The New Age Weapon: Malware

What is malware?

What Is Malware? How It Works and How to Remove It | Techvera

Malware is short for ‘Malicious – Software”. The set of code or software that are made intentionally to harm and infect the endpoints in the network are known as malware. The cyber attackers use this malicious software to infect and attack the devices. The malware is of many types and is categorized based on the way they function. We will be explaining these later in the blog.

Malware Threats

These days, malware is not directly installed on the victim’s device. Instead, it is sent and installed on the endpoint device using some techniques and by exploiting loopholes. Thus, these are the scopes that are to be mitigated by the security professionals when deploying cybersecurity.

Various types of malware threats are:   

  • Social Engineering: 

When an attacker manipulates the user to extract sensitive information for personal gains, it is known as social engineering. Sometimes the malicious links or malicious files are sent to the victim during social engineering. As soon as the victim clicks on the malicious link or downloads the malicious file, the malware gets installed in the victim’s device.

  • Email: 

The attacker sends lucrative emails that tempt the user to click on the link provided in the email. As soon as the link is clicked, the malware gets downloaded itself in the background and infects the user’s PC.

Malware tampers web cookies. Thus, when you open a genuine site, this malicious cookie triggers and redirects you to the malicious sites. Thus, these sites may extract information or can download the malware into your system.

  • Planted Removable Medias: 

Sometimes the attacker intentionally plants the removable media with malware loaded in it to tempt the victim to check its data. As soon as you will plug it in your system, the malware will be automatically installed and will end up infecting your device.

Types of malware

What is Malware & What Does it Do? | Malware Definition | Avast

As told earlier in the blog, the malware is categorized and named based on the way they infect the system. Some of them are as follows:

  • Worm: 

Worms exploit your operating system. These types of malicious software use your network bandwidth, steal your data, and send it to the attacker. It has the property to self-replicate and thus, it copies itself through the network.

  • Trojan Horse: 

Trojan Horse is that comes attached to a normal file. Trojan malware disguises itself in the necessary files and then sends the data of your device to the attacker.

  • Spyware: 

This extracts important credentials of data from a user’s device and sends it to the attacker. This kind of malware exploits the vulnerabilities in the software.

This is a kind of malicious software that infects the victim’s device by encrypting its data. The data can only be decrypted with a key that is provided by the attackers once you pay the ransom amount to them. Thus, it is advisable to keep backup of your data.

  • Adware: 

Adware is a kind of malicious software that is injected into the victim’s device using the advertisement pop-ups of needful software. Pop-ups of urgent requirements of antivirus, malware remover, etc. are embedded with the malicious link. As soon as the victim clicks on the link, the malicious file is downloaded in his/her system and infects the device.

  •  Virus:

This is a kind of malicious software that steals information and credentials of the user. The virus is also sometimes used to make the victim a bot. It can self-replicate itself but it cannot be transferred to the other device without human intervention. It can be attached to a document, mail attachments, scripts, etc.

6 Prevention tips from malware

Infected! 10 Tips to Prevent Malware On Your Computer

  1. Never click on not so secure and lucrative links as they may end up infecting your system.
  2. Always keep your PC’s operating system updated.
  3. Do not click on any link unless provided by the trusted source.
  4. Change your passwords in the necessary interim intervals.
  5. Avoid opening emails and attachments from unknown resources.
  6. Do not pick up USBs found lying unguarded in public spaces.
  7. Be cyber aware.

Best Preventive medicine to eliminate Ransomware Attack

How to Mitigate the Risk of Ransomware Attacks: The Definitive Guide - Touchstone Security

A Brief on Ransomware Attack

Ransomware has become a huge potential to exploit and damage users’ crucial data. This malicious attack was the most significant malware threat of 2018 and it continues to be the most dangerous even in 2019. With its growing popularity, more people are being targeted to get the ransom.

In most cases, the ransom demanded from the victim comes with a deadline. If the victim fails to pay within the provided timeline, the data is lost forever. Ransomware attacks are very common these days.

