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Fileless Malware attacks - Detection, Mitigation ⚔️

Companies face a rising hazard from viruses that don't require a download. One study found that malicious PowerShell scripts, a fundamental component of its attacks, surged more than 1,000% in 2018 and accounted for 89% of them, illustrating the gauge of this danger.

By fileless malware definition, it conveys installing and instigating badware consuming your system's software, freeware, and protocols. How does it work? How can you prevent it from invading your computers and stealing your data? This article should help.

Fileless Malware attacks - Detection, Mitigation ⚔️

Fileless malware definition

It runs in the cache instead of the hardware. Rather than spyware, it compromises your machine with benign programs. While infected, no files are downloaded to your hard disc.

Its analysis is harder than identifying and removing viruses and other spiteful protection put directly on your hard disc. Traditional antivirus solutions that examine hardware may miss their strikes because they require no dangerous files.

Nonetheless, its exposure is achievable and it can steal information like viruses. Malicious motion can cause a scan, then privacy personnel can begin fileless malware mitigation by analyzing the command lines of trusted software like Microsoft Windows PowerShell, which automates tasks.

How Does It Work?

It is a category of malicious code that enters a computer's recollection short of touching the hard drive. It classically spreads through emails that pretend to be from legitimate companies yet contain viruses and hides by corrupting trusted programs, like Windows script programs or PowerShell. It is intended to advance access to treasured data or sabotage organizational maneuvers. One of its key advantages for attackers is that it can evade traditional anti-malware programs, making it tough to notice.

Most Common Viruses without Directories Technique

Its attacks require ingress to the surroundings to change aboriginal means. Access and assaults are possible by acknowledging the following fileless malware examples:

  1. Exploit Kits

They allow adversaries to utilize the OS or network susceptibilities. They can instill into RAM to perform attacks without any documents or directories. After social manipulation or hacking, they are deployed. They may scan and deploy customized undertakings from an administration console.

  1. Hijacked native tools

It commonly hijacks Windows lyrics programs like PowerShell to avoid detection. The individual who is planning to change principal applications to steal info or sabotage procedures. Hijacking native utilities help badware without any files hiding in an entity’s activity.

  1. Registry resident malware

It hides in Windows to avoid discovery. Unlike dropper programs that transfer hostile archives, it writes dangerous commands speedily into the Windows archive. Poweliks, Kovter, and GootKit attacks are hard to detect since there is no destructive file and the code is concealed in instinctive files. Registry-resident malware can hide for long durations.

  1. Memory-only malware

This virus only lives in storage. One piece of ram spyware is the Duqu worm. It is a gateway in its first iteration. that lets the intruder enter an organization. The adversary can then employ the upgraded variant of Duqu 2.0 in order to scout, shift cover, and steal sensitive information.

  1. Fileless ransomware

Hackers employ ransomware to extract money from victims. They encrypt important data and demand a ransom in cryptocurrency. Hackers can launch invasions using the built-in system without entering commands into the machine's drive. This obscures it until it's too late.

  1. Stolen credentials

This allows attackers to launch fileless attacks by impersonating genuine users. Once entered, the hackers can utilize WMI or PowerShell to attack. Hide code in the registry or kernel or create user accounts to access any system to establish persistence.

Stages Of a Fileless Attack

Its attack resembles file-based ones. Important stages include:

  1. First Access

Malware must enter an organization's systems. Phishing or web application vulnerabilities can spread fileless malware.

  1. Operation

It uses numerous methods to execute code. Malicious documents may utilize social engineering to fool recipients into enabling macros, which can run PowerShell commands.

  1. Repetition

Malware seeks to stay on a target system. Adding autorun keys to the Windows Registry achieves persistence without entering commands.

  1. Goals

Malware does something. For instance, it can steal credentials, encrypt data, download other malicious software, and more.

What Can Such Badware Do?

  1. For Enterprise

It can steal data, compromise network protection, and disrupt operations. It is difficult to detect and can remain undetected for a long time, allowing attackers to maintain a persistent presence within the system.

  1. For Vendors

It can be used to test safety measures, but vendors must use caution to avoid harm to customers' systems. Vendors must ensure their defense solutions can detect and protect against Fileless malware attacks.

Ways To Detect Malicious Software

It is designed to be harder to detect. Some endpoint safety solutions only scan files and do not check ongoing processes for dangerous malware or anomalies.

Harder to detect is not undetectable. Detecting fileless malware is possible by opting for one of the following options:

  • Lock-Down Functionality

It uses built-in functionality to succeed. Blocking or monitoring high-risk apps like fileless malware PowerShell helps prevent and detect malicious network assaults.

  • Managing Macros

It often starts using Microsoft Office macros. Disabling macros can prevent this infection.

  • Fix vulnerabilities

Buffer overflows allow attackers to run code in susceptible apps. Patching and IPS virtual patching reduces vulnerability exploitation.

  • Secure Authentication

Cybercriminals are increasingly leveraging compromised credentials and RDP to deliver and execute malware. A compromised account can be mitigated with MFA and a zero-trust protection policy.

How To Defend Against Fileless Attack?

To defend against fileless malware, keeping software up to date, especially Microsoft applications is vital. A multi-layered defense approach, with the ability to see and measure what’s happening, and control the targeted system's state, is necessary. Interrupting fileless attacks requires a holistic tactic that addresses the entire threat lifecycle.

How Can Wallarm Help?

Wallarm is a highly recommended solution for protecting APIs and applications against stealthy fileless attacks. Its powerful and integrated approach, which combines multiple methods for endpoint protection, is unparalleled in the industry. By leveraging a cloud-native, next-generation endpoint protection system via a single lightweight agent, Wallarm provides an array of complementary prevention and detection methods.

Numerous Privacy and DevOps teams have already selected Wallarm for its unique visibility into malicious traffic, robust protection across the entire API portfolio, and automated incident response capabilities. It is your unique answer to bolster your product privacy programs and enjoy the assistance of an innovative and effective endpoint protection solution.


How can I prevent fileless malware attacks from succeeding?
Can fileless malware be removed?
How can I protect my system from fileless malware attacks?
What are the signs of a fileless malware attack?
How does fileless malware attack a system?
What is fileless malware?


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February 26, 2024
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