Adversaries may attempt to identify the primary user, currently logged in user, set of users that commonly uses a system, or whether a user is actively using the system. They may do this, for example, by retrieving account usernames or by using OS Credential Dumping. The information may be collected in a number of different ways using other Discovery techniques, because user and username details are prevalent throughout a system and include running process ownership, file/directory ownership, session information, and system logs. Adversaries may use the information from System Owner/User Discovery during automated discovery to shape follow-on behaviors, including whether or not the adversary fully infects the target and/or attempts specific actions.
Various utilities and commands may acquire this information, including
whoami. In macOS and Linux, the currently logged in user can be identified with
who. On macOS the
dscl . list /Users | grep -v '_' command can also be used to enumerate user accounts. Environment variables, such as
$USER, may also be used to access this information.