Malwares – Malicious Software

Malware is a software that gets into the system without user consent with an intention to steal private and confidential data of the user that includes bank details and password. They also generates annoying pop up ads and makes changes in system settings
They get into the system through various means:

  1. Along with free downloads.
  2. Clicking on suspicious link.
  3. Opening mails from malicious source.
  4. Visiting malicious websites.
  5. Not installing an updated version of antivirus in the system.

Types:

  1. Virus
  2. Worm
  3. Logic Bomb
  4. Trojan/Backdoor
  5. Rootkit
  6. Advanced Persistent Threat
  7. Spyware and Adware

What is computer virus:
Computer virus refers to a program which damages computer systems and/or destroys or erases data files. A computer virus is a malicious program that self-replicates by copying itself to another program. In other words, the computer virus spreads by itself into other executable code or documents. The purpose of creating a computer virus is to infect vulnerable systems, gain admin control and steal user sensitive data. Hackers design computer viruses with malicious intent and prey on online users by tricking them.



Symptoms:

  • Letter looks like they are falling to the bottom of the screen.
  • The computer system becomes slow.
  • The size of available free memory reduces.
  • The hard disk runs out of space.
  • The computer does not boot.

Types of Computer Virus:
These are explained as following below.

  1. Parasitic –
    These are the executable (.COM or .EXE execution starts at first instruction). Propagated by attaching itself to particular file or program. Generally resides at the start (prepending) or at the end (appending) of a file, e.g. Jerusalem.

  2. Boot Sector –
    Spread with infected floppy or pen drives used to boot the computers. During system boot, boot sector virus is loaded into main memory and destroys data stored in hard disk, e.g. Polyboot, Disk killer, Stone, AntiEXE.

  3. Polymorphic –
    Changes itself with each infection and creates multiple copies. Multipartite: use more than one propagation method. >Difficult for antivirus to detect, e.g. Involutionary, Cascade, Evil, Virus 101., Stimulate.

    Three major parts: Encrypted virus body, Decryption routine varies from infection to infection, and Mutation engine.

  4. Memory Resident –
    Installs code in the computer memory. Gets activated for OS run and damages all files opened at that time, e.g. Randex, CMJ, Meve.

  5. Stealth –
    Hides its path after infection. It modifies itself hence difficult to detect and masks the size of infected file, e.g. Frodo, Joshi, Whale.

  6. Macro –
    Associated with application software like word and excel. When opening the infected document, macro virus is loaded into main memory and destroys the data stored in hard disk. As attached with documents; spreads with those infected documents only, e.g. DMV, Melissa, A, Relax, Nuclear, Word Concept.

  7. Hybrids –
    Features of various viruses are combined, e.g. Happy99 (Email virus).



Worm:
A worm is a destructive program that fills a computer system with self-replicating information, clogging the system so that its operations are slowed down or stopped.

Types of Worm:

  1. Email worm – Attaching to fake email messages.
  2. Instant messaging worm – Via instant messaging applications using loopholes in network.
  3. Internet worm – Scans systems using OS services.
  4. Internet Relay Chat (IRC) worm – Transfers infected files to web sites.
  5. Payloads – Delete or encrypt file, install backdoor, creating zombie etc.
  6. Worms with good intent – Downloads application patches.

Logical Bomb:
A logical bomb is a destructive program that performs an activity when a certain action has occurred. These are hidden in programming code. Executes only when a specific condition is met, e.g. Jerusalem.

Script Virus:
Commonly found script viruses are written using the Visual Basic Scripting Edition (VBS) and the JavaScript programming language.

Trojan / Backdoor:
Trojan Horse is a destructive program. It usually pretends as computer games or application software. If executed, the computer system will be damaged. Trojan Horse usually comes with monitoring tools and key loggers. These are active only when specific events are alive. These are hidden with packers, crypters and wrappers.< Hence, difficult to detect through antivirus. These can use manual removal or firewall precaution.

RootKits:
Collection of tools that allow an attacker to take control of a system.

  • Can be used to hide evidence of an attacker’s presence and give them backdoor access.
  • Can contain log cleaners to remove traces of attacker.
  • Can be divided as:
    – Application or file rootkits: replaces binaries in Linux system
    – Kernel: targets kernel of OS and is known as a loadable kernel module (LKM)
  • Gains control of infected m/c by:
    – DLL injection: by injecting malicious DLL (dynamic link library)
    – Direct kernel object manipulation: modify kernel structures and directly target trusted part of OS
    – Hooking: changing applicant’s execution flow

Advanced Persistent Threat:
Created by well funded, organized groups, nation-state actors, etc. Desire to compromise government and commercial entities, e.g. Flame: used for reconnaissance and information gathering of system.

Spyware and Adware:
Normally gets installed along with free software downloads. Spies on the end-user, attempts to redirect the user to specific sites. Main tasks: Behavioral surveillance and advertising with pop up ads Slows down the system.

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