterprise, but with limited overlap between the Enterprise and Mobile entries.

Leveraging Mobile

The Mobile matrix can be operationalized for many of the same use cases as Enterprise ATT&CK. Some of the use cases we’ve seen include:

  • Determining and prioritizing development coverage of defensive capabilities
  • Identifying commonalities and distinguishing characteristics in adversary tradecraft
  • Connecting mitigations, weaknesses, and adversaries
  • Determining effective security testing strategies
  • Evaluating mobile security products with adversary emulations
  • Assessing the security posture of mobile devices

Additionally, with many organizations adopting ATT&CK for Mobile within their public threat intelligence reporting, we’re seeing it being used more frequency as a common language to describe adversary behavior. We’re also aware of ATT&CK for Mobile being used internally within vendors’ threat intelligence teams to categorize observations, as well as by vendors to map their mobile security product capabilities.

2022 ATT&CK for Mobile Roadmap

Now that you’ve had a Mobile refresher, we’d like to highlight what’s next in 2022. We noted these in the mobile section of the ATT&CK 2022 Roadmap, but wanted to spend some more time on the details given the size of the changes coming.

Sub-Techniques

The mobile team has been refactoring and rewriting ATT&CK for Mobile over the last several months, with the goal of content equity with Enterprise. This included the language contained within the Mobile techniques themselves, as well as mobile-specific mitigations and detections. Most significantly, we’ve also been working towards the sub-technique structure Enterprise introduced a couple of years ago.

We plan on releasing a beta version of Mobile sub-techniques in April 2022 with the ATT&CK v11 release. Similar to Enterprise’s sub-technique rollout, we will be providing a crosswalk from old technique IDs to new technique IDs or mapping newly broken-out sub-techniques to higher level techniques. This should minimize the overhead incurred when transitioning to the new sub-technique structure.

The sub-technique beta release will be published on a separate website alongside the main ATT&CK website, clearly charting out the changes. This companion site will give the community a couple of months to preview, process, and provide feedback on the full scope of the changes before we finalize that version and make it official. Once we release the new ATT&CK for Mobile framework with sub-techniques, we welcome your feedback on the good, the bad, and the needs-adjustments. When we’re finished working through the input we receive from the community, we expect to replace the current matrix with the sub-technique structure by Summer 2022.

The screenshots below show a sample parent technique and two sub-techniques: Input Capture, Keylogging (sub), and GUI Input Capture (sub).

Input Capture ATT&CK technique with sub-technique structure.
Input Capture Keylogging subtechnique.
Input Capture GUI Input Capture subtechnique.

Data Sources

Once our sub-techniques are released, we’ll pivot to researching and drafting plans to introduce Data Source objects to Mobile, mirroring the concept of Data Source objects that Enterprise recently published. Some examples of mobile-specific Data Sources could include:

  • Application Binaries
  • Attestation APIs
  • Network Traffic

The new metadata provided by data sources includes the concepts of relationships and data components. These concepts will more effectively represent adversary behavior from a data perspective and will provide an additional sub-layer of context to data sources. Data components narrow the identification of security events, but also create a bridge between high- and low-level concepts to inform data collection strategies. They’ll also provide a good reference point to start mapping telemetry collected in your environment to specific sub(techniques) and/or tactics. With the additional context around each data source, the results can be leveraged with more detail when defining data collection strategy for techniques and sub-techniques.

Data Source object fields.

Mobile Threat Awareness Building

Building on the criticality of a collective community understanding of Mobile threats, we kicked off a mini-series back in 2021 highlighting significant threats to mobile devices, starting with abuse of Android application permissions. We plan to continue the series this year, underscoring some of the key mobile threats, and how to use ATT&CK for Mobile to mitigate them.

In Closing

Mobile’s matrix of adversary behavior has continued to grow with each new ATT&CK content release, in strong part due to the contributions we receive. ATT&CK for Mobile is an evolving effort and our goal is to continue to improve and mature the it. We rely on the mobile security community to share data and validate our content and look forward to collaborating with you to ensure the matrix remains beneficial.

We always welcome feedback on ATT&CK for Mobile, including how you view Mobile and Enterprise security together, and where we can improve. You can check out our Contributions page for additional information, or connect with us via email, Twitter, or Slack.

©2022 The MITRE Corporation. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Approved for public release. Distribution unlimited 21–00706–23.


ATT&CK for Mobile: Reintroduction and 2022 Goals was originally published in MITRE ATT&CK® on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Introduction to Cloud Computing and AWS -1

Cloud Computing and VirtualizationThe technology that lies at the core of all cloud operations is virtualization. As illustrated inFigure 1.1, virtualization lets you divide the hardware resources of a single physical serverinto smaller units. That physical server could therefore host multiple virtual machines running their own complete operating systems, each with its own memory, storage, …

Introduction to Cloud Computing and AWS -1 Read More »

ATT&CK 2022 Roadmap

Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going​

In 2021, as we navigated a pandemic and moved into a new normal, we continued evolving ATT&CK without any significant structural overhauls (as promised). We were able to make strides in many areas — including the ATT&CK data sources methodology, to more effectively represent adversary behavior from a data perspective. We refined and added new macOS and Linux content and released ATT&CK for Containers. The Cloud domain benefitted from consolidation of the former AWS, Azure, and GCP platforms into a single IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) platform. We updated ICS with cross-domain mappings and our infrastructure team introduced new ATT&CK Navigator elements to enhance your layer comparison and visualization experience. Finally, we added 8 new techniques, 27 sub-techniques, 24 new Group and over 100 new Software entries.

2022 Roadmap

We have several exciting adjustments to the framework on the horizon for 2022, and while we will be making some structural changes this year (Mobile sub-techniques and the introduction of Campaigns), it won’t be nearly as painful as the addition of Enterprise sub-techniques in 2020. In addition to Campaigns and Mobile subs, our key adjustments this year include converting detections into objects, innovating how you can use overlays and combinations, and expanding ICS assets. We plan on maintaining the biannual release schedule of April and October, with a point release (v11.1) for Mobile sub-techniques.

