System Binary Proxy Execution: MMC

Created the Sunday 05 March 2023. Updated 4 months, 3 weeks ago.

Adversaries may abuse mmc.exe to proxy execution of malicious .msc files. Microsoft Management Console (MMC) is a binary that may be signed by Microsoft and is used in several ways in either its GUI or in a command prompt. MMC can be used to create, open, and save custom consoles that contain administrative tools created by Microsoft, called snap-ins. These snap-ins may be used to manage Windows systems locally or remotely. MMC can also be used to open Microsoft created .msc files to manage system configuration.

For example, mmc C:\Users\foo\admintools.msc /a will open a custom, saved console msc file in author mode. Another common example is mmc gpedit.msc, which will open the Group Policy Editor application window.

Adversaries may use MMC commands to perform malicious tasks. For example, mmc wbadmin.msc delete catalog -quiet deletes the backup catalog on the system (i.e. Inhibit System Recovery) without prompts to the user (Note: wbadmin.msc may only be present by default on Windows Server operating systems).

Adversaries may also abuse MMC to execute malicious .msc files. For example, adversaries may first create a malicious registry Class Identifier (CLSID) subkey, which uniquely identifies a Component Object Model class object.[6] Then, adversaries may create custom consoles with the "Link to Web Address" snap-in that is linked to the malicious CLSID subkey.[7] Once the .msc file is saved, adversaries may invoke the malicious CLSID payload with the following command: mmc.exe -Embedding C:\path\to\test.msc

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.

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.