Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) Guide: Understanding WMI Attacks
Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) is the infrastructure for management data and operations on Windows-based operating systems. Windows Management Instrumentation (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.
Choose a Session. Andy Green. Though this system has been designed to allow for what to take for vomiting, efficient system administration, it also has a spookier side: it can be abused by insiders as a tool to surveil other employees.
This can be extremely useful in detecting and defeating insider threats. With WMI, you can query for, say, all large Excel files found in a directory, and then get notified when a new file meeting a file size criteria of, say, 1 Mb is created.
Perhaps our hypothetical insider knows Ч from say shoulder-surfing Ч that his colleague Lex occasionally downloads large Excel files containing social security and other account numbers of customers. Our stealthy insider could put together the following:. The large-scale aim of the system is to consolidate the management of devices and applications across corporate networks, and so WMI can be used to do the following:.
As you can see, the uses of WMI are varied, and the system can be used to monitor and change a huge variety of settings across a computer network. WMI is an integrated part of the Windows operating system, and since Windows it has come pre-installed with all Windows operating systems. WMI is built as a series of components:.
To return information on the CPU running on the local machine, we follow these steps:. Techniques like this can be used as part of a User Entity Behavior Analytics UEBA system to automatically monitor what is happening across your whole system, and check for insider threats indicated by suspicious behavior or anomalous events. It can also launch processes and run commands on Windows boxes, either locally or remotely.
Neat, right? Obviously, at a practical level, wmic is an incredible aide for sysadmins. And before you start shouting into the browser, I know there are also equivalent PowerShell cmdletsbut I find the wmic syntax easier to remember. Thankfully, Impacket does just that. Wmiexec offers a workable what does sadistic mean wikipedia experience, where for each command entered on the client-side, it directly launches a separate shell on the target machine to run the command.
Both psexec and smbexec use Ч see my previous post Ч Windows Services to launch commands on the remote system. Smbexec is a little stealthier since it quickly creates and then deletes a service, whereas psexec leaves the telltale service around.
Keep in mind that WMI is generally not the first place defenders investigate as a possible source for threats, whereas Services is usually a good starting point for looking for evidence of an attack. Well played, wmiexec! While I thought I was being clever in my own WMI experiments, it turns out the pen tester community has been there and done that!
You query this underlying Windows object to find users who are currently logged on. Got that? The next question is how to code the script block. The mythical insider in my scenario is interested in a specific managemennt, Cruella.
You can gaze upon the complete solution below:. Keep in mind that our insider is laying low. You can make your lateral move when you get the notification from Register-WmiEvent. How does the script then return this interesting news that Cruella has logged on to the targeted machine? Those of you who spotted the use instrumnetation Netcat commands above get extra credit. Netcat is a well-known and versatile communications tool Ч not necessarily considered malware Ч that pops reverse shellsor can simply send a message across the network.
I went with what does a baby look like at 2 3 weeks latter option. Mission accomplished. In this scenario, I wanted to remotely launch using wmiexec a payload that would alert when a particular user, Cruella, logs into the system.
And then I could dump and crack her credentials. Anyway, this would be the stealthiest way to pull this off Чboth remote and fileless. The only problem, I thought at first, was the temporary nature of the WMI sindows. So I needed to encase my obscenely long Register-WMIEvent below into a PowerShell command line with the Чnoexit option, ensuring that the PowerShell stayed around after the Register-Event runs, and thereby preserving the event. More headaches: I eventually had to abandon using pipes because it seemed to how to change your local channels on directv parsing errors.
I eventually came up with this long, long one-liner :. It looked promising and it seemed to execute correctly based on looking at the Windows Event log on the target system. WMI permanent events, though somewhat complicated, whxt a more effective way for insiders to conduct surveillance on their coworkers rather than using temporary events, and is a much better way to monitor for insider threats. Permanent events, though they take a little longer to learn how to what is windows management instrumentation wmi, are the most effective way of implementing a rigorous monitoring system for how to record vocals at home systems.
They extend the capabilities that are available through WMI temporary events, and can also be used to alert you to more exotic forms of malicious behavior: for example, DNS tunneling or attempts to subvert your Zero Trust policies. I spent an afternoon or three looking into permanent events and windlws that PowerShell has a special cmdlet that streamlines the process of creating the event filter, consumer, and filter-consumer WMI objects.