Even paramount companies in North America and Europe have fallen victim to this . Cybercriminals spare no one and can attack any consumer or business, coming from all kinds of industries. Various government agencies advise people against paying the demanded ransom as this might stop the ongoing cycle of ransomware attacks.

Recent ransomware attacks define the malware's new age | CSO Online

As a matter of fact, a ransomware attack is designed to extort money from victims by blocking access to their data or systems. There are two most prevailing types of ransomware attacks through which the attacks are deployed; encryptors and screen lockers.

Under encryptors, the index of data on a system is encrypted into an absurd content and can only be restored with a decryption key. Whereas, screen lockers simply block the access to the system by locking screen, declaring that the system is encrypted. Apart from the two prevailing types, there are some infamous ransomware attacks as well.

Major Infamous Ransomware Attacks:

  • Wannacry Ransomware Attack

WannaCry ransomware attack - Wikipedia

This ransomware attack came out as a powerful Microsoft exploit. It was leveraged to create a global ransomware worm to infect over 250,000 computer systems. More than 200,000 systems were locked down in 150 countries. Hackers demanded a ransom which was paid through Bitcoin. Wannacry ransomware attacks infected National Health Service (NHS) and many other organizations across the globe.

  • CryptoLocker

CryptoLocker: Everything You Need to Know

It is a part of a ransomware family whose job is to extort money from users by encrypting the user’s hard drive as well as the attached network drives. It was first among the current generation of ransomware which required cryptocurrency for a ransom payment. CryptoLocker was spread through an email attachment that claimed to have come from FedEx and UPS tracking notifications.

  • NotPetya

What is NotPetya? | IT PRO

NotPetya is considered as one of the most destructive ransomware attacks. It was coded in such a way that even if the user pays up the ransom, the data would still be unrecoverable. Infamous as a close relative of Petya malware, it successfully infected a thousand number of computers across the globe in 2017.

How to Prevent Ransomware Attack?

  1. Ignore Unverified Links

4 Types of Mental 'Noise' You Should Ignore | SUCCESS

Never click on links that come in spam emails or on any unfamiliar websites. If an unexpected download starts when clicked on a malicious link then there are high chances of your computer getting infected.

  1. Never Share Personal Data

Do You Collect Personal Information? - Beacon Insurance

If you receive an email, call or text from an untrusted source asking for your personal information, make sure you don’t give out the details. Cybercriminals trick users into getting their personal information in advance of an attack. They use your information to target you via a phishing email.

  1. Backup your Data

If you ever experience a ransomware attack, you must already have a back-up of your data so that you don’t have to pay any kind of ransom to the attacker. Make sure of keeping a copy of every important data in an external hard drive that is not connected to your system.

  1. Never Pay Ransom

5 Ways to Back up Your Data and Keep It Safe

Never pay any amount to cybercriminals who carry out the ransomware attack. This is because there is no guarantee of return of data; after all your trust has already been manipulated with data hacking. Paying ransom only encourages cybercriminals to carry out more attacks.

  1. Security Awareness For Employees

Employees' Role in Cybersecurity | The Cyber Security Place

The best way to prevent a ransomware attack is by becoming proactive towards the latest cyber attack vectors. An organization must be aware of the harmful attack vectors which can lead them on the verge of losing their data and customer trust. It’s better to opt for preventive measures in advance so that there are fewer chances of falling victim to any kind of cyber attack.

The brutal Cyber Attacks that shook the world

Impacts of Cyberattacks on Businesses

Do you know a cyberattack can destroy your entire business overnight? In the survey report of 2019, 64% of companies faced web-based attacks, 62% experienced phishing as well as social engineering attacks. Around 59% of the companies experienced to have received malicious code and botnets. Whereas, 51% of businesses experienced the denial of service attacks. (Source: TradeReady)

According to Cybersecurity Ventures, cybercrime damages will cost the world $6 trillion by 2021. In fact, 63 cybercriminals who come under the most wanted list of FBI are known to have committed a chain of cybercrimes that had cost people and organizations, billions of dollars.

