Incident handling
12
Feb

How to Detect and Respond to Malware Incidents

Reading Time: 4 minutes


Malware incidents are easily visible to either a user or a consumer using visual indicators. For instance, ransomware, a type of malware, can take over your system and trigger popups that make payment demands. Adware, on the other hand, brings up popups or system tray icons that contain websites or ads. Clearly, malware can present itself in multiple forms which are designed to compromise the safety of a device and data stored in an IT infrastructure.

Malware incidents also allow cybercriminals to access data which can be used to cause personal harm and losses. Detecting and responding to malware incidents is therefore important for every individual and business.

Detecting Malware Incidents

In a business setting, when one is working as an IT Security Manager, one’s task does not only revolve around protecting against malware but also by being resilient, being informed about new malware, forming a preventive defense team and creating action protocols. All these are meant to ensure efficient detection of malware while making sure everyone in the business is aligned with the objectives of the company in terms of security. There are several ways below in which businesses can help ensure efficient detection of malware incidents, which help reveal the scope and relevance of the malware incident:

  • Traffic anomalies: Connections and servers in businesses that are secure usually have a relatively stable traffic volume. If a business experiences an abnormal increase in traffic, then this may be a sign of a malware incident. Usually, employee and director accounts follow a hierarchy that is defined by the information they are allowed to access. Employees are normally the easiest entry point in a malware incident. If an employee’s connection privileges are exposed and their account sees a sudden increase in use or access to privileges above their qualification, then this may be an indicator of a malware incident in the business’ infrastructure.
  • Excessive consumption of memory and suspicious files: If the business detects an increased performance in its memory capacity or hard drives, that may indicate that someone is leaking data or accessing them illicitly. This may be the case if the security IT manager finds a suspicious file of any size that is trying to remain hidden.
  • Effective contextualization of the possible threats and incidents: While not many IT security managers are able to have an easy time when prioritizing the alarm level for malware incidents that may arise, businesses having the right robust structure of hierarchies are important in improving the risk management of malware incidents.
  • Managing false positives: False positives are mainly the reason why business IT managers ignore new threats that may prove viable. As such, companies need to have the necessary detection tools that help point out false positives.
  • Technology Solutions: IT security managers are not expected to spend most of their time in manually detecting possible alerts. Therefore, businesses should have the effective technology in place to ensure all these possible alerts are detected.

Responding to Malware Incidents

Containment

Once a malware incident is confirmed, one of the first tasks when responding is containment. Containment is not meant to be a definitive solution to a malware incident but a temporary fix that helps avoid the spread of the malware while limiting its impact. The containment strategy depends on several factors, including the type of malware incidents and the number or function of systems that end up being affected. Containment can be as easy as disconnecting the affected system from the network. However, it can prove slightly difficult as it may involve complex solutions that involves removing an infected server from a network or activating corresponding plans on data recovery.

Data Recovery and Preventing Data Loss

When affected systems are both identified and contained, the next step involves identifying the affected files and restoring the systems back to their normal state. The exact removal depends on the malware identified. One response could easily involve installing or reinstalling updated antimalware solutions. Another response could involve undertaking a scan or even manually removing registry entries or protected files, which might prove complex.

With the rapid progression of technology and internet-based communications, understanding ransomware has become very important for every organization and having the knowledge of tackling these threats is vital to drive intelligent solutions such as incident handling. A certification in incident handling serves as an added advantage.

The Certified Incident Handler (ECIH v2) program from EC-Council has been developed in collaboration with inputs from expert cybersecurity and incident handler practitioners from across the globe. EC-Council is a well-known training and certification organization that concentrates on the arenas of anti-hacking, incident response, and penetration testing. The program offers cutting-edge training necessary for all interested individuals to become experts in this fast-growing industry.

FAQs

What is an incident response plan?
Incident response (IR) is a systematic approach to addressing security incidents, violations, and cyber threats. A well-defined incident response plan helps you to detect, mitigate the harm, and reduce the cost of a cyberattack efficiently while identifying and fixing the cause of potential attacks to be prevented.
What does an incident handler do?
A respondent to cyber defense incidents regularly tracks intrusion systems and networks, detects software weaknesses and vulnerabilities, conducts security assessments, risk analysis, network forensics, penetration testing, malware analysis, and reverse engineering.
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