ATT&CKcon 3.0 | March 2022

Your wait is finally over for ATT&CKCon, and we’re thrilled to be hosting it in McLean, VA on March 29–30. We welcome you to join the ATT&CK team and those across the community to hear about all the updates, insights, and creative ways organizations and individuals have been leveraging ATT&CK. We’ll be live streaming the full conference for free and you can find all of the latest details and updates on our ATT&CKcon 3.0 page.

Detection Objects | April & October 2022

Over the past few years, transforming various actionable ATT&CK fields into managed objects has been a reoccurring theme. In v5 of ATT&CK, we converted mitigations into objects to enhance their value and usability — with this conversion, you can now identify a mitigation and pivot to various techniques it can potentially prevent. This has been a feature that many of you have leveraged to map ATT&CK to different control/risk frameworks. We also converted data sources to objects for the v10 release, enabling similar pivoting and analysis opportunities.

Next, we plan on implementing a parallel approach for detections, taking the currently free text featured in techniques, and refining and merging them into descriptions that are connected to data sources. This will enable us to describe for each technique what you need to collect as inputs for that detection (data sources), as well as how you could analyze that data to identify a given technique (detection).

Figure 1: Example ATT&CK technique (T1595.001 Active Scanning: Scanning IP Blocks) showing a draft of the complete Data Sources to Data Components to Detections mappings.

Campaigns | October 2022

One of the more significant changes you can expect this year is the introduction of Campaigns. We define campaigns as a grouping of intrusion activity conducted over a specific period of time with common targets and objectives; this activity may or may not be linked to a specific threat actor. The Solar Winds cyber intrusion, for instance, would become a campaign attributed to the G0016 threat group in ATT&CK. In ATT&CK’s existing structure, all activity for a given threat actor is combined under a single Group entry, making it challenging to accurately see trends, understand how a threat actor has evolved over time (or not), identify the variance between different events, or, conversely, identify certain techniques that an actor may rely on.

In ATT&CK, we’ve never added activity as a Group that hasn’t been given a name by someone else. For example, if a report describes the behaviors of a group or campaign, but never gives that intrusion activity a unique name like FUZZYSNUGGLYDUCK/APT1337 (or links it to someone else’s reporting that does), we wouldn’t incorporate that report into ATT&CK. With the introduction of Campaigns we’ll start including reports that leave activity unnamed and use our own identifiers (watch out for Campaign C0001). On the flip side, this new structure will let us better manage activity where too many things have been given the same name (e.g., Lazarus), providing us a way to tease apart activity that shouldn’t have been grouped together. Finally, we’ll be able to better address intrusion activity where multiple threat actors may be involved, such are Ransomware-as-a-Service operations.

We’re still working to best determine how Campaigns and associated IDs will be displayed in ATT&CK and will provide additional detail in the coming months. Group and Software pages will mostly remain unchanged — they’ll still feature collective lists of techniques and sub-techniques so network defenders can continue to create overall associated Navigator layers and conduct similar analysis. However, we’ll be adding Campaign links to the associated Group/Software pages. We’ll be providing additional details later in the year, as we prepare to integrate Campaigns as part of the October release.

Mobile | April 2022

We’ve been talking about Mobile sub-techniques for a while, and we’re thrilled to say that they’re almost here. The Mobile team was hard at work in 2021, bringing ATT&CK for Mobile into feature equity with ATT&CK for Enterprise, including identifying where sub-techniques would fit into the Mobile matrix. As we covered in our October 2021 v10 release post, the Mobile sub-techniques will mirror the structure of the Enterprise sub-techniques to address granularity levels. We’ll be including a beta version of the sub-techniques, similar to what we did with Enterprise, for community feedback as part of the April ATT&CK v11 release. We plan on publishing the finalized sub-techniques in a point release (e.g., v11.1), and we’ll include more details about the subs process and timeline in our April release post. In addition to sub-techniques, we’ll be working on a concept for Mobile data source objects, and reigniting our mini-series highlighting significant threats to mobile devices that we kicked off last year. As always, we remain very interested in adversary behavior targeting mobile devices, so if you would like to help us create new techniques, or if you have observed behaviors you’d like to share, reach out to us.

Finally, stay tuned for the ATT&CK for Mobile 2022 Roadmap that will be arriving soon. While we don’t typically publish separate roadmaps for technology domains, Mobile needs some additional space this year to cover the updates and planned content changes.

MacOS and Linux | April & October 2022

We made many adjustments, additions, and content updates to the macOS and Linux platforms last year, with a focus on macOS. For 2022 we hope to maintain the macOS momentum while transitioning our focus to updating Linux. Our April release will center around resolving several macOS contributions from last year. These updates include broadening the scope of parent techniques to include additional platforms, adding sub-techniques, updating procedures with specific usage examples, and supporting the data sources + detection efforts. We will continue to update macOS throughout the year and greatly appreciate the community engagement and all of the contributors that have enabled us to better represent this platform.

The April release will also feature revised language and platform mapping for Linux. We’re aiming for an improved representation of Linux within ATT&CK for all techniques by our October release. Although Linux is frequently leveraged by adversaries, public reporting is often scarce on detail making this a challenging platform for ATT&CK. Our ability to describe this space is closely tied to those of you in the Linux security community, and we hope to engage and establish more connections with you over the next several months. If you’re interested in sharing any observed activities or suggestions for techniques, please reach out and let us know.

ICS | October 2022

We updated our ICS content and data sources in 2021, and over the next several months, we’ll be expanding ICS Assets and adding detections. Asset names are tied to specific ICS verticals (e.g., electric power, water treatment, manufacturing), and the associated technique mappings enable users to understand if and how techniques apply to their environments. In addition, more granular asset definitions will help to highlight similarities and differences in functionality across technologies and verticals. The detections we’ll be adding to each technique will provide guidance on how the recently updated data sources can be used to identify adversary behavior. Finally, we’re preparing to integrate ICS onto the same platform as Enterprise and join the rest of the domains on the ATT&CK website (attack.mitre.org) later this year.

