Evasion

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Description

The adversary is trying to avoid being detected.

Evasion consists of techniques that adversaries use to avoid detection by both human operators and technical defenses throughout their compromise. Techniques used for evasion include removal of indicators of compromise, spoofing communications and reporting, and exploiting software vulnerabilities. Adversaries may also leverage and abuse trusted devices and processes to hide their activity, possibly by masquerading as master devices or native software. Methods of defense and operator evasion for this purpose are often more passive in nature, as opposed to Inhibit Response Function techniques. They may also vary depending on whether the target of evasion is human or technological in nature, such as security controls. Techniques under other tactics are cross-listed to evasion when those techniques include the added benefit of subverting operators and defenses.

Techniques in this Tactics Category

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

NameTacticsTechnical Description
Exploitation for EvasionEvasionAdversaries may exploit a software vulnerability to take advantage of a programming error in a program, service, or within the operating system software or kernel itself to evade detection. Vulnerabilities may exist in software that can be used to disable or circumvent security features. Adversaries may have prior knowledge through Control Device Identification about security features implemented on control devices. These device security features will likely be targeted directly for exploitation. There are examples of firmware RAM/ROM consistency checks on control devices being targeted by adversaries to enable the installation of malicious System Firmware.
Indicator Removal on HostEvasionAdversaries may attempt to remove indicators of their presence on a system in an effort to cover their tracks. In cases where an adversary may feel detection is imminent, they may try to overwrite, delete, or cover up changes they have made to the device.
MasqueradingEvasion
Impair Process Control
Adversaries may use masquerading to disguise a malicious application or executable as another file, to avoid operator and engineer suspicion. Possible disguises of these masquerading files can include commonly found programs, expected vendor executables and configuration files, and other commonplace application and naming conventions. By impersonating expected and vendor-relevant files and applications, operators and engineers may not notice the presence of the underlying malicious content and possibly end up running those masquerading as legitimate functions. Applications and other files commonly found on Windows systems or in engineering workstations have been impersonated before. This can be as simple as renaming a file to effectively disguise it in the ICS environment.
Rogue Master DeviceEvasion
Impair Process Control
Adversaries may setup a rogue master to leverage control server functions to communicate with slave devices. A rogue master device can be used to send legitimate control messages to other control system devices, affecting processes in unintended ways. It may also be used to disrupt network communications by capturing and receiving the network traffic meant for the actual master device. Impersonating a master device may also allow an adversary to avoid detection. In the Maroochy Attack, Vitek Boden falsified network addresses in order to send false data and instructions to pumping stations.1
RootkitEvasion
Inhibit Response Function
Adversaries may deploy rootkits to hide the presence of programs, files, network connections, services, drivers, and other system components. Rootkits are programs that hide the existence of malware by intercepting and modifying operating-system API calls that supply system information. Rootkits or rootkit-enabling functionality may reside at the user or kernel level in the operating system, or lower.2 Firmware rootkits that affect the operating system yield nearly full control of the system. While firmware rootkits are normally developed for the main processing board, they can also be developed for I/O that can be attached to the asset. Compromise of this firmware allows the modification of all of the process variables and functions the module engages in. This may result in commands being disregarded and false information being fed to the main device. By tampering with device processes, an adversary may inhibit its expected response functions and possibly enable Impact.
Spoof Reporting MessageEvasion
Impair Process Control
Adversaries may spoof reporting messages in control systems environments to achieve evasion and assist with impairment of process controls. Reporting messages are used in control systems so that operators and network defenders can understand the status of the network. Reporting messages show the status of devices and any important events that the devices control.

If an adversary has the ability to Spoof Reporting Messages, then they can impact the network in many ways. The adversary can Spoof Reporting Messages that state that the device is in normal working condition, as a form of evasion. The adversary could also Spoof Reporting Messages to make the defenders and operators think that other errors were occurring, to distract them from the actual source of the problem.3

In the Maroochy Attack, the adversary used a dedicated analog two-way radio system to send false data and instructions to pumping stations and the central computer.1
Utilize/Change Operating ModeEvasion
Inhibit Response Function
Adversaries may place controllers into an alternate mode of operation to enable configuration setting changes for evasive code execution or to inhibit device functionality. Programmable controllers typically have several modes of operation. These modes can be broken down into three main categories: program run, program edit, and program write. Each of these modes puts the device in a state in which certain functions are available. For instance, the program edit mode allows alterations to be made to the user program while the device is still online. By driving a device into an alternate mode of operation, an adversary has the ability to change configuration settings in such a way to cause a Impact to equipment and/or industrial process associated with the targeted device. An adversary may also use this alternate mode to execute arbitrary code which could be used to evade defenses.