Exploitation for Credential Access

Adversaries may exploit software vulnerabilities in an attempt to collect credentials. Exploitation of a software vulnerability occurs when an adversary takes advantage of a programming error in a program, service, or within the operating system software or kernel itself to execute adversary-controlled code. Credentialing and authentication mechanisms may be targeted for exploitation by adversaries as a means to gain access to useful credentials or circumvent the process to gain access to systems. One example of this is MS14-068, which targets Kerberos and can be used to forge Kerberos tickets using domain user permissions.[1][2] Exploitation for credential access may also result in Privilege Escalation depending on the process targeted or credentials obtained.

ID: T1212
Sub-techniques:  No sub-techniques
Platforms: Linux, Windows, macOS
Permissions Required: User
Contributors: John Lambert, Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center
Version: 1.1
Created: 18 April 2018
Last Modified: 25 March 2020
Provided by LAYER 8


ID Mitigation Description
M1048 Application Isolation and Sandboxing

Make it difficult for adversaries to advance their operation through exploitation of undiscovered or unpatched vulnerabilities by using sandboxing. Other types of virtualization and application microsegmentation may also mitigate the impact of some types of exploitation. Risks of additional exploits and weaknesses in these systems may still exist.[3]

M1050 Exploit Protection

Security applications that look for behavior used during exploitation such as Windows Defender Exploit Guard (WDEG) and the Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) can be used to mitigate some exploitation behavior.[4] Control flow integrity checking is another way to potentially identify and stop a software exploit from occurring.[5] Many of these protections depend on the architecture and target application binary for compatibility and may not work for software targeted for defense evasion.

M1019 Threat Intelligence Program

Develop a robust cyber threat intelligence capability to determine what types and levels of threat may use software exploits and 0-days against a particular organization.

M1051 Update Software

Update software regularly by employing patch management for internal enterprise endpoints and servers.


Detecting software exploitation may be difficult depending on the tools available. Software exploits may not always succeed or may cause the exploited process to become unstable or crash. Also look for behavior on the system that might indicate successful compromise, such as abnormal behavior of processes. Credential resources obtained through exploitation may be detectable in use if they are not normally used or seen.