Hide Artifacts: Email Hiding Rules

Created the Tuesday 31 January 2023. Updated 4 months, 3 weeks ago.

Adversaries may use email rules to hide inbound emails in a compromised user's mailbox. Many email clients allow users to create inbox rules for various email functions, including moving emails to other folders, marking emails as read, or deleting emails. Rules may be created or modified within email clients or through external features such as the New-InboxRule or Set-InboxRule PowerShell cmdlets on Windows systems.

Adversaries may utilize email rules within a compromised user's mailbox to delete and/or move emails to less noticeable folders. Adversaries may do this to hide security alerts, C2 communication, or responses to Internal Spearphishing emails sent from the compromised account.

Any user or administrator within the organization (or adversary with valid credentials) may be able to create rules to automatically move or delete emails. These rules can be abused to impair/delay detection had the email content been immediately seen by a user or defender. Malicious rules commonly filter out emails based on key words (such as malware, suspicious, phish, and hack) found in message bodies and subject lines.

Additional Resources

External Links

The resources provided below are associated links that will give you even more detailed information and research on current evasion technique. It is important to note that, while these resources may be helpful, it is important to exercise caution when following external links. As always, be careful when clicking on links from unknown sources, as they may lead to malicious content.

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