Most backdoor threats take the form of Trojan horse malware. Cyber criminals use smaller infected files to bypass the scanners and install themselves on the device.
Once the compact documents are in the system, cyber criminals use them to retrieve a larger file from a remote location. A successful one Backdoor attacks can give hackers remote access to the system and devices associated with a startup.
One of the most recently recognized Trojan virus variants, Lokibot, disguises itself as a legitimate program to bypass scanners looking for signs of infected documents.
So far, Lokibot is one of the top three malware threats for companies around the world.
This trojan performs rampant information theft and has the ability to obtain login credentials from unsecured websites, user emails and various messaging platforms.
Backdoor incidents, which are often disguised and encrypted (just like Lokibot), are difficult to detect, but they’re also difficult to eliminate once they find their way onto devices.
What can startups do to protect their architecture from a backdoor attack and what makes it so difficult to completely remove this malware?
Let’s find out more.
Different types of backdoor malware
The Trojan attack (Lokibot) described is just one type of many possible backdoor incidents that startups should be prepared for. This type of malware installation is also known as Remote File Inclusion (RFI) and is one of the most common types of backdoors.
Besides Trojans, there are other such threats to watch out for:
- Rootkits – Bundles of malicious software that masquerade as legitimate programs and allow hackers remote access
- Hardware backdoor that exploits vulnerable hardware components to intrude into the system
- Cryptographic backdoor – able to decrypt data inside the network that has been protected by encryption
Prevention of backdoor attacks
A good place to start to prevent backdoor attacks is:
- Present employee training
- Regular strengthening of security
- Having a web application firewall (WAF) that has the capabilities to detect RFI attacks
Prevent social engineering
The most common way backdoor malware finds its way into the applications and devices startups use to do their daily work is through social engineering.
For example, the mentioned malware called Lokibot was used rely on phishing (via SMS, email or messaging platforms) to spread the virus.
Threat actors rely on human error such as unsuspecting employees clicking links and accidentally installing malicious files on their devices.
Therefore, the easiest place to start defending against backdoor attacks is to introduce basic cybersecurity training to employees on phishing detection and awareness.
Applying patches is an incredibly important part of security maintenance.
This is a necessary part of preventing backdoor attacks, as vulnerabilities in the network allow malware to be installed.
Startups that have exploitable vulnerabilities are also more likely to be targeted by malicious hackers.
Using AI-powered management tools that scan for vulnerabilities, accepting patches provided by vendors, and not using outdated components with known bugs can prevent backdoor threats.
While basic employee training plays an important role in preventing malware from being downloaded onto devices, it is also necessary to have an AI-based tool that continuously scans for this type of threat.
This is where the reliable WAF comes in, which can block malicious requests.
A combination of custom and default rules that determine what traffic and files can pass through the system help boots to avoid RFI attacks.
Threat mitigation on infected devices
Backdoor malware shells are notoriously difficult to detect and completely remove from the system – which is why startups use backdoor shell protection designed to mitigate this specific threat.
Namely, infected files must be removed completely as the remaining malware can lead to further hacking activities and attacks. These include distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, ransomware, data theft, website defacement, or infected website visitors.
Further attacks can compromise the startup’s sensitive data, prevent users from trusting the emerging startup, or slow down the service (during DDoS attacks) and ultimately negatively impact user experience.
How to find and sort out backdoor shells?
Backdoor malware detection
Identifying backdoor malware is challenging as it masquerades as another program or hides behind encrypting files over and over again.
Traditional solutions include a scanner that detects files that are too large and blocks uploads of documents that bypass a certain size. They also scan the network for infected documents and programs.
The old technique is error-prone because backdoor files hide and are seemingly impossible to detect – even if we’re talking about the recurring (previously known) kind like Lokibot.
Instead, new solutions intercept and block the connection requests. Unlike infected source code, it is more difficult to hide their malicious intent.
Removal of malware shells
If a backdoor has been installed, cybersecurity teams face another challenge – removing the existing malware envelopes.
To do this, they must use tools that quarantine the leftover shells and prevent them from infecting other parts of the network.
After they are separated from the rest of the system, they are also completely removed.
All in all, to protect a startup from backdoor attacks, security should consist of the right tools and cybersecurity training for people connecting to and using a startup’s network.
Having a WAF sophisticated enough to detect the signs of malware and stop it early is key to preventing it from infecting the system.
Preventing human error, like teammates clicking on malware-infected links hidden in the carefully crafted phishing email, is also an important part of protecting the startup from backdoor attacks.
Every once in a while, backdoor malware can infect the device. In this case, it is important to have a cybersecurity solution that can quarantine and remove the malware envelopes from the devices as soon as possible.