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Time bomb

(also logic bomb)

Time bomb definition

A time bomb or a logic bomb is a specific kind of malware that is programmed to activate and execute malicious practices when a specific time comes or certain conditions are met. Sometimes conditions have symbolic dates, like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or other meaningful dates, when users are more likely to open a specific folder or file. Usually, a time bomb is just a short piece of code planted into spyware, trojan viruses, or other types of malware with the aim of conducting malicious actions. Malicious actions include data modification, deletion, operation disruptions in systems, or spreading into other systems throughout the network.

See also: spyware, anti-malware, antivirus

How to prevent time bomb attacks

  • Software updates: Keeping your software up-to-date can fix your system's vulnerabilities that could be exploited by various malware, including time bombs.
  • Anti-malware software: Software, such as anti-spyware and antivirus programs, can detect, block and remove time bombs and similar malware.
  • Firewalls: Firewalls can block access to a system of the whole network. That means they are able to prevent time bomb malware from communicating with control servers.
  • Cybersecurity habits: Being cybersecurity literate should be mandatory. Avoiding suspicious emails, downloads, or unauthorized links must be evident to every internet user. It is advisable to have strong passwords and practice multi-factor authentication to prevent illegal access to valuable data.
  • Regular backups: Regular backups for valuable or critical data and information can help lower the damage caused by malware attacks, in this case, time bomb attacks.
  • Network segmentation implementation: Segmenting one's network can localize the spread of time bomb malware. Practicing data separation by rank can save valuable information from a less important one.
  • Prevention systems and intrusion detection tools: Using detection tools can detect time or logic bomb malware before they cause severe damage to the systems or networks.