Adversaries may employ a known asymmetric encryption algorithm to conceal command and control traffic rather than relying on any inherent protections provided by a communication protocol. Asymmetric cryptography, also known as public key cryptography, uses a keypair per party: one public that can be freely distributed, and one private. Due to how the keys are generated, the sender encrypts data with the receiver’s public key and the receiver decrypts the data with their private key. This ensures that only the intended recipient can read the encrypted data. Common public key encryption algorithms include RSA and ElGamal.
For efficiency, many protocols (including SSL/TLS) use symmetric cryptography once a connection is established, but use asymmetric cryptography to establish or transmit a key. As such, these protocols are classified as Asymmetric Cryptography.
|M1031||Network Intrusion Prevention||
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.
SSL/TLS inspection can be used to see the contents of encrypted sessions to look for network-based indicators of malware communication protocols.
|ID||Data Source||Data Component|
|DS0029||Network Traffic||Network Traffic Content|
SSL/TLS inspection is one way of detecting command and control traffic within some encrypted communication channels. SSL/TLS inspection does come with certain risks that should be considered before implementing to avoid potential security issues such as incomplete certificate validation.
In general, 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.