Malware and viruses are common when you use the internet on your device. It is due to the irresponsible behavior of the users that attackers have weaponized these viruses and malware into data-stealing devices. One such malware is Fileless malware. It is a type of malware that attacks a PC without you realizing it.
Usually, the malware makes its way to your computer through unknown links and spam emails & is an infiltration threat targeting companies and PCs with large data banks. The malware is in the form of PowerShell commands that execute malicious activities on a system. It appears to be an easy malware to understand, but the reality is that its working is a lot more complicated.
In this post, let us look at what Fileless malware is all about and how to protect against it.
Understanding Fileless Malware – It’s Severe Than You Think!
Unlike other malware that tries to slow your PC or affect its performance, fileless is an attacking malware that tends to gather information from your system and send it to the attacker. Whenever someone attacks your PC, their priority is to install a program on your PC through which they can operate and implement an attack.
However, fileless malware is different. It is fileless & only activates certain codes on your system that enable existing software to work as per the attacker’s command. If your PC has a lot of data and vital information, it can be fetched with fileless malware.
To be clear, it is called fileless as it does not require downloading any file or opening an application to enter your system. It gets embedded in the system as soon as you come into contact with the malicious link sent to you.
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How Does Fileless Malware Work?
The Fileless malware, unlike other malware, does not require a file or application as an entry point on your computer. It is sent to your computer in multiple ways and causes the issue to expand. One of the most beneficial traits of this malware for the attacker is its stealth. It can disguise itself as a link that you open in the browser and gain access to the core data of your computer.
Yes, it is that powerful! Needless to say, fileless malware can empower the attacker with the data from your system without you even knowing. There are certain ways that attackers try to infiltrate your PC with the help of fileless malware. These include –
1. Phishing Emails & Spam Links
In the internet age, this is the most common approach attackers have. They pretend to be someone and send you emails. These emails are too believable to be fake. Hence, most users often end up clicking on the links, which becomes an entry point for the malware.
2. Fraudulent Websites with Malicious Codes
Sometimes, more than clicking on the link is needed. That is why the attackers have devised ways to engage their target more. What they do is create fraudulent websites that seem legit. This way, you interact with the website and give access to the application on your own.
3. Already Installed Windows Applications Like PowerShell
The links you click or the websites you visit often induce a series of codes in your system. This code is executed automatically through the PowerShell on your system. The execution is silent, so you have no understanding of what is happening.
These 3 ways empower the fileless malware to be executed correctly.
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How Can You Stay Protected Against Fileless Malware?
Now that you know how lethal the attack of fileless malware can be, the first thing you should focus on is how to keep yourself safe from it. Basic security measures are hardly handy as every PC has a firewall, and most cannot detect fileless malware.
The lack of an entry point makes it difficult to deal with. When you know, the way malware might enter, try to secure the gateway. However, in fileless malware’s case, there is no such thing! So how do you secure your PC against such malware?
Well, you do it, but make some changes to the way you use your system. Here are some ways-
1. Stay Away from Phishing Attacks & Spam Emails
Phishing is one of the basic techniques to scam people. However, it is also one of the most effective ones. The attackers curate emails that look authentic, and when the user clicks on them, the PC is infected.
However, when it comes to fileless attacks, a dedicated series of codes is attached to the links you click. It triggers the execution, and you have no clue about it. Hence it is better to stay aware and never open links from unknown sources. If you find an email from someone you know, confirm from them whether they have sent it or not.
2. Keep Your Browser & Operating System Up to date.
Your browser and operating system have internal security patches that require regular updates. If these are not regularly checked and updated, the security of your system is at risk. Most of the fileless malware attack cases have occurred on outdated browsers and operating systems.
To update your Windows –
- Press Windows + I to open the settings
- In Settings, look for Windows Update
- Click on Check for updates now to initiate a search for the latest updates.
- If you have pending updates, install them instantly.
As far as updating the browser is concerned, the process depends on the browser you use. However, you can find the update option in the browser’s settings section.
3. Reduce Sharing of Personal Data & Credentials Online
Being responsible online not only means staying away from unknown emails and applications. It also means you have to understand data sensitivity and act accordingly. There are times when you are using your PC for cats and emails or filling out a form online where you end up giving your personal information.
Sharing credentials online is not advised. Especially if you need strong passwords, the attackers can intercept any communication once they are in your system. They look for all sorts of data, so if you have ever shared it somewhere, they can easily find it. To minimize Fileless Malware’s impact, ensure you keep your personal data safe.
4. Use a Solid Firewall-based Antivirus Program
Last but most importantly, you should add a solid antivirus program to your computer. Web security and firewall management are the system’s two most important aspects. Find a tool that can help you out with both of these tasks.
If you need to know what you are looking for, you can check out the T9 Antivirus. It has multiple real-time firewalls that are active all the time. Not only that, the tool even comes with dedicated exploit protection and can detect any of your system vulnerabilities being played on.
Here’s how you can make the tool work –
- Download it from the link below and install it.
- After installation, make sure all the protection settings are on.
- After turning them on, you can run a quick scan to understand the current security status of your system.
After the scan, you can understand what your system lacks and work on them accordingly.
With the help of these 4 ways, you can protect yourself from fileless malware attacks. Keep in mind that the entire game of fileless malware depends on human vulnerability only. If you have proper exploit protection in place and are smart enough to avoid traps like spam emails, links, and websites, you can easily stay safe from fileless malware!
When it comes to cyber attacks, malware issues, and data protection, it all boils down to user attentiveness. The more aware you are, the better you can keep yourself safe. Support from software like T9 antivirus can be of great help, but at the end of the day, you might let the malware in.
Try reading more about safe practices to implement online. You can educate yourself about staying safe online, and that is exactly what can assist you. Download the T9 Antivirus to protect your PC from malware attacks and vulnerability exploitation.
That is all for this post! Stay safe, and good luck!
Q 1. What are the Stages of a Fileless Malware Attack?
The flow of use for the attacker is simple.
Stage 1 – It first infiltrates into your system. The infiltration takes place through phishing and other cyber attacks that people usually fall for.
Stage 2 – Runs codes to gain credentials. Fileless malware is a series of codes that run on a system. The attacker executes the code as soon as it accesses the system.
Stage 3 – Exploits your data and leaves. The code gives the attacker access ti the internal information of your PC. once the malware has entered, no data is safe.
Q. 2 What are the most common fileless malware attacks?
There are multiple fileless malware techniques executed by attackers to infiltrate your system. Here is a list with some of the highlighted ones –
- Windows Registry Manipulation
- Memory Code Injection
- Script Oriented Attacks
- Use of SamSam Ransomware
- Use of Exploit Kits
The techniques are tidy, and the attack is silent. The only things that you can do are to stay away from it and keep yourself safe from fileless malware attacks. But how? Check out the next section to know more!
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