Artifacts of a Malicious Traffic

While Investigating the Suspicious Traffic, it is important for an analyst to be clear what is really suspicious or not.
Below are few artifacts an analyst can observe to conclude if it is malicious or not.


1)      IP belong to High Risk Hosting Provider / Internet User IP

2)      Has Malicious References on sites such as,,,,,,, etc.,



If at least three of below criteria is matched, the domain would be malicious

1)      Domain is NOT Popular

2)      Has Malicious References on sites such as,,,,,,, etc.,

3)      Domain created date is less than 1 Year

4)      Bluecoat Category is none / Suspicious / Malicious sources / Malicious Botnets / Dynamic DNS Hosts

5)      No Site description




1)      User-Agent Field gives the idea what Is the application

Some malwares uses UA that appears legitimate, Hence check the UA used in other traffic for that IP at the same time

Some Malware uses exact UA that browser on infected machine uses, In that case check the header for other fields as described below to confirm if the web request is made by Browser/Malware.

2)  Below fields in the Header indicate the request is made by a browser .

If they are not present, mostly the request is made by some malware/application


 Accept: text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,*/*;q=0.8

Accept-Language: en-us,en;q=0.5

Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate

Cache-Control: max-stale=0

Pragma: no-cache

Connection: Keep-Alive

3)      Referrer Field gives the Clue from where the user was redirected to

After confirming that Web Request is made by Browser,

If Referrer field is available,

a)      If Referrer URL is – indicating user infected from Phishing/SPAM

b)      If Referrer URL is good blog/forum – indicating user infected from compromised site

If Referrer field is unavailable – User might have been Phished/SPAMed . (User clicking link from email in outlook)



About Uma Mahesh

A Creator/Equilizer. Creator/Equalizers are catalysts for positive, well-organized change. They never settle for the status quo. Instead, they see the opportunity for innovation in the processes that others have long taken for granted. They respect what's already operating, but they can't help but want to improve upon it. Their special combination provides innovation tempered with profound logic. They have incredible discernment. Should their efforts fail, they are unhesitating in accepting responsibility. They don't wallow in self-pity but rather see these missed attempts as critical steps on the path to success.
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