Zyklon is a strain of malware that first emerged in the wild in early 2016 before largely going dormant until January 2017 when attackers exploited several vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Office software suite to spread Zyklon.
The 2017 Zyklon malware attacks largely targeted larger financial services, insurance and telecommunications companies. Users have been exposed to the Zyklon malware primarily through spam emails that include a ZIP file attachment with a DOC file that contains code to download and install the malware.
How the Zyklon Malware Works and the Damage It Can Cause
Zyklon has been available for more than a year as a sophisticated, full-featured backdoor with the ability to communicate with a command and control (C2) server over The Onion Router (Tor) network to monitor its spread and impact as well as download and execute plugins as needed to extend the malware’s capabilities and potential for damage.
Once the Zyklon malware has infected a machine, it has the potential to cause extensive damage in a variety of ways, including harvesting passwords and other sensitive information via keylogging and data scraping, utilizing the machine's hardware resources for cryptocurrency mining operations, and setting an infected system up as part of a botnet for launching DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attacks.
The 2017 Zyklon malware attacks exploited a vulnerability in Microsoft Office (CVE-2017-11882) to infect systems via spammed emails that contained a Microsoft Word file attachment. Once the attachment was opened, the file would then trigger the download of additional files resulting in the Zyklon malware being installing on the machine.
Zyklon Malware Removal, Restoration and Prevention Guides
For systems that have been infected by Zyklon, removal and restoration of files is often a multi-step process, particularly if the computer's files have been encrypted as part of a Zyklon ransomware attack.
Several online guides are available to walk you through the process of recovering Zyklon-encrypted files, removing the malware from your system, cleaning and restoring your computer to its pre-Zyklon state, and then preventing future Zyklon attacks. Two useful guides for the process are available from HowToRemove.Guide and BotCrawl.com.
Note that third-party utilities like Recuva, Malwarebytes, and/or Spy Hunter are typically needed as part of the Zyklon removal and recovery process.
Another essential key to avoiding potential Zyklon infection is catching up and staying current with important security patches for Microsoft Office as well as your operating system and other key software programs. Security patches for Microsoft Office that protect against Zyklon have been available for nearly a year, so those who have applied these patches are already protected from Zyklon.
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