The development of the digital trends and techniques have changed the world and has offered significant benefit to the users. The mass surge in the adoption of the digital industry is citing as an evident for the benefits it has offered. The most prominent factor of the digital industry is the internet which can be considered as the most revolutionary innovation of the management. It has enabled the people to connect and communicate with other users that are geographically away from them in an instance. The internet has and even is acting as a platform for different innovations. In the current scenario a major population of the earth are associated themselves with the internet and it has developed given birth to a major problem for the digital industry. The discussed challenge is malware that is abbreviation for malicious software.
The subject, malware stands for an extensive meaning that contains ransomware, computer viruses, spyware, botnet and several other tools or techniques that can interrupt in the computing process within it. The threat offered by the subject is prominent because the most crucial activities are conducted through the computing services (that includes computer, servers, smart devices and other necessary means) and it also acts storage for the private and confidential data. The halt or hijacking of the computing systems can be result in great challenges for the individual, organisation, country or even the whole world and hence, it is necessary to mitigate the deem challenge as soon as possible.
The first step in devising a strategy to mitigate the discussed challenge would be to earn a deep insight into the subject. Keeping the former statement in mind the discussed paper will attempt at gaining an insight into the past, present and future of the subject. The paper will achieve its objective by reviewing the literature works from the past and present and will conclude the paper by summarizing all the findings.
According to Suarez-Tangil, Tapiador, Peris-Lopez & Ribagorda, (2014), smart devices are equipped with features such as powerful computing, sensing and capabilities of networking that leads to malwares. The author describes that smart devices has features of incorporating external or third party applications that leads to security issues as the applications may be malicious ha According to Rudd, Rozsa, Günther & Boult, (2017), the professional, financial and social aspects of an individual has given rise to digital world. This has resulted in more targets for malware to attack. The malwares are characterized as viruses, Trojan, rootkits, worms and other malwares. These software are used to harm the main computer, compromise the access controls, steal data and bypass computer functions.
Advertisements and pop up ads are some common examples of adware. Sometimes adware are provided with free software. These bundled adware often act as a revenue-generating tool and sometimes they come preloaded with spywares (What Is Malware? (Malware Definition) - Lifewire, 2018). The spywares are used for stealing information and tracking the activity of the user.
For perform specific functions automatically, software programs known as bots are used. Bots are used in video games, online contests and internet auctions but often they are used for malicious purposes. They are used for DDos attacks with the help of botnets and as spambots. Sometimes they are used to capture server data with the help of wen spiders (Malware Detection in Cloud Computing Infrastructures, 2018). To prevent these bots, some websites use the mechanism of CAPTCHA to determine if the user id actually human.
Bugs are another type of Malware that has existed since the 90s. These are flaws in the compiler or source code that renders undesired outcomes. These remain undetected and can cause the system to freeze or crash. Some bugs are security related and can steal data, override privileges and compromise user authentication. These malwares can be prevented with the help of code analysis tools, quality control and developer education (What is Malware and How to Protect Against It? | Kaspersky ..., 2018).
Another type of Malware, which has gained traction recently, is ransomwares. These malwares hold the user’s device captive until and unless a ransom has been submitted to the attacker. The ransomware prevents the user from accessing the computer by locking the system, encrypting the entire device or showing a display message that can be only prevented by paying the certain accounting (Malware: Viruses, Spyware, Adware & Other Malicious ..., 2018). The ransomware typically gets access to the system by being downloaded as like a worm through a downloaded file.
Another recent malware activity is the rootkit software. This program passes undetected by security programs or the user to remotely control or access the system. After installing the rootkit, the attacker gains the power to control the computer, install other malwares, alter software to prevent other software from detecting the malware, modify system, access information and access files remotely. Preventing rootkit malwares from attacking is difficult due to their stealthy operations. Typical antiviruses are ineffective as the malware hides its presence (How to remove a Trojan, Virus, Worm and Malware (Windows ..., 2018). The only way to prevent the rootkit from getting access to the system is by continuously upgrading the software and operating system through regular patches and avoiding unnecessary downloads.
