Adversaries may employ a known asymmetric encryption algorithm to conceal command and control traffic rather than relying on any inherent protections provided by a communication protocol. Asymmetric cryptography, also known as public key cryptography, uses a keypair per party: one public that can be freely distributed, and one private. Due to how the keys are generated, the sender encrypts data with the receiver’s public key and the receiver decrypts the data with their private key. This ensures that only the intended recipient can read the encrypted data. Common public key encryption algorithms include RSA and ElGamal.
For efficiency, many protocols (including SSL/TLS) use symmetric cryptography once a connection is established, but use asymmetric cryptography to establish or transmit a key. As such, these protocols are classified as Asymmetric Cryptography.
Cyclops Blink can encrypt C2 messages with AES-256-CBC sent underneath TLS. OpenSSL library functions are also used to encrypt each message using a randomly generated key and IV, which are then encrypted using a hard-coded RSA public key.
|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 activity at the network level.
SSL/TLS inspection can be used to see the contents of encrypted sessions to look for network-based indicators of malware communication protocols.
|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)).