Security Technology

What Is INVISIBLE MALWARE and How Does It Work?

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While you were running around trying to protect your devices from pedestrian threats like ransomware and cryptojackers, another threat emerged under your nose: invisible malware. This new method of cyberattack can slide past firewalls, behind anti-malware programs and into your most precious data. As you might imagine, this malware has the security community shook — which means you need to learn more about the threat and how you can stay safe, pronto.

How Invisible Malware Works

The name is a bit misleading. After all, most malware doesn’t try to be visible; it tends to hide behind more legitimate-sounding software to infiltrate computers and steal data.

However, the difference is that even if you can’t see regular malware, your computer and your antivirus programs can.

Your security suite has a list of malware signatures that it can compare against all newly downloaded files, and newer, more advanced security software can even identify malware it has never seen before by executing files in virtual environments and quarantining any application with suspicious behavior.

However, invisible malware isn’t anything like typical malware. In fact, because invisible malware leaves essentially no trace behind, experts aren’t entirely sure how it works.

Generally, it seems that attackers take advantage of tools that are common to nearly every computer, like Windows Management Instumentation (WMI) or PowerShell, and that can carry out commands. For instance, PowerShell is a tool that can be used to automate tasks across multiple machines.

Because these tools have been incorporated into the workflow within businesses, it’s easy for attackers to hit a high number of machines — and because programs like PowerShell and WMI are legitimate, the commands they execute are believed to be legitimate.

As a result, antivirus programs don’t flag any wrongdoing, and cybercriminals get what they want unscathed.

Another invisible technique applies what infosec professionals call Blue Pill malware. This malware is acquired like any other malware: through a corrupt link or download.

However, once it is installed, the malware runs a virtual rootkit on startup, which means it creates a virtual machine onto which your operating system is loaded. Because your antivirus is on your operating system, it won’t be able to identify the underlying malware — so attackers can do what they want with your data.

There are other forms of invisible malware, but evidence of them is few and far between.

As techniques are refined, attackers are becoming better at getting in and out without leaving any fingerprints, which makes it harder for security professionals to develop viable solutions.

Why Not Everyone Is at Risk

Fortunately, it doesn’t seem likely that you’ll be affected by invisible malware any time soon.

This type of malware was developed to hit machines and networks that can’t be reached the typical way — think: super high-profile, well-protected corporate computer and server banks.

The average consumer doesn’t have data valuable enough to spend so much time hacking in; cyber attackers won’t waste their pains and efforts creating this super-advanced malware so they can get your bank password or nudes.

 Thus, there is no reason for you to panic about this threat — but that doesn’t mean you can relax on security entirely. Just because the latest and greatest threats don’t necessarily apply to you now, it doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of other ways of successfully attacking your devices.

You definitely still need maximum security products on your computer and smartphone as well as network security if your home is equipped with other internet-connected tools. It’s also a good idea to learn more about trends surrounding the threats that actually apply to you, like ransomware and cryptojackers (which we teased you about at the start).

Unless you are responsible for the internet security of an incredibly important company with extremely valuable data, there is not much reason for you to be concerned about invisible malware.

Likely, by the time invisible malware is applied to regular consumers like you, there will be plenty of security solutions capable of stopping it in its tracks.

In the meantime, you need to equip yourself with sufficient security hygiene, up-to-date antivirus tools and a good attitude about tech, so you can survive and thrive online.

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About the author

Rahul Setia

Rahul Setia was born and raised in the Kaithal, Haryana. He worked at brands like Jabong, ProProfs etc. He was also in the List of Top 100 Social Media Influencer's 2019 by Status Brew. He lives in Delhi/NCR and is a Digital Gig & Founder of Websites i.e TechBlogCorner.com, ViralMasalla.com, DealorCoupons.com.
Follow me on: LinkedIn, @rahulsetia007 and Facebook.

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