Adversaries may sniff network traffic to capture information about an environment, including authentication material passed over the network. Network sniffing refers to using the network interface on a system to monitor or capture information sent over a wired or wireless connection. An adversary may place a network interface into promiscuous mode to passively access data in transit over the network, or use span ports to capture a larger amount of data.
Data captured via this technique may include user credentials, especially those sent over an insecure, unencrypted protocol. Techniques for name service resolution poisoning, such as LLMNR/NBT-NS Poisoning and SMB Relay, can also be used to capture credentials to websites, proxies, and internal systems by redirecting traffic to an adversary.
Network sniffing may also reveal configuration details, such as running services, version numbers, and other network characteristics (e.g. IP addresses, hostnames, VLAN IDs) necessary for subsequent Lateral Movement and/or Defense Evasion activities.
MESSAGETAP uses the libpcap library to listen to all traffic and parses network protocols starting with Ethernet and IP layers. It continues parsing protocol layers including SCTP, SCCP, and TCAP and finally extracts SMS message data and routing metadata. 
|Encrypt Sensitive Information||
Ensure that all wired and/or wireless traffic is encrypted appropriately. Use best practices for authentication protocols, such as Kerberos, and ensure web traffic that may contain credentials is protected by SSL/TLS.
Use multi-factor authentication wherever possible.
Detecting the events leading up to sniffing network traffic may be the best method of detection. From the host level, an adversary would likely need to perform a man-in-the-middle attack against other devices on a wired network in order to capture traffic that was not to or from the current compromised system. This change in the flow of information is detectable at the enclave network level. Monitor for ARP spoofing and gratuitous ARP broadcasts. Detecting compromised network devices is a bit more challenging. Auditing administrator logins, configuration changes, and device images is required to detect malicious changes.
- Gaffie, L. (2016, August 25). Responder. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
- SecureAuth. (n.d.). Retrieved January 15, 2019.
- Schroeder, W., Warner, J., Nelson, M. (n.d.). Github PowerShellEmpire. Retrieved April 28, 2016.
- Nettitude. (2018, July 23). Python Server for PoshC2. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
- Kaspersky Lab's Global Research and Analysis Team. (2014, November 24). THE REGIN PLATFORM NATION-STATE OWNAGE OF GSM NETWORKS. Retrieved December 1, 2014.
- Salvio, J.. (2014, June 27). New Banking Malware Uses Network Sniffing for Data Theft. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
- Leong, R., Perez, D., Dean, T. (2019, October 31). MESSAGETAP: Who’s Reading Your Text Messages?. Retrieved May 11, 2020.
- FireEye. (2015). APT28: A WINDOW INTO RUSSIA’S CYBER ESPIONAGE OPERATIONS?. Retrieved August 19, 2015.
- Smith, L. and Read, B.. (2017, August 11). APT28 Targets Hospitality Sector, Presents Threat to Travelers. Retrieved August 17, 2017.
- ASERT team. (2018, December 5). STOLEN PENCIL Campaign Targets Academia. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
- Security Response attack Investigation Team. (2019, March 27). Elfin: Relentless Espionage Group Targets Multiple Organizations in Saudi Arabia and U.S.. Retrieved April 10, 2019.
- Golovanov, S. (2018, December 6). DarkVishnya: Banks attacked through direct connection to local network. Retrieved May 15, 2020.
- Cherepanov, A.. (2016, December 13). The rise of TeleBots: Analyzing disruptive KillDisk attacks. Retrieved June 10, 2020.