At the dawn of the Internet, the idea of malware was the expression of a few malcontents. This is where the image of the stereotypical hacker came into being. For example, the super computer worm, Slammer, infected 90 percent of the Internet in less than an hour. The worm didn’t actually do any harm to a computer’s data, but rather to show the prowess of the creator.
However, like with many things, it became monetized. The malware that we are most familiar is the kind that steals information and sends it back to its creator. As more and more of our wealth becomes digital this will become more of a concern. Like war, it will be a neck-and-neck race between attack and defense.
Such attacks as usually perpetrated by individuals or small groups. But what happens when you get a nation state or corporation making malware? You get Shamoon. This malware worm enters and devours entire networks. It travels in the form of a 900KB folder. After entering a computer, it copies all the information to send to a command control server somewhere else, and then it uploads itself to the next computer on a network before wiping the drive clean.
It’s a pretty dastardly piece of code. Although many corporate security firms have updated their antimalware software to include Shamoon, they can’t be certain of the next contender. One sure way is to back up your information at the end of the day into a drive that isn’t connected to the internet. If Shamoon could get into that, then I’d be impressed.