Protect Your Payloads: Modern Keying Techniques

Our payloads are at risk! Incident responders, threat hunters, and automated software solutions are eager to pick apart your new custom dropper and send you back to square one. One answer to this problem is encrypting your payload with key derivation functions ("keying") which leverages a variety of local and remote resources to build the decryption key. Throughout this talk I will present modern keying techniques and demo some tools to help along the way. I will start with showing how easy it is to discover attacker infrastructure or techniques in the payloads we commonly use every day. I will then quickly review how keying helps and the considerations when generating keyed payloads. Throughout the presentation many practical examples of keying techniques will be provided which can be used for typical pentests or full red team operations. Finally I will introduce KeyServer, a new piece to add to your red team infrastructure which handles advanced HTTP and DNS keying. Using unprotected payloads during ops should be a thing of the past. Let’s regain control of our malicious code and make it harder on defenders! This talk is based on the original research of environmental keying by Josh Pitts and Travis Morrow.

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