A Taxonomic Overview of Prevalent Malware Communication Strategies

Botconf 2024
2024-04-26 | 13:40 – 14:10

Steffen Enders 🗣 | Daniel Plohmann 🗣 | Manuel Blatt

The consistently large volume and diversity of malware poses a substantial threat to network security. In response, it is crucial to develop systematic strategies and countermeasures. This involves not only detecting and identifying malware (networking) but also taking appropriate actions to mitigate its impact.

In the first section of our presentation, we present a taxonomy for malware C&C communication. This taxonomy is based on a 2006 Trend Micro report, which was improved to cover new developments of C&C mechanisms, but also to include more specific details about both the communication protocol for message transfer and the malware’s internal C&C protocol. Additionally, we have incorporated elements from other relevant research to create a more thorough and unified taxonomy. Overall, the taxonomy encompasses the following six aspects: C&C Model, Rally Mechanism, Communication Behavior, Carrier Communication Protocol, C&C Protocol, and Evasion Techniques.

In the second section, our focus shifts to evaluating the distribution of C&C mechanisms within the current malware landscape. We undertake a detailed analysis using both the Malpedia dataset, as well as tracking sites such as MalwareBazaar. This part will involve an in-depth discussion of currently prevalent malware families and their C&C communication, as classified by our taxonomy. The findings from this analysis will provide insights into the characteristics for methods presently used by threat actors.

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