NETRESEC Network Security Blog - Tag : ThreatFox

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PolarProxy 1.0 Released

I am thrilled to announce the release of PolarProxy version 1.0 today! Several bugs that affected performance, stability and memory usage have now been resolved in our TLS inspection proxy. PolarProxy has also been updated with better logic for importing external root CA certificates and the HAProxy implementation has been improved. But the most significant addition in the 1.0 release is what we call the “TLS Firewall” mode.

TLS Firewall

PolarProxy now supports rule based logic for determining if a session should be allowed to pass through, get blocked or if the TLS encrypted data should be inspected (i.e. decrypted and re-encrypted) by the proxy. This rule based logic can be used to turn PolarProxy into a TLS firewall. As an example, the ruleset-block-malicious.json ruleset included in the new PolarProxy release blocks traffic to malicious domains in’s ThreatFox IOC database as well as traffic to web tracker domains listed in the EasyPrivacy filter from EasyList. This ruleset also includes an allow list in order to avoid accidentally blocking access to legitimate websites.

PolarProxy TLS Firewall - block malicious, inspect suspicious, bypass legitimate

PolarProxy’s ruleset logic isn’t limited to just domain names. It is also possible to match traffic based on JA3 or JA4 hashes as well as application layer protocol information provided in the ALPN extension of a client’s TLS handshake.

For more information on the ruleset format and how to use PolarProxy as a TLS firewall, see here:

Linux, macOS and Windows builds of the new PolarProxy release can be downloaded from here:

Posted by Erik Hjelmvik on Thursday, 02 May 2024 07:00:00 (UTC/GMT)

Tags: #PolarProxy#TLS#inspect#bypass#ThreatFox#ASCII-art

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Hunting for Cobalt Strike in PCAP

In this video I analyze a pcap file with network traffic from Cobalt Strike Beacon using CapLoader.

The pcap file and Cobalt Strike malware config can be downloaded from Recorded Future's Triage sandbox.

Cobalt Strike Beacon configs can also be extracted locally with help of Didier Stevens' or Fox-IT's dissect.cobaltstrike.

IOC List

  • MD5 99516071d8f3e78e51200948bf377c4c
  • SHA1 59fe505b24bdfa54ee6e4188ed8b88af9a42eb86
  • SHA256 10e68f3e6c73161a1bba85ef9bada0cd79e25382ea8f8635bec4aa51bfe6c707
  • JA3 a0e9f5d64349fb13191bc781f81f42e1
  • JA4 t12d190800_d83cc789557e_7af1ed941c26
  • IP:port (Cloudflare)
  • Domain (Go Daddy)

Network Forensics Training

Are you interested in learning more about how to analyze network traffic from Cobalt Strike and other backdoors, malware and hacker tools? Then take a look at our upcoming network forensics classes!

Posted by Erik Hjelmvik on Thursday, 04 January 2024 10:12:00 (UTC/GMT)

Tags: #Cobalt Strike#CobaltStrike#Triage#JA3#a0e9f5d64349fb13191bc781f81f42e1#ThreatFox#CapLoader#Video#videotutorial

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CapLoader 1.9.6 Released

CapLoader 1.9.6

CapLoader now detects even more malicious protocols and includes several new features such as JA4 fingerprints, API support for sharing IOCs to ThreatFox and OSINT lookups of malware families on Malpedia. The new CapLoader 1.9.6 release also comes with several improvements of the user interface, for example interactive filtering of flows and services with regular expressions.

Detection of Malware C2 Protocols

Malware authors continually keep coming up with new C2 protocols for defenders to detect. Luckily we don’t need to manually create protocol signatures for CapLoader, we only need a few examples of traffic for a protocol to generate a statistical model that CapLoader can use to detect that protocol. We call this feature Port Independent Protocol Identification (PIPI).