Cyber attacks have become common and more endangering nowadays, irrespective of the scale or size of the business. It is important to have proper security of defense locks but, it is more crucial to know what is the cause of offense. The offense could be the existing security loopholes in your enterprise, the unprotected IT infrastructure, and vulnerable employees. All these problems can lead to destructive consequences which can compromise your data and can give rise to cybercrimes.

Furthermore, every individual working in an organization is required to be aware of the major cyberattacks that are endangering and big cyber threat postures. Here is the list of 6 major types of cyberattacks:

Types of Cyber Attacks

1. Phishing

Phishing is a social engineering attack that is deployed over internet users with the intention to steal their data including credentials and credit card details. It is an identity theft to dupe victims into opening the email and lure them to click on the malicious attachment in the email message.

Phishing Attacks: A Guide to Cyber Security - Gaspar Insurance Services

2. Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malicious software, designed to bar access to a computer system or a data file until the user pays ransom to the attacker. While regular ransomware locks the system, a more advanced malware uses a technique named cryptoviral extortion attack that encrypts the files of users making them inaccessible until a ransom is paid to decrypt them.

A CISO's Guide to Prevent Ransomware Attacks - Security Boulevard

3. Risk of Removable Media

Removable media like USB flash drives, external hard drives, optical discs, memory cards, digital cameras, etc. could be the bearer of cyber threats. These external portable storage devices are designed to be inserted and removed from a computer system. The usage of these devices could create a risk of data loss in case the media is lost or stolen. Further, it could lead to the compromise of a huge amount of data loss which would directly lead to damage to business reputation as well as financial penalties. Apart from that, removable media can be majorly used as an attack vector for malware.

USB Flash Drive Malware: How It Works & How to Protect Against It - Hashed Out by The SSL Store™

4. Cyber Scam

Cyber thieves use the internet as a weapon to deploy cyber attacks on every scale of enterprises. These cyber scams come in various forms, including emails attempting to trick users into handing over their personal information over phishing sites or counterfeited web pages. It is a type of internet fraud where cyber attackers hide or provide incorrect information to trick victims out of money, property or confidential data.

Take control of your digital life. Don't be a victim of cyber scams! | Europol

5. Vishing

Voice phishing is a phone fraud that uses social engineering over the telephone to get access to user’s personal and financial information. The fraudsters use modern practices like caller ID spoofing or automated systems to sound like a legitimate authority overcall. Vishing is typically used for stealing credit card numbers or related information with the help of identity theft.

Vishing: What is Voice Phishing? I SoSafe

6. Smishing

SMS phishing is a fraudulent activity that is attempted to acquire personal information like passwords and user details by impersonating as a trustworthy identity. This social engineering technique involves cell phone text messages to deliver the bait to indulge victims to divulge their personal information on the attached link in the text message.

What is smishing? How to protect against text message phishing scams | The Daily Swig

How to prevent Cyberattacks?

Cyberattacks seem to be constantly evolving every year and with major ransomware attacks like RobinHood, Snatch, Dharma, etc. in 2019, it is much clear that there is no slow down in the growth. But it’s never too late to secure your organizations by taking essential and efficient preventive steps to combat these attacks from any future loss.


With the help of cyber attack simulators, an organization can not only train but also make the individuals working, become proactive towards the prevailing cyber risks. Apart from that, it is necessary to make employees working in an organization, have the knowledge and are updated on the cyber threat postures existing.


Cyber attack simulators help not only help in identifying the level of vulnerabilities but also improve it so as to create a defensive system by strengthening the weakest link in the organization.


Along with cyber attack simulators, it is important to have a back up of critical data. By having critical backups of your data, you can allow only limited interruptions to the business workflow. It’s better to start securing your business by investing in the right cybersecurity solutions rather than paying for losses by becoming victim to cyber-attacks.

