Common security threats – Downloaders

The first key to any effective security game plan is knowing what you’re up against. We decided to share some of our knowledge and create for you a set of short, informative but simple blogs where you’ll learn all about ten of the most common threats your company is likely to face. While by no means comprehensive, these blogs can help you better understand some of the tactics being directed against you and your users, along with the specific reasons you’re potentially vulnerable to each.

From phishing to ransomware to distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, the more you know about these threats, the better. They’re some of the leading causes of data breaches, downtime, and a severe lack of sleep 🙂

What it is:

Normal-looking programs designed to fetch and install malware without raising any security alarms. In effect, what downloaders allow attackers to do is to get a “man on the inside” before committing to a full attack (it’s no coincidence they’re typically called “trojan programs”). Once a downloader creeps its way onto a victim’s system, it can scope out the security settings, then smuggle other dangerous malware in after it’s established the cost is precise. Even after an attack is discovered and the other malware has been removed, as long as the downloader is still there hiding away, it can grab more malware and start the process all over again.

What makes protection a challenge:

Downloaders are one step removed from the actual dirty work involved in executing an attack. That means they don’t have to pack the same kind of functionality that might get other malware blocked. Instead, malware makers can focus solely on designing downloaders to be extremely good at avoiding detection. Think of it as attackers choosing to have a team made up skilled specialists rather than mediocre generalists. The downloader is a prolific passer, and the malware it downloads is a sensational scorer. With both of them able to focus on their respective specialty, they’re able to be much more effective when paired together.

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