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I've been reading about how powerful frameworks such as Empire and Metasploit are but I'm confused about something.

Say I gain access through a custom reverse-shell which I self-coded (so it bypasses AVs). Now, for privilege escalation, I want to have a meterpreter/Empire session.

How can I do that if the payload generated gets instantly removed by the AV?

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    ... by first disabling AV ... or modifying the payload to evade AV: blackhillsinfosec.com/… This is like asking "what's the point of viruses if there is AV?" There are always ways around, and not every target is easily hackable.
    – schroeder
    Apr 16, 2021 at 14:27

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Powershell Empire passed out of active development in April 2019 (then was forked and revived as "Empire"), in part due to the problem of defenses catching up with it:

"The original objective of the Empire project was to demonstrate the post-exploitation capabilities of PowerShell and bring awareness to PowerShell attacks used by (at the time) more advanced adversaries," said Chris Ross, one of Empire's lead developers.

"We feel that we've accomplished that objective and are proud to see the security optics and improvements that have been provided by Microsoft in the past few years; in addition to the increased focus the EDR [Endpoint Detection and Response] community has placed on PowerShell based attacks.

"With that in mind, the project's time has passed and newer frameworks with better capabilities have been released," Ross added. "So it's time to say farewell to Empire. We will not be updating or maintaining the project any further."

As a high-profile attack tool, it received significant attention from defenders. Likewise, Metasploit is tracked by many tools and is prone to detection as a result. For these reasons, writing custom code is popular with attackers and Red Teams alike.

You will need to find more obscure C2 code, or write your own, if you want to evade detection.

You can find the forked Empire here - it appears to have refactored and modernized much and removed the emphasis on PowerShell.

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True, Empire's stock stagers have been signature'd by most if not all AV/EDR companies, but dosen't make Empire anyless powerful. Getting a stock stager to execute is only difficult if you have not done research on the mitigations put in place by Microsoft.

If you want to learn more about AV evasion with Powershell Empire, you need to learn about AMSI bypasses. The new maintainers of Empire have done some youtube vidoes showing you have AMSI can be bypassed easily, and how stock Empire stagers are still just as effective with slight tweaks to the code. Here is the most recent video on Windows Defender/Amsi bypass with Empire.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvKwk1wcXvM&t=1s

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