As we all know, PowerShell gives admin awesome powers to make things easier. Unfortunately, this an example of where these powers can be used by the bad guys. The insider creates a permanent event on the target system thereby relieving him of having to hang around in a shell session Ч the event stays forever or until its explicitly removed. I agree: this starts looking like too much of a hike for an average employee turned insider menace. For kicks, I checked around on forumsand there are lots of people pulling their collective hairs out trying to get WMI permanent events to work.
However, this technique is not outside the capabilities of a Snowden ,anagement other smart system admins that decide to instrumsntation a threat. These methods are not meant to be a training ground for would-be hackers or disgruntled employees who want to strike back. In my own testing, I was able to get my permanent event working on the target manatement without too much hair-pulling.
Keep in mind that this was quite difficult to do with WMI temporary events that only last insrumentation long as the PowerShell session. An added bonus is that the permanent WMI event is also persistent: if the computer is rebooted the event triggers remain. Keep in mind that WMI eventing is not an obvious first stop for security staff analyzing an attack.
For example, the event consumer PowerShell can act as a launcher by downloading Ч using DowloadString Ч malware instrumentatiion on a remote server. Fortunately, there is a way to list event filters, consumers, and binding objects with the Mwnagement alias gwmi cmdlet:. More on that below. At least IT has a way to quickly see the WMI permanent events that have been registered and then can start looking at the actual event scripts for signs of threats.
They can try stopping the Winmgmt service, which runs WMI. This turns out not what can parents do to stop bullying be easy. In my own testing, I waht not able to affect this service Чit automatically restarted itself.
There are warnings all over the web and in forums cautioning against this strategy of disabling WMI. I would listen to them: caveat WMI! Thankfully, there are more effective ways to discover permanent hwat and other suspicious Windows event activities than using the aforementioned Powershell cmdlet.
There is Sysmon! Help is here! Obviously, SIEM comes into play here because the incriminating evidence is buried in logs. I think you can see where this is going. Though the techniques above can be used to implement a surveillance system across what is the key to understanding the job market network, you might still have some unanswered questions about WMI.
This makes it a great tool for detecting and defeating insider threatsattempts mabagement get around security policies, or simply to keep an eye on the way in which your systems are being used. If you want to learn more about how to use WMI to perform insider surveillance, you can download our detailed guide here.
Andy blogs about data privacy and security regulations. He also loves install whatsapp for nokia asha 200 about malware threats and what is windows management instrumentation wmi it means for IT security.
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Managing Remote Computer Systems with WMI
Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) consists of a set of extensions to the Windows Driver Model that provides an operating system interface through which instrumented components provide information and notification. Mar 01, †Ј Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) is a set of specifications from Microsoft for consolidating the management of devices and applications in a network from Windows computing systems. WMI provides users with information about the status of . Jan 29, †Ј Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) is a subsystem of PowerShell that gives admins access to powerful system monitoring tools. Though this system has been designed to allow for fast, efficient system administration, it also has a spookier side: it can be abused by insiders as a tool to surveil other employees.
Windows Management Instrumentation WMI is the infrastructure for management data and operations on Windows-based operating systems. The following documentation is targeted for developers and IT administrators. If you are an end-user that has experienced an error message concerning WMI, you should go to Microsoft Support and search for the error code you see on the error message.
WMI is fully supported by Microsoft; however, the latest version of administrative scripting and control is available through the Windows Management Infrastructure MI. MI is fully compatible with previous versions of WMI, and provides a host of features and benefits that make designing and developing providers and clients easier than ever. WMI can be used in all Windows-based applications, and is most useful in enterprise applications and administrative scripts.
For more information, see Further Information. To develop managed code providers or applications in C or Visual Basic. NET using the. NET Framework. You do not need to download or install a specific software development SDK in order to create scripts or applications for WMI.
However, there are some WMI administrative tools that developers find useful. For more information, see the Downloads section in Further Information. Information about how to develop applications to use WMI, which includes information about tools.
Skip to main content. Contents Exit focus mode. Note The following documentation is targeted for developers and IT administrators. Note WMI is fully supported by Microsoft; however, the latest version of administrative scripting and control is available through the Windows Management Infrastructure MI. Is this page helpful? Yes No. Any additional feedback? Skip Submit.
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