What is evasive malware and how to protect your business?

If you are unaware of malware activity, how can you protect your business from the threat? Traditional antivirus software and cyber security solutions are not always able to recognise the strategies that threat actors are increasingly putting into their malware. What can you do to protect your business against evasive malware and is this essential?


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Evasive malware is a type of malicious software designed to evade detection by security software. It is designed to remain undetected by antivirus programs and other security systems, allowing cybercriminals to carry out malicious activities without being detected. Your computers would already be infected by the time you realise you’ve been targeted by evasive malware. The result could include data loss or even a data breach, resulting in financial costs, fines, and a loss of trust from your clients, customers, and the public in your company.

How does evasive malware work?

Any type of malware that resists detection by antivirus software, EDRs (Endpoint Detection and Response solutions), XDRs (Extended Detection and Response solutions), and other cyber security solutions is known as evasive malware.
As its name implies this is a malicious program or file that is able to evade traditional methods of virus and malware detection.
These include process injection, obfuscation, time-based evasion, Office macros, living off the land, and many other techniques used by evasive malware.

Is evasive malware a major threat?

Yes, evasive malware is a significant threat to individuals, organizations, and governments worldwide. While traditional types of malware might be detected on download or attempting to run for the first time, evasive malware might wait longer until there is a gap in protection. Therefore, a malware’s chances of succeeding are higher the longer it can remain undetected.

Evasive strategies can be dangerous because they allow viruses to postpone their mission long enough to succeed.

No matter how up-to-date your cybersecurity solutions are in removing viruses, if they can’t identify such threats on time, your business is at risk of damage. For instance, if the malware’s operations are intended to steal personal data, you may find your business facing legal action and a data breach that could result in fines.


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What are common types of evasive malware? 

Authors of malware have a wide range of evasion strategies and tactics. A few of the most popular are listed below:


Sandbox evasion

Sandbox evasion refers to the techniques used by malware to avoid detection by security systems such as sandboxes, which are virtual environments used to test and analyze potentially harmful software. Sandboxes can detect malicious behaviour by monitoring the activities of a program, but malware can use various evasion techniques to hide its true nature.

Some common sandbox evasion techniques used by malware include:


  1. Delayed execution: Malware may have a delay mechanism that allows it to remain dormant until it reaches the target system, which may not be in the sandbox environment.
  2. Check for the virtual environment: Malware can check for the presence of a virtual environment and modify its behaviour to evade detection.
  3. Anti-analysis techniques: Malware can detect if it is being analyzed and change its behaviour to evade detection.
  4. Code obfuscation: Malware can use code obfuscation techniques to make it difficult for analysts to understand its functionality.
  5. Dynamic API calls: Malware can use dynamic API calls to evade static analysis, as the APIs used may not be visible until runtime.


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How to block evasive malware?

Even if evasive malware is difficult to identify, it can still be defeated. Here are some steps you may do to prevent them from gaining access to your systems:


Install robust antivirus software:

Make sure the antivirus you install is up-to-date and comprehensive enough to detect and block the latest threats.


Use a firewall:

A firewall is an important tool for blocking malicious traffic from entering your network. It should be configured to block traffic from known malicious IP addresses and domains.


Use application whitelisting:

Application whitelisting is a security technique that only allows trusted programs and applications to run on a system. This makes it difficult for malware to execute as it will be blocked by the whitelist.


Keep your software and operating system up-to-date:

Always make sure that all the software and operating systems on your system are up-to-date. This will help reduce the chances of malware exploiting known vulnerabilities.


Monitor network activity:

Monitor your network for suspicious activity, such as unusual traffic patterns or connection attempts from unknown sources. If anything suspicious is detected, take steps to block it immediately.


Work with IT security experts:

Working with an IT security team s can help your business to identify and address potential security risks and vulnerabilities, develop comprehensive security plans, implement the latest security technologies, and ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations. In addition to selecting the best solution, the proper IT support can also deploy and manage all cybersecurity solutions and software. The right IT support could also provide further advice for thwarting evasive spyware, essential to prevent your business from threat actors.

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