Compromise Infrastructure

Adversaries may compromise third-party infrastructure that can be used during targeting. Infrastructure solutions include physical or cloud servers, domains, and third-party web and DNS services. Instead of buying, leasing, or renting infrastructure an adversary may compromise infrastructure and use it during other phases of the adversary lifecycle.[1][2][3][4] Additionally, adversaries may compromise numerous machines to form a botnet they can leverage.

Use of compromised infrastructure allows an adversary to stage, launch, and execute an operation. Compromised infrastructure can help adversary operations blend in with traffic that is seen as normal, such as contact with high reputation or trusted sites. For example, adversaries may leverage compromised infrastructure (potentially also in conjunction with Digital Certificates) to further blend in and support staged information gathering and/or Phishing campaigns.[5]

By using compromised infrastructure, adversaries may make it difficult to tie their actions back to them. Prior to targeting, adversaries may compromise the infrastructure of other adversaries.[6]

ID: T1584
Platforms: PRE
Contributors: Jeremy Galloway
Version: 1.2
Created: 01 October 2020
Last Modified: 20 April 2022


ID Mitigation Description
M1056 Pre-compromise

This technique cannot be easily mitigated with preventive controls since it is based on behaviors performed outside of the scope of enterprise defenses and controls.


ID Data Source Data Component
DS0038 Domain Name Active DNS
Domain Registration
Passive DNS
DS0035 Internet Scan Response Content
Response Metadata

Consider monitoring for anomalous changes to domain registrant information and/or domain resolution information that may indicate the compromise of a domain. Efforts may need to be tailored to specific domains of interest as benign registration and resolution changes are a common occurrence on the internet.

Once adversaries have provisioned compromised infrastructure (ex: a server for use in command and control), internet scans may help proactively discover compromised infrastructure. Consider looking for identifiable patterns such as services listening, certificates in use, SSL/TLS negotiation features, or other response artifacts associated with adversary C2 software.[7][8][9]

Detection efforts may be focused on related stages of the adversary lifecycle, such as during Command and Control.