Overlays and Combinations | October 2022

Throughout the next several months, we’ll continue moving towards developing and sharing ideas for overlays and combinations, or how you can pull various ATT&CK platforms and domains together into a specialized view of ATT&CK. Using Linux and Containers together, for example, or integrating security across Enterprise and Mobile, or between Enterprise and ICS. Our goal with this effort is to provide the tools and resources for the community to leverage the various spaces of ATT&CK, and tailor them to their security needs.

Connect With Us!

ATT&CK will always be community-driven and our continued impact hinges on our collaboration with all of you. Your on-the-ground experience and input enables us to continue to evolve and we look forward to connecting with you on email, Twitter, or Slack.


ATT&CK 2022 Roadmap was originally published in MITRE ATT&CK® on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Introducing ATT&CK v10: More Objects, Parity and Features

Introducing ATT&CK v10: More Objects, Parity, and Features

By Amy L. Robertson (MITRE), Alexia Crumpton (MITRE), and Chris Ante (MITRE)

As announced a couple of weeks ago, we’re back with the latest release and we’re thrilled to reveal all the updates and features waiting for you in ATT&CK v10. The v10 release includes the next episode in our data sources saga, as well as new content and our usual enhancements to (sub-)Techniques, Groups, and Software across Enterprise, Mobile and ICS, which you can find more details about on our release notes.

Making Sense of the New Data Sources: Episode II

In ATT&CK v9, we launched the new form of data sources which featured an updated structure for the data source names (Data Source: Data Component), reflecting

“What is the subject/topic of the collected data (file, process, network traffic, etc.)?” :

“What specific values/properties are needed in order to detect adversary behaviors?”

These updates were linked to Yaml files in GitHub, but weren’t fully integrated into the rest of ATT&CK yet. Our updated content in ATT&CK v10 aggregates this information about data sources, while structuring them as the new ATT&CK data source objects (somewhat similar to how Mitigations are reflected).

The data source object features the name of the data source as well as key details and metadata, including an ID, a definition, where it can be collected (collection layer), what platform(s) it can be found on, and the data components highlighting relevant values/properties that comprise the data source. Featured below is an example of a data source page in ATT&CK v10.

Figure 1: Network Traffic Data Source Page

Data Components are also listed below, each highlighting mappings to the various (sub-)techniques that may be detected with that particular data. On individual (sub-)techniques, data sources and components have been relocated from the metadata box at the top of the page to be collocated with Detection content.

Figure 2: New Data Source Placement on Technique (T1055.001) Page

These data sources are available for all platforms of Enterprise ATT&CK, including our newest additions that cover OSINT-related data sources mapped to PRE platform techniques.

Figure 4: Malware Repository Data Source Page

These updated structures are also visible in ATT&CK’s STIX representation, with both the data sources and the data components captured as custom STIX objects. You’ll be able to see the relationships between those objects, with the data sources featuring one or more data components, each of which detects one or more techniques. For more information about ATT&CK’s STIX representation, including these new objects and relationships, you can check out our STIX usage document.

Figure 5: Data Source STIX Model

We hope that these enhancements further increase our ability to translate our understanding of the adversary behaviors captured within ATT&CK to the data we collect as defenders. We are very excited to see these data source objects grow and evolve, and like the rest of ATT&CK, invite the community to submit contributions and feedback!

Note: We will no longer be working with Enterprise data sources in GitHub after ATT&CK v10. Moving forward we will accept all related contributions through our normal contribution process.

MacOS and Linux: Now with New Content!

Over the past several months, we’ve been continuing to improve and expand coverage across the macOS and Linux platforms. We understand adversaries actively target these platforms, however there is significantly less public reporting for adversarial hands-on-keyboard procedures and malware analysis. We’re pleased to report that we’ve been collaborating with macOS security and vulnerability research contributors across the globe to address these challenges. In upcoming releases, we’re hoping to leverage this same community engagement for Linux. We’re excited to see the growth in content from the community’s contribution, and the improvements ranging from how we capture new techniques to conveying the impact of existing techniques was a collaborative effort.

One of the most notable changes we made for techniques across the board was providing more in-depth references and use-cases on how procedures and processes work, and the impact they have. Remote services along with additional techniques for macOS and Linux received some attention, but most improvements were more detailed examples in the description section with supporting detection ideas. Along with the rest of Enterprise, we also updated our macOS data sources to enhance defender visibility.

ICS : Object-Oriented and Integrating

ICS has been focusing on feature equity with Enterprise, including updating data sources, adding and refining techniques, revamping assets, and charting out our detections plan. We’re also making some key changes to facilitate hunting in ICS environments. As we noted in the 2021 Roadmap, v10 also includes cross-domain mappings of Enterprise techniques to software that were previously only represented in the ICS Matrix, including Stuxnet, Industroyer, and several others. The fact that adversaries don’t respect theoretical boundaries is something we’ve consistently emphasized, and we think it’s crucial to feature Enterprise-centric mappings for more comprehensive coverage of all the behaviors exhibited by the software. With Stuxnet and Industroyer specifically, both malware operated within OT/ICS networks, but the two incidents displayed techniques that are also well researched and represented within the Enterprise matrix. Based on this, we created Enterprise entries for the ICS-focused software to provide network defenders with a view of software behavior spanning both matrices. We also expect the cross-domain mappings to enable you to leverage the knowledge bases together more effectively.

For data sources, we’re aligning with Enterprise ATT&CK in updating data source names. ICS’s current release reflects Enterprise’s v9 data sources update, with the new name format and content featured in GitHub. These data sources will be linked to YAML files that provide more detail, including what the data sources are and how they should be used. For future releases we plan on mapping the more granular assets to techniques to enable you to track how these behaviors can affect a technique, or what assets these behaviors are associated with. On the detections front, we’re working behind the scenes to add detections to each technique, and this will be reflected in future releases (we expect detections to really help out in hunt and continuous monitoring). Also in 2022, we’re preparing to integrate onto the same development platform as Enterprise, the ATT&CK Workbench, and join the rest of the domains on the ATT&CK website (attack.mitre.org).

