Common Types of Remote Access Trojan (RAT) and How to Avoid Them

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According to Dark reading, several prominent Fortune 100 companies have fallen victim to a targeted malware campaign aimed at pilfering their proprietary information over the past decade. The consequences of these attacks can be severe for the targeted companies. They may experience financial losses, damage to their reputation, loss of competitive advantage, and potential legal and regulatory implications. Furthermore, the theft of proprietary information can undermine trust among customers, partners, and stakeholders.

Among the various types of malware, Remote Access Trojans (RATs) are known to be particularly insidious and pose significant threats to individuals and organisations alike. Let’s learn about the common types and tips to avoid them in our system!

Remote Access Trojan Definition:

A Remote Access Trojan (RAT) is a type of malicious software that allows an attacker to obtain unauthorised access and control over a victim’s computer or network. It works by secretly installing itself on the target system, often through phishing emails or compromised websites.

Once installed, the RAT enables the attacker to remotely manipulate the infected system, and perform actions such as capturing keystrokes, accessing files, and even controlling the webcam or microphone. RATs are typically used by cybercriminals to carry out various malicious activities, such as stealing sensitive information, spreading malware, or conducting unauthorised surveillance.

Now, Let’s examine the common types and implications of RAT infections below-

Adwind RAT

Adwind RAT, also known as “JSocket” or “AlienSpy,” is a type of Remote Access Trojan. It is a sophisticated, cross-platform malware designed to provide attackers with unauthorised remote access to infected systems. Adwind RAT has the capability to target various operating systems, including Windows, macOS, Linux, and Android. It can perform a range of malicious activities, such as keylogging, data theft, screen capturing, and controlling the infected system remotely, making it a significant threat to individuals and organisations alike.

-To protect against Adwind RAT, be cautious when opening email attachments, avoid downloading files from untrusted sources, and use reputable security software like S360.

A real-life example of an Adwind attack:

According to  BBC NEWS, the Australian government’s Bureau of Meteorology fell victim to a cyber-attack by foreign spies in 2015. It is said to have the use of Adwind RAT virus. The RAT allowed the attackers to gain access to the Bureau’s network and potentially compromise sensitive information. The consequences included disruption of operations, loss of data, and reputational damage to the organisation, as the company owns one of the largest supercomputers in Australia.

Back Orifice

Back Orifice is a remote administration tool that gained notoriety in the late 1990s. It is designed to provide unapproved remote access to a user’s computer system. It can be used to control various aspects of the infected system, including file manipulation, keystroke logging, and taking screenshots, among others. Back Orifice can be installed without the user’s knowledge, allowing attackers to gain access to a user’s legitimate remote system and potentially carry out malicious activities.

-To avoid it, keep your operating system and software up to date with the latest security patches and use a reliable antivirus program.

DarkComet

DarkComet is a remote administration tool (RAT) software that enables unauthorised remote access to infected systems. It provides attackers with extensive control over compromised computers, allowing them to perform activities such as keystroke logging, file manipulation, and even webcam and microphone surveillance. It can be used as a powerful tool for malicious purposes, making it challenging to detect due to its ability to evade traditional security measures.

-To protect against DarkComet, follow general cybersecurity best practices like avoiding suspicious downloads, regularly updating software, and using reputable antivirus software.

Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy is a well-known remote administration tool used by attackers to gain unapproved access to systems. It allows remote control of the infected system, enabling attackers to execute commands, access files, capture screenshots, and even control the webcam and microphone. Attackers can use Poison Ivy to install additional malware, creating a backdoor for persistent access to the compromised system. Due to its advanced features and techniques to evade detection, it can be difficult to identify and remove, posing a significant threat to the security of targeted systems.

-Avoid downloading files or opening email attachments from unknown or suspicious sources. Be cautious when clicking on links, especially in unsolicited emails.

A real-life example of Poison Ivy:

In 2011, a cyber espionage campaign dubbed “Nitro” targeted organisations in the chemical industry, defence sector, and human rights groups. During the chemical industry attacks, the perpetrators specifically targeted companies involved in the production of chemical compounds and advanced materials used in military vehicle manufacturing, as well as those engaged in designing and constructing manufacturing systems.

This led the attackers to seek out classified information, such as proprietary designs, formulas, and manufacturing processes, which are considered highly sensitive documents in the industry. The stolen information could also have serious implications for national security, as it could be exploited by adversaries for their own military advancements or used to harm human rights organisations and individuals. Overall, the consequences of such targeted cyber espionage campaigns can be far-reaching and have long-lasting negative effects on the affected industries and society as a whole.

njRAT

This remote access Trojan (RAT) njRAT allows attackers to gain unapproved control over infected systems. It provides attackers with a range of malicious capabilities, including remote desktop control, keylogging, file manipulation, and data theft. Signs of a njRAT infection may include suspicious network activity, unexpected system behaviour, and the presence of unknown processes or files.

-Avoid clicking on suspicious pop-up ads or visiting untrusted websites. Be cautious when downloading files from file-sharing platforms or torrent sites.

NanoCore

NanoCore is a type of Remote Access Trojan (RAT) that cybercriminals can use to gain unapproved access to a victim’s computer system. It provides attackers with extensive control over the compromised system, allowing them to execute commands, capture keystrokes, manipulate files, and perform other malicious activities. It is categorised as a commercial RAT, meaning it is available for purchase and widely used by individuals with malicious intent. Its capabilities make it a dangerous tool for cyberattacks and a significant threat to cybersecurity.

