Beware of These Malware and Software Security Threats
Trojan horse, Spyware, ransomware… some malware attacks have fancy names. Some sound a bit gloomy. But there is one thing they all have in common- they are extremely dangerous, and you should never let them near your computer. Malware possesses enough gravity to take a huge toll on your system. Malware attacks will leave you with devastating repercussions, such as huge financial damages and a distorted reputation.
It is even more worrying to learn that malware attacks have increased over the years. According to a report by Statista, 71% of organizations have been victimized by ransomware attacks. The sophistication of such attacks makes it hard for software owners and users to mitigate them. Mitigation requires in-depth knowledge of what software malware is, how it works, and the types of malware you are likely to face. From there, crafting a working strategy that safeguards your system against software malware becomes easy. This article will explain software malware and the types of threats you should know.
What is Software Malware?
The internet is full of marvels and peril. Every good invention has a dubious security threat crafted from the background. However dramatic that sounds, it is the hard reality you should be willing to face. Furthermore, software malware is a piece of the broad subject of software security. It refers to any malicious program created to cause an undesirable action on a network or system.
Cyber attackers use software malware to extort confidential information, ransom, or bring destruction to a system. Most attackers prefer using software malware attacks to cause all sorts of harm to any devices connected to the internet. Most attackers leverage social engineering attacks to distribute malware infections to devices and networks of unsuspecting users.
Types of Malware Attacks
One of the things that makes malware attacks more dangerous is the fact that there are so many forms of malware to the point that crafting a good defense strategy that addresses all of them becomes difficult. Most malware threats possess enough power and gravity to creep through even the most secure system unnoticed. Although there are so many malware attacks, I have covered the ones you are likely to encounter while using the internet on your network and devices.
As the name suggests, a ransomware attack is a malware attack that intends to extort a ransom from the victim. With ransomware attacks, an attacker will create malicious software that they will use to encrypt vital pieces of information and deny owners access to their network’s information or other resources. The attacker will demand a ransom to grant the user the right to use the system. However, there is no guarantee that the attacker will give out the decryption key or grant the user access to the system.
Ransomware attacks have become rampant over the years because of the monetary reward they give attackers. A report by Statista reveals that over 236.1 million ransomware attacks were deployed during the first quarter of 2022. See more details of this report in the graph below:
It is like ransomware attacks happen every day. One of the most known cases of ransomware was the deployment of ransomware called Robinhood in Baltimore, which halted almost all city activities, such as tax collection and government email. The ransomware caused huge losses to the victims.
Ever heard of the story of the trojan horse? The story goes that during the trojan war, the Greeks built a wooden horse and disguised it as a gift to the king of Troy- a sign of surrender. The trojans didn’t know that the wooden horse was also a hiding place for the Greeks, who used it to enter the Trojan’s gates and wedge a war from inside. Trojan malware acts similarly.
Trojan malware disguises itself as legitimate software. Once users download it, the program takes control of their system and networks and uses it for malicious reasons. Trojan malware is usually hidden in games, phishing emails, applications, and software patches. One of the common Trojans that has existed since 2014 is Emotet. Emotet is a sophisticated banking trojan that is so complex due to its signature-based detection. Such types of trojans could cause devastating effects on their victims.
Spyware is another common type of malware threat. As its name suggests, Spyware works by spying on networks to extract sensitive user data without the knowledge or consent of the network owners. Spyware malware usually targets banking information, passwords, and unstructured messages, among other sensitive user credentials.
A good example of Spyware malware is the DarkHotel, which was used to target government leaders and business owners who used hotel Wi-Fi. As soon as attackers got access to the victim’s devices, they would collect sensitive information without the consent of the users.
Adware is a special kind of malware used to monitor a victim’s surfing activities to serve them with ads. The most dangerous aspect of adware is that it can compromise the privacy of the victims. Once attackers collect the victims’ information, they can sell them to advertisers without the consent of the users.
A bot/botnet is a specialized type of software malware that is automated to perform activities upon the attacker’s command. Although bots are legitimate applications built to perform legitimate tasks, such as indexing search engines, they can become dangerous when they fall into the wrong hands. Attackers can easily convert them into self-propagating software that collects sensitive and confidential user information. Even more dangerous with bots is that a computer infected with a bot can easily spread the attack to other connected devices.
A rootkit is software that allows a party to access a network or computer remotely. RootKit gains administrative power over a network. Attackers can use them for malicious purposes, such as injecting viruses into applications.
The Need For A Code Signing Certificate
How can you fight these attacks? The best way to fight malware threats is to use a code signing certificate. A code signing certificate refers to a special kind of digital certificate that is used to authenticate software, business, or organization. The developer will use the certificate to sign the software code and embed all pertinent details in the signature. With that, it becomes hard for an attacker to alter the contents of the software or deploy a malware attack to the code, application, or software. Developers serious about the security of their software should buy code signing certificates and use them to establish their legitimacy and show users that their products are genuine.
Apart from using a code signing certificate, there are other ways you can use to protect your network against malware infections. They include the following:
- Using secure authentication methods
- Using antimalware software
- Keeping software and operating systems up to date
- Enacting access controls
- Implementing software security and spam protection mechanisms
- Monitoring all suspicious activities
- Educating all software users about the best ways to stay safe from malware infections
Malware threats are among the most severe threats you can face on your network. You will need to know what malware is, the types of malware infections, and the various ways you can use to safeguard your system against malware infections. Lastly, this article has provided you with all these details.
Beware of These Malware and Software Security Threats