Feb 16 2021

Data Obfuscation: An Image Is Worth a Thousand Lines of Malware

Category: data securityDISC @ 11:32 pm

In this post, we are going to talk about MITRE ATT&CK® technique T1001 – Data Obfuscation. As the name indicates, this technique consists in making data, usually sent over Command and Control (C&C) communications, more difficult to detect and decode. There are countless ways to do that, but here we are going to focus on disguising payloads – which can simply be information, but also files written as malware or scripts – as images.

Why would someone do that? Mainly  because every day lots of images are downloaded when a user is surfing the internet. Downloading an image-like file therefore blends perfectly into regular traffic and does not stand out for a network security control that, for instance, blocks the download of Windows binaries or PowerShell scripts, or does not look for malicious content in an image file. Since these files do not show up  as executable, they can fly under the radar of an antivirus or endpoint detection and response (EDR) capability more easily.

Below we will show three examples of how to obfuscate data into image files, namely:

  • Adding a JPEG header to the data;
  • Appending the data to a JPEG image; and
  • Embedding the data into a PNG image using Least Significant Byte (LSB) steganography.

Source: Data Obfuscation: An Image Is Worth a Thousand Lines of Malware

Tags: Data Obfuscation

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