Expanding Our Mobile Features

In the Mobile space, we’ve been focused on catching up on the contributions from the community, updating (sub-)techniques, Groups, and Software, and enhancing general parity with Enterprise. We’ve also been working hard behind the scenes to implement sub-techniques as mentioned in our 2021 Roadmap. We’re excited to introduce this new Mobile structure in April 2022, to better align with other platforms on Enterprise. Our plan is to do a beta release for the sub-techniques prior to the release of v11 to provide you with an opportunity to test out those updates and provide feedback.

About Cloud

Along with the rest of Enterprise, we’ve been updating content across Cloud, collaborating with community members on activity in the Cloud domain, and keeping an eye out for new platforms to add to the space. We also continued working on data sources, although as we outlined for the v9 release, our Cloud data sources are a little different than the host-based data sources, specifically aligning more with the events and APIs involved in detections instead of just focusing on the log sources.

What’s Next in 2022?

We hope you’re as excited as we are about v10, and we’d love your feedback and for you to join us in shaping our v11 release. We already have a lot on the horizon for 2022, included structured detections​, campaigns, tools to enable overlays and combinations, and ATT&CKcon. If you have feedback, comments, contributions, or just want to ask questions, connect with us on email, Twitter, or Slack.

©2021 The MITRE Corporation. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Approved for public release. Distribution unlimited 21–00706–18.


Introducing ATT&CK v10: More Objects, Parity and Features was originally published in MITRE ATT&CK® on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

What’s New in ATT&CK v9?

Data Sources, Containers, Cloud, and More: What’s New in ATT&CK v9?

By Jamie Williams (MITRE), Jen Burns (MITRE), Cat Self (MITRE), and Adam Pennington (MITRE)

As we promised in the ATT&CK 2021 Roadmap, today marks our April release (ATT&CK v9) and we’re thrilled to share the additions with you, and how to use them. So, what changed with this release?

  • Updated: A revamp of data sources (Episode 1 of 2)
  • Updated: Some refreshes to macOS techniques
  • New: Consolidation of IaaS platforms
  • New: The Google Workspace platform
  • New: ATT&CK for Containers (and not the kind on boats)

This is in addition to our usual updates and additions to Techniques, Groups, and Software, which you can find more details about on our release notes. Notably this release includes 16 new Groups, 67 new pieces of Software, with updates to 36 Groups and 51 Software entries.

Making Sense of the New Data Sources: Episode I

As much as we love tracking and nerding out over adversary behaviors, one of the most important goals of ATT&CK is to bridge offensive actions with potential defensive countermeasures. We strive to achieve this goal by tagging each (sub-)technique with defensive-focused fields/properties, such as what data to collect (data sources) and how to analyze that data in order to potentially identify specific behaviors (detections).

Many of you in the community have made great use of ATT&CK data sources ¹ ² ³, but we heard from you and recognized the opportunity for improvement. Our goal for the new data sources is to better connect the defensive data in ATT&CK with how operational defenders see and work these challenges.

The initial changes are a revamp of the data sources values, which were previously text strings without additional details or descriptions.

Example of previous data sources on OS Credential Dumping: LSASS Memory (T1003.001)

These high-level concepts were a helpful starting point, but along with issues regarding consistency, this level of detail didn’t effectively answer “Am I collecting the right data?

Redefining Data Sources

Prior to ATT&CK’s v9 release, data sources only highlighted a specific sensor or logging system (e.g., Process Monitoring or PowerShell Logs). What we were trying to capture with this approach was the defender’s requirement to collect data about processes and executed (PowerShell) commands. However, while these clues often directed us to “where we should collect data”, they didn’t always provide details on “what data values are necessary to collect?

Details on what to collect can be important for mapping from the framework to defensive operations. For example, Process Monitoring can take many forms depending on what technologies you are using and what data about a process is needed (ex: do you need command-line parameters, inter-process interactions, and/or API functions executed by the process?). The same applies to PowerShell logs, which can be collected from a variety of sources (event logs, trace providers, third-party tools).The specifics of what exact data were often only highlighted in the additional context provided by the detection section of the technique.

With this in mind, we redefined data sources to focus on answering “what type of data do we need?” Our new list of data sources describe the types of objects our detection data needs to observe. Examples that are very commonly used across techniques include process, file, command, and network traffic.

Process data source (https://github.com/mitre-attack/attack-datasources/blob/main/contribution/process.yml)

Building on this, we added data components to further define specific needed elements within each data source. Going back to the OS Credential Dumping: LSASS Memory (T1003.001) example, we can see how the additional context helps us identify exactly what relevant data we need. Illustrating this with the Sysmon tool, we can quickly map our exact needs for process data to corresponding operational telemetry.

Mapping process (monitoring) data source of OS Credential Dumping: LSASS Memory (T1003.001) to real detection tools

We reviewed and remapped both data sources and data components for all of the Enterprise matrix, including the Cloud and our newest Containers platform (more details about those matrices in the New and Improved Cloud section). Featured below are an example of the new Data Source: Data Component values that replaced the previous text.

Example of updated data sources on OS Credential Dumping: LSASS Memory (T1003.001)

These values fulfill the same objective of directing us towards “where we should collect data,” as well as providing the added context of “what specific values are necessary to collect.” As defenders, we can operationalize these Data Source: Data Component pairings as part of our detection engineering process by:

1. Using data sources to identify relevant sensors/logs
(i.e., where and how do/can I collect data about processes?)

2. Using data components to identify relevant events/fields/values
(i.e., what data about processes is provided by each sensor/log and how can these values be used to identify adversary behaviors?)

We’ll add additional details behind each data source when we release data source objects in October, but for now the data sources on the ATT&CK site link to our GitHub repository, where you can read more about each one. As always, we invite feedback and contributions (and a special thanks to those who have already contributed).

For more background about the data sources work, check out our previously published two-part blog series ¹ ² and/or watch us discuss and demonstrate the potential power of these improvements!

What’s New with Mac

The community was at the heart of macOS improvements featured in this release. We collaboratively updated several techniques, rescoped others, and added macOS specific malware. Our focus was primarily on Persistence and Execution, building in red team walkthroughs and code examples for a deeper look into the sub-techniques. Along with the rest of Enterprise, we also refactored macOS data sources to start building out visibility for defenders. We’ve only scratched the surface and are excited to continue enhancing and updating macOS and Linux content targeted at our October release.

