On December 1st 2016, the United States Department of Homeland Security, working in collaboration with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released a global Technical Alert in response to Avalanche – a crimeware-as-a-service network that has been used to steal from hundreds of millions of victims around the globe.
So what exactly is Avalanche, how does it work, and how can you protect yourself with the best virus protection and Microsoft Malware removal?
What is Avalanche?
Avalanche refers to a significant global network hosting infrastructure used by cyber criminals in order to undertake phishing and malware distribution campaigns, as well as money mule schemes. Over 40 major financial institutions have been targeted, with sensitive personal information being stolen and victims’ compromised systems being used to carry out further malicious activity, including launching denial-of-service attacks or distributing malware variants to other victim’s computers.
Avalanche infrastructure was also used to run money mule schemes, where criminals recruited people to commit fraud involving the transportation and laundering of stolen money or merchandise.
How does it work?
Avalanche used fast-flux DNS – a technique to hide the criminal servers behind a constantly changing network of compromised systems acting as proxies.
How are infected systems affected?
Once a system has been infected with Avalanche-associated malware, it risks being subject to malicious activity, including the theft of the user’s banking and credit card information. Some of the malware has the ability to encrypt user files and demand a ransom be paid before the victim can regain access to them. What’s more, the malware can also give the cyber criminals unauthorized access to the infected computer, allowing them to carry out DDoS attacks.
How to protect against Avalanche malware infections…
There are a number of precautions that should be taken to avoid and remove malware infections associated with Avalanche:
- Install the best virus protection for your system. It’s also important to keep your anti-virus software up to date at all times.
- Avoid clicking links in emails. Attackers have become skilled in making phishing emails look legitimate so always ensure links are genuine by typing them into a new browser.
- Change your passwords – if your system has been infected, your passwords may have been compromised.
- Use anti-malware tools to remove malware and eliminate infection.