Dr. Hollington and Peers,
According to Alenezi et al. (2020), malicious software, malware for short, is the name given to a variety of hostile or intrusive software (Alenezi et al., 2020). Malware is created and used by cybercriminals for different reasons such as stealing data, bypassing access controls, and harming the target computer including its data and applications (Alenezi et al., 2020). Alenezi et al. states how the early intentions of malware were not to harm, steal, or manipulate, but rather for reason including pranks, finding loopholes in systems, and experimentation gone wrong (Alenezi et al., 2020). Since early malware was not created for financial gain, the malware lacked stealth as it was not trying to hide from antivirus programs and was limited in that ir would replicate and not mutate like modern malware (Alenezi et al., 2020).
As the internet has continued to expand, malware and its motivations have evolved with it. One change in modern malware is the goal of financial gain. According to Alenezi et al. (2020), malware has become a profitable industry with the introduction of ransomware which gives cybercriminals the opportunity to extort businesses for large sums of money, especially with the birth of anonymous online payment services (Alenezi et al., 2020). The WannaCry ransomware worm shows the effectiveness of new malware tactics as this worm was able to infect over 200,000 devices spanning 150 countries in just days, taking down the networks of government systems, railway networks, hospitals, and private businesses (Beaman et al., 2021). According to Alenezi et al. (2020), another goal of modern malware is for virtual espionage and sabotage (Alenezi et al., 2020). This motive has seen governments and military forces create malware as it can be used as a powerful weapon by causing damage without affecting human life, which can be seen in the Stuxnet malware attack (Alenezi et al., 2020). Since new malware is designed to cause damage and acquire money, the code has features such as mutation ability which allow malware to change and adapt to different environments, aiding in its ability to bypass security controls and antimalware programs (Alenezi et al., 2020).
The evolution of malware, its new motives, and the expansion of the internet as whole has created a sizeable challenge for investigators. One way to keep up with this challenge to is to stay up to date with the new malware threats. Internet of things (IOT) devices have become more prevelant in recent years and provide attackers with more surface area to gain network access and can even compromise several IOT devices to create botnets which can be leveraged in distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks (Gounder & Farik, 2018). Another solution that investigators can leverage is to take a proactive approach to malware defense by keeping the network fully patched by installing the latest firmware versions that fix prior vulnerable versions (Gounder & Farik, 2018).
Alenezi, M., Alabdulrazzaq, H., Alshaher, A., & Alkharang, M. (2020, December 3). Evolution of Malware Threats and Techniques: A Review. International Journal of Communication Networks and Information Security (IJCNIS), 12. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349324759_Evolution_of_Malware_Threats_and_Techniques_A_Review
Beaman, C., Barkworth, A., Akande, T., Hakak, S., & Khan, M. (2021, September 24). Ransomware: Recent advances, analysis, challenges and future research directions. Elsevier Public Health Emergency Collection. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8463105/
Gounder, M., & Farik, M. (2018, June 6). New Ways To Fight Malware. NTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SCIENTIFIC & TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH, 6. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/317920910_New_Ways_To_Fight_Malware
Dr. Hollington and Peers, According to Alenezi et al. (2020), malicious software
Dr. Hollington and Peers,