Fileless Malware Attacks Rise Dramatically

Cyber attacks are getting more and more sophisticated and seem never to stop. One of the types users can't trace without expert help is a fileless malware attack. The latest cyber security reports inform that fileless malware attacks grew by nine times! Moreover, the infiltration of fileless malware is among the biggest threats to companies.

What Is Fileless Malware?

With fileless malware attacks on the rise, individuals and businesses need to know what they are and how they work. Cybercriminals often do harm by installing malicious files on their target's computer (or other devices) and writing them to disk. But fileless malware attacks work another way. Unlike traditional malware, it is written directly to Random Access Memory (RAM).

Fileless malware is stealthy and sneaky as it uses legitimate tools, software and applications built into your operational system. It hides in your system - in the tools that are frequently used and trusted - leaving no traces because of its memory-based (not file-based) nature. This makes the malware almost untraceable. Moreover, most antivirus software can't detect it too, and there is only hope for the most robust cyber security solutions.

How It Works

Difficult traceability makes fileless malware extremely dangerous as fileless attacks can last for as long as it isn't detected.

The widespread sources and scenarios of fileless malware include:

  • malicious links and downloads;
  • phishing emails;
  • legitimate-looking malicious websites;
  • native and installed legitimate applications;
  • lateral infiltration.

As you can see, it's really easy to be attacked by visiting a compromised website or clicking a malicious link. For this type of threat, it is much better and cheaper to deploy preventive security measures than to pay for investigating and risk mitigation. 

Types of Fileless Malware Attacks

Windows registry manipulation. When you click a malicious link or download a dangerous file, it uses a Windows process to write a fileless code into the registry.

Memory code injection. A fileless code hides in the memory of trusted installed or native applications. The attacks take advantage of browsers' and programs' vulnerabilities. Such fileless malware is rather tough to detect and isolate because its activity is seen as safe.

Semi-fileless techniques. There are other attacks that are often undetected, not completely fileless, and constantly evolving. They are script-based techniques like SamSam ransomware.

How to Prevent Fileless Malware Attacks

Fileless malware attacks manage to evade most security tools. This feature makes them challenging to detect and stop. We recommend prioritizing cyber security to reduce the risks of the attack. Best practices to safeguard your company include:

  • advanced cyber security awareness: regular cyber security courses, certification, etc.;
  • proper cyber security architecture;
  • up-to-date security solutions - deploying next-generation endpoint security, etc.;
  • regular updates;
  • if possible, disabling PowerShell and WMI (Windows Management Instrumentation) - frequently used by attackers.
  • monitoring and regular audits of cyber security measures state and network traffic;
  • utilizing expert help when needed.

Digital Forensics against Fileless Malware Attacks

Luckily, fileless malware isn't immune to all types of analysis. Being tricky enough to evade many anti-malware tools, it won't escape from a digital forensic expert's trained eye. 

Digital forensics professionals are experts that should be called once information from a device, network, application, website, etc., is stolen, you suspect a data leak, or notice unusual computer activity. The experts utilize their knowledge of information systems and cyber security to solve the cases virtually and prevent them from happening again.

The MBS Tech's cyber investigators have extensive experience and apply up-to-date complex techniques to detect fileless attacks and mitigate their risk fast and efficiently. We are highly proficient in the investigation, data recovery, and preventive measures for technology-based cases of fraud, Internet scams, cyberterrorism, cyber extortion, etc. Reach out to our team, always ready to solve or prevent any cyber security issues.



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