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T1102.002 Bidirectional Communication

Adversaries may use an existing, legitimate external Web service as a means for sending commands to and receiving output from a compromised system over the Web service channel. Compromised systems may leverage popular websites and social media to host command and control (C2) instructions. Those infected systems can then send the output from those commands back over that Web service channel. The return traffic may occur in a variety of ways, depending on the Web service being utilized. For example, the return traffic may take the form of the compromised system posting a comment on a forum, issuing a pull request to development project, updating a document hosted on a Web service, or by sending a Tweet.

Popular websites and social media acting as a mechanism for C2 may give a significant amount of cover due to the likelihood that hosts within a network are already communicating with them prior to a compromise. Using common services, such as those offered by Google or Twitter, makes it easier for adversaries to hide in expected noise. Web service providers commonly use SSL/TLS encryption, giving adversaries an added level of protection.

Item Value
ID T1102.002
Sub-techniques T1102.001, T1102.002, T1102.003
Tactics TA0011
Platforms Linux, Windows, macOS
Permissions required User
Version 1.0
Created 14 March 2020
Last Modified 26 March 2020

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
G0005 APT12 APT12 has used blogs and WordPress for C2 infrastructure.43
G0007 APT28 APT28 has used Google Drive for C2.40
G0067 APT37 APT37 leverages social networking sites and cloud platforms (AOL, Twitter, Yandex, Mediafire, pCloud, Dropbox, and Box) for C2.547
G0087 APT39 APT39 has communicated with C2 through files uploaded to and downloaded from DropBox.41
S0128 BADNEWS BADNEWS can use multiple C2 channels, including RSS feeds, Github, forums, and blogs.222324
S0069 BLACKCOFFEE BLACKCOFFEE has also obfuscated its C2 traffic as normal traffic to sites such as Github.2930
S0657 BLUELIGHT BLUELIGHT can use different cloud providers for its C2.25
S0651 BoxCaon BoxCaon has used DropBox for C2 communications.7
S0025 CALENDAR The CALENDAR malware communicates through the use of events in Google Calendar.1718
G0008 Carbanak Carbanak has used a VBScript named “ggldr” that uses Google Apps Script, Sheets, and Forms services for C2.54
S0660 Clambling Clambling can use Dropbox to download malicious payloads, send commands, and receive information.1011
S0054 CloudDuke One variant of CloudDuke uses a Microsoft OneDrive account to exchange commands and stolen data with its operators.12
S0244 Comnie Comnie uses blogs and third-party sites (GitHub, tumbler, and BlogSpot) to avoid DNS-based blocking of their communication to the command and control server.13
S0126 ComRAT ComRAT has the ability to use the Gmail web UI to receive commands and exfiltrate information.2728
S0046 CozyCar CozyCar uses Twitter as a backup C2 channel to Twitter accounts specified in its configuration file.33
S1023 CreepyDrive CreepyDrive can use OneDrive for C2.31
S0538 Crutch Crutch can use Dropbox to receive commands and upload stolen data.35
S0213 DOGCALL DOGCALL is capable of leveraging cloud storage APIs such as Cloud, Box, Dropbox, and Yandex for C2.536
S0363 Empire Empire can use Dropbox and GitHub for C2.2
G0046 FIN7 FIN7 used legitimate services like Google Docs, Google Scripts, and Pastebin for C2.50
S0026 GLOOXMAIL GLOOXMAIL communicates to servers operated by Google using the Jabber/XMPP protocol.1734
S0531 Grandoreiro Grandoreiro can utilize web services including Google sites to send and receive C2 data.1516
G1001 HEXANE HEXANE has used cloud services, including OneDrive, for C2.31
S0215 KARAE KARAE can use public cloud-based storage providers for command and control.5
S0265 Kazuar Kazuar has used compromised WordPress blogs as C2 servers.9
G0094 Kimsuky Kimsuky has used Blogspot pages for C2.39
G0032 Lazarus Group Lazarus Group has used GitHub as C2, pulling hosted image payloads then committing command execution output to files in specific directories.42
S0042 LOWBALL LOWBALL uses the Dropbox cloud storage service for command and control.6
G0059 Magic Hound Magic Hound malware can use a SOAP Web service to communicate with its C2 server.46
G0069 MuddyWater MuddyWater has used web services including OneHub to distribute remote access tools.51
C0023 Operation Ghost For Operation Ghost, APT29 used social media platforms to hide communications to C2 servers.3
S0229 Orz Orz has used Technet and Pastebin web pages for command and control.37
G1005 POLONIUM POLONIUM has used OneDrive and DropBox for C2.31
S0216 POORAIM POORAIM has used AOL Instant Messenger for C2.5
S0393 PowerStallion PowerStallion uses Microsoft OneDrive as a C2 server via a network drive mapped with net use.4
S0511 RegDuke RegDuke can use Dropbox as its C2 server.3
S0379 Revenge RAT Revenge RAT used as its primary command and control server during a campaign.26
S0270 RogueRobin RogueRobin has used Google Drive as a Command and Control channel. 14
S0240 ROKRAT ROKRAT has used legitimate social networking sites and cloud platforms (including but not limited to Twitter, Yandex, Dropbox, and Mediafire) for C2 communications.192021
G0034 Sandworm Team Sandworm Team has used the Telegram Bot API from Telegram Messenger to send and receive commands to its Python backdoor. Sandworm Team also used legitimate M.E.Doc software update check requests for sending and receiving commands and hosted malicious payloads on
S0218 SLOWDRIFT SLOWDRIFT uses cloud based services for C2.5
S1035 Small Sieve Small Sieve has the ability to use the Telegram Bot API from Telegram Messenger to send and receive messages.32
G0010 Turla A Turla JavaScript backdoor has used Google Apps Script as its C2 server.4849
S0333 UBoatRAT UBoatRAT has used GitHub and a public blog service in Hong Kong for C2 communications.38
S0248 yty yty communicates to the C2 server by retrieving a Google Doc.8
G0128 ZIRCONIUM ZIRCONIUM has used Dropbox for C2 allowing upload and download of files as well as execution of arbitrary commands.5253


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.
M1021 Restrict Web-Based Content Web proxies can be used to enforce external network communication policy that prevents use of unauthorized external services.


ID Data Source Data Component
DS0029 Network Traffic Network Connection Creation


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