Network Boundary Bridging

Adversaries may bridge network boundaries by compromising perimeter network devices or internal devices responsible for network segmentation. Breaching these devices may enable an adversary to bypass restrictions on traffic routing that otherwise separate trusted and untrusted networks.

Devices such as routers and firewalls can be used to create boundaries between trusted and untrusted networks. They achieve this by restricting traffic types to enforce organizational policy in an attempt to reduce the risk inherent in such connections. Restriction of traffic can be achieved by prohibiting IP addresses, layer 4 protocol ports, or through deep packet inspection to identify applications. To participate with the rest of the network, these devices can be directly addressable or transparent, but their mode of operation has no bearing on how the adversary can bypass them when compromised.

When an adversary takes control of such a boundary device, they can bypass its policy enforcement to pass normally prohibited traffic across the trust boundary between the two separated networks without hinderance. By achieving sufficient rights on the device, an adversary can reconfigure the device to allow the traffic they want, allowing them to then further achieve goals such as command and control via Multi-hop Proxy or exfiltration of data via Traffic Duplication. Adversaries may also target internal devices responsible for network segmentation and abuse these in conjunction with Internal Proxy to achieve the same goals.[1] In the cases where a border device separates two separate organizations, the adversary can also facilitate lateral movement into new victim environments.

ID: T1599
Sub-techniques:  T1599.001
Tactic: Defense Evasion
Platforms: Network
Defense Bypassed: Firewall, System Access Controls
Version: 1.1
Created: 19 October 2020
Last Modified: 05 May 2022


ID Mitigation Description
M1043 Credential Access Protection

Some embedded network devices are capable of storing passwords for local accounts in either plain-text or encrypted formats. Ensure that, where available, local passwords are always encrypted, per vendor recommendations.[2]

M1037 Filter Network Traffic

Upon identifying a compromised network device being used to bridge a network boundary, block the malicious packets using an unaffected network device in path, such as a firewall or a router that has not been compromised. Continue to monitor for additional activity and to ensure that the blocks are indeed effective.

M1032 Multi-factor Authentication

Use multi-factor authentication for user and privileged accounts. Most embedded network devices support TACACS+ and/or RADIUS. Follow vendor prescribed best practices for hardening access control.[3]

M1027 Password Policies

Refer to NIST guidelines when creating password policies. [4]

M1026 Privileged Account Management

Restrict administrator accounts to as few individuals as possible, following least privilege principles. Prevent credential overlap across systems of administrator and privileged accounts, particularly between network and non-network platforms, such as servers or endpoints.


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)).

Network Traffic Flow

Monitor network data for uncommon data flows. Processes utilizing the network that do not normally have network communication or have never been seen before are suspicious.