Technology is the most dominant feature of today’s world. Everything is almost digital now and machines are all around us. They perform all sorts of functions and promises to make life easier and more convenient for everyone. If only they can stay that way, unfortunately, these devices are also subject to normal wear and tear and can break down when abused or not cared for properly. Now, things get more complicated once malicious outsiders get into the picture. Examples of which are malware attacks that threaten devices from all over the world with just a click of a button. These modern advancements are really a double-edged sword that will keep us on our toes if we are not careful enough about what we do.
Knowing how much digital data man saves today, encountering malware attacks is proving to be more costly. Add to that the fact that you can never really tell what hackers will do with your information is also rather scary. They can steal from you especially that many people are doing online banking now and they can easily lose a fortune once their accounts get hacked or end up with so much debt from credit card purchases they did not make. Aside from that, your device also suffers as malware introduced to your system significantly affects performance and ends up corrupting your hard drive and thereby requiring replacement.
A nation-state developed a piece of malware so powerful that it can steal everything that’s happening on a computer without even being installed on the target device itself. Instead, it resides on a router. It’s called Slingshot and it was recently discovered by Kaspersky Labs. Incredibly, the malware is so powerful and sophisticated that it hid in routers for six years before finally being spotted.
That’s likely why a nation-state is behind the attack. And while the infected routers that have been identified will be fixed via software updates, there’s no telling how many machines may have been affected.
You may think only private individuals who consider themselves as hackers or cybercriminals would do such a thing but there are actually rumors of governments funding these things. Atrocious as they may seem but they aren’t entirely proven yet but it also gives us an idea that we aren’t safe, so we must beef up our precautions or end up regretting simple acts like backing up data or installing a firewall or antivirus software. You should also be wary of opening unsolicited emails as they may be the reason for your undoing by introducing a malware program that can give you lost of headaches in the coming days or years what with professional hard drive repair services costing an arm and a leg when done by others or the need to purchase replacement hardware parts like the hard drive. Malwares these days are getting smarter and more difficult to address that it takes multiple software updates before the damage can be reduced to the minimum.
“The discovery of Slingshot reveals another complex ecosystem where multiple components work together in order to provide a very flexible and well-oiled cyber-espionage platform,” the researchers reported.
“The malware is highly advanced, solving all sorts of problems from a technical perspective and often in a very elegant way, combining older and newer components in a thoroughly thought-through, long-term operation, something to expect from a top-notch well-resourced actor.”
Slingshot worms its way onto a machine by replacing the legitimate Windows dynamic link library with a malicious version. Once done, it connects to a hardcoded IP and port, found to be a router’s IP address, and then uses the connection to download other malicious components to carry out its espionage, hence why it forms a malware platform.
Unlike other malwares that target the device itself, this one, Slingshot, heads straight for the router, in a way acting more like a worm. It introduces a kernel-mode and user-mode module to your PC so they can work hand in hand in corrupting your system and at the same time stealing your data and basically do all sorts of spying aside from eventually ruining your device. The way it works, no wonder a government is interested in it because it can prove handy in warfare and a big boost in intelligence gathering. Also, it is interesting to note that infected routers are located in most war-torn countries but with a complexity and sophistication that screams superior and definitely prove to be a big pain to anyone who will catch the online bug and compromise their data security to who knows who.