T1203: Exploitation for Client Execution

Adversaries may exploit software vulnerabilities in client applications to execute code. Vulnerabilities can exist in software due to unsecure coding practices that can lead to unanticipated behavior. Adversaries can take advantage of certain vulnerabilities through targeted exploitation for the purpose of arbitrary code execution. Oftentimes the most valuable exploits to an offensive toolkit are those that can be used to obtain code execution on a remote system because they can be used to gain access to that system. Users will expect to see files related to applications they commonly used to do work , so they are a useful target for exploit research and development because of their high utility.
Several types exist:
Browser-based Exploitation
Web browsers are a common target through Drive-by Compromise and Spearphishing Link. Endpoint systems may be compromised through normal web browsing or from certain users being targeted by links in spearphishing mails to adversary controlled sites used to exploit the web browser. These often do not require an action by the user for the exploit to be executed.
Office Applications
Common office and productivity applications such as Microsoft Office are also targeted through Phishing. Malicious files will be transmitted directly as attachments or through links to download them. These require the user to open the document or file for the exploit to run.
Common Third-party Applications
Other applications that are commonly seen or are part of the software deployed in a target network may also be used for exploitation. Applications such as Adobe Reader and Flash, which are common in enterprise environments, have been routinely targeted by adversaries attempting to gain access to systems. Depending on the software and nature of the vulnerability, some may be exploited in the browser or require the user to open a file. For instance, some Flash exploits have been delivered as objects within Microsoft Office documents.