Fileless Malware Attacks: What You Need to Know

fileless malware
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At Be Structured, we’re committed to keeping our clients protected by staying ahead of the latest cybersecurity threats. One emerging threat we’re staying on top of is fileless malware. In this post, we’ll take a look at the basics of fileless malware, how you can detect potential threats, and strategies to keep your network protected.

What is Fileless Malware?

Fileless malware is a cyberthreat that does not require installation on a device to infect and exploit data. Fileless malware also may be referred to as:

  • Non-malware
  • Zero-footprint
  • Macro attack

Traditional malware generally needs to be installed or downloaded on a hard drive to infect a device. Fileless malware, on the other hand, exists on a computer’s random access memory (RAM) by exploiting system processes to insert compromised code and initiate network attacks.

Cybercriminals often use pseudo-advertisements or phishing emails to encourage users to click on unsafe links. These links redirect users to a malicious site that loads compromised processes and executes commands to upload and run malicious code on a device’s memory or basic input/output system (BIOS).

Fileless Malware Quick Facts

Some of the most notable characteristics of fileless malware include:

  • Generally undetectable by most antivirus tools
  • Exists on a device’s RAM or BIOS
  • Compromises native operating system processes
  • Often works in conjunction with other malware

Because fileless malware on a device’s RAM requires power to store data, simply shutting down your computer can be enough to stop a fileless malware attack. However, cybercriminals may use fileless malware to install another form of malware or exploit an ulterior vulnerability to compromise a device.

Signs of Fileless Malware Attacks

So far, most fileless malware attacks have been largely directed against financial organizations. However, with 42% of companies reporting at least one fileless malware attack in 2017, businesses in any industry are at risk.

While fileless malware can be difficult to detect using traditional methods, some indicators are worth noting. Look out for unusual network patterns, traffic, and traces. Unusual network patterns are a tell-tale sign that your computer may be connecting and sharing data with external servers. Taking advantage of an around-the-clock network monitoring solution can accomplish this for you and deliver the ultimate peace of mind.

Your team can also keep an eye out for any signs of malicious code operating on their devices. Another key indicator that your computer may have been compromised is it continually restarts even after you try to shut it down.

How to Keep Your Network Protected

If you want to take a proactive approach to protecting your network from fileless malware attacks, a few strategies are worth considering.

Prioritize Endpoint Protection

While fileless malware can often circumvent anti-malware software, ensuring you keep the Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) systems on your network up-to-date can protect against fileless malware by detecting suspicious activity.

Store Critical Data on the Cloud

Because fileless attacks depend on RAM and BIOS to compromise data, storing sensitive data on the cloud provides an additional layer of protection for your network. A cloud platform offers a contained environment for you to encrypt and store data at a data center, where fileless malware won’t be able to infiltrate as easily.

Train Your Employees

Providing your team with ongoing cybersecurity awareness training goes far beyond protecting against fileless malware attacks. However, making sure they’re familiar with how fileless malware works, some of the characteristics, and how it’s spread are all essential first steps in protecting your network.

Upgrade Your Servers

As fileless malware attacks become more prevalent, cybersecurity companies are unveiling hardware specifically designed to combat firmware attacks. Working with a cybersecurity partner like Be Structured can enable you to leverage the cybersecurity market to find a solution that protects your network from specific threats with the latest technology.

Worst Case: Unplug the Machine

If you think a fileless malware attack has compromised a device on your network, you can always just unplug or remove the battery from the machine. Since fileless malware generally relies on RAM to compromise data, cutting off power to the memory minimizes the impact the malware can have on your network. From there, you can reimage the device to undo any of the harm an attack may have done.

Los Angeles IT Support

If you’re ready to start taking a more proactive approach to protecting your network, the cybersecurity experts at Be Structured are here to help. We stay ahead of the latest security threats to make sure your team has the knowledge, resources, and tools to protect your network at every level.

About Chad Lauterbach

CEO at Be Structured Technology Group, Inc. a Los Angeles based provider of Managed IT Services for small business. I desire to help small businesses better utilize technology by assisting in high level planning to make sure that new systems will benefit them both operationally and financially. I am careful to implement and support systems using industry best practices.