Process Injection

Adversaries may inject code into processes in order to evade process-based defenses as well as possibly elevate privileges. Process injection is a method of executing arbitrary code in the address space of a separate live process. Running code in the context of another process may allow access to the process's memory, system/network resources, and possibly elevated privileges. Execution via process injection may also evade detection from security products since the execution is masked under a legitimate process.

There are many different ways to inject code into a process, many of which abuse legitimate functionalities. These implementations exist for every major OS but are typically platform specific.

More sophisticated samples may perform multiple process injections to segment modules and further evade detection, utilizing named pipes or other inter-process communication (IPC) mechanisms as a communication channel.

ID: T1055
Platforms: Linux, Windows, macOS
Defense Bypassed: Anti-virus, Application control
Contributors: Anastasios Pingios; Christiaan Beek, @ChristiaanBeek; Ryan Becwar
Version: 1.2
Created: 31 May 2017
Last Modified: 08 March 2022

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
S0469 ABK

ABK has the ability to inject shellcode into svchost.exe.[1]

S0331 Agent Tesla

Agent Tesla can inject into known, vulnerable binaries on targeted hosts.[2]

G0050 APT32

APT32 malware has injected a Cobalt Strike beacon into Rundll32.exe.[3]

G0067 APT37

APT37 injects its malware variant, ROKRAT, into the cmd.exe process.[4]

G0096 APT41

APT41 malware TIDYELF loaded the main WINTERLOVE component by injecting it into the iexplore.exe process.[5]

S0438 Attor

Attor's dispatcher can inject itself into running processes to gain higher privileges and to evade detection.[6]

S0347 AuditCred

AuditCred can inject code from files to other running processes.[7]

S0473 Avenger

Avenger has the ability to inject shellcode into svchost.exe.[1]

S0093 Backdoor.Oldrea

Backdoor.Oldrea injects itself into explorer.exe.[8][9]

S0534 Bazar

Bazar can inject code through calling VirtualAllocExNuma.[10]

S0470 BBK

BBK has the ability to inject shellcode into svchost.exe.[1]

S0348 Cardinal RAT

Cardinal RAT injects into a newly spawned process created from a native Windows executable.[11]

S0660 Clambling

Clambling can inject into the svchost.exe process for execution.[12]

G0080 Cobalt Group

Cobalt Group has injected code into trusted processes.[13]

S0154 Cobalt Strike

Cobalt Strike can inject a variety of payloads into processes dynamically chosen by the adversary.[14][15]

S0695 Donut

Donut includes a subproject DonutTest to inject shellcode into a target process.[16]

S0024 Dyre

Dyre has the ability to directly inject its code into the web browser process.[17]

S0554 Egregor

Egregor can inject its payload into iexplore.exe process.[18]

S0363 Empire

Empire contains multiple modules for injecting into processes, such as Invoke-PSInject.[19]

S0168 Gazer

Gazer injects its communication module into an Internet accessible process through which it performs C2.[20][21]

S0032 gh0st RAT

gh0st RAT can inject malicious code into process created by the "Command_Create&Inject" function.[22]

S0561 GuLoader

GuLoader has the ability to inject shellcode into a donor processes that is started in a suspended state. GuLoader has previously used RegAsm as a donor process.[23]

G0072 Honeybee

Honeybee uses a batch file to load a DLL into the svchost.exe process.[24]


HOPLIGHT has injected into running processes.[25]


HTRAN can inject into into running processes.[26]

S0398 HyperBro

HyperBro can run shellcode it injects into a newly created process.[27]

S0260 InvisiMole

InvisiMole can inject itself into another process to avoid detection including use of a technique called ListPlanting that customizes the sorting algorithm in a ListView structure.[28]

S0581 IronNetInjector

IronNetInjector can use an IronPython scripts to load a .NET injector to inject a payload into its own or a remote process.[29]


JHUHUGIT performs code injection injecting its own functions to browser processes.[30][31]

S0201 JPIN

JPIN can inject content into lsass.exe to load a module.[32]

G0094 Kimsuky

Kimsuky has used Win7Elevate to inject malicious code into explorer.exe.[33]

S0681 Lizar

Lizar can migrate the loader into another process.[34]

S0247 NavRAT

NavRAT copies itself into a running Internet Explorer process to evade detection.[35]


NETWIRE can inject code into system processes including notepad.exe, svchost.exe, and vbc.exe.[36]

G0116 Operation Wocao

Operation Wocao has injected code into a selected process, which in turn launches a command as a child process of the original.[37]

S0664 Pandora

Pandora can start and inject code into a new svchost process.[38]


