SecurityThreats

Most Used Malware

What Is Malware?

Malware is a big nuisance in the 21st century. It can be defined as malicious software created by cybercriminals to gain access to sensitive information of a person or a company.

This corrupted software comes in many forms and can largely affect any organization’s or working system’s operational performance. Systems that get affected by such malware present with slower speed, rebooting problems, crashing, too many unwanted ads, and much more.

Most Common Malware Found In Devices

Malware attacks have taken a lot of forms in recent years. The top most common types of malware attacks are:

  • Viruses
  • Keyloggers
  • Worms
  • Trojans
  • Ransomware
  • Logic Bombs
  • Adware and Spyware
  • Rootkits

Viruses 

A virus is a pretty old malware that almost everyone has heard about. Computer viruses are more common than any other virus. A device gets infected with a virus when the user accidentally downloads it and other documents or images. Viruses tend to self-replicate themselves and spread to other susceptible sites. A virus can also spread to other devices via email, USB, etc.

Viruses can greatly harm your device, causing it to malfunction and crash repeatedly. It can also cause loss of data and sensitive information. It is always advised to install antivirus software on your device and run it before downloading anything new from the Internet.

Keyloggers

Keyloggers are like hidden evil agents you don’t know about, but they track your every keystroke. Some companies install keyloggers in their employee’s devices themselves so that they can keep an eye on their activities, but mostly, there are mischievous evils behind keyloggers.

Keyloggers can also be in the form of a wire, quietly hidden and attached to your keyboard. The main motive of keyloggers is to steal data, especially sensitive data like passwords and account details.

Worms

A worm is another malware attack that can cause harm to your computer and other electronic devices. Like viruses, worms make copies of themselves and spread via emails, messages, and other connections.

Unlike computer viruses, however, worms don’t require a host server to propagate themselves. They spread quickly and rapidly and often cause tremendous damage to the operating system.

Trojan Horses 

A trojan horse is a type of malware that appears as legalized software, but it has a malicious intent instead. It will remain hidden and dormant in your device for some time, but eventually, it will become activated and cause trouble.

Trojan malware allows cybercriminals to spy on your work, get their hands on highly sensitive information and gain access to data. A trojan horse can enter your system through email attachments, malicious downloads, and corrupted files. Unlike computer viruses, a trojan horse cannot replicate itself and spread quickly.

Ransomware & Crypto-Malware 

Ransomware is an old tactic used by many hackers to gain money and information. They hack your system, gain full control over the functions and then keep you out of it until you pay them a heavy amount.

Ransomware attacks have decreased over time, but you should still be cautious about such malware attacks. Crypto-Malware is very similar to ransomware. The only difference lies in the payment method. In Crypto-Malware, the hackers demand money in digital currency within a time frame.

Logic Bombs 

Logic Bombs are yet another malware attack designed to hack your phone. They get activated at a specific allotted time, date, or function decided by the hacker. Viruses and worms often use them to deliver their malicious links or codes at a set time.

Logic bombs are like planted bombs, ready to explode at any moment. They can cause potential damage to the operating system, like making processing more difficult, hacking various files, etc. Good antivirus software can detect logic bombs quickly and remove them as well. It is therefore emphasized to use antivirus software on a routine basis.

Adware And Spyware

Adware is another malware that is encountered quite commonly these days. It gets installed with third-party apps mostly. Adware is a nuisance since it causes unnecessary ads to pop up frequently while using the app. These ads can contain malicious links, which can be a source of software vulnerabilities.

Spyware, however, ‘spies’ on you and your work. It will collect information from your computer systems and use it maliciously. Spyware can gain access to sensitive data like account details, login passwords, contact information, etc.

Rootkits

Rootkits is an advanced malware program that takes over the control of your operating system without the user realizing it. It first takes control over small functions and then slowly and gradually spreads and captures the entire system. It can change configurations, steal data and even make changes to important files.

Some antivirus software programs can detect this malicious software; however, once rootkits have gained full control of the system, it is very difficult to remove them. It’s like a widespread disease that affects the entire body. The only solution is removing the rootkit malware and rebooting the entire system.

How Does Malware Get Into A System? 

There are many routes via which malware can get into your operating system. The most common route taken by hackers is phishing emails. They can send computer viruses, banking trojans, and malicious links through such emails. One wrong click on a corrupted email and in comes the malware.

There are other less common methods of spreading malware which include:

  • Man-In-The-Browser Attacks 

This type of malware attack is a very cheeky and smart method. The hackers send malware into the device. The malware gets itself installed into the browser and records all the online business activities of the user. This way, they can monitor and steal data without even getting caught.

  • Exploitation Of Loopholes

Cybercriminals are always ready to bank on your shortcomings. If you have a corrupted network connection or security vulnerabilities, you might want to get them fixed before it’s too late. It becomes very easy for hackers to inject malware into a system with poor security software.

