Acquire Infrastructure: Domains

Adversaries may acquire domains that can be used during targeting. Domain names are the human readable names used to represent one or more IP addresses. They can be purchased or, in some cases, acquired for free.

Adversaries may use acquired domains for a variety of purposes, including for Phishing, Drive-by Compromise, and Command and Control.[1] Adversaries may choose domains that are similar to legitimate domains, including through use of homoglyphs or use of a different top-level domain (TLD).[2][3] Typosquatting may be used to aid in delivery of payloads via Drive-by Compromise. Adversaries may also use internationalized domain names (IDNs) and different character sets (e.g. Cyrillic, Greek, etc.) to execute "IDN homograph attacks," creating visually similar lookalike domains used to deliver malware to victim machines.[4][5][6][7][8]

Adversaries may also acquire and repurpose expired domains, which may be potentially already allowlisted/trusted by defenders based on an existing reputation/history.[9][10][11][12]

Domain registrars each maintain a publicly viewable database that displays contact information for every registered domain. Private WHOIS services display alternative information, such as their own company data, rather than the owner of the domain. Adversaries may use such private WHOIS services to obscure information about who owns a purchased domain. Adversaries may further interrupt efforts to track their infrastructure by using varied registration information and purchasing domains with different domain registrars.[13]

ID: T1583.001
Sub-technique of:  T1583
Platforms: PRE
Contributors: Deloitte Threat Library Team; Menachem Goldstein; Oleg Kolesnikov, Securonix; Vinayak Wadhwa, Lucideus; Wes Hurd
Version: 1.2
Created: 30 September 2020
Last Modified: 30 March 2023

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
G0006 APT1

APT1 has registered hundreds of domains for use in operations.[13]

G0007 APT28

APT28 registered domains imitating NATO, OSCE security websites, Caucasus information resources, and other organizations.[2][14][15]

G0050 APT32

APT32 has set up and operated websites to gather information and deliver malware.[16]


BITTER has registered a variety of domains to host malicious payloads and for C2.[17]

C0010 C0010

For C0010, UNC3890 actors established domains that appeared to be legitimate services and entities, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Office 365, and Pfizer.[18]

C0011 C0011

For C0011, Transparent Tribe registered domains likely designed to appear relevant to student targets in India.[19]

C0021 C0021

For C0021, the threat actors registered domains for use in C2.[20]

C0026 C0026

For C0026, the threat actors re-registered expired C2 domains previously used for ANDROMEDA malware.[21]

C0004 CostaRicto

For CostaRicto, the threat actors established domains, some of which appeared to spoof legitimate domains.[22]

G0035 Dragonfly

Dragonfly has registered domains for targeting intended victims.[23]

G1006 Earth Lusca

Earth Lusca has registered domains, intended to look like legitimate target domains, that have been used in watering hole attacks.[24]


EXOTIC LILY has registered domains to spoof targeted organizations by changing the top-level domain (TLD) to ".us", ".co" or ".biz".[25]

G0137 Ferocious Kitten

Ferocious Kitten has acquired domains imitating legitimate sites.[26]

G0046 FIN7

FIN7 has registered look-alike domains for use in phishing campaigns.[27]

C0007 FunnyDream

For FunnyDream, the threat actors registered a variety of domains.[28]

G0047 Gamaredon Group

Gamaredon Group has registered multiple domains to facilitate payload staging and C2.[29][30]


HEXANE has registered and operated domains for campaigns, often using a security or web technology theme or impersonating the targeted organization.[31][32][33]

G0136 IndigoZebra

IndigoZebra has established domains, some of which were designed to look like official government domains, for their operations.[34]

G0094 Kimsuky

Kimsuky has registered domains to spoof targeted organizations and trusted third parties.[35][36][37][38][39][40]

G0032 Lazarus Group

Lazarus Group has acquired domains related to their campaigns to act as distribution points and C2 channels.[41][42]

G0140 LazyScripter

LazyScripter has used dynamic DNS providers to create legitimate-looking subdomains for C2.[43]

