Adversaries may create a new process with a different token to escalate privileges and bypass access controls. Processes can be created with the token and resulting security context of another user using features such as
Creating processes with a different token may require the credentials of the target user, specific privileges to impersonate that user, or access to the token to be used (ex: gathered via other means such as Token Impersonation/Theft or Make and Impersonate Token).
|M1026||Privileged Account Management||
Limit permissions so that users and user groups cannot create tokens. This setting should be defined for the local system account only. GPO: Computer Configuration > [Policies] > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Local Policies > User Rights Assignment: Create a token object.  Also define who can create a process level token to only the local and network service through GPO: Computer Configuration > [Policies] > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Local Policies > User Rights Assignment: Replace a process level token.
Administrators should log in as a standard user but run their tools with administrator privileges using the built-in access token manipulation command
|M1018||User Account Management||
An adversary must already have administrator level access on the local system to make full use of this technique; be sure to restrict users and accounts to the least privileges they require.
|ID||Data Source||Data Component|
|DS0009||Process||OS API Execution|
If an adversary is using a standard command-line shell (i.e. Windows Command Shell), analysts may detect token manipulation by auditing command-line activity. Specifically, analysts should look for use of the
runas command or similar artifacts. Detailed command-line logging is not enabled by default in Windows.
If an adversary is using a payload that calls the Windows token APIs directly, analysts may detect token manipulation only through careful analysis of user activity, examination of running processes, and correlation with other endpoint and network behavior.
Analysts can also monitor for use of Windows APIs such as
CreateProcessWithTokenW and correlate activity with other suspicious behavior to reduce false positives that may be due to normal benign use by users and administrators.