A backdoor attack is a type of malware that can enable cyber criminals to enter your infrastructure under the radar.
Once they’re in, hackers can access your network remotely, monitor your activity, obtain sensitive information, and change data or run software to damage your company.
If threat actors successfully install the backdoor to your devices, it can become a major vulnerability in the security of your organization.
What are some tell-tale signs that your company is likely to be a victim of a backdoor attack, and how can you protect what you’ve built from hackers?
What Is a Backdoor Attack, Exactly?
Backdoor refers to the malware that grants access to hackers to your system. It’s a type of hidden entrance that online criminals can use to get into your system remotely.
When they enter your network, they can install other malware on your computer and collect sensitive information without you knowing it.
Backdoor attacks don’t leave any traces and can go unnoticed because threat actors don’t need your passwords, they can use the hidden backdoor to get into the network instead.
However, this tool isn’t only used by hackers. Developers can also install a backdoor to your devices.
Once installed on the device, the backdoor gives them the means to access your technology remotely and troubleshoot in case something is not properly functioning within your network.
How Common are Backdoor Attacks?
It’s difficult to estimate how common cyber breaches of this kind are because many of them go unreported and unnoticed.
Let’s see the statistics of the most common way that hackers can install the backdoor in systems — via Trojan viruses.
According to Statista, Trojans have been responsible for more than half (64.31%) of all cyberattacks in 2019. Compared to other threats such as viruses and worms, Trojans have been the most widespread type of hacking.
In 2021, it was reported that 51.45% of all malware were in fact Trojan viruses.
While there has been a drop in the cases, a Trojan is still one of the top threats that can result in backdoor installation on your devices.
What Types of Businesses Are Likely to Be Targeted?
Any business that relies on an app or has a network that can be accessed remotely is likely to be the target of a backdoor attack.
With the rise of remote work and an increased number of web applications, hackers have more opportunities to breach systems, especially if they lack sufficient cybersecurity measures.
Therefore, virtually anyone can be the victim of a backdoor attack —especially businesses that work remotely or have app-based services or tools that are essential for their operations.
Which Types of Backdoor Attacks Should You Know About?
A Trojan is the most well-known type of backdoor attack. It usually sneaks into the network as a smaller file to bypass the security. As soon as it enters your system, it uses the file to complete the download of a larger file containing the virus.
Keep in mind that there are numerous types of Trojan viruses. Hackers have adapted it for their needs and altered them throughout the years to ensure it enters businesses undetected.
Other kinds of backdoor attacks that are common according to OWASP include backdoors that:
- Expose administration and management interfaces — they can grant admin privileges to threat actors and give them control to take over an application
- Add useless features, interfaces, or functions to your network — allowing control over parts of the system and a variety of tweaks
- Include hidden perimeters in the infrastructure — they target businesses that lack protection or don’t actively seek possible backdoors
- Include redundant users on the app — it can be easily removed, but if they’re not detected can grant complete control over the system to hackers
- Cause authorization issues within the company — which can result in the access of third parties to your organization
How to Protect Your Business from Backdoor Attacks?
To guard your organization against the backdoor attack, use specific software that is designed to catch the attempts of shell installation on your devices as well as remove them from your system.
For example, Web Application Firewalls can have backdoor attack protection integrated into software since this is the likely threat to target apps.
Antivirus software and firewalls are the basic tools that every business should have to defend itself from the most common types of cyberattacks such as phishing, malware, and DDoS.
However, they may not have the ability to detect sophisticated backdoors that are designed to bypass common tools and security policies that otherwise guard your company.
Preventive measures, or having the tools that can detect the shell is your best bet because the main issue with the backdoor is that it can bypass security measures.
Getting rid of the shell in its entirety is quite challenging. If they’re already in the system, they have to be quarantined and removed to prevent causing more damage.
Backdoor attacks can target any device that is connected to the internet or application and network that you as a business use for remote work.
Organizations that lack protection from this attack are likely to have threat actors in the system without knowing it. They could use the backdoor to install additional malware to your system or monitor it quietly for months without you realizing it.
Once it’s in the system, it’s difficult to remove the remaining shells that can allow access to your network.
Therefore, it’s best to prepare for a possible attack by introducing preventive measures. Utilizing protective software that can remove the shell before it gets a chance to enter your infrastructure is the best step to take to protect yourself from this malicious threat.