Standard Application Layer Protocol
Adversaries may communicate using a common, standardized application layer protocol such as HTTP, HTTPS, SMTP, or DNS to avoid detection by blending in with existing traffic.
In the mobile environment, the Google Cloud Messaging (GCM; two-way) and Apple Push Notification Service (APNS; one-way server-to-device) are commonly used protocols on Android and iOS respectively that would blend in with routine device traffic and are difficult for enterprises to inspect. Google reportedly responds to reports of abuse by blocking access to GCM.
Rotexy can communicate with the command and control server using JSON payloads sent in HTTP POST request bodies. It can also communicate by using JSON messages sent through Google Cloud Messaging.
This type of attack technique cannot be easily mitigated with preventive controls since it is based on the abuse of system features.
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