What is a slag code
What is Logic Bomb Malware and How Can You Prevent It?
Most cyber attacks have immediate malicious effects on your computer. For example, if you unknowingly download ransomware in an email attachment, your files will usually be locked immediately. However, logic bombs attack differently. A logic bomb is malicious code that stays hidden until a certain action triggers it.
The downside of a logic bomb is that you don't know it's planted and you don't know when it's going to explode. We'll show you how a logic bomb works and how you can protect yourself from it.
What is a logic bomb?
A logic bomb - also known as a slag code - is malicious code that hackers place on a computer network, software program, or digital device. This code remains inactive until triggered by a certain condition. When the bomb goes off, it “explodes” and causes havoc on your computer system. What makes it more dangerous is that it can explode repeatedly before you even notice it.
Usually logic bombs are set to explode on a specific date. These types of logic bombs are often called time bombs. Other types of logic bombs are triggered when you open a specific file or type a specific command on your PC. Usually logic bombs are installed by someone with high access, e.g. B. by a system administrator.
Common malicious activities that commit logic bombs include:
- Erase or corrupt data.
- Collecting and stealing sensitive data.
- Erase hard drives.
- Restrict or prevent user access.
How a logic bomb works
How a logic bomb works depends on how it's programmed. Each logic bomb is unique and therefore difficult to track. They are usually created to be as undetectable as possible.
What all logic bombs have in common is that they are secretly inserted into a computer network by malicious code. Hackers can also hide logic bombs in computer viruses, worms or Trojans.
Logic bombs have two types of triggers: the positive and the negative trigger. A positive trigger triggers a logic bomb when a condition is met. For example, a logic bomb with a positive trigger detonates during the date of a major event. A negative trigger triggers a logic bomb when a condition is not met. For example, a logic bomb with a negative trigger will explode if someone enters the wrong credentials when logging on to a PC.
Two examples of logic bombs
There are several ways that hackers can use logic bombing attacks. Here are two common methods:
1. Counterfeit or Cloned Software
In this type of attack, the software comes with pre-installed malicious code. The logic bomb explodes as soon as you start the respective software program.
In this use case, hackers use a combination of spyware and logic bombs to steal your personal information. For example, a logic bomb could be waiting for you to launch a particular website or app. From here the logic bomb would trigger a keylogger to start. Any personal information you enter will then be sent straight to the hacker.
A brief history of logic bomb attacks
In the early 2000s, a dissatisfied system administrator wiped out UBS servers because he was dissatisfied with his bonus. The attack affected around 2,000 servers and 400 branch offices.
In 2013, a logic bomb was detonated to wipe the hard drives on computers used by banks and broadcasters in South Korea. The attack disabled some ATMs and wiped the hard drives of at least three banks and two media companies at the same time.
In 2016, a freelance programmer volunteered to ensure that Siemens' custom automated table continued to malfunction. Every time the table had a problem they would call him to fix it for a fee. The logic bomb went undetected for two years. It wasn't discovered until he was out of town and had to give the admin password to his software.
Top signs of logic bombs
Early detection is critical when it comes to logic bombs. The sooner you are aware of a potential problem, the sooner you can look for a solution and avoid potential harm. While logic bombs are very difficult to spot, the following signs and symptoms are cause for concern:
- Your important files suddenly disappear or appear to have changed.
- Your passwords have stopped working - but you can't remember changing them.
- You accidentally downloaded software from a known malicious website. The software may not cause instant damage, but it may hide malware in the form of a logic bomb.
How to prevent attacks with logic bombs
To avoid logic bombs, here's what you need to do:
1. Use a reputable antivirus and keep it updated
A robust antivirus can protect your devices from viruses and malicious code that may contain logic bombs. To keep your PC safe from potential threats, it is a good idea to keep your antivirus up to date. Also, make a habit of scanning compressed files to make sure nothing is hidden inside them.
2. Avoid shady websites and pirated software
Avoid clicking on suspicious and unsecured links and downloading software from shady websites. Also, avoid downloading pirated software as it is one of the most popular ways to deploy malware. Make it a priority to download software programs from reliable websites.
3. Keep your operating system up to date and back up your data
Keeping your systems up to date can protect you from logic bombs and various other security threats. Updates offer improved functions and also help to close security gaps on your devices. In addition, it is advisable to back up your critical data regularly. That way, if you succumb to logic bomb attacks, your data is safe.
4. Raise awareness in yourself and in others
Train friends, family, or co-workers to spot phishing emails, dodgy software, and suspicious websites. When running a business, you make sure that each computer is individually protected. Also, train your employees and make them aware that they are an integral part of your company's cybersecurity.
To further reduce the likelihood of logic bomb attacks, it is advisable to restrict administrator rights to a specific group of employees.
Can logic bombs be removed?
While prevention is vital, after taking several steps to protect your devices, you can still remain vulnerable. Thankfully, logic bombing, if detected soon, can be removed before it does any significant damage.
The effort required to remove logic bombs is relatively similar to that required to remove other forms of malware. Such tasks are often best done by IT security experts. For this reason, if you suspect that you have been hit by a logical bomb attack, it is advisable to call an expert immediately.
Protect yourself from logic bomb attacks
Logic bombs are slow to show up, but they can explode quickly into big problems. Someone you know can easily hack you and put a logic bomb in your computer.
While logic bombs are hard to spot, the cybersecurity tips mentioned here can keep you safe. These tips will protect you from various other cyber threats as well.
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