Cyber Security
June 10, 2021

9 Potentially Harmful Malware And How To Identify Them

Malware and threat-causing software are all over the internet. With a tiny wrong step, you can lead yourself to some of the most potentially harmful malware. You may end up losing your data big time and even have to get bankrupt owing to retrieving your most precious data. When it comes to a company, it is yet a big thing to consider.

You would say that you already have a good knowledge of malware threats. But can you guarantee that you have nothing more to know? New things come up with each passing day, and that is when you need to upgrade yourself with the correct information.

Keeping all of these in mind, we have brought the top 9 most potential malware causing maximum loss. Additionally, we have discussed the ways in which you can quickly identify them.

9 Harmful Malwares That You Need To Know About Right Now

As already mentioned, the malware is such a pain in the ass. There are numerous names when it comes to malware and other threat software or files. However, we have curated a list of the most harmful ones in the list. This list has been created to give a clear idea of the malware or malicious software and classify them accordingly. So, without much waiting, let us get right in!

  • Viruses:

Most of the Harmful Malwares that are reported are not always viruses. A computer virus can modify the other legit host files of points to them so that when a victim’s file is executed, the virus also gets executed.

Pure computer viruses are almost uncommon these days. Only 10% of the computer viruses are reported these days of all the malware. This is, however, a good thing as a computer virus is the only malware type that infects the other files. This is what makes them particularly hard to clean up as the malware must be executed from the legit program.

  • Worms:

The worms are even older than the computer viruses. They have existed since the mainframe computer came into the market. In the late 1900s, email had brought them. It used to spread via the emails where the victim would open the wormed email, and in a short time, it would infect the entire company.

The most distinctive trait of a computer worm is that it can replicate on its own. The most notorious and the first-ever is the Iloveyou worm. When this worm had hit the earth, it had overloaded the phone systems with fraudulent sent text messages and brought down the television networks. The computer security history has also seen the mentions of several other worms such as the SQL Slammer and the MS Blaster.

  • Trojans:

The Trojan malware programs have now replaced the computer worms as the cyber attackers have now changed their modus operandi and choice of weapons. The trojans pose as legitimate programs; however, they contain malicious instructions. The trojans have been there in the market even before the computer viruses. But as of now, they have taken hold of the current computers even more than any other type of malware or Harmful Malware.

A trojan needs to be executed by its victim to function. Usually, the trojans arrive via emails or are otherwise pushed on the users when they place their footprints on the infected websites. The most common type of Trojan virus found to date is the fake anti-virus program. You will be able to trace this when you suddenly see a popup stating that your system has been infected and that you need to remove the malware. Mainly they mention the Trojans. They will instruct you to run a program that ensures you can clean the malware from your PC. The users fall for this bait, and the Trojan works as expected.

The cybercriminals are mostly turning more towards the Remote Access Trojans or RATs. They permit the attackers to take control of the victim’s computer. They often intend to move laterally and simultaneously infect the entire system. This type of Trojans is mainly used to bypass detection. The threat actors do not even need to write their own as hundreds of the off-the-shelf RATs are made available in the various underground marketplaces.

Two reasons make the Trojans hard to defend - the first one is that they are pretty easy to write down. Cyber attackers, on a daily basis, produce and hawk Trojan building kits. The second reason is that they spread by tricking the users via various phishing techniques. This cannot be ceased with the help of a firewall, patch, or any other types of traditional defense mechanisms.

  • Hybrids & Exotic Variants:

In recent times, most of the malware is just the combinations of the traditional malevolent programs. They often include parts of Trojans and worms. In some cases, the utilization of the virus as one of the parts has been noticed. Usually, the hybrids and exotic Harmful Malwares program seem to be a Trojan to the end-user. But once they get executed, they attack the other victims via the network like a worm.

The malware programs that are used today mostly are of rootkit variants or stealth programs. Usually, the malware programs try to modify the underlying operating system for gaining the ultimate control and conceal themselves from any anti-malware programs. To eliminate these kinds of malware programs, you need to remove the controlling component from the system’s memory. The first step should be an anti-malware scan.

The bots are usually the Trojans-worms combination that focuses on making the individual exploited clients a part of an extensive Harmful Malwares malicious network. The botmasters bear one or more command and control servers that the bot clients check into for receiving their updated instructions.

Botnets have various sizes - a few thousand compromised computers to a vast network consisting of hundreds and thousands of systems that a single botnet master controls. Often these botnets are rented out to other cybercriminals who then use them for their malicious advantages.

