legal contact rss

APT Simulator to test your capabilities

Train your SOC/SIEM personal in detection capabilities by triggering APT IOCs.

Nextron has a fantasticly easy set of tools to simulate APT attacks on a windows machine.

APT Simulator

APT Simulator is a Windows Batch script that uses a set of tools and output files to make a system look as if it was compromised. In contrast to other adversary simulation tools, APT Simulator is deisgned to make the application as simple as possible. You don't need to run a web server, database or any agents on set of virtual machines. Just download the prepared archive, extract and run the contained Batch file as Administrator. Running APT Simulator takes less than a minute of your time.

Use Cases

  1. POCs: Endpoint detection agents / compromise assessment tools
  2. Test your security monitoring's detection capabilities
  3. Test your SOCs response on a threat that isn't EICAR or a port scan
  4. Prepare an environment for digital forensics classes

Getting Started

  1. Download the latest release from the "release" section
  2. Extract the package on a demo system (Password: apt)
  3. Start a cmd.exe as Administrator
  4. Navigate to the extracted program folder and run APTSimulator.bat


The following table shows the different test cases and the expected detection results.

  • AV = Antivirus
  • NIDS = Network Intrusion Detection System
  • EDR = Endpoint Detection and Response
  • SM = Security Monitoring
  • CA = Compromise Assessment

Collect Local Files X
C2 Connects (X) X X X
DNS Cache 1 (Cache Injection) (X) X X X
Malicious User Agents (Malware, RATs) X X X
Ncat Back Connect (Drop & Exec) X X X X
WMI Backdoor C2 X X X
LSASS Dump (with Procdump) X X X
Mimikatz 1 (Drop & Exec) X X X X
WCE 1 (Eventlog entries) X X X
Active Guest Account Admin X X X
Fake System File (Drop & Exec) X X X
Hosts File (AV/Win Update blocks) (X) X X
Obfuscated JS Dropper (X) X X X X
Obfuscation (RAR with JPG ext) (X)
Nbtscan Discovery (Scan & Output) X X (X) X
Recon Activity (Typical Commands) X X X
PsExec (Drop & Exec) X X X
Remote Execution Tool (Drop) (X) X
At Job X X X
RUN Key Entry Creation X X X
Scheduled Task Creation X X X
StickyKey Backdoor X X
UserInitMprLogonScript Persistence (X) X X
Web Shells X (X) X
WMI Backdoor X X

Test SetsCollectionCollect Local Files

  • drops pwdump output to the working dir
  • drops directory listing to the working dir

Command and ControlC2 Connects

  • Uses Curl to access well-known C2 servers

DNS Cache 1

  • Looks up several well-known C2 addresses to cause DNS requests and get the addresses into the local DNS cache

Malicious User Agents

  • Uses malicious user agents to access web sites

Ncat Back Connect

  • Drops a PowerShell Ncat alternative to the working directory and runs it to back connect to a well-known attacker domain

WMI Backdoor C2

  • Using Matt Graeber's WMIBackdoor to contact a C2 in certain intervals

Credential AccessLSASS DUMP

  • Dumps LSASS process memory to a suspicious folder


  • Dumps mimikatz output to working directory (fallback if other executions fail)
  • Run special version of mimikatz and dump output to working directory
  • Run Invoke-Mimikatz in memory (github download, reflection)


  • Creates Windwows Eventlog entries that look as if WCE had been executed

Defense EvasionActive Guest Account Admin

  • Activates Guest user
  • Adds Guest user to the local administrators

Fake System File

  • Drops suspicious executable with system file name (svchost.exe) in %PUBLIC% folder
  • Runs that suspicious program in %PUBLIC% folder


  • Adds entries to the local hosts file (update blocker, entries caused by malware)

JS Dropper

  • Runs obfuscated JavaScript code with wscript.exe and starts decoded bind shell on port 1234/tcp


  • Drops a cloaked RAR file with JPG extension

DiscoveryNbtscan Discovery

  • Scanning 3 private IP address class-C subnets and dumping the output to the working directory


  • Executes command used by attackers to get information about a target system


  • Dump a renamed version of PsExec to the working directory
  • Run PsExec to start a command line in LOCAL_SYSTEM context

Remote Execution Tool

  • Drops a remote execution tool to the working directory

Lateral Movement

No test cases yet

PersistenceAt Job

  • Creates an at job that runs mimikatz and dumps credentials to file


  • Create a suspicious new RUN key entry that dumps "net user" output to a file

Scheduled Task

  • Creates a scheduled task that runs mimikatz and dumps the output to a file

Scheduled Task XML

  • Creates a scheduled task via XML file using Invoke-SchtasksBackdoor.ps1

Sticky Key Backdoor

  • Tries to replace sethc.exe with cmd.exe (a backup file is created)
  • Tries to register cmd.exe as debugger for sethc.exe

Web Shells

  • Creates a standard web root directory
  • Drops standard web shells to that diretory
  • Drops GIF obfuscated web shell to that diretory

UserInitMprLogonScript Persistence

  • Using the UserInitMprLogonScript key to get persistence

WMI Backdoor

  • Using Matt Graeber's WMIBackdoor to kill local procexp64.exe when it starts


Further reading/Advanced Solutions

The CALDERA automated adversary emulation system

Infection Monkey - An automated pentest tool

Flightsim - A utility to generate malicious network traffic and evaluate controls