Introduction

This extant era of technology, not just witnesses developments in the digital world but also the risk of novel and unique cyber-attacks. Among such cyber-attacks is the rat attack that is a kind of malware used by hackers to watch and influence your system. In this article, we shall see what is RAT, how do a RAT work, the need for rat tool among the hackers, and ways to prevent and detect them.

  1. What is a RAT?
  2. Types of RAT
  3. Detection and Prevention

1. What is a RAT?

The first question that pops into our minds is what is RAT. RAT stands for Remote Access Trojan and is a malware program that includes easy access for total admin control over the target system. RATs are usually injected on a system or a network without the knowledge of the user through user-requested downloads such as a game, an e-mail attachment, a link to external applications, etc. After the target system is conceded, RATs are spread to other exposed computers, thereby establishing a botnet.

Once a rat software is imparted in a system, the attacker may do anything on the computer such as: taking pictures of the screens, switching on the system’s webcam, tracking user’s behavior and activities through spyware, obtaining confidential information such as card details, PIN, passwords, and other proof of identities, spreading viruses and other malware, formatting hard-drives, deleting, copying, changing, or downloading files.

Remote access technology, in general, is an incredibly helpful tool in IT functions.  The Remote access technology helps IT support to access systems, particularly when the systems are located at various distances. This technology poses the immense potential to make the best use of IT support and fast response if used effectively.

This technology can directly access and get control over the systems across varied physical distances. Hence, RAT malware can easily be installed, leading to catastrophic consequences.

2. Types of RAT

Now that we understood the rat definition and the rat features, let us know to understand the different Remote Access Trojan that exists. Various kinds are found in the digital world, which the hackers modify to suit their needs or altogether develop their own according to their preferences. The hacker also resorts to developing different RATs for different uses to specifically meet each probable target according to OS such as Windows or IOS or systems such as desktop or mobile. The following are some of the popular rat trojans in use these days:

  • Havex: Havex is a particularly RAT designed to target industrial control systems (ICS) and control critically important infrastructure. Stuxnet and Industroyer are already in the market to render physical damage, but Havex is a versatile malware with unique components to ICS. This sophisticated malware enables the attacker to gain full control over the target machine, and its footprint is minimal. Havex uses different mutations, and the interaction with its C&C server is recognized over HTTP and HTTPS.
  • Sakula:  Sakula gives the hacker remote administration access to the victim’s machine by initiating genuine-looking simple HTTP requests during its communication with its command and C&C server. Using a tool named “mimikatz,” this RAT performs “pass the hash” verification that gives the hash to the remote server as an alternative to the associated text password.
  • Quasar: Quasar is written in C# language and is termed as one of the lightweight RAT remote access tool which runs on Windows. It also has several other features that are very beneficial for hackers such as key-logging, the ability to access remote systems, and downloading various files. Its features and frequent updates have attained this RAT a widespread choice among hackers.
  • AndroRAT: A rat hacking tool developed for the Android market, one of the most prominent Android RATs in presence is AndroRAT. The AndroRAT was first developed as a project. This represents the function that remote access can not only be used to control desktops but also be used to access Android devices.

 The original remote access trojan source code of AndroRAT is available on the Internet and has since been modified by criminals and hackers. This software can insert its modified corrupt code into victim applications, enabling a hacker to discharge a new app carrying the RAT into the market. The RAT also has the adaptability to include all the normal characteristics of a mobile RAT such as access to the camera, microphone, monitor calls, messages, and location tracking.

  • Flawed Ammyy: A modern RAT malware that is desired among the hackers is the Flawed Ammyy. Flawed Ammyy was improved from the leaked source code of the well-known Ammyy Admin that is a remote administration software.

The RAT was used by various hackers in many incidents and campaigns. Flawed Ammyy also has a wide range of built-in features as it has been developed from an authentic remote administration tool. It gives the user the functionality to access the entire system, take screenshots, and even take hold of the microphone and camera control.

3. Detection and Prevention

RATs are particularly tough to detect as they generally do not appear in lists of running programs or on-going tasks. Further, the actions performed by RATs are highly similar to legitimate applications and programs. To not irk any suspicion, the hacker usually achieves the level of resource use as any doubtful activity or a dip in performance may alert the user.

RAT protection is thus, very essential to protect your files. The best way for RAT cybersecurity is to not download any files or click a link that comes from unknown sources. It is also important to not open e-mail attachments from untrustworthy sources and strangers, download games, applications, or software from unfamiliar websites.

 The anti-virus software in your system must be kept updated, and the browsers with operating systems must also be up-to-date with security updates.

For larger organizations, it is always advisable to engage an intrusion or RAT detection software that is either host-based or network-based. Host-based intrusion detection systems (HIDSs) and network-based intrusion detection systems (NIDSs), when deployed simultaneously generate a SIEM- security information and event management system. SIEM helps to obstruct intrusions that may have passed anti-virus software, firewalls, and other security measures.

Conclusion

RATs do not generally enter into a system, but it is always recommended to watch out for doubtful or any unusual activity on your system. As many hackers do not develop their RATs but deploy well-known RATs, remote access trojan detection can be made with anti-virus software.

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