Connection Proxy

Adversaries may use a connection proxy to direct network traffic between systems or act as an intermediary for network communications.

The definition of a proxy can also be expanded to encompass trust relationships between networks in peer-to-peer, mesh, or trusted connections between networks consisting of hosts or systems that regularly communicate with each other.

The network may be within a single organization or across multiple organizations with trust relationships. Adversaries could use these types of relationships to manage command and control communications, to reduce the number of simultaneous outbound network connections, to provide resiliency in the face of connection loss, or to ride over existing trusted communications paths between victims to avoid suspicion. [1]

ID: T0884
Sub-techniques:  No sub-techniques
Platforms: None
Version: 1.1
Created: 21 May 2020
Last Modified: 20 October 2022

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description

The INCONTROLLER PLCProxy module can add an IP route to the CODESYS gateway running on Schneider PLCs to allow it to route messages through the PLC to other devices on that network. This allows the malware to bypass firewall rules that prevent it from directly communicating with devices on the same network as the PLC.[2]

S0604 Industroyer

Industroyer attempts to connect with a hardcoded internal proxy on TCP 3128 [default Squid proxy]. If established, the backdoor attempts to reach an external C2 server via the internal proxy. [3]

G0034 Sandworm Team

Sandworm Team establishes an internal proxy prior to the installation of backdoors within the network. [3]


ID Mitigation Description
M0937 Filter Network Traffic

Traffic to known anonymity networks and C2 infrastructure can be blocked through the use of network allow and block lists. It should be noted that this kind of blocking may be circumvented by other techniques likeDomain Fronting.

M0807 Network Allowlists

Network allowlists can be implemented through either host-based files or system host files to specify what external connections (e.g., IP address, MAC address, port, protocol) can be made from a device. Allowlist techniques that operate at the application layer (e.g., DNP3, Modbus, HTTP) are addressed in the Filter Network Traffic mitigation.

M0931 Network Intrusion Prevention

Network intrusion detection and prevention systems that use network signatures to identify traffic for specific adversary malware can be used to mitigate activity at the network level. Signatures are often for unique indicators within protocols and may be based on the specific C2 protocol used by a particular adversary or tool and will likely be different across various malware families and versions. Adversaries will likely change tool C2 signatures over time or construct protocols in such a way as to avoid detection by common defensive tools. [4]

M0920 SSL/TLS Inspection

If it is possible to inspect HTTPS traffic, the captures can be analyzed for connections that appear to be domain fronting.


ID Data Source Data Component Detects
DS0029 Network Traffic Network Traffic Content

Monitor and analyze traffic patterns and packet inspection associated to protocol(s) that do not follow the expected protocol standards and traffic flows (e.g., extraneous packets that do not belong to established flows, gratuitous or anomalous traffic patterns, anomalous syntax, or structure). Consider correlation with process monitoring and command line to detect anomalous processes execution and command line arguments associated to traffic patterns (e.g., monitor anomalies in use of files that do not normally initiate connections for respective protocol(s)).

Network Traffic Flow

Monitor for known proxy protocols (e.g., SOCKS, Tor, peer-to-peer protocols) and tool usage (e.g., Squid, peer-to-peer software) on the network that are not part of normal operations. Also monitor network data for uncommon data flows. Processes utilizing the network that do not normally have network communication or have never been seen before are suspicious.