-Be cautious of phishing emails, especially those containing attachments or links. Enable macros in Microsoft Office documents only from trusted sources.

A real-life example of NanoCore attack:

Initially detected in 2013, NanoCore has undergone multiple version updates and remains actively maintained by a community of developers. It was used in various locations around the world, as it was distributed by hackers globally. The precise geographic distribution of the malware infections may vary, as cybercriminals tend to target victims indiscriminately across different regions.

The consequences of the NanoCore RAT infections were far-reaching and deeply impactful for the victims. They experienced financial hardship, the risk of identity theft, and the potential for reputational damage, highlighting the importance of robust cybersecurity measures and proactive efforts to combat such malicious activities. In 2017, the leading developer of Nanocore was apprehended and subsequently sentenced to 33 months in prison by the FBI for violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

Gh0st RAT

Gh0st RAT is a type of Remote Access Trojan (RAT) that enables unapproved remote access and control of infected systems. It is a notorious malware infection that allows attackers to perform various malicious activities, including keystroke logging, file manipulation, and screen capturing. Gh0st RAT is known for its stealthy nature, making it difficult to detect by traditional security measures. Its advanced features and ability to evade detection make it a favoured tool among cybercriminals seeking access to compromised systems.

-To avoid Gh0st RAT and similar threats, ensure your systems are updated with the latest security patches, use strong passwords, and employ Robust network security measures.

Also Explore:

How to detect Remote Access Trojan (RAT Attack)?

By implementing these measures and staying vigilant, you can enhance your ability to detect and respond to RAT attacks effectively:

  • Understand the type of malware: Educate yourself about RATs and their characteristics, including how they operate and the potential risks they pose to your systems.
  • Learn about RAT malware: Familiarise yourself with the common RAT malware variants and their specific behaviours, such as keylogging, remote control, file manipulation, and data exfiltration.
  • Monitor for signs of physical access: Be vigilant for any unauthorised physical access to your devices, such as unusual hardware modifications or unfamiliar devices connected to your network.
  • Look for unusual network activity: Regularly monitor your network for any suspicious or unusual network traffic, connections to unfamiliar IP addresses, or unexpected data transfers.
  • Be cautious of phishing attacks: RATs are often spread through phishing emails containing malicious attachments or links. Exercise caution when opening email attachments or clicking on links, especially from unknown or suspicious sources.
  • Use strong security software: Implement robust antivirus and anti-malware solutions that can detect and block RATs. Keep these security tools up to date to ensure they have the latest threat definitions.
  • Employ network monitoring tools: Utilise network monitoring tools to keep an eye on network traffic, detect anomalies, and identify any signs of RAT activity or unauthorised emphasising remote connections.
  • Regularly review system logs: Analyze system logs for any unusual activities, such as failed login attempts, unexpected system reboots, or unusual processes running in the background.
  • Conduct periodic vulnerability assessments: Perform regular vulnerability assessments and penetration tests to identify potential security weaknesses that could be exploited by RATs.
  • Educate employees: Provide cybersecurity awareness training to employees, emphasising the risks of RATs and the importance of following best practices, such as avoiding suspicious downloads and reporting any suspicious activities.

    -Join our Cyber Training today and enhance your and your employee’s cybersecurity skills to protect against RAT infections and other cyber threats!

How to avoid and protect against Remote Access Trojans?

To protect yourself against RATs, consider the following preventive measures:

  • Limit access to your systems: Implement strict access controls and user permissions to ensure that only authorised individuals can access your systems and sensitive data.
  • Use strong and unique passwords: Enforce the use of complex passwords and encourage regular password changes to minimise the risk of unauthorised access.
  • Keep software up to date: Regularly update your operating systems, applications, and security software to patch vulnerabilities that could be exploited by RATs.
  • Install a reputable firewall: Configure and maintain a firewall to control inbound and outbound network traffic, blocking unauthorised access attempts.
  • Beware of Trojan horse techniques: Exercise caution when downloading files or opening email attachments, as RATs can often be disguised as legitimate files or hidden within malicious software.
  • Secure remote desktop access: If you use remote desktop protocols, ensure they are properly configured with strong passwords, two-factor authentication, and restricted access to prevent unauthorised remote access.
  • Be cautious of downloading additional malware: Avoid downloading files or software from untrusted sources, as they may contain additional malware or RATs.
  • Monitor network traffic: Utilise network monitoring tools to identify and analyse suspicious network traffic that could indicate a RAT trying to establish access to your system.
  • Regularly scan for malware: Use reputable antivirus and anti-malware software to scan your systems regularly and detect any RATs or other malicious software. Safeguard your systems against RAT infections with our Data back and recovery and  Phiing email protection.

Remember that the threat landscape is constantly evolving, and new RATs and malware variants can emerge. Staying informed about the latest Cybersecurity trends and following best practices can help protect against these threats!

360 Cybersecurity for your organisation with us!

Cybercriminals employ sophisticated techniques, including the use of advanced malware, social engineering, and targeted phishing campaigns to carry out these rat attacks. They exploit vulnerabilities in networks, systems, or human behaviour to gain unauthorised access to sensitive data.

To mitigate the risks associated with cyber-targeted attacks like remote access trojan, organisations need to prioritise cybersecurity. This involves implementing a multi-layered defence strategy, including robust network security measures, regular security assessments, employee awareness training, strict access controls, and the use of advanced threat detection and response systems.
Our Cybersecurity solutions does exactly that!

Stay one step ahead by investing in a complete cybersecurity measure that protects valuable intellectual property, preserves business continuity, and maintains the trust of customers and partners. 

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