What is MITRE ATT&CK Resource Development (TA0042)?

The MITRE ATT&CK Framework is a knowledge base that is used to describe the actions and behavior of cyber adversaries. ATT&CK stands for Adversarial Tactics, Techniques, and Common Knowledge. The framework categorizes various tactics and techniques that adversaries may use to achieve their objectives.

One of the tactics in the MITRE ATT&CK Framework is "Resource Development" (TA0042). This tactic focuses on how adversaries create, buy, or steal resources they need to conduct their operations. The resources in question can range from buying domain names, acquiring SSL certificates, compromising legitimate web servers, and even setting up social media profiles that can be used for spearphishing campaigns or information gathering.

Techniques Included in Resource Development

Here's a more detailed look at the kinds of activities that fall under Resource Development:

  1. Acquire Infrastructure: This includes activities such as purchasing or compromising servers that will host malware or act as a command and control center for a botnet.
  2. Compromise Infrastructure: Capturing third-party infrastructure that can be utilized during a targeted attack is paramount for adversaries. These infrastructure solutions may include third-party web or DNS services, domains, cloud servers, or physical servers. It can even include the capturing of several devices to form a botnet.
  3. Compromise Accounts: Adversaries may hack or buy stolen accounts, especially social media or email accounts, which can be used to spread misinformation or to spear-phish targets.
  4. Establish Accounts: Adversaries often create new accounts, which might appear legitimate, to interact with potential targets or to serve as a repository for stolen data.
  5. Obtain Capabilities: This involves purchasing or developing malware, ransomware, or other malicious tools that the adversary needs for their operation.
  6. Personas and Bots: Creating fake online personas or using automated bots for activities such as spreading misinformation or conducting surveillance.
  7. Virtual Private Servers: These can be set up to anonymize the adversary's activities, making it harder to trace back malicious activity to its source.
  8. Traffic Sourcing: Using various means to generate or redirect web traffic, often as a way to legitimize a website or service or to overload a target as part of a Denial of Service attack.

Importance of Protecting Against Resource Development

  1. Early Detection: Many times, the resource development phase happens before the actual attack. Detecting adversary activity during this phase can serve as an early warning system.
  2. Attribution and Tracking: Observing the resources that an adversary is developing can sometimes make it easier to attribute attacks to specific groups or individuals.
  3. Holistic Defense: A security stack that can protect against or detect resource development is likely to be more robust, as it accounts for the full range of an adversary’s activities, not just the obvious ones like malware deployment.
  4. Reducing Operational Space: If you can deny or restrict an adversary's ability to develop resources, you essentially limit their operational space, making it harder for them to conduct a successful attack.

To protect against Resource Development:

  1. Monitoring and Alerting: Use threat intelligence services to keep tabs on newly registered domains, SSL certificates, and other indicators that could suggest an adversary is in the resource development phase.
  2. User Training: Educate users on how to recognize phishing attempts and the risks of social engineering, as compromised accounts are often used in these attacks.
  3. Advanced Analytics: Employ machine learning and AI-based analytics to spot anomalies in account behaviors, which could indicate that they have been compromised.
  4. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): MFA can provide an additional layer of security that can protect against compromised accounts being used as a resource by adversaries.

Understanding and defending against Resource Development is crucial for a well-rounded cybersecurity strategy. By accounting for this often-overlooked aspect of adversarial behavior, organizations can better protect themselves against cyber threats.


NETSCOUT offers a robust cybersecurity solution in Omnis Network Security. The cornerstone of this solution is Omnis Cyber Intelligence (OCI), which provides unmatched visibility and scalability to keep the largest and most complex networks secure. OCI helps identify threats when they target your network, but Resource Development is typically a pre-compromise event, making it difficult to detect and mitigate as the adversary has not yet attacked your network.