CyberSecurity

Backdoor Attack

What Is A Backdoor Attack?

Currently, trojan attacks and ransomware are getting extremely common, and our data is at high risk. A backdoor attack is one of the easiest to prove remote access to all your devices and information to a cyber criminal through the infected computer. It is similar to how burglars can access your house if you leave the backdoor open.

Similar to this, there is a thing known in the virtual world as a digital backdoor. If you leave your digital backdoor unsecured and “open for attack” for even a second, any opportunistic hacker can gain access to all your information and may even hold your data to ransom if they manage to install backdoor malware and ransomware.

The WiFi connection is one of the most common pathways for a backdoor attack. Everybody has access to WiFi, and your networks are not as safe as you think. If you have forgotten to change the settings or passwords for a long while, you are at a high risk of cyber attacks.

Trojan horse viruses got their name from the famous mythical story of the Trojan Horse and are similar. They may appear to be normal software at first, but they fool people and remain undetected. Trojans are extremely harmful and can extract almost all the information inside your computers.

It is very important to detect them as soon as possible. Otherwise, getting rid of them after a while becomes almost impossible. In this article, we will explain in detail what a backdoor attack is, how it works, and how you can completely detect and prevent a backdoor. So, read this article so that you don’t ever install malware by accident!

What Is A Computer Backdoor Attack?

A computer backdoor attack is defined as unapproved or unwanted access by a cybercriminal to the user’s highly personal files, networks, and devices. These intruders use digital backdoors as an easy way to bypass all the protection and security walls. They can even gain remote access to a system through a backdoor.

Digital backdoors are usually easy or weak passcodes resulting in data theft. If a hacker can gain direct access to your devices through the network or password once, they will be able to record and copy all the private information. They can also remotely access all your connected devices, microphone, or camera, which may lead to further privacy breaches.

Types Of Computer Backdoors

There are 3 major types of computer backdoor attacks, which we will discuss below.

The Built-In Backdoor 

Software developers and device manufacturers use the built-in backdoors to detect and repair any issues while developing the product or resolving software issues. They are also called proprietary backdoors in the virtual world. However, sometimes programmers forget to “close” or remove these backdoors from the devices.

Once these devices containing built-in backdoors reach the users, they become vulnerable to cyber criminals and trojan viruses.

The Trojan Backdoor

A trojan backdoor is extremely malicious software hidden in files that seem legit at first glance but are harmful. The file will install viruses in the background, which it uses to attack the backdoor. Once that is done, the virus provides immediate access to cyber criminals, allowing them to attack your devices and steal sensitive data from windows pcs or other setups.

Trojan backdoors hide behind real and trustful softwares and websites, and the moment they are successfully settled in your devices, they exploit and destroy. Hackers also use trojan viruses to access highly protected networks or collect weak passwords and other private information.

The Supply Chain Backdoor

It is quite common and easy for viruses to gain access and slip into devices at the time of their manufacturing. Weak devices like WiFi routers are extremely vulnerable and easy to target.

It isn’t easy to check all the devices before they reach the users. Hence sometimes, these backdoors slip through. That is why they are known as supply chain backdoors.

New devices are also susceptible to a hidden cyber attack because the person would not suspect any malicious software on a new device. Supply chain backdoor attacks are quite common in large businesses and software houses and have led people to lose millions of dollars.

It is difficult to protect yourself from these types of backdoors as they are hard to detect. We recommend only buying devices from trusted sellers. You can also get your devices checked for any viruses or malicious activities or check network activity before uploading any sensitive information.

How Do These Attacks On Backdoors Work?

The process of how backdoor attacks work is quite complex and hard to understand.

A backdoor attack has two main purposes. The first is to break all the protection and security barriers by accessing default passwords or network weaknesses.

The other way is to gain deep access to the system through a hidden backdoor to perform administrative works like changing passwords, locking folders, and deleting important files.

A manufacturing fault or malicious malware and viruses are the most common ways a backdoor attack can occur. Trojans are the most common and highly dangerous malware that are extremely difficult to detect and remove because they can replicate themselves.

Trojans come hiding behind attachments or software that you may download through legit websites. However, as soon as you download these trojans on your devices, the cyber attacker can gain access to your devices through a trojan backdoor.

This malicious malware can copy private information and introduce even more harmful viruses. Usually, the attacker performs all these procedures gradually over a while to avoid getting detected. That is why, once all the steps are completed, the hacker has complete access to steal sensitive information without getting noticed.

How Do Backdoors Help Hackers? 

Backdoors are extremely helpful for cyber attackers. They can use them to deploy multiple malware and viruses into your devices. Some of the ways hackers use backdoors are explained below.

Spyware

Spyware is a type of malicious malware that, once installed into your devices, can gather all information, such as the websites you open, the ads you check out, the passwords you choose, the files you download, etc.

All this collected data is extremely useful for the hacker to spy on you and access personal data, which they may use to exploit you for their gain.

Keyloggers

Another malware, similar to spyware, is a Keylogger. This malware can count and save information about everything you click, enter or type. Many businesses use Keylogger legally to keep a tab on what their employees are up to. However, hackers may use them to collect data about you and use it against you.

