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As today’s dynamic business environment continues to grow, systems that were previously contained (or “closed”) have moved on to the cloud and are now open to remote access and control.
Unfortunately, cyber attackers can exploit these “open” systems and exploit your organization’s vulnerabilities. Cyberattackers use a type of malware tool such as remote access trojans (RATs) to infiltrate a network infrastructure to acquire sensitive data.
Your business must know how to spot a RAT and know what preparatory steps to take to protect your business.
LDI Connect’s managed IT division works with prospects and customers alike to assess their vulnerability to security risks like RATs.
Through an IT security risk assessment and penetration test, our team of IT specialists can recommend the proper protocol to ensure that no gaps are left wide open for malicious actors to breach your data.
With the array of clients we have helped, we’ve noticed that not everyone is aware of various malware tools and cybersecurity threats that can infiltrate one’s network.
This article will define what a RAT is to understand better how it works and what it does. Then we will break down the four ways to protect your network infrastructure from a RAT. By the end of this article, you will fully grasp how protection from a remote access trojan can benefit your business and its data.
What Is A Remote Access Trojan (RAT)?
A remote access trojan (RAT) is a type of malware that enables backdoor administrative control over the targeted computer.
A RAT is an excellent example of how malicious attackers can use remote access technology to breach your data and steal confidential information. RATs are typically downloaded invisibly via a user-requested program such as an email attachment or game.
Once you download a RAT, it distributes viruses and other malware throughout your operating system.
What Types Of RATs Are There?
There are two RATs, in particular, to watch out for, the Adwind RAT and the Qrypter RAT.
While both spread through spam emails, they can be compelling even if you are used to them.
The Adwind RAT will imitate the Swift network messages used by financial institutions.
For example, this RAT creates a “trusted” financial source notification that urges users to check out the attached document to verify correct account information. Once clicked and opened, the RAT goes to work.
The Qrypter RAT, on the other hand, was developed more recently as a Malware As A Service (MaaS) model.
This is where the virus creators rent the RAT out to criminals rather than managing the virus themselves. The Qrypter RAT is notorious currently targeting financial institutions worldwide.
Threats to your organization’s confidential data can come from many sources. Still, one of the most dangerous malware infections can come from a Remote Access Trojan (RAT).
While a trojan viral infection may look like a legitimate program, once given access to your network, it’s ready to cause lots of damage.
What sets a RAT apart from a regular Trojan virus is that it doesn’t just slow down your system. Still, it gives the hacker remote control over your business’s operating system.
The level of control depends on what type of RAT it is and its mission.
For example, a RAT can gain access to all your passwords through a technique known as “keylogging.” This enables the hacker to record every keystroke you make. As the infected party, you will remain unaware that anything is wrong.
The hacker can then gain access to sensitive data such as usernames and passwords, credit card numbers, social security numbers, and more.
3 Ways To Protect Your Business From A RAT
Now that we have outlined what a RAT is and how it works, it’s time to dive into some preventative ways to protect your network infrastructure from one.
Here are three crucial ways to protect your business’s data, operating system, and network infrastructure from a remote access trojan.
1. Avoid Downloading Suspicious Attachments
Nowadays, phishing emails are getting harder to tell apart from regular email. Why?
Cyberattackers are getting craftier, and they’re waiting for a human error to download a malicious email attachment or click on a malvertisement to gain access to your information. Scary, no?
But here’s the thing, this can easily be avoided if your employees know how to spot these malicious emails and malvertisements.
By enforcing mandatory cybersecurity awareness training for all employees, your business will stay a few steps ahead of cyber attackers looking to gain access to your network remotely.
How? Well, you can think of cybersecurity awareness training as a type of formal coaching provided to a workforce to enhance their knowledge and awareness of cybersecurity threats.
This type of training can strengthen your employee’s ability to identify, report, and handle cyber threats.
2. Ensure That Your Security Software & Operating System Are Up-To-Date
By ensuring that the security software you have in place is up-to-date, you ensure that your operating system isn’t left vulnerable to malware.
How do you make sure that your software and system are up-to-date? Simple, is your business using the updated version of the security software it’s using?
Whether you have a dedicated in-house IT team, work with a managed IT provider, or outsource your IT needs to a third-party organization, ensuring that your security software is updated and working well to combat cyber attackers is imperative.
As software evolves, so makes the cyber attackers’ approach to infiltrating your infrastructure.
3. Work With A Managed IT Provider
While working with a managed IT provider isn’t mandatory to protect your business against remote access trojans, it’s highly advised.
The perks of working with a good managed IT provider is that IT professionals will remotely monitor your network infrastructure.
In addition, at the beginning of your partnership, a provider will perform an IT Security Risk Assessment to evaluate your company’s current security posture.
The provider will then deploy security solutions such as endpoint detection software, patch management software, and malware protection software to protect your business from cybersecurity risks moving forward.
By investing in Managed IT services, your business can rest assured that your network is being monitored, managed, and regularly updated to protect your operating system from ever-evolving cyberattacks.
Are You Prepared To Stop A RAT?
Businesses must educate their employees on the dangers of malware infections, and as GI Joe used to say, “knowing is half the battle.”
Never open attachments from phishing emails. If you’re not sure you are being phished, err on the side of caution and get your managed IT provider or in-house IT team to take a look.
LDI Connect believes that businesses must follow safe web browsing protocols – because it’s always better to prevent a RAT from getting into their operating system from the onset.
If you’d like to learn more about network security threats and see if your systems are safe, reach out to an LDI representative today.