New and Improved Cloud

As we highlighted in the 2021 roadmap, this release features the consolidation of the former AWS, Azure, and GCP platforms into a single IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) platform. In addition to community feedback favoring consolidation, this update creates a more inclusive domain that represents all Cloud Service Providers.

We also refactored data sources for Cloud platforms, with a slightly different flavor than the host-based data sources. Specifically for IaaS, we wanted to align more with the events and APIs involved in detections instead of just focusing on the log sources (e.g., AWS CloudTrail logs, Azure Activity Logs). With that goal in mind, the new Cloud data sources include Instance, Cloud Storage, and others that align with terminology found in events within Cloud environments.

Instance data source mapped to potential events

An ATT&CK for Cloud bonus in this release is the addition of the Google Workspace platform. Since ATT&CK already covers Office 365, we wanted to ensure that users of Google’s productivity tools were also able to map similar applicable adversary behaviors to ATT&CK. We hope that this platform addition is helpful to the community, and would appreciate any feedback or insights.

Container Updates (that don’t include the Suez Canal)

We’re also excited to publish ATT&CK for Containers in this release! An ATT&CK research team partnered with the Center for Threat-Informed Defense to develop this contribution to ATT&CK. You can find more information about the ATT&CK for Containers research project and the new matrix in their blog post.

ATT&CK Containers platform matrix

What’s Next

We hope you’re as excited as we are about v9 and are looking forward to the rest of the updates and new capabilities we have planned for 2021. October’s release should include episode 2 of data sources, featuring descriptive objects, as well as updates to ATT&CK for ICS and Mobile. We’ll also continue enhancing coverage of macOS and Linux techniques, so now is a great time to let us know if you have contributions or feedback on one of those platforms. We may have some additional improvements to announce in the coming months, but we stand by our promise of nothing as disruptive as the new tactics and sub-techniques from 2020.

We look forward to connecting with you on email, Twitter, or Slack.

©2021 The MITRE Corporation. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Approved for public release. Distribution unlimited 21–00706–2.


What’s New in ATT&CK v9? was originally published in MITRE ATT&CK® on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Identifying UNC2452-Related Techniques for ATT&CK

By Matt Malone (MITRE), Jamie Williams (MITRE), Jen Burns (MITRE), and Adam Pennington (MITRE)

Last updated 19 April 2021 12:00pm EDT

Reporting regarding activity related to the SolarWinds supply chain injection has grown quickly since initial disclosure on 13 December 2020. A significant amount of press reporting has focused on the identification of the actor(s) involved, victim organizations, possible campaign timeline, and potential impact. The US Government and cyber community have also provided detailed information on how the campaign was likely conducted and some of the malware used.

MITRE’s ATT&CK team — with the assistance of contributors — has been mapping techniques used by the actor group, referred to as UNC2452/Dark Halo by FireEye and Volexity respectively and more recently attributed to the existing APT29/Cozy Bear/The Dukes threat group by members of the US Intelligence Community, as well as SUNBURST, SUNSPOT, Raindrop, and TEARDROP malware. We have now published a point release to ATT&CK, v8.2, with the information we’ve mapped and new techniques we’ve spotted so far.

It’s also been difficult keeping up with all the reporting and updates while trying to track down descriptions of adversary behavior, particularly as we’re looking for direct analysis of intrusion data rather than derivative reporting. We were originally listing reports we were tracking in this blog post itself, but have moved our tracking to a GitHub repository and are continuing to update that in partnership with MITRE Engenuity’s Center for Threat-Informed Defense.

A key challenge mapping current reporting is that the actor used a number of behaviors not currently described by ATT&CK Enterprise or Cloud techniques. We have added new techniques, sub-techniques, and expansions of scope on existing content to improve this coverage and wanted to describe what’s new in ATT&CK in v8.2.

UNC2452 Technique Analysis

First and foremost, we would like to thank the individuals and teams responsible for analyzing, publishing, and/or contributing invaluable information to help the community react and respond to this incident. This wealth of publicly available intelligence has described many behaviors performed by the threat actor identified as UNC2452/Dark Halo/SolarStorm. Mapping these behaviors to ATT&CK, we see a combination of very commonly used techniques (such as T1059 Command and Scripting Interpreter, T1105 Ingress Tool Transfer, and T1218 Signed Binary Proxy Execution) as well others that are less often disclosed in public reporting (ex: T1195 Supply Chain Compromise). You can see the techniques we currently have mapped in the ATT&CK Navigator here, or grab the Navigator layer file from our repository here.

Techniques used by UNC across multiple reports.

Several behaviors were identified that weren’t previously explicitly captured within existing techniques. We have now released updates that include:

New Group/Software Entries

Along with new/updated techniques we have added several new group and software entries to ATT&CK including:

  • A new group representing the threat group responsible for the intrusions, added as UNC2452 with associated group names of Solorigate, StellarParticle and Dark Halo.
  • New malware first spotted in this intrusion, including Sunburst, Teardrop, Sunspot, and Raindrop.
  • An existing tool used in this intrusion, AdFind.

More to Come?

We don’t expect to add more content to ATT&CK itself before our next major release (announced as planned for April 2021 in our recent State of the ATT&CK), but anticipate that more reporting on this intrusion will continue to be released. We will be continuing to watch and add reporting to our public report tracking, as well as any new techniques or software that appear to the next release of ATT&CK.

If you see a technique we’re missing from existing reporting, a report with unique information that we’re missing out on, or want to share a mapping of a new report you’ve done, please reach out to us at [email protected].

©2020-2021 The MITRE Corporation. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED Approved for public release. Distribution unlimited 20–00841–22.


Identifying UNC2452-Related Techniques for ATT&CK was originally published in MITRE ATT&CK® on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Mitigating Abuse of Android Application Permissions and Special App Accesses

ATT&CK® for Mobile is an ATT&CK matrix of adversary behavior against mobile devices (smartphones and tablets running the Android or iOS/iPadOS operating systems). We started the ATT&CK for Mobile journey with the goal of highlighting the broader mobile threat landscape and adversary behavior exploiting the distinct security architectures in mobile devices. ATT&CK for Mobile was released in 2017 and since then we’ve continued to grow with each new ATT&CK content release, in strong part due to contributions received from many of you in the community.