We’ve added support for detecting of the following protocols in this new release of CapLoader:

Malicious protocols detected by CapLoader

Image: Protocols identified in PCAP files with malware traffic from various sandboxes (ANY.RUN, Hybrid-Analysis, Joe Sandbox and Triage)

Our PIPI feature can also detect protocols inside of other protocols, such as Cobalt Strike, DCRat, Emotet, Formbook, Gozi ISFB, GzipLoader and Socks5Systemz which all run on top of HTTP. It is sometimes even possible to identify malicious protocols that use TLS encryption, such as AsyncRAT, Cobalt Strike, Emotet, IcedID or Remcos. However, detection of malicious TLS encrypted protocols is a difficult challenge and might be subject to false positives.

Sharing IOCs to ThreatFox

ThreatFox is a free online service for sharing indicators of compromise (IOCs) from malware. ThreatFox can be queried for a particular malware family, such as RedLine Stealer, and it’ll return a list of URLs, domain names and IP:port pairs used for C2 communication or payload delivery for that malware. You can also query for a domain or IP address to see if it’s a known C2 address of any malware or botnet.

CapLoader has supported OSINT lookup of IP addresses and domains on ThreatFox since the release of version 1.9, but with this release we also add the ability to contribute by sharing IOCs with the infosec community. All you need to do is to enter your ThreatFox API-key in CapLoader’s settings, then right-click a flow, service or alert and select “Submit to ThreatFox”.

Submitting Loda IOC to ThreatFox

Image: Submission of[.]net to ThreatFox

If the right-clicked item is an alert for a “Malicious protocol” then CapLoader will automatically populate the Mapledia Name field, as shown in the screenshot (win.loda).

TLS Client Fingerprinting with JA4

John Althouse announced the new JA4+ fingerprint methods a couple of months ago on the FoxIO blog. In short JA4+ is a suite of methods designed to fingerprint implementations of a specific set of protocols, including TLS, HTTP and SSH. As you’ve probably guessed JA4+ is a successor to the JA3 and JA3S hashes that we’ve learned to love (we added JA3 fingerprinting to NetworkMiner in 2019).

Most of the fingerprinting methods in the JA4+ suite are patent pending except for the TLS client fingerprinting method “JA4”, which FoxIO does not have patent claims and is not planning to pursue patent coverage for. We have therefore built a JA4 fingerprinting engine that we’ve included in this CapLoader release. Future releases of NetworkMiner will hopefully also include our JA4 fingerprinting engine.

JA3 and JA4 fingerprints of Remcos traffic. a85be79f7b569f1df5e6087b69deb493 t13i010400_0f2cb44170f4_5c4c70b73fa0 t13i010400_0f2cb44170f4_1b583af8cc09

Image: JA3 and JA4 hashes of Remcos C2 traffic

JA4 is similar to JA3 in many ways, but one essential difference is that JA4 fingerprints are something of a fuzzy hash of the client’s handshake rather than a MD5 hash of the raw fingerprint. JA3’s use of MD5 hashing has received criticism, for example in academic literature, partly due to the inability to see if two JA3 hashes have similar TLS handshakes.

JA4 hash explained. Breakdown of Remcos JA4 hash t13i010400_0f2cb44170f4_5c4c70b73fa0

JA4 does use hashes, but instead of just being one big hash it breaks the fingerprint into three separate sections; where the first section is used in its raw (non-hashed) format and the other two sections are hashed separately. Thus, an update of a TLS implementation, which only adds one additional cipher, will increment the cipher counter in the first section of the JA4 fingerprint by one and the ciphers hash (second section) will get a new value. The hash in the last section will remain intact.

In the previous CapLoader screenshot with Remcos C2 traffic we see TLS handshakes that have the same JA3 hash (a85be79f7b569f1df5e6087b69deb493) but the JA4 fingerprints have different values (t13i010400_0f2cb44170f4_5c4c70b73fa0 and t13i010400_0f2cb44170f4_1b583af8cc09). The reason why the last JA4 section is different even though the JA3 hash is the same is because some of these TLS handshakes present a different set of signature algorithms, which is a parameter that isn't being used in JA3.

