Examples Of Malware Attacks – A Brief Tutorial
Before we analyze the most exposed examples of malware attacks, let’s discuss what is malware in the first place. Malware refers to any intrusive software developed by cybercriminals or hackers. Malware attacks are used to steal data and they can damage or destroy computers and computer systems. Examples of common malware are viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware, adware, and ransomware. Recent malware attacks have exfiltrated data on a massive scale.
How can I protect my network from malware attacks?
Typically, companies focus on preventive tools to stop violations. By securing the perimeter, companies assume they are secure. However, some advanced malware will eventually find its way into your network.
It is therefore critical to deploy technology that continuously monitors and detects malware that has escaped the perimeter defense. Sufficiently advanced malware protection requires several levels of protection as well as a high level of network transparency and intelligence.
How do you recognize malware attacks and react to them?
Malware will inevitably invade your network. You need protective measures that provide meaningful visibility and detection of security breaches. To remove malware, you need to be able to quickly identify malicious agents. This requires constant analysis of the network. Once the threat has been identified, you need to remove the malware from your network.
There are several ways to categorize malware. The first is how the malware spreads. There are three subtly different ways to infect target computers with malware:
- A worm is a self-contained piece of malware that reproduces itself and spreads from computer to computer.
- A virus is a code that fits into the code of another stand-alone program and then forces it to act maliciously and spread.
- A trojan is a program that cannot reproduce itself, but masquerades as what the user wants and entices them to activate it so that it can cause damage and spread.
Malware can also be installed “manually” on a computer by an attacker, either through physical access to the computer or through elevation of privilege to gain remote administrative access.
Protection against malware attacks
Antivirus software is the most popular product in the malware protection category; although the name includes “virus”, most offerings support all forms of malware. Although high-end security professionals consider it outdated, it remains the backbone of basic anti-malware defense. The best antivirus software currently available comes from Kaspersky Lab, Symantec and Trend Micro, according to the latest AV-TEST.
When it comes to more advanced corporate networks, endpoint security offerings offer comprehensive protection against malware.
How to spot a malware attack
It is entirely possible, and possibly even likely, that despite your best efforts, your system will eventually be infected with malware. How can you say that for sure? CSO columnist Roger Grimes wrote an in-depth report on how to diagnose your PC for potential malware that you may find useful.
At the corporate computing level, there are also more advanced visibility tools that allow you to see what’s going on in your networks and detect malware infections.
There are also SIEM tools that emerged from log managers; these tools scan the logs of various computers and devices in your infrastructure for signs of problems, including malware infections. The SIEM providers range from industry stars like IBM and HP Enterprise to smaller specialists like Splunk and Alien Vault.
How to remove malware once infected is the million-dollar question. Removing the malware is a delicate task and the method can vary depending on the type you are dealing with. CSO provides information on how to remove or restore rootkits, ransomware, and crypto-jacking. We also have a guide on how to get started on How to Check Your Windows Registry.
If you’re looking for tools to clean up your system, Tech Radar has a good list of free offers that include popular names in the antivirus world as well as newbies like Malwarebytes.
Examples of malware attacks
We’ve already discussed some of the current malware threats emerging today. But there is a long history of malware stemming from the infected floppy disks that were traded by Apple II enthusiasts in the 1980s and the Morris worm that spread to Unix machines in 1988. Some of the other high profile malware attacks were:
- ILOVEYOU, a worm that spread like wildfire in 2000, causing more than $ 15 billion in damage
- SQL Slammer that shut down internet traffic minutes after it first began proliferating rapidly in 2003
- Conficker, a worm that exploited unpatched vulnerabilities in Windows and used a variety of attack vectors – from injecting malicious code to phishing emails – ultimately cracking passwords and hacking Windows devices into a botnet.
- Zeus, a Trojan keylogger from the late 2000s that targets banking information
- CryptoLocker, the first large-scale ransomware attack, the code of which is repeatedly used in similar malware projects
- Stuxnet, an extremely sophisticated worm that has infected computers all over the world but has only caused real damage in one place: the Iranian nuclear facility at Natanz, where it destroyed uranium enrichment centrifuges for which it was built by the American and Israeli intelligence services.
Malware Attack Trends
You can count on cybercriminals to track the money. They target victims based on the likelihood of their malware being successfully deployed and the amount of potential payment. If you look at malware trends over the past few years, you will find that the popularity of certain types of malware and the identities of the most common victims fluctuate, all based on the opinion of criminals.
Recent research suggests interesting changes in malware tactics and objectives. Cryptominers, who had overtaken ransomware as the most common type of malware, are falling out of favor in the face of falling cryptocurrency values. Ransomware is getting more targeted and moving away from a shotgun approach.