Discovery

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Description

The adversary is locating information to assess and identify their targets in your environment.

Discovery consists of techniques that adversaries use to survey your ICS environment and gain knowledge about the internal network, control system devices, and how their processes interact. These techniques help adversaries observe the environment and determine next steps for target selection and Lateral Movement. They also allow adversaries to explore what they can control and gain insight on interactions between various control system processes. Discovery techniques are often an act of progression into the environment which enable the adversary to orient themselves before deciding how to act. Adversaries may use Discovery techniques that result in Collection, to help determine how available resources benefit their current objective. A combination of native device communications and functions, and custom tools are often used toward this post-compromise information-gathering objective.

Techniques in this Tactics Category

Below is a list of all the Discovery techniques in ATT&CK for ICS:

NameTacticsTechnical Description
Network Connection EnumerationDiscoveryAdversaries may perform network connection enumeration to discover information about device communication patterns. If an adversary can inspect the state of a network connection with tools, such as netstat, in conjunction with System Firmware, then they can determine the role of certain devices on the network 1. The adversary can also use Network Sniffing to watch network traffic for details about the source, destination, protocol, and content.
Network SniffingDiscoveryNetwork sniffing is the practice of using a network interface on a computer system to monitor or capture information2 regardless of whether it is the specified destination for the information.

An adversary may attempt to sniff the traffic to gain information about the target. This information can vary in the level of importance. Relatively unimportant information is general communications to and from machines. Relatively important information would be login information. User credentials may be sent over an unencrypted protocol, such as Telnet, that can be captured and obtained through network packet analysis.

In addition, ARP and Domain Name Service (DNS) poisoning can be used to capture credentials to websites, proxies, and internal systems by redirecting traffic to an adversary.
Remote System DiscoveryDiscoveryAdversaries may attempt to get a listing of other systems by IP address, hostname, or other logical identifier on a network that may be used for subsequent Lateral Movement or Discovery techniques. Functionality could exist within adversary tools to enable this, but utilities available on the operating system or vendor software could also be used.3
Remote System Information DiscoveryDiscoveryAn adversary may attempt to get detailed information about remote systems and their peripherals, such as make/model, role, and configuration. Adversaries may use information from Remote System Information Discovery to aid in targeting and shaping follow-on behaviors. For example, the system’s operational role and model information can dictate whether it is a relevant target for the adversary’s operational objectives. In addition, the system’s configuration may be used to scope subsequent technique usage. Requests for system information are typically implemented using automation and management protocols and are often automatically requested by vendor software during normal operation. This information may be used to tailor management actions, such as program download and system or module firmware. An adversary may leverage this same information by issuing calls directly to the system’s API.
Wireless SniffingDiscovery
Collection
Adversaries may seek to capture radio frequency (RF) communication used for remote control and reporting in distributed environments. RF communication frequencies vary between 3 kHz to 300 GHz, although are commonly between 300 MHz to 6 GHz.4 The wavelength and frequency of the signal affect how the signal propagates through open air, obstacles (e.g. walls and trees) and the type of radio required to capture them. These characteristics are often standardized in the protocol and hardware and may have an effect on how the signal is captured. Some examples of wireless protocols that may be found in cyber-physical environments are: WirelessHART, Zigbee, WIA-FA, and 700 MHz Public Safety Spectrum.

Adversaries may capture RF communications by using specialized hardware, such as software defined radio (SDR), handheld radio, or a computer with radio demodulator tuned to the communication frequency.5 Information transmitted over a wireless medium may be captured in-transit whether the sniffing device is the intended destination or not. This technique may be particularly useful to an adversary when the communications are not encrypted.6

In the 2017 Dallas Siren incident, it is suspected that adversaries likely captured wireless command message broadcasts on a 700 MHz frequency during a regular test of the system. These messages were later replayed to trigger the alarm systems.6