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CAPEC-636: Hiding Malicious Data or Code within Files

Attack Pattern ID: 636
Abstraction: Standard
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
Files on various operating systems can have a complex format which allows for the storage of other data, in addition to its contents. Often this is metadata about the file, such as a cached thumbnail for an image file. Unless utilities are invoked in a particular way, this data is not visible during the normal use of the file. It is possible for an attacker to store malicious data or code using these facilities, which would be difficult to discover.
+ Typical Severity

High

+ Relationships

The table(s) below shows the other attack patterns and high level categories that are related to this attack pattern. These relationships are defined as ChildOf, ParentOf, MemberOf and give insight to similar items that may exist at higher and lower levels of abstraction. In addition, relationships such as CanFollow, PeerOf, and CanAlsoBe are defined to show similar attack patterns that the user may want to explore.

+ Relevant to the view "Mechanisms of Attack" (CAPEC-1000)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfMeta Attack PatternMeta Attack Pattern - A meta level attack pattern in CAPEC is a decidedly abstract characterization of a specific methodology or technique used in an attack. A meta attack pattern is often void of a specific technology or implementation and is meant to provide an understanding of a high level approach. A meta level attack pattern is a generalization of related group of standard level attack patterns. Meta level attack patterns are particularly useful for architecture and design level threat modeling exercises.165File Manipulation
ParentOfDetailed Attack PatternDetailed Attack Pattern - A detailed level attack pattern in CAPEC provides a low level of detail, typically leveraging a specific technique and targeting a specific technology, and expresses a complete execution flow. Detailed attack patterns are more specific than meta attack patterns and standard attack patterns and often require a specific protection mechanism to mitigate actual attacks. A detailed level attack pattern often will leverage a number of different standard level attack patterns chained together to accomplish a goal.35Leverage Executable Code in Non-Executable Files
ParentOfDetailed Attack PatternDetailed Attack Pattern - A detailed level attack pattern in CAPEC provides a low level of detail, typically leveraging a specific technique and targeting a specific technology, and expresses a complete execution flow. Detailed attack patterns are more specific than meta attack patterns and standard attack patterns and often require a specific protection mechanism to mitigate actual attacks. A detailed level attack pattern often will leverage a number of different standard level attack patterns chained together to accomplish a goal.168Windows ::DATA Alternate Data Stream
+ Prerequisites
The operating system must support a file system that allows for alternate data storage for a file.
+ Mitigations
Many tools are available to search for the hidden data. Scan regularly for such data using one of these tools.
+ References
[REF-493] Means, Ryan L.. "Alternate Data Streams: Out of the Shadows and into the Light". SANS Institute. <https://www.giac.org/paper/gcwn/230/alternate-data-streams-shadows-light/104234>.
+ Content History
Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2018-05-31CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation

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Page Last Updated or Reviewed: July 31, 2018