Adversaries may use an existing, legitimate external Web service as a means for relaying data to/from a compromised system. Popular websites and social media, acting as a mechanism for C2, may give a significant amount of cover. This is due to the likelihood that hosts within a network are already communicating with them prior to a compromise. Using common services, such as those offered by Google or Twitter, makes it easier for adversaries to hide in expected noise. Web service providers commonly use SSL/TLS encryption, giving adversaries an added level of protection.
Use of Web services may also protect back-end C2 infrastructure from discovery through malware binary analysis, or enable operational resiliency (since this infrastructure may be dynamically changed).
This type of attack technique cannot be easily mitigated with preventive controls since it is based on the abuse of system features.
|ID||Data Source||Data Component|
|DS0041||Application Vetting||Network Communication|
Application vetting services may provide a list of connections made or received by an application, or a list of domains contacted by the application.