Acquire Infrastructure: Web Services

Adversaries may register for web services that can be used during targeting. A variety of popular websites exist for adversaries to register for a web-based service that can be abused during later stages of the adversary lifecycle, such as during Command and Control (Web Service), Exfiltration Over Web Service, or Phishing. Using common services, such as those offered by Google or Twitter, makes it easier for adversaries to hide in expected noise.[1] By utilizing a web service, adversaries can make it difficult to physically tie back operations to them.

ID: T1583.006
Sub-technique of:  T1583
Platforms: PRE
Contributors: Dor Edry, Microsoft
Version: 1.2
Created: 01 October 2020
Last Modified: 16 January 2024

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
G0025 APT17

APT17 has created profile pages in Microsoft TechNet that were used as C2 infrastructure.[2]

G0007 APT28

APT28 has used newly-created Blogspot pages for credential harvesting operations.[3]

G0016 APT29

APT29 has registered algorithmically generated Twitter handles that are used for C2 by malware, such as HAMMERTOSS. APT29 has also used legitimate web services such as Dropbox and Constant Contact in their operations.[1][4]

G0050 APT32

APT32 has set up Dropbox, Amazon S3, and Google Drive to host malicious downloads.[5]

G0142 Confucius

Confucius has obtained cloud storage service accounts to host stolen data.[6]

G1006 Earth Lusca

Earth Lusca has established GitHub accounts to host their malware.[7]

G0046 FIN7

FIN7 has set up Amazon S3 buckets to host trojanized digital products.[8]


HAFNIUM has acquired web services for use in C2 and exfiltration.[9]

G0136 IndigoZebra

IndigoZebra created Dropbox accounts for their operations.[10][11]

G0094 Kimsuky

Kimsuky has hosted content used for targeting efforts via web services such as Blogspot.[12]

G0032 Lazarus Group

Lazarus Group has hosted malicious downloads on Github.[13]

G0140 LazyScripter

LazyScripter has established GitHub accounts to host its toolsets.[14]

G0059 Magic Hound

Magic Hound has acquired Amazon S3 buckets to use in C2.[15]

G0069 MuddyWater

MuddyWater has used file sharing services including OneHub, Sync, and TeraBox to distribute tools.[16][17][18]

C0022 Operation Dream Job

During Operation Dream Job, Lazarus Group used file hosting services like DropBox and OneDrive.[19]

C0013 Operation Sharpshooter

For Operation Sharpshooter, the threat actors used Dropbox to host lure documents and their first-stage downloader.[20]


POLONIUM has created and used legitimate Microsoft OneDrive accounts for their operations.[21]

G1018 TA2541

TA2541 has hosted malicious files on various platforms including Google Drive, OneDrive, Discord, PasteText, ShareText, and GitHub.[22]

G0010 Turla

Turla has created web accounts including Dropbox and GitHub for C2 and document exfiltration.[23]


ZIRCONIUM has used GitHub to host malware linked in spearphishing e-mails.[24][25]


ID Mitigation Description
M1056 Pre-compromise

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
DS0035 Internet Scan Response Content

Once adversaries leverage the web service as infrastructure (ex: for command and control), it may be possible to look for unique characteristics associated with adversary software, if known.[26] Much of this activity will take place outside the visibility of the target organization, making detection of this behavior difficult. Detection efforts may be focused on related stages of the adversary lifecycle, such as during Command and Control (Web Service) or Exfiltration Over Web Service.


  1. FireEye Labs. (2015, July). HAMMERTOSS: Stealthy Tactics Define a Russian Cyber Threat Group. Retrieved September 17, 2015.
  2. FireEye Labs/FireEye Threat Intelligence. (2015, May 14). Hiding in Plain Sight: FireEye and Microsoft Expose Obfuscation Tactic. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
  3. Huntley, S. (2022, March 7). An update on the threat landscape. Retrieved March 16, 2022.
  4. Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC). (2021, May 27). New sophisticated email-based attack from NOBELIUM. Retrieved May 28, 2021.
  5. Adair, S. and Lancaster, T. (2020, November 6). OceanLotus: Extending Cyber Espionage Operations Through Fake Websites. Retrieved November 20, 2020.
  6. Lunghi, D and Horejsi, J. (2018, February 13). Deciphering Confucius: A Look at the Group's Cyberespionage Operations. Retrieved December 26, 2021.
  7. Chen, J., et al. (2022). Delving Deep: An Analysis of Earth Lusca’s Operations. Retrieved July 1, 2022.
  8. Abdo, B., et al. (2022, April 4). FIN7 Power Hour: Adversary Archaeology and the Evolution of FIN7. Retrieved April 5, 2022.
  9. MSTIC. (2021, March 2). HAFNIUM targeting Exchange Servers with 0-day exploits. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  10. Lakshmanan, R.. (2021, July 1). IndigoZebra APT Hacking Campaign Targets the Afghan Government. Retrieved September 24, 2021.
  11. CheckPoint Research. (2021, July 1). IndigoZebra APT continues to attack Central Asia with evolving tools. Retrieved September 24, 2021.
  12. An, J and Malhotra, A. (2021, November 10). North Korean attackers use malicious blogs to deliver malware to high-profile South Korean targets. Retrieved December 29, 2021.
  13. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. (2021, February 21). AppleJeus: Analysis of North Korea’s Cryptocurrency Malware. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  1. Jazi, H. (2021, February). LazyScripter: From Empire to double RAT. Retrieved November 24, 2021.
  2. Check Point. (2022, January 11). APT35 exploits Log4j vulnerability to distribute new modular PowerShell toolkit. Retrieved January 24, 2022.
  3. Mele, G. et al. (2021, February 10). Probable Iranian Cyber Actors, Static Kitten, Conducting Cyberespionage Campaign Targeting UAE and Kuwait Government Agencies. Retrieved March 17, 2021.
  4. Peretz, A. and Theck, E. (2021, March 5). Earth Vetala – MuddyWater Continues to Target Organizations in the Middle East. Retrieved March 18, 2021.
  5. Miller, J. et al. (2024, March 21). Security Brief: TA450 Uses Embedded Links in PDF Attachments in Latest Campaign. Retrieved March 27, 2024.
  6. ClearSky Research Team. (2020, August 13). Operation 'Dream Job' Widespread North Korean Espionage Campaign. Retrieved December 20, 2021.
  7. Sherstobitoff, R., Malhotra, A., et. al.. (2018, December 18). Operation Sharpshooter Campaign Targets Global Defense, Critical Infrastructure. Retrieved May 14, 2020.
  8. Microsoft. (2022, June 2). Exposing POLONIUM activity and infrastructure targeting Israeli organizations. Retrieved July 1, 2022.
  9. Larson, S. and Wise, J. (2022, February 15). Charting TA2541's Flight. Retrieved September 12, 2023.
  10. Faou, M. (2020, December 2). Turla Crutch: Keeping the “back door” open. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
  11. Huntley, S. (2020, October 16). How We're Tackling Evolving Online Threats. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  12. Singh, S. and Antil, S. (2020, October 27). APT-31 Leverages COVID-19 Vaccine Theme and Abuses Legitimate Online Services. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  13. ThreatConnect. (2020, December 15). Infrastructure Research and Hunting: Boiling the Domain Ocean. Retrieved October 12, 2021.