We’ll be publishing a post formally introducing ATT&CK for Mobile and describing our future plans in the coming weeks and we also plan on posting a series addressing other mobile security technical topics. In this post, we’ll be highlighting how to leverage ATT&CK for Mobile to address abuse of Android application permissions and special app accesses.

Android Permissions and Special App Access in ATT&CK for Mobile

Mobile devices commonly run a variety of applications that have the potential to contain exploitable vulnerabilities or deliberate malicious behaviors. Given these risks, Android (as well as iOS/iPadOS) sandboxes applications, isolating them from one another and from the underlying device. Applications must obtain permission before accessing sensitive resources or performing sensitive operations.

In ATT&CK for Mobile, we describe how Android application permissions are abused by adversaries, and outline methods of defending from abuse. The matrix also details abuse of and defense from what Android calls “special app accesses”, which are requested and managed differently than regular Android permissions. Special app accesses require more complicated defense approaches.

Android Permissions: Abuses and Mitigations

Android requires that applications request permissions before accessing sensitive resources or performing sensitive operations. Applications must declare each permission in their AndroidManifest.xml file using a <uses-permission> entry. Depending on the permission type, they may also need to ask the user to grant the permission at application runtime.

Adversaries may distribute malicious applications that request and make use of permissions, or they may exploit vulnerabilities in legitimate applications that hold permissions.

For example, Capture Audio (T1429) describes adversaries calling standard operating system APIs from an application to activate the device microphone and record audio. As the technique description outlines, on Android the application must request and hold the android.permission.RECORD_AUDIO permission. This includes declaring a <uses-permission> entry for the permission in the AndroidManifest.xml file inside the Android application package and asking the user at runtime to grant the permission.[1] Also, Android restricts the ability of applications running in the background to capture audio, although we have encountered applications using the Foreground Persistence (T1541) technique to bypass this restriction.

Figure 1: Example of <uses-permission> entries found in an AndroidManifest.xml file, including RECORD_AUDIO.

Enterprises often deploy vetting solutions that automatically assess mobile applications for potentially malicious behaviors, including a scan of the application’s manifest file for declarations of higher risk permissions such as audio recording. Enterprises could then apply additional scrutiny to these applications and, if warranted, could block use of the applications. The applicable ATT&CK for Mobile technique entries feature Application Vetting as a mitigation.

Additionally, using an Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) system, also commonly known as Mobile Device Management (MDM) or Unified Endpoint Management (UEM), an enterprise can push runtime permission policies to devices to prevent an application from using specific permissions. Runtime permission policies can effectively “neuter” applications, allowing use of the application while blocking potential harmful behaviors, rather than completely blocking use of an application.

In the example below, enterprise policies are deployed to block TikTok from obtaining sensitive permissions. The policies prevent TikTok from recording videos while still allowing TikTok to view videos. Runtime permission policies are not yet included as a mitigation within ATT&CK for Mobile but will be added in a future release.

Figure 2: Example of runtime permission policies pushed by an enterprise.

Managing Special App Accesses

While adding ATT&CK for Mobile techniques and developing defense descriptions, we encountered what Android refers to as “special app accesses”. According to the Android Platform Security Model paper, these are a “special class of permissions” that “expose more or are higher risk” than other permissions.

Each special app access is managed separately and has a specific way to be requested by applications, adding complexity when vetting applications to detect their use. The standard runtime permission framework cannot be used by enterprises to control use of these accesses by applications. Rather, one-off device management policies exist for some, but not all, of the special app accesses.

ATT&CK for Mobile describes adversary use of special app accesses:

  • Accessibility — “used to assist users with disabilities in using Android devices and apps”, but also abused by malicious applications to capture sensitive information from the device screen (T1513) or maliciously inject input to mimic user clicks (T1516)
  • Read Notifications — abused by malicious applications to read Android OS notifications containing sensitive data such as one-time authentication codes sent over SMS (T1517)
  • Draw over Other Apps (also known as SYSTEM_ALERT_WINDOW) — abused by malicious applications to display prompts on top of other applications to capture sensitive information such as account credentials (T1411)
  • Device Administrator — abused by malicious applications to perform administrative operations on the device such as wiping the device contents (T1447)
  • Input Method — abused by malicious applications to register as a device keyboard and capture user keystrokes (T1417)

After special app accesses are obtained by applications, they can be managed by the device user through the “Special App Access” menu in the device settings (Settings -> Apps & Notifications -> Advanced -> Special App Access).

Figure 3: Special app access settings
Figure 4: Applications that have requested access to read notifications

Unfortunately, these accesses are handled separately from regular permissions and cannot be managed by enterprises in the same way. There is typically (we identify an exception below) no <uses-permission> entry in the application’s AndroidManifest.xml that can be used to easily identify applications that use each access.

Instead, Android manages each special app access uniquely, making it necessary to perform specific one-off checks to detect each access’s use. For example, applications requesting the ability to read notifications create an Android service with an intent filter for the android.service.notification.NotificationListenerService action. Applications that attempt to read notifications can be detected by searching for a matching service entry in the app’s AndroidManifest.xml file.

The standard runtime permission enterprise management framework cannot be used by enterprises to control use of these accesses by applications. One-off device management policies only exist for a few of the special app accesses. For example, the DevicePolicyManager.setPermittedAccessibilityServices method can be used to impose an “allow list” of applications able to request accessibility access. The setPermittedInputMethods method can be used to impose an allow list of applications permitted to install an input method.

The following table is a non-exhaustive list outlining several special app accesses, the associated ATT&CK for Mobile techniques, how to detect an application’s use of the special app access, and how (as applicable) to use enterprise policies to prevent an application from using them.

Table 1: Non-exhaustive table of special app accesses associated with ATT&CK techniques and how to detect or prevent their use.

