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Science & Technology

Malware Kronos

  • 22 Apr 2019
  • 5 min read

A British cybersecurity researcher has pleaded guilty for developing a malware named Kronos aimed at stealing banking information.

  • It can be noted that the same researcher was earlier hailed as a hero for finding a “kill switch” to the WannaCry virus.
    • WannaCry virus was a cryptoransomware, also known as WannaCrypt, which affected thousands of computers spread over 150 countries, including India in May, 2017.
  • Kronos is a type of Trojan. Trojans are commonly spread via email attachments, and once downloaded, can give attackers free reign to snoop and steal sensitive information like financial data, emails, and passwords.
    • Kronos first appeared online on a Russian underground forum in 2014.

Security Threats on the Web

  • Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)
    • A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is an attempt made to take down a website or online service by flooding it with more traffic than server/network can accommodate.
    • In a DDoS attack, the traffic can come from hundreds or thousands of sources, which makes it near-impossible to stop the attack simply by blocking a single IP address.
    • Sites also struggle to differentiate between a legitimate user and attack traffic.
    • A DDoS attack differs from a Denial of Service (DoS) attack, which typically uses a single computer and connection to flood a system or site.
  • Viruses
    • A computer virus is a type of malicious code or program written to alter the way a computer operates and is designed to spread from one computer to another.
    • It requires some user interaction to be initiated. Computer viruses cannot reproduce and spread without programming such as a file or document.
  • Malware and Trojans
    • Malware is a more generic term that can be used to refer to nefarious software, which has been specifically designed to disrupt or damage a computer system, while trojans are programs that pretend to be something they're not, and include malicious additions.
    • Trojans are often bundled with legitimate software (eg, downloaded via P2P or file-download sites) but keep the original software intact to avoid suspicion and allow the trojan to spread further.
    • The term 'spyware' is a sub-division of malware and refers to those programs dedicated to stealing personal details (logins, passwords, personal info, etc) once they've found a way onto computer or phone.
  • Phishing 
    • It is an effort by scammers to trick users into giving up personal information that they can then use to access your bank accounts or credit cards. Phishers can reach users through email, text or even by phone.
    • The core of phishing attacks is deception. Each attacker is attempting to convince users that they are a familiar person or brand.
  • Ransomware
    • Ransomware prevents users from accessing their devices and data until a certain ransom is paid to its creator or risk losing access forever.
    • Ransomware usually locks computers, encrypts the data on it and prevents software and apps from running.
  • Worms
    • A computer worm is a type of malware that spreads copies of itself from computer to computer. A worm can replicate itself without any human interaction, and it does not need to attach itself to a software program in order to cause damage.
    • This makes worms potentially more dangerous than viruses, trojans or other malware, as they're harder to contain.
    • While traditional anti-virus software will take care of a lot of the better-known viruses and trojans, the ability to replicate itself to networked resources without any interaction makes containing a worm a much harder task.
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