Exfiltration Over Command and Control Channel
|Exfiltration Over Command and Control Channel|
|Platform||Linux, macOS, Windows|
|Data Sources||User interface, Process monitoring|
Data exfiltration is performed over the Command and Control channel. Data is encoded into the normal communications channel using the same protocol as command and control communications.
- APT3 has a tool that exfiltrates data over the C2 channel.1
- A Gamaredon Group file stealer transfers collected files to a hardcoded C2 server.2
- Ke3chang transferred compressed and encrypted RAR files containing exfiltration through the established backdoor command and control channel during operations.3
- Lazarus Group malware IndiaIndia saves information gathered about the victim to a file that is uploaded to one of its 10 C2 servers.4
- After data is collected by Stealth Falcon malware, it is exfiltrated over the existing C2 channel.5
- ADVSTORESHELL exfiltrates data over the same channel used for C2.6
- Adversaries can direct BACKSPACE to upload files to the C2 Server.7
- CallMe exfiltrates data to its C2 server over the same protocol as C2 communications.8
- MobileOrder exfiltrates data to its C2 server over the same protocol as C2 communications.8
- NETEAGLE is capable of reading files over the C2 channel.7
- Psylo exfiltrates data to its C2 server over the same protocol as C2 communications.8
- Pteranodon exfiltrates screenshot files to its C2 server.2
Mitigations for command and control apply. Network intrusion detection and prevention systems that use network signatures to identify traffic for specific adversary malware can be used to mitigate activity at the network level. Signatures are often for unique indicators within protocols and may be based on the specific obfuscation technique used by a particular adversary or tool, and will likely be different across various malware families and versions. Adversaries will likely change tool command and control signatures over time or construct protocols in such a way to avoid detection by common defensive tools.9
Detection for command and control applies. Analyze network data for uncommon data flows (e.g., a client sending significantly more data than it receives from a server). Processes utilizing the network that do not normally have network communication or have never been seen before are suspicious. Analyze packet contents to detect communications that do not follow the expected protocol behavior for the port that is being used.9
- Chen, X., Scott, M., Caselden, D.. (2014, April 26). New Zero-Day Exploit targeting Internet Explorer Versions 9 through 11 Identified in Targeted Attacks. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
- Kasza, A. and Reichel, D.. (2017, February 27). The Gamaredon Group Toolset Evolution. Retrieved March 1, 2017.
- Villeneuve, N., Bennett, J. T., Moran, N., Haq, T., Scott, M., & Geers, K. (2014). OPERATION “KE3CHANG”: Targeted Attacks Against Ministries of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved November 12, 2014.
- Novetta Threat Research Group. (2016, February 24). Operation Blockbuster: Loaders, Installers and Uninstallers Report. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
- Marczak, B. and Scott-Railton, J.. (2016, May 29). Keep Calm and (Don’t) Enable Macros: A New Threat Actor Targets UAE Dissidents. Retrieved June 8, 2016.
- ESET. (2016, October). En Route with Sednit - Part 2: Observing the Comings and Goings. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
- FireEye Labs. (2015, April). APT30 AND THE MECHANICS OF A LONG-RUNNING CYBER ESPIONAGE OPERATION. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
- Falcone, R. and Miller-Osborn, J.. (2016, January 24). Scarlet Mimic: Years-Long Espionage Campaign Targets Minority Activists. Retrieved February 10, 2016.
- Gardiner, J., Cova, M., Nagaraja, S. (2014, February). Command & Control Understanding, Denying and Detecting. Retrieved April 20, 2016.