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Impair Defenses: Safe Boot Mode

Description from ATT&CK

Adversaries may abuse Windows safe mode to disable endpoint defenses. Safe mode starts up the Windows operating system with a limited set of drivers and services. Third-party security software such as endpoint detection and response (EDR) tools may not start after booting Windows in safe mode. There are two versions of safe mode: Safe Mode and Safe Mode with Networking. It is possible to start additional services after a safe mode boot.(Citation: Microsoft Safe Mode)(Citation: Sophos Snatch Ransomware 2019)

Adversaries may abuse safe mode to disable endpoint defenses that may not start with a limited boot. Hosts can be forced into safe mode after the next reboot via modifications to Boot Configuration Data (BCD) stores, which are files that manage boot application settings.(Citation: Microsoft bcdedit 2021)

Adversaries may also add their malicious applications to the list of minimal services that start in safe mode by modifying relevant Registry values (i.e. Modify Registry). Malicious Component Object Model (COM) objects may also be registered and loaded in safe mode.(Citation: Sophos Snatch Ransomware 2019)(Citation: CyberArk Labs Safe Mode 2016)(Citation: Cybereason Nocturnus MedusaLocker 2020)(Citation: BleepingComputer REvil 2021)

Atomic Tests

Atomic Test #1 - Safe Mode Boot

Allows adversaries to abuse safe mode to disable endpoint defenses that may not start with limited boot

Supported Platforms: windows

auto_generated_guid: 2a78362e-b79a-4482-8e24-be397bce4d85



Attack Commands: Run with command_prompt! Elevation Required (e.g. root or admin)

bcdedit /set safeboot network

Cleanup Commands:

bcdedit /deletevalue {current} safeboot