Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) Event Subscription is a popular technique to establish persistence on an endpoint. I decided to spend some time playing with Empire’s WMI modules and analyzing the artifacts for detection opportunities. I also reviewed the PowerShell commands that can be used to view and remove WMI event subscriptions.
“Windows Management Instrumentation Event Subscription” is MITRE ATT&CK Technique T1084.
Attackers may use the capabilities of WMI to subscribe to an event and execute arbitrary code when that event occurs, providing persistence on a system.
What is WMI?
“WMI is the Microsoft implementation of Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM), which is an industry initiative to develop a standard technology for accessing management information in an enterprise environment. WMI uses the Common Information Model (CIM) industry standard to represent systems, applications, networks, devices, and other managed components.”
An event filter is a WMI class that describes which events WMI delivers to an event consumer. An event filter also describes the conditions under which WMI delivers the events.
Configuring Sysmon Logging
Sysmon can be configured to log
WmiEventConsumerToFilter activity and enable the detection of WMI abuse.
Execute the following command to install Sysmon and apply a configuration file.
sysmon.exe -i -c .\config_file.xml
Let’s use Empire’s
Invoke-WMI module to create a permanent WMI subscription and persist a stager on the victim endpoint.
Reviewing the Sysmon logs we can see that the Empire module:
- Registered a WMI event filter
- Registered a WMI event consumer
- Bound the event consumer to the event filter
The WMI event filter sets the conditions for the stager to execute, which includes references to the system’s uptime.
The WMI event consumer contains the Empire stager in Base64-encoded form and is registered with the innocuous name,
Updater when its default settings are used.
The WMI event consumer
CommandLineEventConsumer.Name=\”Updater\" is bound to the event filter
Now that the event consumer is bound to the event filter, IF the event filter conditions are true THEN trigger the event consumer (the stager).
The simplest method to remove the entry from the WMI database is to use Autoruns. Launch Autoruns as an administrator and select the
WMI tab to review WMI-related persistence.
Right-click the malicious WMI database entry and select
Alternatively, you can remove the WMI event subscriptions from the command line.
Get-WMIObject in PowerShell to review the WMI event filter, event consumer, and consumer filter to event filter binding. Thanks to Boe Prox (@proxb) for explaining these commands in detail on his blog.
# Reviewing WMI Subscriptions using Get-WMIObject
# Event Filter
Get-WMIObject -Namespace root\Subscription -Class __EventFilter -Filter “Name=’Updater’”# Event Consumer
Get-WMIObject -Namespace root\Subscription -Class CommandLineEventConsumer -Filter “Name=’Updater’”
Get-WMIObject -Namespace root\Subscription -Class __FilterToConsumerBinding -Filter “__Path LIKE ‘%Updater%’”
Remove-WMIObject to remove all components of the WMI persistence.
# Removing WMI Subscriptions using Remove-WMIObject
# Event Filter
Get-WMIObject -Namespace root\Subscription -Class __EventFilter -Filter “Name=’Updater’” | Remove-WmiObject -Verbose# Event Consumer
Get-WMIObject -Namespace root\Subscription -Class CommandLineEventConsumer -Filter “Name=’Updater’” | Remove-WmiObject -Verbose
Get-WMIObject -Namespace root\Subscription -Class __FilterToConsumerBinding -Filter “__Path LIKE ‘%Updater%’” | Remove-WmiObject -Verbose
Run Autoruns again to verify that the persistence was removed.