Facts About Initial SQL Slammer Infection
Worms share similar characteristics. They all exploit an enabling vulnerability, have a way to propagate themselves, and they all contain a payload.
Despite the mitigation techniques that have emerged over the years, worms have continued to evolve and pose a persistent threat. Worms have become more sophisticated over time, but they still tend to be based on exploiting weaknesses in software applications.
The animation shows the 3 components of a worm attack; enabling vulnerability, propagation mechanism, and payload.
Common Worm Pattern
Most worm attacks consist of three components, as listed in the animation above.
- Enabling vulnerability – A worm installs itself using an exploit mechanism, such as an email attachment, an executable file, or a Trojan horse, on a vulnerable system.
- Propagation mechanism – After gaining access to a device, the worm replicates itself and locates new targets.
- Payload – Any malicious code that results in some action is a payload. Most often this is used to create a backdoor that allows a threat actor access to the infected host or to create a DoS attack.
Worms are self-contained programs that attack a system to exploit a known vulnerability. Upon successful exploitation, the worm copies itself from the attacking host to the newly exploited system and the cycle begins again. Their propagation mechanisms are commonly deployed in a way that is difficult to detect.
Code Red Worm Propagation
Note: Worms never really stop spreading on the internet. After they are released, worms continue to propagate until all possible sources of infection are properly patched.
Threat actors have used viruses, worms, and Trojan horses to carry their payloads and for other malicious reasons. However, malware continues to evolve.
Currently, the most dominating malware is ransomware. Ransomware is malware that denies access to the infected computer system or its data. The cybercriminals then demand payment to release the computer system.
Ransomware has evolved to become the most profitable malware type in history. In the first half of 2016, ransomware campaigns targeting both individual and enterprise users became more widespread and potent.
There are dozens of ransomware variants. Ransomware frequently uses an encryption algorithm to encrypt system files and data.
The majority of known ransomware encryption algorithms cannot be easily decrypted, leaving victims with little option but to pay the asking price. Payments are typically paid in Bitcoin because users of bitcoin can remain anonymous. Bitcoin is an open-source, digital currency that nobody owns or controls.
Email and malicious advertising, also known as malvertising, are vectors for ransomware campaigns. Social engineering is also used when cybercriminals who identify themselves as security technicians call homes and persuade users to connect to a website that downloads the ransomware to the user’s computer.