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) or Exfiltration Over Web Service. Using common services, such as those offered by Google or Twitter, makes it easier for adversaries to hide in expected noise. By utilizing a web service, adversaries can make it difficult to physically tie back operations to them.
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.
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. 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.