  • Exploit Kits

Exploit kits are similar to the exploitation of loopholes. The only difference is that they are pre-prepared and quicker. Each kit has a malicious code that can point out the default in the security system and then let the hacker know where to inject the malware.

  • Drive-by Downloads

This method of malware injection is when users visit malicious websites. Such websites and website downloads harbor exploit kits that can inject malware into your mobile devices in no time.

  • Social Media Tactics 

Social engineering attacks are becoming more common as social media has become mainstream. Social media plays with the user’s mind and tricks them into going onto malicious websites and downloading malicious files.

Furthermore, as social media is used by the younger generation more, this age is easy to exploit, and therefore most information is extracted by hackers from these vulnerable people.

Warning Signs Of A Malware Infection?

There are many types of malware out there, whether mobile malware or computer malware and all have similar signs that can be detected.

Following are the warning signs of a malware infection that you should be on a watch out for:

  • Mobile malware can cause your mobile performance to deteriorate quickly. Your mobile device may crash suddenly or perform functions slowly.
  • Malware infections can cause apps to open and close on their own.
  • Malicious software takes up more storage space than a healthy one; therefore, if you notice your storage space getting too low, this is yet another warning sign of a malware infection.
  • A parade of unwanted ads or pop-ups is a big warning sign.
  • If you notice emails being sent without your consent or approval, you should get your system checked instantly, as this could mean that important information is getting out of your system without you knowing about it.
  • If your mobile device is losing battery very quickly, it could mean that a malware infection is running in the background, which is consuming this spare battery.

What Are The Ways To Prevent Malware Attacks?

Malware attacks will always be out there till the end of time, one cannot end them, but one can prevent such attacks from causing any serious system compromise. Let’s discuss the ways to prevent a malware attack:

Security Policies

Every organization should have appropriate security policies that are compulsory for all employees.

  • Social Engineering Awareness Policies

Make the employees aware of the tactics used by hackers on social media to spread malicious attachments and train them accordingly. Restrict how much employees can use social engineering websites on campus and monitor their actions.

  • Server Malware Protection Policy

This policy should also be in place and implemented to keep a record of which servers require more added protection, like antivirus software, and which servers are lagging.

  • Software Installation Policy

This policy will keep in check the softwares being installed into the company’s devices. It will prevent data loss through corrupted softwares, decrease the risk of malware induction and improve security.

Security Awareness Training

Security Awareness Training programs are very imperative in this crucial time. They will not only improve the skills of your employees but will also greatly enhance the overall security of your system. Such programs might seem like spending money, but they are an investment destined to save money in the long run that might get lost due to cyber threats.

The training includes:

  • Baseline testing

This will assess the capability of your employees, and you will be able to judge who lacks which skills.

  • Training employees

Employees should be trained by different methods like modules, seminars, constructive activities, etc. This training should be effective and impactful instead of boring and time waste.

  • Results and Impact

Keep a record of the impact of such training programs on the company. Compare the number of phishing attacks before and after training to see the effect. Share the result with the employees to create a healthy and productive environment within the workspace

Use Multi-Factor Authentication Process

According to a recent study by the Microsoft team, most malware attempts can be subsided just by setting up a proper multi-factor authentication process. In addition to automated attacks, sophisticated threat actors use various other techniques to infiltrate networks.

Installation Of Anti-Malware And Spam Filters

Malware and socially engineered assaults are primarily delivered through emails. Setting us anti-malware and spam filters can help tremendously and reduce cyber threats.

Customizing And Improvising On The Default Operating System’s Rules And Regulations

The default operating system of any device has certain pre-installed security rules to protect the user against any security breach. Although these regulations are well planned and executed, certain amendments could be made to improve them further.

These modifications include reducing the password age from 3 months to a maximum of 3 weeks. Improving the standard of set passwords to include upper and lower case letters and numerals, installing anti-malware and antivirus softwares on mail servers in addition to employees’ workstations.

A spam filter must be set up carefully. The network administrator wishes to prevent all harmful traffic. However, if the filters are overly strict, legitimate traffic is suppressed, and end users begin to complain.

Regularly Assess Your Vulnerabilities

Regular network vulnerability scans can assist find known vulnerabilities, missing security controls, and typical setup errors. Scanners such as Nessus are used for port scanning, protocol analysis, and network mapping. This gives network administrators detailed information about which hosts on the network are running which services.

Conclusion

There are numerous types of malware now in the tech world. Each type is dangerous and should be prevented. Hackers send malicious code and malicious links via sophisticated threat actors. However, there are several ways through which malware attacks can be prevented. If you stay vigilant, you can keep yourself safe from these attacks.

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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