Adversaries may obfuscate command and control traffic to make it more difficult to detect. Command and control (C2) communications are hidden (but not necessarily encrypted) in an attempt to make the content more difficult to discover or decipher and to make the communication less conspicuous and hide commands from being seen. This encompasses many methods, such as adding junk data to protocol traffic, using steganography, or impersonating legitimate protocols.
The Axiom group has used other forms of obfuscation, include commingling legitimate traffic with communications traffic so that network streams appear legitimate.
|M1031||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 some obfuscation activity at the network level.
|ID||Data Source||Data Component|
|DS0029||Network Traffic||Network Traffic Content|
Analyze network data for uncommon data flows (e.g., a client sending significantly more data than it receives from a server). Processes utilizing the network that do not normally have network communication or have never been seen before are suspicious. Analyze packet contents to detect communications that do not follow the expected protocol behavior for the port that is being used.