This article was contributed by Swedish data gathering analyst and consultant Ebbe Kernel.
Researchers warn that cybercriminals use MosaicLoader to gain access to your PC. Other than enabling cybercriminals to steal your passwords and install miners of cryptocurrency on your PC, MosaicLoader can be used to infect your PC with malware.
Just like Facebook targets you with ads based on your browsing history, other apps deliver ads that you are likely to be interested in. The unfortunate part here is that through these ads, malware can target your Windows.
Malware is an issue that you shouldn't neglect, as it can create a gateway for cybercriminals to steal your sensitive information. Not only can your passwords get stolen, but other personal details and financial information.
Let's dig into this issue a little deeper and see whether we can do something about it and protect our systems from being infected.
Cybercriminals and how they spread malware via ads
The evolution of malware is lengthy, but we'll try to explain how cybercriminals target us with malware via ads. Most forms of malware reach our computers through some vulnerabilities of software or phishing attacks.
However, MosaicLoader reaches people through ads. In the online world, it looks like this – you see a link at the top of your search results when you are looking for popular cracked software. You, of course, don't know that the ad is malicious.
You click on the ad, and the MosaicLoader attacks your PC. Yes, it's that simple, unfortunately. Of course, antivirus software can detect this type of malware, but many people might not have this type of protection.
The bait of the cracked software looks exactly like the original software – the name is the same and all descriptions. However, all you end up with is the MosaicLoader which gives cybercriminals direct access to your machine.
You may be wondering why attackers need your personal info like your passwords and bank accounts. Well, the motive is straightforward. They can either sell your data on the black market or use that information themselves. For instance, stolen passwords could help attackers commit identity fraud.
What can we do about this, and how can we increase our cybersecurity?
How can we protect ourselves?
Cybercrimes are very common, and many people are raising their awareness about this threat in the modern age. To protect our PC machines and our online browsing from getting attacked with malware, we can resort to one of the two following tools:
- An antivirus program. You need to have dependable antivirus software to protect you from viruses. If infections enter your system, the antivirus will likely detect and remove it. Of course, you should not rely on it blindly. Sometimes, more sophisticated viruses can evade detection. Thus, it is important to pay attention to the signals your device sends you (like poor performance or random glitches).
- A Virtual Private Network. A VPN for PC is one of the best ways you can protect your virtual privacy. What a VPN is best at is masking your IP address and making it invisible to others. With a VPN, hardly anyone can monitor your activity online. Additionally, hackers cannot intercept your connection to steal sensitive data.
Only by having the necessary protection mechanisms can you rest assured that cybercriminals will have difficulty making a breach in your online activities. Also, secure your Wi-Fi network with a strong password, and make sure other people use only the guest network when they visit you at home.
What can we expect from this type of malware spreading?
We can't speculate much, but one thing is certain – this type of malware wants to infect as many PCs as possible with the aim to build a market share in the end. The cybercriminals that lurk behind MosacLoader are relatively new and have no ties to any other cybercriminal groups.
They want to spread as much malware as they can through those who keep downloading cracked software. Note that turning off your antivirus software for downloading something illegal is never safe, which you could have concluded yourself from how MosaicLoader does its work.
Therefore, caring for your cyber security, using proxies, VPNs and antiviruses should help you block the installation of MosaicLoader on your PC (or any other device). If you're new to the notion of cybercriminals, you should pay special attention to protecting your devices.
Caring for our security online is something each individual of our modern age should give the effort to achieve. It's not like your friends and neighbors will steal your data when they use your Wi-Fi but making a guest network and securing your server with a proxy or a VPN is essential.
As you could have witnessed, MosaicLoader is a clickbait form of malware that anyone can easily catch on their device by browsing for cracked software online. Ensure you do your best to protect your network and online browsing and always keep your antivirus active.
About the author
Ebbe Kernel is Swedish data gathering analyst and consultant. He has been working in the field of data intelligence for over ten years and has advised hundreds of data providers and large companies on in-house data acquisition solutions.