Linux malware is on the rise—6 types of attacks to look for | #malware | #ransomware

Linux is a coveted target. It is the host operating system for numerous application backends and servers and powers a wide variety of internet of things (IoT) devices. Still, not enough is done to protect the machines running it.

“Linux malware has been massively overlooked,” says Giovanni Vigna, senior director of threat intelligence at VMware. “Since most of the cloud hosts run Linux, being able to compromise Linux-based platforms allows the attacker to access an enormous amount of resources or to inflict substantial damage through ransomware and wipers.”

In recent years, cybercriminals and nation-state actors have targeted Linux-based systems. The goal was often to infiltrate corporate and government networks or gain access to critical infrastructure, according to a recent VMware report. They leverage weak authentication, unpatched vulnerabilities, and server misconfigurations, among others.

Linux malware is becoming not just more prevalent but also more diverse. Security company Intezer looked at the code uniqueness of malware strains to see how innovative authors are. It found an increase in most malware categories in 2021 compared to 2020, including ransomware, banking trojans, and botnets. “This increase in Linux targeting may be correlated to organizations increasingly moving into cloud environments, which frequently rely on Linux for their operation,” according to a report. “The level of innovation of Linux malware came close to that of Windows-based malware.”

As Linux malware continues to evolve, organizations need to pay attention to the most common attacks and harden security every step along the way. “While Linux can be more secure than other operating systems, it’s important to note that an operating system is only as secure as its weakest link,” says Ronnie Tokazowski, principal threat advisor at Cofense.

These are the six types of attacks on Linux to watch for:

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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