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T1071.004 DNS

Adversaries may communicate using the Domain Name System (DNS) application layer protocol to avoid detection/network filtering by blending in with existing traffic. Commands to the remote system, and often the results of those commands, will be embedded within the protocol traffic between the client and server.

The DNS protocol serves an administrative function in computer networking and thus may be very common in environments. DNS traffic may also be allowed even before network authentication is completed. DNS packets contain many fields and headers in which data can be concealed. Often known as DNS tunneling, adversaries may abuse DNS to communicate with systems under their control within a victim network while also mimicking normal, expected traffic.31

Item Value
ID T1071.004
Sub-techniques T1071.001, T1071.002, T1071.003, T1071.004
Tactics TA0011
Platforms Linux, Windows, macOS
Version 1.1
Created 15 March 2020
Last Modified 17 June 2022

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
S0504 Anchor Variants of Anchor can use DNS tunneling to communicate with C2.1920
G0026 APT18 APT18 uses DNS for C2 communications.66
G0087 APT39 APT39 has used remote access tools that leverage DNS in communications with C2.62
G0096 APT41 APT41 used DNS for C2 communications.5758
S0360 BONDUPDATER BONDUPDATER can use DNS and TXT records within its DNS tunneling protocol for command and control.14
S1063 Brute Ratel C4 Brute Ratel C4 can use DNS over HTTPS for C2.45
G0114 Chimera Chimera has used Cobalt Strike to encapsulate C2 in DNS traffic.68
G0080 Cobalt Group Cobalt Group has used DNS tunneling for C2.596061
S0154 Cobalt Strike Cobalt Strike can use a custom command and control protocol that can be encapsulated in DNS. All protocols use their standard assigned ports.343335
S0338 Cobian RAT Cobian RAT uses DNS for C2.29
S1014 DanBot DanBot can use use IPv4 A records and IPv6 AAAA DNS records in C2 communications.51
S0354 Denis Denis has used DNS tunneling for C2 communications.151617
S1021 DnsSystem DnsSystem can direct queries to custom DNS servers and return C2 commands using TXT records.52
S0377 Ebury Ebury has used DNS requests over UDP port 53 for C2.21
G0046 FIN7 FIN7 has performed C2 using DNS via A, OPT, and TXT records.71
S0666 Gelsemium Gelsemium has the ability to use DNS in communication with C2.53
S0477 Goopy Goopy has the ability to communicate with its C2 over DNS.17
S0690 Green Lambert Green Lambert can use DNS for C2 communications.3031
S0170 Helminth Helminth can use DNS for C2.27
S1027 Heyoka Backdoor Heyoka Backdoor can use DNS tunneling for C2 communications.36
S0070 HTTPBrowser HTTPBrowser has used DNS for command and control.4348
S0260 InvisiMole InvisiMole has used a custom implementation of DNS tunneling to embed C2 communications in DNS requests and replies.49
G0004 Ke3chang Ke3chang malware RoyalDNS has used DNS for C2.69
S1020 Kevin Variants of Kevin can communicate over DNS through queries to the server for constructed domain names with embedded information.25
G0140 LazyScripter LazyScripter has leveraged dynamic DNS providers for C2 communications.70
S0167 Matryoshka Matryoshka uses DNS for C2.4445
S1015 Milan Milan has the ability to use DNS for C2 communications.402539
S1047 Mori Mori can use DNS tunneling to communicate with C2.5655
S0699 Mythic Mythic supports DNS-based C2 profiles.6
S0228 NanHaiShu NanHaiShu uses DNS for the C2 communications.28
G0049 OilRig OilRig has used DNS for C2 including the publicly available tunneling service.65236364
S0124 Pisloader Pisloader uses DNS as its C2 protocol.46
S0013 PlugX PlugX can be configured to use DNS for command and control.43
S0145 POWERSOURCE POWERSOURCE uses DNS TXT records for C2.2454
S0184 POWRUNER POWRUNER can use DNS for C2 communications.2223
S0269 QUADAGENT QUADAGENT uses DNS for C2 communications.26
S0495 RDAT RDAT has used DNS to communicate with the C2.32
S0125 Remsec Remsec is capable of using DNS for C2.101112
S0596 ShadowPad ShadowPad has used DNS tunneling for C2 communications.50
S1019 Shark Shark can use DNS in C2 communications.4039
S0633 Sliver Sliver can support C2 communications over DNS.789
S0615 SombRAT SombRAT can communicate over DNS with the C2 server.4142
S0157 SOUNDBITE SOUNDBITE communicates via DNS for C2.47
S0559 SUNBURST SUNBURST used DNS for C2 traffic designed to mimic normal SolarWinds API communications.18
S0663 SysUpdate SysUpdate has used DNS TXT requests as for its C2 communication.13
S0146 TEXTMATE TEXTMATE uses DNS TXT records for C2.24
G0081 Tropic Trooper Tropic Trooper‘s backdoor has communicated to the C2 over the DNS protocol.67
S0514 WellMess WellMess has the ability to use DNS tunneling for C2 communications.3738


ID Mitigation Description
M1037 Filter Network Traffic Consider filtering DNS requests to unknown, untrusted, or known bad domains and resources. Resolving DNS requests with on-premise/proxy servers may also disrupt adversary attempts to conceal data within DNS packets.
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.


ID Data Source Data Component
DS0029 Network Traffic Network Traffic Content


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