Alerts Tab

CapLoader’s Alerts tab now includes more alert types than before and each alert has a severity rating graded as follows:

  • High = 4
  • Medium = 3
  • Low = 2
  • Info = 1

A typical high-severity alert is when a known malicious protocol is detected, while an “Info” type alert can provide a heads up about traffic from things like coin mining or legitimate remote admin tools. As you can see in the screenshot below the alerts are sorted based on severity to make it easier to prioritize them.

Alerts in CapLoader for 2023-10-16-IcedID-infection.pcap

Image: CapLoader alerts for 2023-10-16-IcedID-infection.pcap

Here’s a breakdown of the alerts shown in the CapLoader screenshot above:

All these alerts are indicators of an IcedID infection, including the 5 minute C2 connection interval which I have mentioned before.

Other User Interface Improvements

CapLoader’s “Column Criteria” row filter could previously only be used to filter on columns with a specific value, such as “Protocol = TLS”. This new release of CapLoader additionally allows users to do substring matching with the “contains” keyword and regular expression (regex) matching with the “matching” keyword. In the screenshot below the Column Criteria “Hostname matches \.local$” is used to only show hosts that have a hostname ending with “.local”.

RegEx matching of .local hostnames

We’ve also added an often asked for feature to CapLoader, namely the ability to switch between different flows in the Transcript window.

CapLoader Transcript. Change this number to show next flow

The flows you can switch between depends on how the transcript window was opened. A flow transcript opened from the Flows tab will allow switching between the flows that were visible in the list from where the transcript was opened. A transcript opened from any of the other tabs (Services, Hosts or Alerts), on the other hand, allows switching between the different flows for the particular service, host or alert that was opened.


I would like to thank Nic Cerny, Trent Healy and Fredrik Ginsberg for their input on various improvements that have been implemented in CapLoader 1.9.6.

Updating to the Latest Release

Users who have already purchased a license for CapLoader can download a free update to version 1.9.6 from our customer portal or by clicking “Check for Updates” in CapLoader’s Help menu.

Posted by Erik Hjelmvik on Wednesday, 15 November 2023 12:08:00 (UTC/GMT)

Tags: #CapLoader#ThreatFox#JA3#IcedID#GzipLoader#regex

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QakBot C2 Traffic

In this video I analyze network traffic from a QakBot (QBot) infection in order to identify the Command-and-Control (C2) traffic. The analyzed PCAP file is from

IOC List

  • C2 IP and port:
  • C2 IP and port:
  • QakBot proxy IP and port:
  • JA3: 72a589da586844d7f0818ce684948eea
  • JA3S: ec74a5c51106f0419184d0dd08fb05bc
  • JA3S: fd4bc6cea4877646ccd62f0792ec0b62
  • X.509 cert hash: 9de2a1c39fbe1952221c4b78b8d21dc3afe53a3e
  • X.509 cert Subject OU: Hoahud Duhcuv Dampvafrog
  • X.509 cert Issuer O: Qdf Wah Uotvzke LLC.
  • X.509 cert hash: 0c7a37f55a0b0961c96412562dd0cf0b0b867d37
  • HTML Body Hash: 22e5446e82b3e46da34b5ebce6de5751664fb867
  • HTML Title: Welcome to CentOS


For more analysis of QakBot network traffic, check out my Hunting for C2 Traffic video.

Posted by Erik Hjelmvik on Thursday, 02 March 2023 12:43:00 (UTC/GMT)


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NetworkMiner 2.7 Released

NetworkMiner 2.7 Logo

We are happy to announce the release of NetworkMiner 2.7 today! The new version extracts documents from print traffic and pulls out even more files and parameters from HTTP as well as SMB2 traffic. We have also updated our JA3 implementation to fingerprint the server side in TLS sessions using JA3S hashes and added a few tweaks to the user interface to better identify the extension of extracted files.

