Security Alert: Audio Files Used To Spread Malware

ZDNet reports that security researchers found malware campaigns using malicious code embedded in WAV files. A WAV file is a file standard developed by Microsoft and IBM for storing and playing audio (using the file extension .wav).

The technique of hiding data is known as steganography and has been used by hackers to hide malicious code in image files such as PNG and JPG. However, earlier in the year, researchers found nation-state actors embedding malicious code in WAV files. Now, experts fear that this practice is going mainstream.

Steganography is very advanced and can be used on any file format as long as the hacker adheres to the file’s structure and constraints making the embedded malicious code undetectable. Therefore, blocking popular formats (i.e., PEG, PNG, BMP, WAV, GIF, etc.) will encumber internet usage altogether.

Security experts feel that the proper way to deal with this mode of attack is to focus on detecting the entry point of malware infections or the execution of unauthorized code in systems. It appears that antivirus makers need to up their game substantially and stop relying solely on file definitions to identify malware.

Using Steganography, bad actors can download a multitude of malware to unsuspecting users, including trojans, worms, Keyloggers, rootkits, and of course, ransomware.

Here’s how to protect yourself:

  • Ensure all software is up-to-date (i.e., Operating System, Antivirus, third-party programs, etc.).
  • NEVER open attachments or click links in unexpected and unverified emails.
  • Be very mindful of the websites you visit and be wary when clicking links on the web.
  • Do NOT operate your workstation using an administrator account. If you get infected, malware can spread to the entire network because of your elevated privileges.
  • Protect your company with a Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery (BCDR) Solution, and not just a mere data backup system. You may not be able to avoid infections, but a Business Continuity Solution will enable you to recover from one quickly. A BCDR solution is your best defense.

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