Did you think that ticking bombs only exist in action movies? No, the tech world has them too, and they’re called logic bombs. Unlike in Hollywood movies, however, you may not know when they might explode. So what is a logic bomb, and how can it impact your security?
The definition of a logic bomb
A logic bomb is a sinister piece of code that is secretly inserted into a computer network, operating system, or a software application. Like any other malicious code, its primary goal is to wreak havoc on your system – steal or corrupt your data, crash or overtake your device, or completely wipe your hard drive.
However, the main difference between a logic bomb and other malicious software is that the former can lie dormant for years. You might not even notice it. How? It’s designed to ‘explode’ or in other words, execute its code only when certain conditions are met. For example, after a specified date and time, when a specific file is opened, or when it’s deleted.
Let’s have a look at how evil-minded people might use logic bombs.
Examples of logic bomb attacks
- Hackers might hide logic bombs in computer viruses, worms, and trojan horses. Logic bomb viruses can hide arbitrary code that gives remote access to your device. The moment you open the malicious software the attacker will gain access and will be able to cause as much damage as they wish.
- Some logic bombs can be designed to take effect on a specific date or a specific event. For example, Christmas, New Year, or Independence Day. You’ll probably have your guard down on those days, which will make it much easier for the hacker to achieve their goals. These logic bombs can also be referred to as time bombs.
- Tech-savvy and malicious employees might plant a logic bomb in their company’s system. This could have various effects. It could be set off the moment the employee is taken off a payroll, or it might need to be defused every day and only by that employee like a dead man’s switch; or they could plant a logic bomb before leaving the workplace and then require the previous employers to pay a fee for its defusion.
- Hackers could use a combination of spyware and logic bombs to steal your personal information. For example, a logic bomb could secretly be waiting for you to launch a specific website, like your online banking. Once you do, it would trigger a keylogger to launch, which does precisely what its name suggests. Now everything you will type in, including your login details and passwords, will be sent straight to the hacker.
How to prevent logic bombs
Logic bombs are sinister and hard to detect. However, you can take a few precautionary measures to avoid them.
- Use a strong antivirus and update it regularly. Antivirus scans can pick up on Trojan horses and other viruses that may hide logic bombs;
- Don’t download pirated software. Most of such software will hide viruses and logic bombs;
- If you need freeware, make sure you’re downloading it from a reputable source. Like pirated software, it might hide malicious code;
- Keep your operating system up to date. Updates are released regularly for a good reason – to patch the latest vulnerabilities;
- Practice good internet behavior – don’t click on suspicious links or email attachments;
- If you run a company, make sure you protect all computers individually. Also, train your staff. They need to know they are an integral part of your company’s cybersecurity.
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