Patterns of malware and digital attacks : A guideline for the security enthusiast

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Abstract: Context: In today’s era, many things are dependent on the internet thus the devices and applications that are using it proliferates. Every day, many devices are getting targeted by malevolent virus authors. To protect the data from malicious factors becomes a preposterous dispute. A ransomware named CryptoLocker has caused many individuals, hospitals, and institutions thousands if not millions of dollars in damage due to encrypting the computer files thus demanding a ransom in return. Once the ransomware strikes a system, the recoverability is almost non-existent if no backup or system restore is present due to the private key which was used to encrypt files is encrypted and sent to the attacker’s database. Without the key, there is no recovery for restoring files. Objective: Exploratory research is conducted to reveal unique methods ransomware and keylogger may use to strike a system. The goal is to disclose protection policies of the Windows systems for the security enthusiasts and computer users. Three main objectives are present; how viruses hide in a system without servicing any rootkits to hide the malware, how ransomware and keylogger can be used together to deliver damage, and how to covert CPU usage of the ransomware during the encryption routine. Method: To answer the questions and exploit new features, ransomware, keylogger and a trojan horse is built. Original CryptoLocker architecture has been analyzed, and some methods have been derived. The final application is running on the Windows operating system; Windows 10. Win32 API, C++, and C# are used for the construction of the malware programs. Visual Studio 2017 has been used as an IDE. Results: The testing results reveal that running encryption routine as a background thread covert the CPU usage except the operation time increases by five times. The experiments show that disguising a malware program among the task manager process list is possible by setting Win32 API flag within the execution of the program. Changing the malware name, signature, and description of the program further enhance the sustainability rate from the everyday users.

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