Background Activity Montitor

The Background Activity Monitor and Desktop Activity Monitor registry artifacts provide evidence of execution on an endpoint. It is only available in Windows 10 and Windows 11.

Analysis Value

Operating System Availability

Background Activity Montitor is only available for Windows 10 systems with update 1709 (Redstone 3) and later.

Artifact Location(s)

Newer Windows 10 Systems

  • File: %SystemRoot%\System32\config\SYSTEM

  • BAM: SYSTEM\{CURRENT_CONTROL_SET}\Services\bam\state\UserSettings\{USER_SID}

  • DAM: SYSTEM\{CURRENT_CONTROL_SET}\Services\dam\state\UserSettings\{USER_SID}

Older Windows 10 Systems

  • File: %SystemRoot%\System32\config\SYSTEM

  • BAM: SYSTEM\{CURRENT_CONTROL_SET}\Services\bam\UserSettings\{USER_SID}

  • DAM: SYSTEM\{CURRENT_CONTROL_SET}\Services\dam\UserSettings\{USER_SID}

For more information on determining the correct CurrentControlSet, visit Select Registry Key

Artifact Parsers

  • RegistryExplorer (Eric Zimmerman)

Artifact Interpretation

The Execution Time as seen in RegistryExplorer represents the most recent time of execution for the binary in UTC. The Program field represents the full path the the binary.

Based on testing, this execution time is written upon process creation, and again on termination.

In the event that you are parsing or interpreting this artifact manually, the following CyberChef recipe can be used to convert Windows FILETIME timestamps to a date and time:

  { "op": "From Hex",
    "args": ["Auto"] },
  { "op": "To Hex",
    "args": ["None", 0] },
  { "op": "Windows Filetime to UNIX Timestamp",
    "args": ["Milliseconds (ms)", "Hex (little endian)"] },
  { "op": "From UNIX Timestamp",
    "args": ["Milliseconds (ms)"] }

Console applications that are launched through a command line interface will not have BAM/DAM entries.

Analysis Tips

Suspicious Execution Locations

Search for BAM entries for executables that reside in suspicious locations, such as:

  • User Downloads directories

  • Other user profile directories such as Desktop or Documents

  • C:\Temp

  • C:\PerfLogs

Example: Execution Timestamp

  • Path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Services\bam\State\UserSettings\S-1-5-21-3471133136-2963561160-3931775028-1001

  • Key: \Device\HarddiskVolume4\Program Files\PuTTY\putty.exe

  • Type: REG_BINARY

  • Value: 60-9F-62-A8-FB-6C-D9-01-00-00-00-00-00-00-00-00-00-00-00-00-02-00-00-00

The 64-Bit FILETIME timestamp 60-9F-62-A8-FB-6C-D9-01 resolves to Wed 12 April 2023 05:00:10 UTC, which is the last known execution of the binary putty.exe.

This example was produced on Windows 10, Version 10.0.19044 Build 19044

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