We’re still verifying all of the described detection and prevention methods and are interested in your feedback on the table and if there are any additional elements we should consider. We plan to incorporate into the applicable techniques in a future ATT&CK for Mobile release.

Other special app accesses not yet included in ATT&CK for Mobile include:

  • All files access
  • Battery optimization
  • Do Not Disturb access
  • Modify system settings
  • Adaptive Notifications
  • Picture-in-picture
  • Premium SMS access
  • Unrestricted data
  • Install unknown apps
  • Usage access
  • VR helper services
  • Wi-Fi control

Future Considerations for a Uniform Approach

If Android adjusted to a uniform approach to managing special app accesses, it would simplify the ability to detect or prevent their use. For example, in at least one special app access case, Android requires a <uses-permission> declaration in the AndroidManifest.xml file before an app can obtain the access. Apps must declare the MANAGE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE permission before they can request the “All files access” special app access. The special app access request is still handled outside of the regular means of requesting permissions. If the approach of requiring <uses-permission> declarations were uniformly extended to other special app accesses, it would be easier to detect apps that use them. A uniform approach to push policies to prevent applications from obtaining special app accesses, similar to the existing enterprise management controls on permissions, would also be useful.

Adversary Abuses in the Wild

As we continue to expand the Mobile knowledge base and update and develop new techniques, we welcome any input on adversary abuse of special app accesses in the wild! We’re also interested in your feedback on how to detect apps that use each special app access and how to prevent apps from using each special app access.

You can connect with us at [email protected].

© 2021 The MITRE Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Approved for Public Release; Distribution Unlimited. Public Release Case Number 21–0835.

[1] Similarly, on iOS/iPadOS, each application must include the NSMicrophoneUsageDescription key in its Info.plist file (part of the application package) and must ask the user for permission to use the microphone.

[2] The Android OS grants the SYSTEM_ALERT_WINDOW permission to keep track of apps that hold the Draw over Other Apps special app access, but apps themselves cannot directly request SYSTEM_ALERT_WINDOW through the regular means of requesting permissions.


Mitigating Abuse of Android Application Permissions and Special App Accesses was originally published in MITRE ATT&CK® on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

ATT&CK 2021 Roadmap

A review of how we navigated 2020 and where we’re heading in 2021

With the monumental disruptions, challenges, and hybrid work environments of 2020, we found innovative ways to collaborate and maintain momentum. We started off 2020 by launching ATT&CK for ICS and expanding it over the next few months to feature mitigations and STIX integration. A proposed ATT&CK data sources methodology was introduced, with the goal of more effectively representing adversary behavior from a data perspective. We added sub-techniques to address abstraction imbalances across the knowledge base, and for a few months, the matrix could fit on one slide again. PRE-ATT&CK’s scope was integrated into Enterprise ATT&CK, and two new tactics, Reconnaissance and Resource Development, emerged from the fusion. We released the Network Devices platform, featuring techniques targeting network infrastructure devices. The Cloud domain benefitted from refined Cloud data sources and new Cloud technique content. Our infrastructure team updated ATT&CK Navigator with new elements to enhance your visualization and planning experience. We launched the virtual ATT&CKCon PowerHour, featuring insights from ATT&CK practitioners and the ATT&CK team. Finally, we mapped techniques used in a series of intrusions involving SolarWinds (recently published as a point release to ATT&CK, v8.2) and publicly tracked reports describing those behaviors.

2021 Roadmap

Our objectives for the next 12 months shouldn’t be as disruptive as 2020’s changes. There aren’t significant structural adjustments planned and we’re looking forward to a period of stability. Our chief focus will be on enhancing and enriching content across the ATT&CK platforms and technical domains. We’ll be making incremental updates to core concepts, such as Software and Groups, and working towards a more structured contributions process, while maintaining a biannual release tempo, scheduled for April and October.

Improving and Expanding Mac/Linux | April & October 2021

We first introduced Mac and Linux techniques in 2017 and we’re ramping up our effort to improve and expand the coverage in this space. Our research efforts are ongoing, and we’re coordinating with industry partners to enrich the existing techniques and develop additional content to cover evolving adversary behavior. We’re also venturing into sub-technique exploration and the refactoring of data sources. Our current timeline is targeting macOS updates for the April release and slating Linux updates for the October release. Interested in contributing to this effort? Connect with us or check out our Contributions page.

Evolving ATT&CK Data Sources | April 2021 & October 2021

You may be aware that we’re revamping the process for ATT&CK data sources. Data sources are currently reflected in ATT&CK as properties/field objects of (sub-)techniques and are featured as a list of text strings without additional details or descriptions. With the refactoring, we’re converting the data sources into objects, a role previously only held by tactics, techniques, groups, software and mitigations. With data sources as objects, they’ll have their own corresponding properties, or metadata.

The new metadata provided by data sources includes the concepts of relationships and data components. These concepts will more effectively represent adversary behavior from a data perspective and will provide an additional sub-layer of context to data sources. Data components narrow the identification of security events, but also create a bridge between high- and low-level concepts to inform data collection strategies. They’ll also provide a good reference point to start mapping telemetry collected in your environment to specific sub(techniques) and/or tactics. With the additional context around each data source, the results can be leveraged with more detail when defining data collection strategy for techniques and sub-techniques.

An update of current Enterprise ATT&CK data sources in line with this new methodology is currently planned for the April release, with objects coming in October. Data source refactoring for other ATT&CK domains and platforms are also in progress.

Consolidating Cloud Platforms and Enhancing Data Sources | April 2021

Later this year we’ll be consolidating the AWS, Azure, and GCP platforms into a single Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) platform. Many of you in the community provided feedback in favor of consolidation, and currently these three platforms share the same set of techniques and sub-techniques. Additionally, an IaaS platform will evolve ATT&CK for Cloud into a more inclusive domain, representing all Cloud Service Providers.