PLATINUM has used various methods of process injection including hot patching.[32]

S0378 PoshC2

PoshC2 contains multiple modules for injecting into processes, such as Invoke-PSInject.[39]

S0650 QakBot

QakBot can inject itself into processes including explore.exe, Iexplore.exe, and Mobsync.exe.[40][41][42][43]

S0332 Remcos

Remcos has a command to hide itself through injecting into another process.[44]

S0496 REvil

REvil can inject itself into running processes on a compromised host.[45]


ROKRAT can use VirtualAlloc, WriteProcessMemory, and then CreateRemoteThread to execute shellcode within the address space of Notepad.exe.[46]

S0446 Ryuk

Ryuk has injected itself into remote processes to encrypt files using a combination of VirtualAlloc, WriteProcessMemory, and CreateRemoteThread.[47]

S0596 ShadowPad

ShadowPad has injected an install module into a newly created process.[48]

G0104 Sharpshooter

Sharpshooter has leveraged embedded shellcode to inject a downloader into the memory of Word.[49]

G0091 Silence

Silence has injected a DLL library containing a Trojan into the fwmain32.exe process.[50]


SILENTTRINITY can inject shellcode directly into Excel.exe or a specific process.[51]

S0633 Sliver

Sliver can inject code into local and remote processes.[52][53]


SLOTHFULMEDIA can inject into running processes on a compromised host.[54]

S0226 Smoke Loader

Smoke Loader injects into the Internet Explorer process.[55]

S0380 StoneDrill

StoneDrill has relied on injecting its payload directly into the process memory of the victim's preferred browser.[56]

S0266 TrickBot

TrickBot has used Nt* Native API functions to inject code into legitimate processes such as wermgr.exe.[57]

S0436 TSCookie

TSCookie has the ability to inject code into the svchost.exe, iexplorer.exe, explorer.exe, and default browser processes.[58]

G0010 Turla

Turla has also used PowerSploit's Invoke-ReflectivePEInjection.ps1 to reflectively load a PowerShell payload into a random process on the victim system.[59]

S0670 WarzoneRAT

WarzoneRAT has the ability to inject malicious DLLs into a specific process for privilege escalation.[60]

S0579 Waterbear

Waterbear can inject decrypted shellcode into the LanmanServer service.[61]

S0689 WhisperGate

WhisperGate has the ability to inject its fourth stage into a suspended process created by the legitimate Windows utility InstallUtil.exe.[62]

S0206 Wiarp

Wiarp creates a backdoor through which remote attackers can inject files into running processes.[63]

S0176 Wingbird

Wingbird performs multiple process injections to hijack system processes and execute malicious code.[64]


ID Mitigation Description
M1040 Behavior Prevention on Endpoint

Some endpoint security solutions can be configured to block some types of process injection based on common sequences of behavior that occur during the injection process. For example, on Windows 10, Attack Surface Reduction (ASR) rules may prevent Office applications from code injection. [65]

M1026 Privileged Account Management

Utilize Yama (ex: /proc/sys/kernel/yama/ptrace_scope) to mitigate ptrace based process injection by restricting the use of ptrace to privileged users only. Other mitigation controls involve the deployment of security kernel modules that provide advanced access control and process restrictions such as SELinux, grsecurity, and AppArmor.


ID Data Source Data Component
DS0022 File File Metadata
File Modification
DS0011 Module Module Load
DS0009 Process OS API Execution
Process Access
Process Modification

Monitoring Windows API calls indicative of the various types of code injection may generate a significant amount of data and may not be directly useful for defense unless collected under specific circumstances for known bad sequences of calls, since benign use of API functions may be common and difficult to distinguish from malicious behavior. Windows API calls such as CreateRemoteThread, SuspendThread/SetThreadContext/ResumeThread, QueueUserAPC/NtQueueApcThread, and those that can be used to modify memory within another process, such as VirtualAllocEx/WriteProcessMemory, may be used for this technique.[66]

Monitor DLL/PE file events, specifically creation of these binary files as well as the loading of DLLs into processes. Look for DLLs that are not recognized or not normally loaded into a process.

Monitoring for Linux specific calls such as the ptrace system call should not generate large amounts of data due to their specialized nature, and can be a very effective method to detect some of the common process injection methods.[67] [68] [69] [70]

Monitor for named pipe creation and connection events (Event IDs 17 and 18) for possible indicators of infected processes with external modules.[71]

Analyze process behavior to determine if a process is performing actions it usually does not, such as opening network connections, reading files, or other suspicious actions that could relate to post-compromise behavior.


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