Outsmart Cyberthreats: the Whack-A-Mole Game
By Tom Seest
At BestCybersecurityNews, we help young learners and seniors learn more about cybersecurity.
Trojan malware takes its name from the famous Trojan horse and operates undetected within seemingly harmless software to carry out illegal actions without user knowledge or approval. Trojans can damage files, redirect internet traffic, monitor device activity, steal information from an individual device, and set up backdoor access points onto computers – in addition to deleting, blocking, or altering system settings.
As opposed to viruses and worms, Trojans do not self-replicate; rather, hackers typically employ social engineering techniques in order to persuade a victim into downloading and installing it. Attackers commonly send Trojans via attachments in emails or mobile applications that appear legitimate.
Though many cybersecurity tools can detect and remove trojans, they do not prevent them from exploiting computers or mobile devices. Therefore, it is crucial to use multiple methods — machine learning and exploit blocking — in combination. With these combined approaches, you can prevent attacks from gaining a foothold within your environment as well as help identify their sources.
Some of the most prevalent Trojans include spyware, rogue antivirus software, banking trojans, and bots. Trojans can steal banking information that cybercriminals can use to either take back money from victims or sell on dark web marketplaces.
As a result, criminals have adopted increasingly aggressive techniques in order to gain access to this data. Trojans, for instance, can utilize keystroke loggers in order to steal passwords and account numbers, delete files at random, and shut down computers at random; additionally, they are adept at evading detection and spreading stealthily across computers.
Trojan-spy, an aggressive form of spyware, often works by tracking victim activity using various surveillance tools such as keyloggers and screenshot captures before uploading this captured data back to its servers for hacker use.
Trojan-Mailfinder Trojan is another favorite among cybercriminals. This malware collects email addresses from devices and sends them back to its creator’s server; in exchange, this provides him with a list of potential targets.
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Whac-A-Mole is an arcade game in which you attempt to hit numerous moles with a large, padded mallet. While frustrating, the Whac-A-Mole can also be fun – helping children develop hand-eye coordination and timing skills while being an enjoyable pastime. In IT security circles, Whack-A-Mole refers to any situation in which an issue keeps resurfacing after having been purportedly resolved.
No wonder this idiom is so often used to illustrate the difficulty of managing vulnerabilities. Most enterprise security teams are overwhelmed with an immense backlog of vulnerabilities to be patched before an adversary takes advantage of them and exploits them systematically. Unfortunately, however, this task often proves impossible, and it remains unclear exactly who these moles are and their purpose.
The Trojan is designed to obtain login details for everything you do online, from banking and credit card accounts to instant messaging platforms and text message interception to premium rate numbers that increase phone bills. In addition, this trojan may create backdoors into your computer that give attackers access to everything you do on it.
Another type of Trojan is designed to target mobile devices; this trojan disguises itself as legitimate apps before installing malware on them and performing DDoS attacks.
One of the most crucial steps you can take to protect yourself against Trojans and other forms of malware is keeping your antivirus software up-to-date. Furthermore, conduct regular diagnostic scans to check for threats.
Maintaining up-to-date antivirus software will protect against common vulnerabilities that could be exploited by Trojans, should they occur. For assistance on how best to do this, consult with IT. You should also change default passwords, update operating systems, set two-factor authentication protection, and use secure browsers when shopping or browsing online.
Stuxnet disproved the notion that computer viruses are benign by attacking specific programmable industrial control systems (PLCs) and causing their equipment to malfunction, feeding false data back into system monitors so the equipment appeared as intended, and drawing international attention since its discovery in June 2010 due to its ability to target specific hardware. Thought to have been created by the U.S. National Security Agency/CIA with Israeli intelligence aiding development. Eventually, it spread and eventually made its way into Iran, where it disrupted their uranium enrichment program.
Researchers believe Stuxnet was created by a team of expert engineers over two to three years. This group employed four zero-day exploits, Windows rootkit and PLC rootkit versions as well as various anti-antivirus evasion techniques as well as stolen certificates from trusted certificate authorities to craft Stuxnet. As it spread through computer networks, it would change depending on its detection techniques – either sending instructions over the web for those machines capable of connecting directly or updating itself via peer-to-peer methods for those that could not connect.
Stuxnet infiltrates PLCs by searching the host computer for WinCC/Step 7 software used for programming and monitoring them, called WinCC/Step 7. Once found, Stuxnet uses one or more zero-day exploits to infect it with malicious payloads before using a PLC rootkit to cover up its changes.
Natanz was significantly damaged by the virus; however, its impact was mostly limited to specific sets of centrifuges at Natanz. Other plants across the country experienced less drastic impacts from it due to too early release.
Stuxnet exploits have since been used in other attacks against organizations running software that controls industrial hardware. It is feared that Stuxnet attackers may exploit these vulnerabilities again in future attacks on power grids, water supply networks, or sanitation systems. Duqu and Flame both possess infection capabilities similar to Stuxnet; this indicates they originate from the same hacker shop as their original worm counterpart.
Trojans have long been an iconic piece of malware, yet their capabilities have evolved from mere jokes into serious cybercriminal tools for theft, espionage, and distributed Denial of Service attacks. By creating backdoors on victims’ systems that open to cybercriminals, allowing them to gain control and steal data or money, Trojans can also change security settings to bypass firewalls and antivirus software while downloading other forms of malware into them, while some types even attempt to hide as different files on the PC for further undetected.
Infection can occur through malicious attachments in spammed emails or links to websites with trojans and drive-by downloads. Cybercriminals can inject advertisements containing trojans into legitimate online advertising networks and web pages, and free or pirated software may contain hidden Trojans.
Once installed on a user’s computer, Trojan malware can read keyboard button presses to steal login credentials and other sensitive data before creating a fake bank website with a false login page. Furthermore, it can perform man-in-the-browser hacks to steal personal security certificates, track a victim’s location information, bypass SSL security standards used by banking websites, and more.
Tiny Banker Trojan differs from many other trojans by not showing any obvious symptoms to its victims, remaining dormant until it detects a banking site and displays a fake pop-up with that bank’s logo, then asks for additional personal data such as their credit card number, expiration date and three-digit security code on back as well as mother’s maiden name and driver’s license number.
Metasecure found some intriguing clues while analyzing the source code of the Trojan. One such hint was its FormGrab Windows executable that lists executables for all major browsers and Web Injects used to compromise browsers and display malicious content.
There are ways to protect against Trojan infections. Isolate any infected machines to make detection and removal simpler; make sure software updates patch known security holes; perform full scans using an antivirus program as often as possible to spot and eliminate Trojans;
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