Mark-Of-The-Web (MOTW) Bypass

Created the Thursday 20 October 2022. Updated 7 months, 2 weeks ago.

Mark-of-the-Web (MOTW) is a security feature originally introduced by Internet Explorer. When downloading a file, Internet Explorer creates an ADS named Zone.Identifier and adds a ZoneId to this stream to indicate from which zone the file originates. It is used on Windows OS to trigger a Windows Defender SmartScreen detection and raise an alert to the user about the file.

The following ZoneId values may be used in a Zone.Identifier ADS:

  • 0 Local computer
  • 1 Local intranet
  • 2 Trusted sites
  • 3 Internet
  • 4 Restricted sites

In some cases, the Alternate Data Stream will be SmartScreen with the value anaheim. To bypass this security feature malware authors can use file format that does not manage the MOTW such as ISO or VHD file.

Using git clone can also be an alternative as a file cloned from GitHub with the Git client does not have a Zone.Identifier ADS.

Technique Identifier


Technique Tag


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.

Sleeping Alien

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Don't miss out on the latest and greatest updates from us! Subscribe to our newsletter and be the first to know about exciting content and future updates.