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T1071 Application Layer Protocol

Adversaries may communicate using application layer protocols 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.

Adversaries may utilize many different protocols, including those used for web browsing, transferring files, electronic mail, or DNS. For connections that occur internally within an enclave (such as those between a proxy or pivot node and other nodes), commonly used protocols are SMB, SSH, or RDP.

Item Value
ID T1071
Sub-techniques T1071.001, T1071.002, T1071.003, T1071.004
Tactics TA0011
Platforms Linux, Windows, macOS
Version 2.0
Created 31 May 2017
Last Modified 21 October 2020

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
S0660 Clambling Clambling has the ability to use Telnet for communication.4
S0154 Cobalt Strike Cobalt Strike can conduct peer-to-peer communication over Windows named pipes encapsulated in the SMB protocol. All protocols use their standard assigned ports.23
G0035 Dragonfly Dragonfly has used SMB for C2.10
S0038 Duqu Duqu uses a custom command and control protocol that communicates over commonly used ports, and is frequently encapsulated by application layer protocols.7
S0601 Hildegard Hildegard has used an IRC channel for C2 communications.8
S0532 Lucifer Lucifer can use the Stratum protocol on port 10001 for communication between the cryptojacking bot and the mining server.6
G0059 Magic Hound Magic Hound malware has used IRC for C2.13
S0034 NETEAGLE Adversaries can also use NETEAGLE to establish an RDP connection with a controller over TCP/7519.
S0019 Regin The Regin malware platform supports many standard protocols, including SMB.5
G0106 Rocke Rocke issued wget requests from infected systems to the C2.12
S0623 Siloscape Siloscape connects to an IRC server for C2.9
G0139 TeamTNT TeamTNT has used an IRC bot for C2 communications.11


ID Mitigation Description
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


  1. Gardiner, J., Cova, M., Nagaraja, S. (2014, February). Command & Control Understanding, Denying and Detecting. Retrieved April 20, 2016. 

  2. Strategic Cyber LLC. (2017, March 14). Cobalt Strike Manual. Retrieved May 24, 2017. 

  3. Mavis, N. (2020, September 21). The Art and Science of Detecting Cobalt Strike. Retrieved April 6, 2021. 

  4. Lunghi, D. et al. (2020, February). Uncovering DRBControl. Retrieved November 12, 2021. 

  5. Kaspersky Lab’s Global Research and Analysis Team. (2014, November 24). THE REGIN PLATFORM NATION-STATE OWNAGE OF GSM NETWORKS. Retrieved December 1, 2014. 

  6. Hsu, K. et al. (2020, June 24). Lucifer: New Cryptojacking and DDoS Hybrid Malware Exploiting High and Critical Vulnerabilities to Infect Windows Devices. Retrieved November 16, 2020. 

  7. Symantec Security Response. (2011, November). W32.Duqu: The precursor to the next Stuxnet. Retrieved September 17, 2015. 

  8. Chen, J. et al. (2021, February 3). Hildegard: New TeamTNT Cryptojacking Malware Targeting Kubernetes. Retrieved April 5, 2021. 

  9. Prizmant, D. (2021, June 7). Siloscape: First Known Malware Targeting Windows Containers to Compromise Cloud Environments. Retrieved June 9, 2021. 

  10. US-CERT. (2018, March 16). Alert (TA18-074A): Russian Government Cyber Activity Targeting Energy and Other Critical Infrastructure Sectors. Retrieved June 6, 2018. 

  11. Fiser, D. Oliveira, A. (n.d.). Tracking the Activities of TeamTNT A Closer Look at a Cloud-Focused Malicious Actor Group. Retrieved September 22, 2021. 

  12. Liebenberg, D.. (2018, August 30). Rocke: The Champion of Monero Miners. Retrieved May 26, 2020. 

  13. Lee, B. and Falcone, R. (2017, February 15). Magic Hound Campaign Attacks Saudi Targets. Retrieved December 27, 2017. 

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