G0065 Leviathan

Leviathan has established domains that impersonate legitimate entities to use for targeting efforts. [44][45]

G0059 Magic Hound

Magic Hound has registered fraudulent domains such as "" and "" to target specific victims with phishing attacks.[46]

G0045 menuPass

menuPass has registered malicious domains for use in intrusion campaigns.[47][48]

G0129 Mustang Panda

Mustang Panda have acquired C2 domains prior to operations.[49][50][51]

C0022 Operation Dream Job

During Operation Dream Job, Lazarus Group registered a domain name identical to that of a compromised company as part of their BEC effort.[52]

C0016 Operation Dust Storm

For Operation Dust Storm, the threat actors established domains as part of their operational infrastructure.[53]

C0023 Operation Ghost

For Operation Ghost, APT29 registered domains for use in C2 including some crafted to appear as existing legitimate domains.[54]

C0006 Operation Honeybee

During Operation Honeybee, threat actors registered domains for C2.[55]

C0005 Operation Spalax

For Operation Spalax, the threat actors registered hundreds of domains using Duck DNS and DNS Exit.[56]

G0034 Sandworm Team

Sandworm Team has registered domain names and created URLs that are often designed to mimic or spoof legitimate websites, such as email login pages, online file sharing and storage websites, and password reset pages.[57]

G0122 Silent Librarian

Silent Librarian has acquired domains to establish credential harvesting pages, often spoofing the target organization and using free top level domains .TK, .ML, .GA, .CF, and .GQ.[58][59][60][61][62][63]

C0024 SolarWinds Compromise

For the SolarWinds Compromise, APT29 acquired C2 domains, sometimes through resellers.[64][65]

G1018 TA2541

TA2541 has registered domains often containing the keywords "kimjoy," "h0pe," and "grace," using domain registrars including Netdorm and No-IP DDNS, and hosting providers including xTom GmbH and Danilenko, Artyom.[66][67]

G0092 TA505

TA505 has registered domains to impersonate services such as Dropbox to distribute malware.[68]

G0139 TeamTNT

TeamTNT has obtained domains to host their payloads.[69]

G0027 Threat Group-3390

Threat Group-3390 has registered domains for C2.[70]

G0134 Transparent Tribe

Transparent Tribe has registered domains to mimic file sharing, government, defense, and research websites for use in targeted campaigns.[71][72]

G0044 Winnti Group

Winnti Group has registered domains for C2 that mimicked sites of their intended targets.[73]


ZIRCONIUM has purchased domains for use in targeted campaigns.[74]


ID Mitigation Description
M1056 Pre-compromise

Organizations may intentionally register similar domains to their own to deter adversaries from creating typosquatting domains. Other facets of this technique cannot be easily mitigated with preventive controls since it is based on behaviors performed outside of the scope of enterprise defenses and controls.


ID Data Source Data Component Detects
DS0038 Domain Name Active DNS

Monitor queried domain name system (DNS) registry data for purchased domains that can be used during targeting. Reputation/category-based detection may be difficult until the categorization is updated. Detection efforts may be focused on related stages of the adversary lifecycle, such as during Initial Access and Command and Control.

Domain Registration

Domain registration information is, by design, captured in public registration logs. Consider use of services that may aid in tracking of newly acquired domains, such as WHOIS databases and/or passive DNS. In some cases it may be possible to pivot on known pieces of domain registration information to uncover other infrastructure purchased by the adversary. Consider monitoring for domains created with a similar structure to your own, including under a different TLD. Though various tools and services exist to track, query, and monitor domain name registration information, tracking across multiple DNS infrastructures can require multiple tools/services or more advanced analytics.[75] Detection efforts may be focused on related stages of the adversary lifecycle, such as during Initial Access and Command and Control.

Passive DNS

Monitor logged domain name system (DNS) data for purchased domains that can be used during targeting. Reputation/category-based detection may be difficult until the categorization is updated. Detection efforts may be focused on related stages of the adversary lifecycle, such as during Initial Access and Command and Control.


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