Other recently developed malwares that are used increasingly is spywares which spies on the user’s activity without their prior permission. The spying activities can range from data harvesting, collecting keystrokes to monitoring the user. Some spywares have the added functions of modifying the browsers and software to interfere with networks.
The Trojan horse is a very well-known malware that is used to install other malwares into the system by disguising itself as a normal file (How to remove malware from your Windows PC (PCWorld, 2018). It can give remote access to the computer and allows it to anonymize the internet activity, use the device as botnet, monitor the victim’s activity, install programs that are more unscrupulous and steal financial data.
On May 12, a cyber-attack was launched against the Windows Operating system known as the Wannacry Ransomware. More than 10 countries were affected along with large organizations as well as government bodies. The ransomware encrypted the entire system of the victim and demanded that the victim pays a certain amount in Bitcoins within 3 days of the attack or else the cost will increase. If the user refused to pay the mount, all the files on the computer will be deleted. The ransomware used an exploit in Windows operating system known as the EternalBlue exploit (Ransomware claims more victims, 2016). Microsoft has since patched the exploit. A hacker group known as the ShadowBrokers used this to their advantage of infecting millions of computers. The Eternal blue used an exploit in the SMB protocol and used a process called pool grooming to continuously attack the kernel memory. To use the IP address of the user, a shell code was injected for directly communicating through the SMB protocol. Moreover, Double pulsar (an analysing tool) was used to check if the infected computer was indeed running the ransomware. The ransmware in the end affected several countries such as India, Taiwan, Ukraine and Russia. It also managed to infiltrate the NHS system present in England (Dunham, 2015). A fee of $300 was asked by the ransomware to be payed and the amount will double in the next 3 days if it is unpaid. To prevent the virus, Marcus Hutchins, a cybersecurity researcher discovered the kill switch that was present in the script. The kill switch domain was iuqerfsodp9ifjaposdfjhgosurijfaewrwergwea.com. He registered the domain name, which pointed to a Los Angeles sinkhole to get data about the ransomware. The attacks reduced the moment when he accessed the sinkhole. The attack highlighted the urgent need to keep systems updated and install regular patches that re provided by the impending operating systems (Ismail, Marsono, Khammas & Nor, 2015). Unnecessary protocols and services need to be disabled or uninstalled. Moreover, it also highlights the need for backing up data whenever possible to restore the data if the system is compromised by a ransomware.
Mirai botnet was created through the source code, which was initially used to attack the website of Krebbs. Through Telnet, the botnet checks those users who are still using the factory default passwords and usernames and infects those poorly secure systems accordingly. The main reason of the propagation of the malware was due to insecure devices that are still used by users in this modern digital age (Malware - CNET, 2018). The malware used two components known as command and control centre or CnC and the virus itself. The scanner process present in the virus checks out potential devices that can be compromised and used more than attack vectors to propagate itself. The CnC was used to send data for continuing the attack on one or more computers. The scanner process randomly tried to login into the device using Telnet process using port 2323 or 23. A simple command was present in the CnC, which allowed the attacker to check the attack duration, the IP address of the victim and put the attack vector. After discovering a new device, the CnC executed a cop of the virus that was used to create more Bots in the future.
Spreading malwares through advertises is known as malvertising. It uses legit advertising websites to inject unscrupulous codes into the ads. The ads are a prominent vector for propagating the malware as it attracts various uses to buy and sell products. Moreover, this type of malwares can be spread easily without compromising the website (Elisan & Hypponen, 2013). It is a relatively new concept and the best part of the malware is that the malware does not exploit any system vulnerabilities or require the action of the user.