We’re also focused on creating more beneficial data sources for Cloud, shifting from a log-centric approach that isn’t necessarily the most effective for building detections, to aligning to events and API calls within the logs. The approach will mirror the refactoring happening across the rest of Enterprise and will be incorporated in future Cloud updates. IaaS data sources are in progress, and we’ll be expanding coverage to the SaaS, Azure AD, and Office 365 platforms. The initial IaaS data sources are the result of the 2020 revamping that involved normalizing name and structure of data sources across multiple Cloud vendors, with the APIs and events involved in detections across those multiple vendors relevant to a particular data source. The example below features a draft of the Instance data source:

If you have input or opinions on the future platforms or the data sources refactoring, let us know! We want to ensure that the changes we have planned are going to be beneficial to and continue to support your efforts.

Cross-Domain Mapping and Updating ICS Data Sources | October 2021

Along with Enterprise, one of our goals for ATT&CK for ICS this year is updating data sources. Network traffic is a popular source of data in ICS networks, but it often overshadows other valuable data sources, including embedded device logs, application logs, and operational databases. Some of the key elements we’ll be focusing on are processing information, asset management, configuration, performance and statistics, and physical sensors.

We’re also working on cross domain mapping. We’ve always emphasized that adversaries don’t respect theoretical boundaries, so having a deep understanding of how IT platforms are leveraged to access different domains or technology stacks, like ICS and Mobile, is really critical. The cross-domain mappings will help inform how to use the knowledge bases together and will more effectively demonstrate the full gamut and adversary behavior. Over the next few months, we’ll be focusing on mapping significant attacks against ICS, including Stuxnet, Industroyer, the 2015 Ukrainian attacks, and Triton, to Enterprise techniques This is a community effort, so if you have feedback on how you’re currently using mitigations, any input on our data source focus, or would like to contribute to the matrix, we encourage you to connect with us.

Refining and Expanding Mobile | October 2021

A key focus area for Mobile this year is working towards feature equity with Enterprise. This means continuing to refine and enhance our content, including working to identify new techniques, building out Software entries, and enhancing Group information. We’ll also be developing Mobile sub-techniques, which would provide that extra level of detail for the techniques that need it, without significantly expanding the size of the model. In addition to resolving the different levels of granularity between current techniques, sub-techniques would provide enhanced synergy between Mobile and the broader ATT&CK. The integration could potentially include unifying techniques between Mobile and Enterprise and using sub-techniques to differentiate mobile device specifics. Similar to Cloud and Network, the mobile device-specific content would still be separately viewable.

We’ve been coordinating with MITRE Engenuity as they look to examine mobile threats and how to evaluate the types of capabilities and solutions that address the threat. Their eventual goal is to provide public evaluations for Mobile, but there is still a lot of collaboration and awareness building needed to bring the community up to a collective understanding of the mobile threat landscape. Building on the criticality of a collective community understanding of Mobile threats, we kicked off a mini-series highlighting significant threats to mobile devices and we’ll continue walking through mobile security threats and how to use ATT&CK for Mobile to address them in over the next few months. We’re very interested in any adversary behavior targeting mobile devices that you’re seeing in the wild. If you would like to help us build out new techniques, or if you have data or observed behaviors you’d like to share, reach out or take a look at our Contributions page.

Investigating Container-based Techniques | Upcoming

Technique coverage for Container technologies (such as Kubernetes and Docker) have been on our docket for a while, and following the call for input in December, supporting a Center for Threat Informed Defense (CTID) research project, many of you responded with the contributions that informed the draft ATT&CK for Containers. We’re excited about this milestone, but we’re still exploring a few avenues before incorporating the techniques into ATT&CK. Most critically, we’re working to determine if adversary behaviors targeting containers result in objectives other than cryptomining. Our own research and ongoing conversations with contributors seem to point to most behaviors eventually leading to cryptomining activities, even when they involve accessing secrets such as cloud credentials.

With this in mind — we need your expertise and views from the trenches! If you’ve seen or heard of adversaries using containers for purposes such as exfiltration or collection of sensitive data, your input would be invaluable. With a better understanding of how adversary behavior in containers links to the rest of Enterprise, we’ll be able to develop a better approach for adding Containers techniques in a future ATT&CK release. We’re interested in your opinions on any gaps in the matrix or in-the-wild adversary behaviors that are not currently represented — let us know if you’d like to have a conversation!

Unleashing ATT&CK Workbench | Upcoming

Later this year we’re partnering with the CTID to launch a new toolset that will enable you to get behind the wheel and explore, create, annotate and share extensions of ATT&CK. ATT&CK Workbench will provide the tools, infrastructure, and documentation to simplify how you operate and adapt ATT&CK to local environments while staying in sync with upstream sources of ATT&CK content. Ever wanted to add some new procedures to T1531? Or monitor a threat group ATT&CK’s not currently tracking? How about sharing notes with team members on a specific object? Workbench will also enhance our ability to collaborate — you’ll be able to easily contribute techniques, extensions, and enhancements to ATT&CK. We’re excited to see how the community will leverage the toolset to apply the ATT&CK approach to new domains.

Innovating ATT&CKcon | Upcoming

We kicked off the concept of ATT&CKcon in 2018, and our inaugural venture featured around 1,250 virtual and in-person participants. In 2019, ATT&CKcon 2.0 reached more people than ever before, with 7,315 online registrations. With the global pandemic in 2020, we created ATT&CKcon Power Hour, a series of monthly 90-minute virtual power presentations, which have had a reach of over 12,000 to date. We don’t know exactly what ATT&CKcon 3.0 (4.0?) in 2021 will bring, aside from the great speakers sharing their insights from working with ATT&CK in the trenches, but we’re excited to see how it’ll continue to grow. Stay tuned for additional details on what ATT&CKcon 2021 will look like and how you can get involved.

In Closing

Listening to the ATT&CK community, incorporating your feedback, and acting on your input has always been central to our model. ATT&CK is community-driven, and your first-hand knowledge and on-the-ground experience will continue to be critical to our efforts to evolve and expand the framework. We look forward to collaborating with you and appreciate your dedication to helping us improve ATT&CK for the entire community. You can always connect with us via email, Twitter, or Slack.

©2021 The MITRE Corporation. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Approved for public release. Distribution unlimited 20–00841–24.


ATT&CK 2021 Roadmap was originally published in MITRE ATT&CK® on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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