What is Client-Side Malware?

If you are unfamiliar with malware altogether, it is a specially designed type of software used by hackers. This software has a very specific purpose which entails the disruption, damage, or unauthorized access to another computer system. Typically, malware is used for the purpose of stealing private information or even for activities such as unauthorized cryptomining. Client-side malware attacks occur when the employee or user actually downloads content that has malicious intent.

With the user unaware, these attacks are pulled off through a number of channels. This includes but is not limited to word processing software, media applications, web browsers, and spreadsheets. Unfortunately, for anyone who is familiar with cyber-attacks, they are virtually impossible to see coming, let alone prevent; especially when some of the sneakier methods are employed. When it comes to modern companies, businesses, and other organizations, internet access is imperative.

The digital expanse of the internet universe is virtually endless. Therefore, mitigating the risks involved with internet use, especially within an organization, can be quite the intensive challenge. The major difference between a client-side attack and a third-party compromise for example, is the direct approach. Rather than suffering from an attack from halfway around the world, client-side malware is much more personal.

How is Client-Side Malware Employed?

There are, of course, many different techniques and methods for pulling off a cyber-attack. No matter what the hacker’s intentions, there are literally hundreds of methods and pre-designed malware to help them get into other networks. From there, they practically have free reign, allowing them to use or sell your information however they like. While malware is not easy to prevent, the more you know about it, the better. So, how is client-side malware actually put to work?

In terms of client-side malware, the flow of data retrieved is going in reverse in comparison to server-side attacks. In the event of a client-side malware invasion, the victim downloads content directly from the attacker. While these attacks vary in method, one thing remains the same—the involvement of the internet.

Social Engineering

Using the world wide web as a vehicle, hackers often use social engineering to exploit the weaknesses in software. Otherwise, they use something called social engineering which tricks the victim into going along with the attack. Social engineering is a personal form of attack with the hacker exploiting people and flat out tricking them into giving out personal and confidential information. Unfortunately, getting your password is a lot easier when you believe you are using it legitimately.

Cross-Site Scripting

This attack occurs when a code is placed within a webpage on in the form of media with scripting language. Once the media or webpage is viewed, the code is successfully launched and put into action. One prime example of this is the insertion of malicious links on comment sections of websites. This is a good way for a hacker to execute a large attack spanning several victims.

There are other methods out there, although these are the most commonly used. Client-side malware is hard to combat due to its familiar nature but gives one all the more reason to watch who they trust.