Scripts are common strategies for cyber attackers to deploy malware onto targets’ devices. Without knowledge of how these attackers execute malicious scripts, your organization might be at risk of a cyberattack. You may be wondering: how can an attacker execute malware through a script? Read on to learn how.
How Can an Attacker Execute Malware Through a Script?
Cyber attackers execute malware attacks by stealthily deploying malicious code.
This code, also called a script, may be downloaded and run by the user, who may be unaware of the developing attack. To understand how to prevent these attacks, the blog will cover:
- The mechanisms by which script-based malware attacks work
- Some ways you can remove malware scripts from a device
- How to stay protected from script-based malware
- Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about script-based malware
- Tips for staying safe online when faced with risks of malicious code attacks
Staying safe from the malware attacks planned by malicious attackers starts with educating yourself and your team about script-based malware attacks. Beyond that, working with a managed security services provider (MSSP) will help enhance your malware security controls and keep you safe from script cyber attacks.
What is a Script-Based Malware Attack?
A script-based malware attack uses malicious code to execute malware (malicious software) on a target’s device (e.g., computer, tablet). These attacks are typically executed as file-less malware, making them harder for email or web application security systems to detect.
Examples of malicious code that attackers use include:
- Simple scripts (e.g., system command sequences)
- Advanced scripts (e.g., programming languages used for system configuration)
- Automation scripts (e.g., automated service or system requests)
How Script-Based Malware Attacks Work
Many types of malware scripts are pieces of code written directly by cyber attackers.
When these scripts are delivered to a target’s device via email or as downloads from a web application, the user may be prompted to enable and run a macro. Once the macro runs, the malicious script is executed on the target’s device. These scripts typically run on the system’s memory, making it harder for threat detection systems to identify them as potential malware.
Depending on the sophistication of the malware coding, a script may collect sensitive information about the victim (e.g., access credentials) or infect other parts of the system.
Advanced scripts may deploy wide-scale attacks on computers connected to the source.
How to Remove Script-Based Malware
Any script infections must be promptly removed from your system. You can start by deleting any recently downloaded files like potentially malicious email attachments. Deleting downloads of executable files will prevent any scripts hidden in those applications or programs from running.
This also applies to random, anonymous applications or program files on your devices.
If the script originated from a web browser, you will have to disable the script from running within the browser. However, the best solution for removing script-based malware, especially where advanced scripts are involved, is to consult an MSSP, who will provide you with effective malware remediation solutions.
How to Stay Protected From Script-Based Malware
Keeping your organization safe from script-based malware threats starts with educating your team about these threats. Cybersecurity education for your team provides exposure to the different types of malware that could present security risks to your organization.
Equipped with training on how to identify the signs of malware or ransomware, your team will readily mitigate these attacks by practicing cyber vigilance.
For example, your organization may be prone to:
- Trojan horses
Malware remediation tools will also help you:
- Routinely perform scans for viruses and malware
- Identify the appropriate incident response protocols for malware intrusion
- Develop malware containment strategies
- Eradicate malware as soon as it is considered infectious
- Restore your system to its original state following an attack
Safeguarding your system from malware intrusion is essential to keeping sensitive data safe, especially where security breach scripts are concerned.
Script-Based Malware FAQs
What Is A Script In Malware?
Can Scripts Contain Viruses?
Yes, scripts can act as sources of viruses.
For example, a cyber attacker may add malicious code to a script that runs within an email link. Clicking on that link will execute the code to run on your computer, infecting it with a virus.
Is it Safe to Allow Scripts to Run?
It depends on the scripts, as not all of them are malicious.
In general, you should only allow scripts to run if they are running from read-only locations on designated devices. Additionally, only trusted scripts should be allowed to run in compliance with your organization’s security policy.
How Common are Script-based Malware Attacks?
Are Script-Based Malware Dangerous?
Yes, script-based malware threats are dangerous.
Depending on the type of malware script you’re dealing with, attackers may steal sensitive information, such as intellectual property (IP) or customer data. Loss or compromise of this information can result in legal, financial, or reputational consequences such as fines and penalties, especially if the data compromised is protected by a regulatory framework.
Can Antivirus Detect Scripts?
Many antivirus tools can scan executable files or programs and identify malicious code.
However, most scripts are designed to bypass traditional file scanning tools and execute malicious code on a device’s system memory, making it harder for an antivirus solution to identify the script-based malware. With the help of an experienced MSSP, you can more easily find the most effective tools that defend your organization against script-based malware attacks.
Additional Tips To Stay Safe Online
Staying safe online in today’s IT landscape is as simple as being cyber vigilant and implementing cybersecurity best practices. In the case of malware prevention, it is critical to implement security policies that prevent members of your team from downloading any files or programs whose origin they are unsure of.
Additionally, you should implement robust antivirus or antimalware solutions that scan all incoming emails for potential malware, especially if the emails are from untrusted sources.
Increasing your team’s security awareness is one of the best ways to mitigate malware attacks and prevent any sources of malware or scripts from gaining access to your organization’s devices.
Safeguard Your Devices from Malware Scripts
Back to the question: how can an attacker execute malware through a script? It depends on the type of malicious code the attacker uses. Learning how malware scripts work and which defenses can succeed against these threats can keep your organization safe from cyberattacks.
Furthermore, working with an MSSP like RSI Security will provide you with the solutions necessary to mitigate malware threats from becoming full-blown cyberattacks.
To learn more about our suite of managed security services, contact RSI Security today!