Impair Defenses: Disable or Modify System Firewall

Adversaries may disable or modify system firewalls in order to bypass controls limiting network usage. Changes could be disabling the entire mechanism as well as adding, deleting, or modifying particular rules. This can be done numerous ways depending on the operating system, including via command-line, editing Windows Registry keys, and Windows Control Panel.

Modifying or disabling a system firewall may enable adversary C2 communications, lateral movement, and/or data exfiltration that would otherwise not be allowed.

ID: T1562.004
Sub-technique of:  T1562
Tactic: Defense Evasion
Platforms: Linux, Windows, macOS
Defense Bypassed: Firewall
Version: 1.0
Created: 21 February 2020
Last Modified: 29 March 2020

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
G0016 APT29

APT29 used netsh to configure firewall rules that limited certain UDP outbound packets.[1]

G0082 APT38

APT38 have created firewall exemptions on specific ports, including ports 443, 6443, 8443, and 9443.[2]


The "ZR" variant of BACKSPACE will check to see if known host-based firewalls are installed on the infected systems. BACKSPACE will attempt to establish a C2 channel, then will examine open windows to identify a pop-up from the firewall software and will simulate a mouse-click to allow the connection to proceed.[3]


BADCALL disables the Windows firewall before binding to a port.[4]

G0008 Carbanak

Carbanak may use netsh to add local firewall rule exceptions.[5]

S0492 CookieMiner

CookieMiner has checked for the presence of "Little Snitch", macOS network monitoring and application firewall software, stopping and exiting if it is found.[6]

S0687 Cyclops Blink

Cyclops Blink can modify the Linux iptables firewall to enable C2 communication via a stored list of port numbers.[7][8]

S0334 DarkComet

DarkComet can disable Security Center functions like the Windows Firewall.[9][10]

G0035 Dragonfly

Dragonfly has disabled host-based firewalls. The group has also globally opened port 3389.[11]

S0531 Grandoreiro

Grandoreiro can block the Deibold Warsaw GAS Tecnologia security tool at the firewall level.[12]

S0132 H1N1

H1N1 kills and disables services for Windows Firewall.[13]


HARDRAIN opens the Windows Firewall to modify incoming connections.[14]


HOPLIGHT has modified the firewall using netsh.[15]

S0260 InvisiMole

InvisiMole has a command to disable routing and the Firewall on the victim’s machine.[16]

S0088 Kasidet

Kasidet has the ability to change firewall settings to allow a plug-in to be downloaded.[17]

G0094 Kimsuky

Kimsuky has been observed disabling the system firewall.[18]

G0032 Lazarus Group

Various Lazarus Group malware modifies the Windows firewall to allow incoming connections or disable it entirely using netsh. [19][20][21]

S0336 NanoCore

NanoCore can modify the victim's firewall.[22][23]

S0108 netsh

netsh can be used to disable local firewall settings.[24][25]

S0385 njRAT

njRAT has modified the Windows firewall to allow itself to communicate through the firewall.[26][27]

G0116 Operation Wocao

Operation Wocao has used PowerShell to add and delete rules in the Windows firewall.[28]

S0125 Remsec

Remsec can add or remove applications or ports on the Windows firewall or disable it entirely.[29]

G0106 Rocke

Rocke used scripts which killed processes and added firewall rules to block traffic related to other cryptominers.[30]

G0139 TeamTNT

TeamTNT has disabled iptables.[31]


TYPEFRAME can open the Windows Firewall on the victim’s machine to allow incoming connections.[32]

S0412 ZxShell

ZxShell can disable the firewall by modifying the registry key HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\SharedAccess\Parameters\FirewallPolicy\StandardProfile.[33]


ID Mitigation Description
M1022 Restrict File and Directory Permissions

Ensure proper process and file permissions are in place to prevent adversaries from disabling or modifying firewall settings.

M1024 Restrict Registry Permissions

Ensure proper Registry permissions are in place to prevent adversaries from disabling or modifying firewall settings.

M1018 User Account Management

Ensure proper user permissions are in place to prevent adversaries from disabling or modifying firewall settings.


ID Data Source Data Component
DS0017 Command Command Execution
DS0018 Firewall Firewall Disable
Firewall Rule Modification
DS0024 Windows Registry Windows Registry Key Modification

Monitor processes and command-line arguments to see if firewalls are disabled or modified. Monitor Registry edits to keys that manage firewalls.


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  13. Reynolds, J.. (2016, September 14). H1N1: Technical analysis reveals new capabilities – part 2. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
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  15. US-CERT. (2019, April 10). MAR-10135536-8 – North Korean Trojan: HOPLIGHT. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  16. Hromcová, Z. (2018, June 07). InvisiMole: Surprisingly equipped spyware, undercover since 2013. Retrieved July 10, 2018.
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  1. Tarakanov , D.. (2013, September 11). The “Kimsuky” Operation: A North Korean APT?. Retrieved August 13, 2019.
  2. Novetta Threat Research Group. (2016, February 24). Operation Blockbuster: Unraveling the Long Thread of the Sony Attack. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  3. Novetta Threat Research Group. (2016, February 24). Operation Blockbuster: Loaders, Installers and Uninstallers Report. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  4. Novetta Threat Research Group. (2016, February 24). Operation Blockbuster: Tools Report. Retrieved March 10, 2016.
  5. The DigiTrust Group. (2017, January 01). NanoCore Is Not Your Average RAT. Retrieved November 9, 2018.
  6. Kasza, A., Halfpop, T. (2016, February 09). NanoCoreRAT Behind an Increase in Tax-Themed Phishing E-mails. Retrieved November 9, 2018.
  7. Microsoft. (n.d.). Using Netsh. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  8. Microsoft. (2009, June 3). Netsh Commands for Windows Firewall. Retrieved April 20, 2016.
  9. Fidelis Cybersecurity. (2013, June 28). Fidelis Threat Advisory #1009: "njRAT" Uncovered. Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  10. Pascual, C. (2018, November 27). AutoIt-Compiled Worm Affecting Removable Media Delivers Fileless Version of BLADABINDI/njRAT Backdoor. Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  11. Dantzig, M. v., Schamper, E. (2019, December 19). Operation Wocao: Shining a light on one of China’s hidden hacking groups. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  12. Kaspersky Lab's Global Research & Analysis Team. (2016, August 9). The ProjectSauron APT. Technical Analysis. Retrieved August 17, 2016.
  13. Liebenberg, D.. (2018, August 30). Rocke: The Champion of Monero Miners. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  14. Kol, Roi. Morag, A. (2020, August 25). Deep Analysis of TeamTNT Techniques Using Container Images to Attack. Retrieved September 22, 2021.
  15. US-CERT. (2018, June 14). MAR-10135536-12 – North Korean Trojan: TYPEFRAME. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  16. Allievi, A., et al. (2014, October 28). Threat Spotlight: Group 72, Opening the ZxShell. Retrieved September 24, 2019.