The Invisible Threat: Phishing Attacks Evading Windows Security Alerts and Putting Your Device at Risk

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Every device can be compromised through phishing assaults and no security alarms will be triggered. Possible? Indeed, they can take on a variety of shapes and use a variety of tactics to succeed.

“Prevention is better than cure” – Desiderius Erasmus.

Sending fake emails or communications that appear to be from a reliable source is how these attacks are often conducted. With a fake email, for instance, a bank or a government agency can try to trick the victim into opening a dangerous link or file. In one of these emails, dangerous malware known as QBOT or Qakbot was included. ProxyLife’s security experts have noted this. A JS file with a faked signature can be used by this infection to function unnoticed.

How could malware get installed without Windows identifying or raising a security alert?

Although, the fact that phishing assaults compromise devices without a security notice is not shocking. What is shocking is that awareness levels are still so low that hackers frequently succeed. According to the Nigerian Communications Commission’s NCC-CSIRT, or Computer Security Incident Response Team, the current phishing attack commonly known as “Attacks Exploit Windows Zero-Day Vulnerability”. An attacker could be able to increase their credentials if they exploit a vulnerability in the Windows print spooler. They seize control of the target machine and have the ability to install malware there without causing the system to raise a security warning. The incredibly destructive QBot virus is referred to as such. Later on in the essay, we’ll discuss it in greater detail.

How QBOT Malware is Using Forged Signatures to Bypass Windows Security Alerts?

ProxyLife’s security researchers found that the QBOT malware may be installed without the use of any Mark of the Web or MoTW security notifications. The worst part is that hackers are now utilizing a brand-new strategy to attack Windows MOTW vulnerabilities by using JavaScript files with fake signatures. They are able to completely exploit the weakness and get access to the system using this advanced approach.

The JavaScript file (JS) is an internet-based file, according to the NCC-CSIRT. It frequently starts up on Windows and displays a MoTW security alert. Yet, because of the JS file’s falsified authentication, QBOT may run and be loaded without Windows issuing a security alert. A hacker would use this extremely sophisticated technique to get access to the system.

The social engineering techniques typically use the same pattern as the JS scripts. For instance, a phishing email attempt that includes a link to a sensitive document that is password-protected. The moment the associated link is clicked, an IMG file is downloaded immediately (image data). This IMG file is zipped, and within it contains a compressed file. The CSIRT was established by the Nigerian Communications Commission as a cybersecurity awareness incident response for the telecommunications sector. The CSIRT has been given permission to concentrate on how phishing assaults affect telecom users and the general public.

What is QBot and why it’s dangerous?

A sort of malware called QBot is made to enter computer systems and steal private data, including login passwords and financial information. QBot often spreads through phishing schemes or by exploiting security flaws in software or operating systems.

Once it has infected a device, QBot can perform a variety of malicious actions, such as:

  • Stealing login credentials and other sensitive information
  • Installing additional malware on the device
  • Monitoring the victim’s online activities and sending the collected information back to the attackers
  • Modifying system settings or installing malicious software updates
  • Using the compromised device to launch further attacks on other systems.

Finding and getting rid of QBot might be tough. Due to its capacity to operate in stealth mode, it is designed to prevent detection by security software. It is essential to always use safe browsing techniques. In addition to that, keep your gear and software updated with the most recent security patches, such as antivirus software. This will protect your computer against QBot and other infections.

How to avoid malware like QBOT from entering inside the system?

There are several steps you can take to help protect your device against QBot and other types of malware:

  1. Be cautious when opening emails or clicking on links from unknown sources: QBot and other malware often spread through phishing attacks, which use fake emails, websites, or text messages to trick victims into revealing sensitive information or installing malware.
  2. Keep your devices and software up-to-date: Installing the latest security patches and updates can help protect against vulnerabilities that malware can exploit.
  3. Use strong and unique passwords: Using strong and unique passwords for all of your accounts can help prevent attackers from gaining access to your accounts and devices.
  4. Use security software: Antivirus and anti-malware programs can help detect and protect against malware infections. Make sure to keep these programs up to date and run regular scans to help detect and remove any malware that may have been installed on your device.
  5. Enable multifactor authentication (MFA): Multi-factor authentication adds an extra cover of safety to your accounts by requiring you to provide an additional piece of information, such as a code sent to your phone, in order to log in.
  6. Be aware of suspicious activity on your device: Keep an eye out for any unusual activity on your device, such as unexpected pop-ups or any changes to your system settings. If you notice anything suspicious, run a malware scan and consider changing your passwords.

What actions need to be taken if the QBOT virus has already infected your device?

To remove QBot malware from your device, you can take several steps:

  1. Disconnect your device from the internet – This will prevent the malware from communicating with its command and control server and downloading additional malicious payloads.
  2. Run a scan with your antivirus software – Most antivirus programs can detect and remove QBot malware. Be sure to update your antivirus software before running a scan to ensure that it can detect the latest threats.
  3. Use a malware removal tool – There are several tools available that can specifically target and remove QBot malware. These tools can be useful if your antivirus software is unable to remove the malware.
  4. Manually remove the malware – If you are familiar with your device’s file system, you may be able to locate and delete the malware manually. However, this can be a complex and risky process, and it is recommended only for advanced users.

If you fall for it, it’s a fraud; if not, it’s a foolish game. Numerous sectors have been hit by phishing, and as a result, prevention measures and remedies are being developed. It will always be a cat and rat chase, and both will change over time as technology develops.

But it’s critical to be on the lookout for potential threats.
  • Adopt safe surfing practices to defend against phishing attempts.
  • This entails using strong passwords for each of your accounts.
  • Be cautious when reading emails or clicking on links from unidentified sources.
  • Also, keep your hardware and software updated with the most recent security updates.

Looking for the right tool to help you secure your email communications? Book a free demo today and take the first step towards a safer and more secure email environment. Our advanced authentication technology verifies the sender’s identity and safeguards against potential threats. Also, ensures that only legitimate emails are delivered to your inbox.

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