Astounding growth of Cybercrime in 2021

As organizations around the world continue to trudge through the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, cybercriminals keep coming up with even more menacing ways of dragging them down. According to research conducted by Cybersecurity Ventures, cybersecurity experts have predicted that cybercrimes will cost the global economy $6.1 trillion annually by 2021. With the pandemic serving as a catalyst, cybercrime is expected to soon become the world’s third-largest economy.While the ongoing pandemic has forced an unprecedented number of people to work from home and forgo the security of a well-developed IT infrastructure, cybercriminals have marked the unwary employees as the target of choice. Organizations were compelled to innovate and adapt so swiftly that the security didn’t get enough time to catch up, leaving businesses vulnerable to the cyber threats looming across the horizon.

India's first crime-criminal tracking network system launched: All you should know about it - Education Today News

Statistics on Current Cyber Threat Landscape

Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and the sudden transformation to remote work culture, cybercrimes have risen like never before and are expected to rise even more as we move towards 2021. Following are some outrageous statistics showing just how severely these cyber attacks are affecting the global economy:


  • As per the research conducted by Cybersecurity Ventures, within months of the first lockdown due to the pandemic, more than 4,000 malicious COVID-related sites popped up across the internet.
  • According to Cybersecurity Ventures, a cyber attack incident will occur every 11 seconds in 2021. This is nearly twice the rate in 2019 (every 19 seconds), and four times what it was in 2016 (every 40 seconds).
  • As per Cybersecurity Ventures, Cybercrime is expected to cost the global economy $6 trillion annually by 2021, as compared to $3 trillion in 2015. This will soon make it the world’s third-largest economy, after the United States and China.
  • Cybersecurity Ventures predicted that ransomware damages will cost the world $20 billion by 2021which is 57 times more than what it was in 2015 ($325 million). This makes ransomware the most rapidly growing kind of cybercrime.
  • According to Cybersecurity Ventures, 91% of cyberattacks are launched through spear-phishing emails, which infect the organizations with ransomware.

What can Organizations do to Stay Secure?

As the rise in cybercrime is showing no signs of slowing down, it is essential for organizations to take the necessary precautions to avoid suffering any losses. The three most critical aspects of any organization include its people, processes and data. By focusing their resources on protecting these three elements, organizations can arm themselves against all kinds of prevalent and emerging cyber threats.

5 Ways to Protect Your Business Against Cybercrime - ITChronicles

Protecting People:

The best way of protecting your employees against cyber attacks is by educating them about the prevalent cybersecurity threats. Owing to cybersecurity unawareness, employees can unintentionally cause data breaches, leaving your company at risk. A report has revealed that implementing cybersecurity awareness training amongst employees significantly reduces human error, mitigating up to 90% of cyber risks.


With the dramatic increase in cyber risks due to the transformation to remote work culture, providing your employees with cybersecurity awareness training has become more important than ever. An organization cannot protect its finances, assets and reputation from cybercriminals without spreading awareness amongst its employees.


Protecting Processes:

It is essential for an organization’s IT department to continually monitor, review and update all organizational processes. Employees should be made aware of the consequences of installing applications or software in their systems without the knowledge or approval of the IT department.


Any known vulnerabilities should be constantly monitored by the organization. Companies can provide protected and locked systems to the employees working remotely. This can be an effective way of restricting them from installing any malicious software.


Protecting Data:

An organization must have a firm grasp on the data that it holds, processes and passes on. As per a recent study, companies share sensitive and confidential information with more than 500 third parties. The first and foremost step an organization should take is to conduct an inventory and ensure any information is shared strictly on a need-to-know basis.

Secondly, make sure to encrypt all sensitive data including employee information, all business data and customer information. This ensures that the data becomes useless in case it falls into wrong hands. Also, always create regular backups of all your data and store it securely outside your network.


As the rise in cybercrime is showing no signs of slowing down, individuals and organizations alike are equally at risk. Therefore, it has become extremely important to take the necessary precautions and keep essential cybersecurity tips in mind for defending yourselves and your organizations against these threats.

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