Group Policy Discovery

Adversaries may gather information on Group Policy settings to identify paths for privilege escalation, security measures applied within a domain, and to discover patterns in domain objects that can be manipulated or used to blend in the environment. Group Policy allows for centralized management of user and computer settings in Active Directory (AD). Group policy objects (GPOs) are containers for group policy settings made up of files stored within a predicable network path \\SYSVOL\\Policies\.[1][2]

Adversaries may use commands such as gpresult or various publicly available PowerShell functions, such as Get-DomainGPO and Get-DomainGPOLocalGroup, to gather information on Group Policy settings.[3][4] Adversaries may use this information to shape follow-on behaviors, including determining potential attack paths within the target network as well as opportunities to manipulate Group Policy settings (i.e. Domain Policy Modification) for their benefit.

ID: T1615
Sub-techniques:  No sub-techniques
Tactic: Discovery
Platforms: Windows
Permissions Required: User
Contributors: Jonhnathan Ribeiro, 3CORESec, @_w0rk3r; Ted Samuels, Rapid7
Version: 1.0
Created: 06 August 2021
Last Modified: 15 October 2021
Provided by LAYER 8

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
S0521 BloodHound

BloodHound has the ability to collect local admin information via GPO.[5]

S0082 Emissary

Emissary has the capability to execute gpresult.[6]

S0363 Empire

Empire includes various modules for enumerating Group Policy.[4]

G0010 Turla

Turla surveys a system upon check-in to discover Group Policy details using the gpresult command.[7]


This type of attack technique cannot be easily mitigated with preventive controls since it is based on the abuse of system features.


ID Data Source Data Component
DS0026 Active Directory Active Directory Object Access
DS0017 Command Command Execution
DS0029 Network Traffic Network Traffic Content
DS0009 Process Process Creation
DS0012 Script Script Execution

System and network discovery techniques normally occur throughout an operation as an adversary learns the environment. Data and events should not be viewed in isolation, but as part of a chain of behavior that could lead to other activities based on the information obtained.

Monitor for suspicious use of gpresult. Monitor for the use of PowerShell functions such as Get-DomainGPO and Get-DomainGPOLocalGroup and processes spawning with command-line arguments containing GPOLocalGroup.

Monitor for abnormal LDAP queries with filters for groupPolicyContainer and high volumes of LDAP traffic to domain controllers. Windows Event ID 4661 can also be used to detect when a directory service has been accessed.