Halloween has come and gone leaving us with a lingering fright in the computer world when it comes to popular malware threats. Many of these popular malware threats, which we have outlined a list of the top 6 scariest among us below, are much like the walking dead as they fail to meet their demise. These scary malware threats are just like zombies, at one time many computer and Internet security experts thought they were put to rest but remain to rise again with new sophisticated methods for attacking computer users through the internet.
What we are calling our zombie malware threats, is a list of well-known malware that has been resurrected to cause more destruction of whatever enters its path. These threats are ones that have been on headline news for causing massive hysteria among computer users and others are able to steal sensitive information from an infected computer while sending that data to a hacker ready to pounce on online banking accounts. You can think of these malware threats as scary kittens in the dark but roaring lions and tigers during the day time.
The Top 6 Scariest and Most Dangerous Malware
- Zeus – This threat doesn't just carry the Zeus name for its glamour, it can be compared to the real Zeus, the God of war, ruler of Olympus, King of the Gods – Zeus in its malware form is nearly that powerful as it has caused utter destruction in its ability to steal information and attack banking and financial institutions around the world. First identified in 2007, Zeus has since been reduced to remnants but has made a reemergence through installations of Ransomware threats and spear-phishing campaigns associated with Dropbox as of late. Zeus is exploited as an inexpensive and easy-to-use toolkit for hackers and remains this way today.
- Conficker – The Conficker threat, dubbed as a serious worm infection for Windows PCs, was first identified in 2008 where it would be known for its aggressive attacks to disable antivirus and anti-spyware applications and then further infect systems. Conficker accounted for a third of the top 10 Internet threats detected as it does still today. Specialized anti-malware tools had to be crafted to combat Conficker and ultimately remove it from infected computers. Many systems infected with Conficker, even during this past year, were considered lost due to control of the computer being taken over by remote attackers.
- CryptoLocker – CryptoLocker is not nearly as old as other popular malware threats that have made our top 6 scariest list. However, it is prudent to mention that CryptoLocker has made its name well known in the short amount of time that it has been around. As a ransomware threat, CryptoLocker virtually locked down an infected system and did not permit usage or limited use until necessary actions were taken to either remove CrytoLocker or enter a paid-for key code. The encryption of files was one of CryptoLockers major destructive actions, corrupting files and installed applications on an infected computer.
- Qakbot – The Qakbot malware may not have been in the limelight like Conficker or Zeus, but it had its fair share of eyebrows raised at its ability to act as a botnet where it would steal passwords and attach itself to file shares to spread. Qakbot is a malware threat that first emerged in 2011 making its rounds to connect to command and control servers awaiting instructions to carry out malicious actions on infected computers. Those instruction sets provided Qakbot the tasks of stealing login information, which then could be used by remote attackers to infiltrate online accounts including banking accounts. A recent resurgence of Qakbot was noticed in September of 2014 where it has so far conducted some of its same well-known malicious activities.
- Sykipot – Sykipot is a backdoor Trojan horse threat that dates back to 2007 and has had its ups and downs in its ability to bypass two-factor authentication. Such authentication measures are highly targeted in recent password-related breaches. These breaches, which may be due to Sykipot and similar malware, have led to massive amounts of data being stolen. Sykipot is emerging once again and showing up in new targets, such as civil aviation and smart cards.
- Sandworm – Sandworm has been a mysterious malware threat as it has just recently made its present well known, but some researchers claim it has been around since 2009. Sandworm is a type of document-based malware threat that has a powerful vector for targeted attacks. Microsoft Office documents are among the targets for Sandworm, very similar to how other threats have long attacked Adobe documents on an unprecedented level over many years. Sandworm used a very effective zero-day exploit that happens to affect any version of Windows from Windows Vista. Sandworm is also believed to have evolved in its short lifespan to associate with socially-engineered methods to entice users to open an infected document, which will then execute its malicious code.