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Dead Drop Resolvers - Espionage Inspired C&C Communication

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  A “dead drop” is a well-known espionage tactic of passing items or information between two parties using secret locations. The two parties never meet and any sign of communication is concealed. This tactic is commonly used by intelligence officers to interact with their assets in the field to avoid any suspicious meetings or either caught talking to each other. For decades, intelligence agencies have used dead drops. Two infamous double agents from the CIA and FBI - Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen respectively - both used dead drops to supply information to their handlers from the Soviet Union. Cyber adversaries have also come to adapt this technique into their espionage campaigns. However, instead of a human source, state-backed computer network operations (CNOs) have leveraged legitimate services for covert communications or so-called “dead drop resolvers”.  In October 2019, ESET Research disclosed a report on Operation Ghost Dukes which detailed the activities of an APT group kn