Anyone who’s stayed up to date on the biggest cyber attacks of 2016 thus far has undoubtedly come across the term “surveillance malware.” Depending on the context, this type of malware, like any computer resource, can be wielded for good or for evil. Law enforcement, for instance, might use it in an attempt to track the activities of cyber criminals or known terrorist threats. On the other end of the spectrum, crooks will use this tool as a means to steal information from users or infiltrate networks with the purpose of orchestrating a data breach or other variant of cyber attack.
Types of Surveillance Malware
Much as the name suggests, surveillance malware, also referred to as spyware, is intended to spy on users. There are various forms of malware that can fall under the umbrella. One of the most prolific is called key-logger malware.
A key-logger tracks every keystroke made on the infected computer. This includes any personally identifiable information such as names, addresses, Social Security numbers, contact information, bank account numbers and more. When used against an enterprise, it could result in the theft of account login and passwords, which can lead to the compromising of entire data bases of sensitive information.
Other forms of surveillance malware aren’t really malware at all, but rather Trojans that create a backdoor into the network, allowing hackers to sneak in and monitor activity on the network. Hackers may want to do this for any number of reasons. For instance, they might do it prior to attacking with ransomware to get a sense of how much they can extort the victim for. One of the most recent uses of a backdoor Trojan occurred in Ukraine, where multiple power plants were infected with BlackEnergy2, which eventually allowed hackers to cause a blackout that affected hundreds of thousands of people. Hackers can cause serious damage using surveillance malware.
What’s the Best Way to Fight Surveillance Malware?
Banks, retailers, utilities, enterprises and health care organizations are only some of the organizations that have to be concerned with surveillance malware, be it a key-logger, a backdoor Trojan or something else.
One way to sensibly preclude these threats from quietly lurking on the system and siphoning sensitive data is to make sure that they can never stay on the network long enough to actually steal anything of value.
A system restore tool like Faronics Deep Freeze makes this possible with reboot to restore functionality. All it takes is a system restart to eradicate any configuration changes made since the last “deep freeze” of system settings, to give users a clean slate. Additionally, Deep Freeze provides the ability to set up an automated maintenance schedule. This practice helps ensure clean systems and keep computers free from spyware.
To learn more, contact Faronics today.