When did squirrels begin to enjoy waffles? Surprisingly, a malware threat known as SquirrelWaffle has appeared on cybersecurity beaches.
This virus, which is typically distributed via spam email campaigns, infiltrates workplace networks by installing harmful applications on infected computers.
Let’s take a look at how this virus spreads and the attack methods it employs. We’ll also go over five security techniques that might help you remain safe from malware.
How Does the SquirelWaffle Spread?
The makers of SquirrelWaffle, also known as the dropper virus, have gone to great lengths to keep it concealed and difficult to study.
SquirrelWaffle spreads mostly through Microsoft Office document attachments in spam emails. At the time of writing in November 2021, two variations of this malware had been detected as the source of delivery: a Microsoft Word document and a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.
When the victims open a ZIP file containing the malicious Office documents, the infection vector begins. The VBA macros in that file download the SquirrelWaffle DLL, which subsequently spreads Cobalt Strike, an additional attack vector.
How Is SquirrelWaffle Exploiting Cobalt Strike?
Cobalt Strike is a genuine penetration testing tool that white hat hackers and security teams use to assess an organization’s infrastructure and find security flaws and vulnerabilities.
Unfortunately, hackers have learned to exploit Cobalt Strike and are now employing it as a second-stage payload for a variety of viruses.
In a similar way, the SquirrelWaffle virus takes use of Cobalt Strike. The SquirrelWaffle makes exploitation tasks like gaining permanent remote access to infected systems easier by distributing malware-laced Cobalt Strike framework after infection.
5 Tips to Stay Safe Beside Malware Assaults
Here are five methods to help you keep safe against SquirrelWaffle and other possible malware threats:
Be Careful of Free Apps and Unknown Sources
Buying and downloading programs from reputable sources minimize the risk of malware infection. Because they do not want to jeopardize their reputation, reputable businesses take extra precautions to guarantee that malware files are not present.
Additionally, commercial versions of programs are often more secure than free versions.
Check the entire name, list of published applications, and contact information in the app description in the Google Play or Apple app store to verify the validity of a source. Recently a third-party app known as Zen Patcher APK was found to be containing malware. But it is now safe to download and use this app.
Be Wary of Attachments
The first line of protection against any sort of malware is to avoid opening attachments that appear to be suspicious.
Most well-targeted malware, such as phishing attempts, are deceptive, and detecting them might take a lot of technical knowledge. A phishing assault tricks users into clicking on a link or opening an email that appears to be from a trusted source. When the victim clicks on the link, it may lead them to a phony website. Prompting them to submit their personal information or taking them to a website that infects their device directly with malware.
As a result, use caution while opening attachments and avoid clicking on them unless you are certain of their origin.
Look Out for Pointers of Compromise
Anti-virus software may be unable to identify malware in some cases, or malware may be innovative and deceptive, like in the instance of the SquirrelWaffle.
If you find yourself in this circumstance, it’s essential to keep an eye out for Indicators of Compromise (IoC).
IoC is an indicator that means that your device contains a corrupt file or malware. You could observe abnormal behavior on your devices, such as geographical disparities, an increase in database reads, or a greater number of authentication attempts on your network, for example.
Update Your Software Frequently
Updates resolve security concerns, patch software flaws, and eliminate vulnerabilities from older and obsolete systems. Enhance hardware operational functionality, and provide support for newer equipment types.
As a result, in addition to installing anti-virus software, you should keep your software up to date on a regular basis. Hackers will be unable to acquire access to your computer and infect it with malware as a result of this.
Install Anti-Virus Software
Investing in anti-virus software and endpoint protection is essential for preventing malware assaults. Anti virus detects and eliminates malicious malware from your system.
These technologies may also be used to observe hacked devices and deliver alarm alerts when a user visits a potentially dangerous website. Most anti-virus software now includes automatic updates to improve protection against newly developed infections.
Because of their broad use, threat actors routinely employ office documents to distribute malware. To protect yourself from SquirrelWaffle, keep an eye out for any Microsoft Office documents that are sent to you as attachments. Because this virus spreads using malicious VBA macros in downloaded files. It’s also a good idea to keep your macros deactivated in Office.
If you really must access some attachments, use caution. To safeguard your PC from any infection, instead of downloading attachments from Gmail, open them in Google Drive.
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