In the future, relate the malware attacks will be only with software exploits. Some examples of these malwares are Bubbleboy, KAK and Code red (Free Cyber Security & Anti-Malware Software | Malwarebytes, 2018). The malwares will have the capability to infect the buffer overflows. Moreover, the malwares will have the capability to propagate itself through social engineering and attachment in the future. The malwares can also use hybrid exploits such as destructive Trojans, rootkits and RATs. Moreover, customization will be exploited with the help of targeted attacks. Most of the users nowadays use the two-factor authentication mechanism which has its own flaws that can be used in the future by malwares. The number of malware attack will rise in the future due to new discovery of exploits such as ATM vulnerabilities and exploits on Retail point of sale systems. The number of malware attacks is going to increase in the near future as more exploits are discovered.
The proposed paper will follow secondary data collection method to collect the necessary data for the proposed research work. The sampling of the data will be done through critical analysis. Interpretivism will be the research philosophy for the proposed paper. The research design will be meta-analysis and the approach will be deductive in which the author of the proposed paper will attempt at deducing the.
The subject of thee paper malware is one of the most crucial subject that has gained the attention of many scholars as well as the commoners because of the prominence of threat it is posing. The journey of the subject is considered to have started back in late 1940’s and does not seems to be stopping in the near future. The reason for stating the above made statement lays on the fact that the supporters of the subject that is the cybercriminals and others are developing themselves with the introduction of the disruptive technologies. The paper has conclusively discussed the various malwares that has been operating from the past and has distinctly provided the future trends of the malware. Although the recent number of malware attacks has dwindled over the couple of years, researchers has estimated that these estimates will likely triple in the near future with the introduction of IoT devices and numerous new protocols that will be launched in the coming years. In the present scenario, many individuals are aware of malwares due to the recent wannacry ransomware and IoT botnets. In the future, with the introduction if MMORPG and IM services, the malwares will find innovative methods to propagate themselves. Social engineering will play a massive role in the future as well as present trends of malware propagation. While the present and the future trends remain uncertain and unexplored, it is quite evident that in the long run, the number of malware attacks will increase in spite of the innovations in anti-malware applications.
Arp, D., Spreitzenbarth, M., Hubner, M., Gascon, H., Rieck, K., & Siemens, C. E. R. T. (2014, February). DREBIN: Effective and Explainable Detection of Android Malware in Your Pocket. In Ndss (Vol. 14, pp. 23-26).
Dunham, K. (2015). Android malware and analysis. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
Ehrenfeld, J. M. (2017). Wannacry, cybersecurity and healthcare information technology: A time to act. Journal of medical systems, 41(7), 104.
Elisan, C., & Hypponen, M. (2013). Malware, rootkits & botnets. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Free Cyber Security & Anti-Malware Software | Malwarebytes. Retrieved from https://www.malwarebytes.com/
How to remove a Trojan, Virus, Worm and Malware (Windows ... Retrieved from https://malwaretips.com/blogs/malware-removal-guide-for-windows/
How to remove malware from your Windows PC | PCWorld. Retrieved from https://www.pcworld.com/article/243818/security/how-to-remove-malware-from-your-windows-pc.html
Ismail, I., Marsono, M., Khammas, B., & Nor, S. (2015). Incorporating known malware signatures to classify new malware variants in network traffic. International Journal Of Network Management, 25(6), 471-489. doi: 10.1002/nem.1913
Malware - CNET. Retrieved from https://www.cnet.com/tags/malware/
Malware Detection in Cloud Computing Infrastructures. (2018). International Journal Of Recent Trends In Engineering And Research, 223-227. doi: 10.23883/ijrter.conf.20171201.044.wsqfb
Malware: Viruses, Spyware, Adware & Other Malicious ... Retrieved from https://www.umass.edu/it/security/malware-viruses-spyware-adware-other-malicious-software
Ransomware claims more victims. (2016). Network Security, 2016(12), 2. doi: 10.1016/s1353-4858(16)30110-6
What is Malware and How to Protect Against It? | Kaspersky ... Retrieved from https://usa.kaspersky.com/resource-center/preemptive-safety/what-is-malware-and-how-to-protect-against-it
What Is Malware? (Malware Definition) - Lifewire. Retrieved from https://www.lifewire.com/what-is-malware-2625933