Analyzing Penetration-Testing Tools That Threat Actors Use to Breach Systems and Steal Data

The use of legitimate Windows tools as part of malicious actors’ malware arsenal has become a common observation in cyber incursions in recent years. We’ve discussed such use in a previous article where PsExec, Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), simple batch files or third-party tools such as PC Hunter and Process Hacker were used to disable endpoint security products, move laterally across networks, and exfiltrate information, among others. We have also extensively discussed legitimate tools that malicious actors weaponized for ransomware in 2021.

We uncovered two Python tools, Impacket and Responder, in our latest investigation. While the two are not new, they are nonetheless worth noting since both are normally used for penetration testing. Knowing that cybercriminals often upgrade their tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) to broaden their scope and stay competitive, system defenders these days have come to expect attackers’ crafty use of legitimate tools for nefarious ends.

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Source: Trend Micro