Communication Network Perspective on Malware Lifecycle
draft-fabini-smart-malware-lifecycle-00

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Internet Engineering Task Force                                J. Fabini
Internet-Draft                                                   TU Wien
Intended status: Informational                          November 4, 2019
Expires: May 7, 2020

         Communication Network Perspective on Malware Lifecycle
                draft-fabini-smart-malware-lifecycle-00

Abstract

   Today's systems, networks, and protocols are complex and include
   unknown vulnerabilities that adversaries can exploit.  The large-
   scale deployment of network security protocols establishes an
   additional threat by implementing a substrate for hidden
   communications like covert or subliminal channels.  The resulting
   ecosystem builds a convenient platform for malicious, automated
   software (malware) to infiltrate critical infrastructures, to
   gradually infect large parts of the system and to coordinate
   distributed malware operation.

   Based on the observation that malware depends on network
   communications to discover, propagate, coordinate, and unleash its
   functionality, this memo recommends methods to identify potential
   interfaces and interactions between malware and protocols.  It
   proposes a generic malware lifecycle model that defines a set of
   generic malware states and possible transitions between these states.
   Coordinated activities of distributed malware can be mapped to state
   transitions in malware instances, supporting the identification of
   (potentially hidden) network communication as a trigger for actions
   and hints on protocols that enabled the communication.  Eventually,
   the proposed model aims at supporting the identification of
   architectures, protocols, interfaces, and points in time that a)
   either inhibit hidden malware communication or b) allow for optimized
   detection of anomalies as main prerequisite for timely
   countermeasures.

   While earlier work focused on protecting single hosts from
   compromise, this memo adopts a holistic view and considers the health
   of the overall networked system to be of highest priority.  Presuming
   vulnerable systems, we stress that components or subsystems must be
   disconnected on suspected infection in an attempt to continue (even
   partial) operation of the overall (non-infected) system after the
   disconnect.  Containment - the isolation of an infected subsystem -
   becomes an essential security feature in the context of critical
   infrastructures that influences on deployed protocols, interfaces and
   architectures.

Fabini                     Expires May 7, 2020                  [Page 1]
Internet-Draft              Malware Lifecycle              November 2019

Status of This Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the
   provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
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   This Internet-Draft will expire on May 7, 2020.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2019 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
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   described in the Simplified BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     1.1.  Requirements Language . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   2.  Generic Malware Lifecycle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     2.1.  Access  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     2.2.  Infection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     2.3.  Discovery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     2.4.  Propagation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     2.5.  Control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
     2.6.  Trigger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
     2.7.  Attack  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
     2.8.  Cleanup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
   3.  Mapping the Lifecycle Model to Real Malware . . . . . . . . .   9
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