  • Ransomware:

Ransomware is one of those money extracting malware programs that encrypt your data holding it hostage and demanding a ransom via cryptocurrencies. This type of malware usage has seen a steep rise in recent days and counting. Ransomware often cripples companies, police departments, hospitals, and at times, an entire city.

Surprisingly, most of the ransomware programs are Trojans that require social engineering to be spread. As soon as they are executed, most ransomware looks for and encrypts the users’ files in just a couple of minutes. However, a couple of them do not apply the “wait and see” technique.

The malware admin can figure out in a couple of hours before setting off the encryption routine how much their victim can afford. They can also ensure whether to delete or even encrypt other supposedly safe backups of their victims.

Ransomware can be prohibited from fulfilling its motive like any other type of malware program. But if they are executed, it becomes challenging to reverse the process if you do not have a good and secured backup.

Some of the studies state that about a quarter of the victims actually pay the ransom. Of those, around 30% fail to get the decryption key from the ransomware attackers. Either way, the encrypted files unlocking require a specific set of tools, a decryption key, and good luck. Thus, the better advice would be to have excellent and offline backups of the critical files.

  • Fileless Malware:

Amongst all the malware. Fileless malware is not a very different category of malware. It refers to more of a description of the methodology the malware adopts to exploit and persevere. The traditional malware moves and infects the new systems that make use of the file systems.

The fileless malware at present constitutes over 50% of the malware growth. As the name suggests, it does not directly utilize the files or the file system in general. On the contrary, they exploit the memory and spread it there using the non-file OS objects like the APIs, registry keys, or the scheduled tasks.

Many fileless attacks initialize by exploiting an existing legit program. They become a newly launched sub-processor by utilizing the legitimate tools built into the Operation System (OS), such as Microsoft’s PowerShell. The result is that fileless attacks are more brutal to detect and prohibit. If you are not aware of these standard fileless attack techniques and programs, you need to know them very keenly if you have a plan to pursue a career in computer security.

  • Adware:

If you have experienced a minor issue with the malware, probably it was adware. Adware attempts to unveil the compromised users to unwanted and potentially malevolent advertising. A typical adware program, at the least, can redirect a user’s browser searches to resemble the web pages that bear the other contents and promotions of specific products.

  • Malvertising:

Malvertising is often confused with adware. But there is a thin-line difference between both of them. Malvertising utilizes legitimate ads or advertisements/ad networks to covertly deliver malware to unsuspecting users’ computers.

An example - a cybercriminal may bid for ad placement on a legitimate website causing cybersecurity threats. A user clicks on the advertisement. The code at the end either redirects the users to a different malicious website or secretly installs Harmful Malwares on their computer. In some of the cases, the malware embedded in the advertisement might execute automatically without the user’s knowledge or action. This technique is referred to as a “drive-by-download”.

Some other instances have revealed that cybercriminals have compromised the legit ad networks that deliver advertisements to various other websites. This is why some top companies like Spotify, the London Stock Exchange, and the New York Times have often been the malicious vectors for these notorious ads. These incidents have also resulted in great jeopardy for website users.

The main aim of the cybercriminals that use the malvertising technique is to make more money by installing malicious software or executing malicious codes without the victims' knowledge.

  • Spyware:

Spyware is the most frequently used malicious software that most people use to check on the computer activities of someone they love. However, in the targeted attacks, the criminals can also implement spyware for logging the keystrokes of the victims and acquire access to the passwords or even the intellectual property.

Spyware and adware are the easiest to remove often since they are not that nefarious in their respective intentions as compared to the other types of malware. All you have to do is find out the malicious executable file and prohibit it from execution. In most cases, you will be done following this.

This is not the biggest concern as the mechanism this malicious software adopts to exploit the user or the computer systems. They utilize social engineering, various root exploit causes and even unpatched software. This is owing to the fact that the intentions of the spyware and adware are not that harmful, such as a backdoor remote access Trojan where both of them use the exact same methodology to break in.

On locating spyware or adware, you must be warned that the user or the device bears some sort of weaknesses that is subjected to correction. And this needs to be done as soon as possible before it massively harms your system.

This is all for the article. We have learned the various types of Harmful Malwares that exist and how they are different from each other. With each of the malware, you got to know how to remove them or if it is challenging. However, it needs to be mentioned that it is impossible to remove any malware without proper knowledge on the matter. You should have proper knowledge of the various signs indicating you have been hacked and its protection.