How to Protect Against Fileless Malware

How to Protect Against Fileless Malware

September 17, 2020

How to Protect Against Fileless Malware

Small businesses continue to be the favorite targets of cybercrime in 2020. And a newer threat, Fileless malware, has been gaining momentum. This is in part due to traditional security solutions having difficulty detecting and defending against the attack. Thanks to these difficulties, cybercriminals are increasing their use of fileless malware when attempting to breach your defenses.  If you are anything like me, you are probably tired of hearing about malware. Maybe even to the point that it does not even register as a real threat to your business. But it is still a threat, and it is evolving.

 

 

What is fileless malware?

Fileless malware has the same end goal of its conventional predecessor, to gain access to your system and steal, encrypt or destroy data. However, instead of installing a program or running code, it relies on legitimate processes to cover its tracks while it runs. To infiltrate you systems, fileless malware utilizes some of the same delivery methods as its traditional counterpart. Things like phishing emails, unsafe links, and Word or Excel macros. At the end of the day, fileless malware is just malware, delivered in a more covert way. Herein lies the problem.

 

How is it different from the malware I know?

The biggest differences between conventional malware and fileless is that fileless malware is much more difficult to detect. This is because it does not use any of its own files or executables, the traditional footprints that a standard antivirus looks for when scanning your system. Instead, fileless malware exists almost entirely as malicious code running in your device’s memory or RAM. By sidestepping the need to install something to your computer’s disk, fileless malware renders most anti-malware products useless.

 

How you can protect against fileless malware:

In order to protect your organization from this modern threat, modern security tools must be implemented. One tool that is invaluable in the fight against cyberattacks, including fileless malware, is endpoint detection and response (EDR.) Unlike standard antivirus, EDR solutions can detect fileless malware by utilizing behavioral analysis. By “knowing” how your system is supposed to operate, EDR can immediately detect a process that is potentially compromised by fileless malware.

Additionally, fileless attacks often rely on “human error” to be successful. In order to minimize vulnerability, your employees must know how to spot these attacks and how to respond to them. Continual awareness training can significantly decrease the risk of human error leading to a successful cyberattack. Awareness training will also increase your employee’s sense of accountability to protect your company’s infrastructure and data, a vital component of a solid cybersecurity plan.

 

Fileless malware is a threat that is likely to become more prevalent. According to the Ponemon Institute, these fileless attacks have a success rate 10 times higher than traditional file-based attacks. However, with the proper solutions in place, you will be insulated from malware, be it fileless or conventional. If you are interested in implementing safeguards to protect your organization from malware and other cyberthreats, you can reach out to us today by clicking here.