Microsoft Windows users have to be cautious against a new threat- The LemonDuck Malware that has recently surfaced placing Windows and Linux at risks. Now, the question is what does it do and how can you stay protected from it if you are a Microsoft Windows or Linux user? Today’s post will give you all the answers to these questions so read on till the end.
The LemonDuck Malware- An Insight
The LemonDuck malware is a malicious software application which exploits and uses computer systems to mine cryptocurrencies. Cyber-criminals are now adopting this malware to gain access into their victims’ computers and transact Monero (XMP) cryptocurrencies. To do so, they often secretly steal the online users’ sensitive data of their victim without leaving a trace. The malware even has the potential to compromise the devices which constitute the IT infrastructure of companies and damage them. The salient capabilities of this malicious malware are:
- Uses the latest fileless infection codes which copies on to executable programs,
- Accesses confidential data like the computers’ UUID, MAC and IP addresses secretly,
- Modifies the computers’ firewall settings in order to compromise the devices,
- Inserts 64-bit version malicious dynamic link library (DLL) components to network drives,
- Utilizes various open-source tools like PowerDump or freerdp to perform various nefarious tasks, and
- Employs a continuous monitoring C2 module to leak user accounts, privileges and machine configuration details,
How Are Microsoft Windows and Linux Users Affected?
The LemonDuck malware generally infects the computer systems of online users operating the Microsoft Windows 7 operating system. However, this malicious program is equally capable of exploiting the security vulnerabilities of Linux operating systems as well. The malware allows cyber-criminals to conveniently modify the computers’ central processors (CPUs) and relevant graphic cards (GPUs). They can then use these internal devices to solve complex mathematical problems in order to mine cryptocurrencies. This saves them the need to buy expensive equipment to carry out such nefarious activities.
This malicious software can cause the online users’ computers to become unresponsive to their instructions. In some cases, the computers can all of sudden reboot themselves without giving the owners any warning. This malfunction generally occurs due the overheating of the various internal hardware components. It even results in the permanent deletion of the confidential data within the computers and ultimately damage the machines. The symptoms companies and individuals should look for when they suspect a LemonDuck malware is affecting their computers are:
- Frequent system lags,
- Unresponsiveness of the machine to simple user instructions, and
- Significant increase in the amount of heat their computers generate when they use the machines.
How Can Cyber-Criminals Insert A Lemonduck Malware Into A Computer System?
Cyber-criminals use many different ways to stealthily infiltrate a LemonDuck malware into their victims’ computer systems. They can resort to launching cyberattacks like phishing email attacks, bogus online advertisements, social engineering strikes or trojan horses. In some cases, many of them lure unsuspecting online users to click on deceptive downloads. Others, tend to rely on more sophisticated methods like executing illegal activation tools.
When online users intentionally click on the spam email attachments, online advertisements or downloads, the malware releases replicating infectious files. These files contain bugs which attach themselves to the various internal devices of the victims’ computer systems. These are known as ProxyLogon bugs. These bugs establish a firm foothold within the devices and eventually spread to adjoining network servers. They inject web shells that alters the servers’ directories to allow cyber-criminals to execute new set of user instructions to:
- Reveal their victims’ passwords,
- Steal their online credentials and banking data to commit identity theft,
- Encrypt the sensitive data and only decrypt it after the victim pays the criminals a ransom, and
- Add their victims’ computer systems to an existing robotic network known as a botnet.
The recent cyberattack on Microsoft Exchange Server in March, 2021 is an example of a likely LemonDuck malware threat.
A LemonDuck malware attack can be disastrous for both businesses, individuals and other online users. Many of them use Microsoft Windows and Linux operating systems to operate their computer systems. The malware not only compromises their sensitive data to cyber-criminals but has the potential to permanently damage their machines. Fortunately, they can take adequate measures to safeguard their systems from this malware attack. They just have to keep in mind and execute the following preventive tips:
- Install and regularly update the anti-malware software application like Microsoft 365 Defender,
- Scan all external universal serial bus (UBS) drives before insert devices into their computers,
- Do not click on suspicious email attachment which might receive from unknown senders,
- Use strong alpha-numeric password consisting of eight characters to encrypt sensitive data,
- Enable two-level authentication features in addition to passwords to secure confidential data, and
- Activate the computers’ official cyber-security features to verify the content of downloads.
Online users might find a LemonDuck malware in their computer systems even after implementing the above preventive tips. In this situation, they should not panic and hire a reliable cyber-security specialist to help them out. This expert will use the latest anti-malware and spyware tools to identify and deal with the malware in the proper manner. This step ensures the safety of their computer systems and the sensitive data within them so that no damage is done to your system. Do not attempt to resolve the issue on your own- always consult a reputed cyber security company to do the task for you.