Ransomware

This type of malware is the most dangerous of all. The malicious ransomware accesses all your files and data, locks all the folders, and demands money or ransom to unlock it. Usually, the attacker deals in cryptocurrency so that they can remain anonymous.

DDoS Attack

By using a backdoor, hackers can completely access your computer, operating system, home security system, or other devices and upload it on Botnet. A Botnet is a network that enlists all hacked computers in one place.

Hackers can use all these hacked devices to cause a Distributed Denial of Service Attack (DDoS). This can shut down a website or a network by bringing extreme traffic, ultimately putting them out of service.

How Can One Remain Protected Against Backdoor Attacks?

After reading all this, you must be very interested in knowing how to protect yourself and your devices from all these harmful malware and backdoors.

If you want to secure yourself, here are some easy ways below.

Improve Passwords

Make sure to immediately change all your default passwords and weak passwords and set up unique passwords. It is highly recommended to never go for default login credentials and always set up multiple authentications. Setting up a weak password is the easiest way to make yourself vulnerable to backdoor attacks.

Trusted Software Developers And Device Manufacturers Only

Never buy devices from any questionable sources. The most common backdoor attacks are the hardware backdoors, where malware settles in the computer hardware. Most device manufacturers, especially the stingy ones, do not check every device and sometimes let built-in backdoors slip through.

These backdoors can be easy for hackers to gain unauthorized access to your devices. Always look for sellers ready to provide warranties and guarantees for up to a year.

Moreover, downloading software or getting it from doubtful sources can be harmful and risky.

Be Vary Of Plug-ins And Downloads

You should be careful when choosing plugins and extensions, as these small activities can be risky. Always ensure that the plugins and extensions are from a trustworthy source, like most chrome extensions.

Moreover, downloading anything from the internet is an extremely risky activity. It can contain anything from malicious malware to a self-replicating trojan. Avoid installing or downloading anything without checking reviews or ratings.

Always Have Latest Security And Firewalls

Download firewalls and security applications like antivirus and antimalware from reputable and highly-reviewed sources. They will immediately detect any suspicious activity in your computer and will work towards removing it.

How Can A Backdoor Trojan Be Detected?

It is not easy to detect backdoor malware trojans at all. Cyber attackers constantly change their methods and attack differently each time to work around the latest security systems.

Although services like antivirus or antimalware firewalls can detect unusual activities, they cannot protect if the malware has started replicating itself.

In order to prevent backdoor attacks, more advanced security systems are available. These systems can go deep inside the device to check for unusual or malicious activities and do a complete behavior analysis.

Advanced antimalware software like those are expensive and rarely found in normal home desktops. Corporations mostly use these high-end security firewalls with millions at stake.

On an even higher level, where these systems fail, businesses deploy cybersecurity teams who remain active 24/7 to detect any backdoor activity.

These cybersecurity teams set up highly secure firewalls, monitor and closely analyze all installed applications and activities, and find malware through iterations.

How Can A Backdoor Trojan Be Removed?

Removing backdoor malware from your device is an extremely challenging task. However, if it is an ordinary or a common trojan backdoor, it is possible to detect and remove it to a certain extent. You can use applications like antivirus or antimalware to work towards their removal.

Here is a step-wise procedure of how you can remove a weak trojan backdoor from your computer systems.

  1. Download the antivirus on the computer system currently affected by the backdoor. If your device already has such an application, download an updated or advanced version.
  2. Once you have downloaded all the applications, check and analyze the computer for any additional viruses.
  3. Please turn off your WiFi or disconnect it from the network. This prevents the hacker from accessing your device through remote network access.
  4. Start a complete scan on your computer system after rebooting it into safe mode.
  5. Perform the previous step for the second time, including all networks this time.
  6. The final step is to use a restore point to revert your settings to that point so that any modifications or changes made by the hacker can be reversed.
  7. Perform these steps repeatedly on different networks each time since the trojan backdoor can replicate itself.

Note that the above procedure only works for common and low-level trojan backdoors. In order to remove the high-risk trojan backdoor, an overall system cleanout is required. This ensures that all infected files and software are removed from the computer.

In this situation, your backups also get affected, leading to data loss if you don’t have it saved on another device. We highly recommend getting advanced system security software to prevent this scenario.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, a backdoor attack is extremely common and can be very harmful in terms of stealing data and making you vulnerable to malicious hackers. To reduce the risks, always download and install from trustworthy sources. Do not click on any flashy ads or buy from cheap sources.

If you have some important or sensitive data on your devices, then make sure to install firewalls and antiviruses. Moreover, if you notice any unusual activity in your device, always perform an analysis for further confirmation.

Derik Belair

As President and CEO, Derik leads the vision, strategy and growth of Augmentt. Prior to founding Augmentt, Derik was the Vice President at SolarWinds, leading the digital marketing strategy for SolarWinds’ Cloud division. Derik has been working in the channel for over 20 years, starting his career as a channel sales rep at Corel Corp. and eventually becoming the first employee at N-able Technologies in April of 2000.

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Kanata, Ontario
K2K 3K2
(fax) 647-372-0393

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