Extraction of Printed Data

NetworkMiner 2.7 can extract documents from LPR/LPD print traffic on TCP 515 (RFC1179). The extracted print data is saved to disk as .prn files, which can be analyzed with tools like PCL Paraphernalia. The professional version of NetworkMiner also comes with a carver that attempts to extract PostScript and PDF files from print traffic.

Improved File Extraction from PCAP

One of the premier features of NetworkMiner is its ability to extract transferred files from network traffic. We have fine tuned NetworkMiner’s file extraction code for SMB2 as well as HTTP POST in this release, in order to retrieve as much information as possible from these protocols. We’ve also added more granular logging of SMB2 requests and responses to the Parameters tab.

More DNS Types Supported

NetworkMiner 2.7 now parses DNS TXT and SRV resource records, which are displayed in NetworkMiner’s DNS tab. The TXT records can be used for almost anything, but the SRV records are used to map service types to the hostnames that provide that service. SRV lookups are often used in order to locate the domain controller on a network by querying for “_ldap._tcp.dc._msdcs.<DOMAIN>”.

DNS SRV and TXT records in NetworkMiner

DNS SRV of lookups are performed by malware and attackers as well as for legitimate reasons, even though attackers sometimes make mistakes that can be used for detection or threat hunting.

TLS Server Fingerprinting with JA3S

We introduced TLS client fingerprinting using JA3 hashes in NetworkMiner 2.5. We have now also added support for JA3S hashes, which is a method for fingerprinting the server side of a TLS connection. The JA3S hashes are extracted from the “Server Hello” TLS packets and shown on NetworkMiner’s Parameters tab as well as in the Host Details of the server. We have also improved how NetworkMiner displays the JA3 hashes in the Host Details view.

JA3S hashes in NetworkMiner

Additional User Interface Improvements

Double clicking on an extracted file in NetworkMiner's Files tab now brings up the File Details window. We’ve extended this window to also include a simple hex viewer and a feature that attempts to identify the file type based on the reassembled file’s header.

NetworkMiner's File Details window with hex viewer

The file type identification feature is also used in order to provide more accurate file extensions to extracted files, such as “.exe” or “.zip”, instead of the “.octet-stream” that you’d often see in previous versions of NetworkMiner. We have added a warning dialogue to NetworkMiner 2.7 that shows up if a user tries to run an executable file directly from the NetworkMiner GUI.

Warning dialogue in NetworkMiner when opening executable file

NetworkMiner Professional

Our commercial tool NetworkMiner Professional has received a few additional updates. It can, for example, carve PDF and PostScript files from extracted LPR print data. We have also added several OSINT services, such as ANY.RUN, MalwareBazaar, URLHaus and ThreatFox, for performing lookups of file hashes. The OSINT context menu is opened by right-clicking an extracted file in NetworkMiner Professional.

GPS data stored in pcap-ng option fields, typically by Kismet, is now extracted as capture file metadata. Right-click a capture file and select "Show Metadata" to show the coordinates from Kismet. We have also re-implemented the support for a PCAP-over-IP listener in NetworkMinerCLI, which is the command line version of NetworkMiner Pro. This feature allows the command line tool to receive PCAP data over a TCP socket instead of reading from a capture file. The PCAP-over-IP listener feature was previously broken in NetworkMinerCLI.


We’d like to thank Hayo Brouwer (of Ricoh) for requesting the LPR extraction feature and providing capture files for testing, Jeff Rivett for reporting a 64 bit issue with WinPcap/Npcap and Ali Mohd for reporting the broken PCAP-over-IP listener feature.

Upgrading to Version 2.7

Users who have purchased NetworkMiner Professional can download a free update to version 2.7 from our customer portal, or use the “Help > Check for Updates” feature. Those who instead prefer to use the free and open source version can grab the latest version of NetworkMiner from the official NetworkMiner page.

Posted by Erik Hjelmvik on Tuesday, 15 June 2021 11:55:00 (UTC/GMT)

Tags: #NetworkMiner#PCAP#SMB2#JA3#JA3S#ANY.RUN#ThreatFox#OSINT

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