Compromise Infrastructure: DNS Server

Adversaries may compromise third-party DNS servers that can be used during targeting. During post-compromise activity, adversaries may utilize DNS traffic for various tasks, including for Command and Control (ex: Application Layer Protocol). Instead of setting up their own DNS servers, adversaries may compromise third-party DNS servers in support of operations.

By compromising DNS servers, adversaries can alter DNS records. Such control can allow for redirection of an organization's traffic, facilitating Collection and Credential Access efforts for the adversary.[1][2] Additionally, adversaries may leverage such control in conjunction with Digital Certificates to redirect traffic to adversary-controlled infrastructure, mimicking normal trusted network communications.[2][3] Adversaries may also be able to silently create subdomains pointed at malicious servers without tipping off the actual owner of the DNS server.[4][5]

ID: T1584.002
Sub-technique of:  T1584
Platforms: PRE
Contributors: Jeremy Galloway
Version: 1.2
Created: 01 October 2020
Last Modified: 19 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
Passive DNS

Consider monitoring for anomalous resolution changes for domain addresses. Efforts may need to be tailored to specific domains of interest as benign resolution changes are a common occurrence on the internet.

Much of this activity will take place outside the visibility of the target organization, making detection of this behavior difficult. Detection efforts may be focused on related stages of the adversary lifecycle, such as during Command and Control.