Develop Capabilities: Digital Certificates
Before compromising a victim, adversaries may create self-signed SSL/TLS certificates that can be used during targeting. SSL/TLS certificates are designed to instill trust. They include information about the key, information about its owner's identity, and the digital signature of an entity that has verified the certificate's contents are correct. If the signature is valid, and the person examining the certificate trusts the signer, then they know they can use that key to communicate with its owner. In the case of self-signing, digital certificates will lack the element of trust associated with the signature of a third-party certificate authority (CA).
Adversaries may create self-signed SSL/TLS certificates that can be used to further their operations, such as encrypting C2 traffic (ex: Web Protocols) or even enabling Man-in-the-Middle if added to the root of trust (i.e. Install Root Certificate).
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.
Consider use of services that may aid in the tracking of certificates in use on sites across the Internet. In some cases it may be possible to pivot on known pieces of certificate information to uncover other adversary infrastructure.