Paper: Alternative communication channel over NTP

Posted by   Martijn Grooten on   Apr 24, 2019

The use of DNS as a covert C&C communication channel has been widely documented and is fairly prevalent in the wild. Last week, Palo Alto Networks analysed its use in the various tools of Iran's OilRig (APT34) group.

But DNS is not unique in this. As long ago as 2006, ICMP packets were being used in a trojan to exfiltrate data.

Another protocol that opens up the ability for C&C communication is NTP, the protocol used for clock synchronization.

Today, we publish a paper by researcher Nikolaos Tsapakis who looked at the possibilities of NTP packets carrying data and what can be done to detect this use of NTP.


You can read Nikolaos' paper in both HTML and PDF format.

201904-alternative-communication-channel-ntp.jpgAlternative communication channel over NTP

Read the paper (HTML)

Download the paper (PDF)




Latest posts:

First 11 partners of VB2019 announced

We are excited to announce the first 11 companies to partner with VB2019, whose support will help ensure a great event.

VB2018 paper: Fake News, Inc.

A former reporter by profession, Andrew Brandt's curiosity was piqued when he came across what appeared at first glance to be the website of a small-town newspaper based in Illinois, but under scrutiny, things didn’t add up. At VB2018 he presented a…

Paper: Alternative communication channel over NTP

In a new paper published today, independent researcher Nikolaos Tsapakis writes about the possibilities of malware using NTP as a covert communication channel and how to stop this.

VB2019 conference programme announced

VB is excited to reveal the details of an interesting and diverse programme for VB2019, the 29th Virus Bulletin International Conference, which takes place 2-4 October in London, UK.

VB2018 paper: Under the hood - the automotive challenge

Car hacking has become a hot subject in recent years, and at VB2018 in Montreal, Argus Cyber Security's Inbar Raz presented a paper that provides an introduction to the subject, looking at the complex problem, examples of car hacks, and the…

We have placed cookies on your device in order to improve the functionality of this site, as outlined in our cookies policy. However, you may delete and block all cookies from this site and your use of the site will be unaffected. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to Virus Bulletin's use of data as outlined in our privacy policy.