T1076: RDP Hijacking for Lateral Movement with tscon

This lab explores a technique that allows a SYSTEM account to move laterally through the network using RDP without the need for credentials.


It is possible by design to switch from one user's desktop session to another through the Task Manager (one of the ways).

Below shows that there are two users on the system and currently the administrator session is in active:

Let's switch to the spotless session - this requires knowing the user's password, which for this exercise is known, so lets enter it:

We are now reconnected to the spotless session:

Now this is where it gets interesting. It is possible to reconnect to a users session without knowing their password if you have SYSTEM level privileges on the system. Let's elevate to SYSTEM using psexec (privilege escalation exploits, service creation or any other technique will also do):

psexec -s cmd

Enumerate available sessions on the host with query user:

Switch to the spotless session without getting requested for a password by using the native windows binary tscon.exethat enables users to connect to other desktop sessions by specifying which session ID (2 in this case for the spotless session) should be connected to which session (console in this case, where the active administator session originates from):

cmd /k tscon 2 /dest:console

Immediately after that, we are presented with the desktop session for spotless:


Looking at the logs, tscon.exe being executed as a SYSTEM user is something you may want to investigate further to make sure this is not a lateral movement attempt:

Also, note how event_data.LogonID and event_ids 4778 (logon) and 4779 (logoff) events can be used to figure out which desktop sessions got disconnected/reconnected:

Administrator session disconnected
Spotless session reconnected (hijacked)

Just reinforcing the above - note the usernames and logon session IDs: