Anubis, an ancient Egyptian god or malicious malware?

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If you’re an expert in Egyptian mythology or even have just a passing knowledge of it, you’ve probably heard of Anubis, the ancient Egyptian god of the dead. Anubis is one of the most iconic gods of ancient Egypt and is recognizable as a figure with the body of a man and the head of a jackal. Jump forward a few thousand years later and we now have a new Anubis, only this one is a type of malware. No doubt ancient Egyptians had no idea that Anubis’ namesake would be a malicious software program, and yet one of the most widespread malware today is named Anubis. However, the shared name is where the similarities end. While the purpose of the Egyptian god Anubis was to usher the dead into the afterlife, the purpose of Anubis malware is to steal credentials and money, and perform a litany of other egregious actions.


Anubis malware and Covid-19

Anubis has been particularly active during Covid-19; cyber criminals have been exploiting the pandemic by infecting the phones of unsuspecting users who download what they believe to be contact tracking or contact tracing apps. These fake apps have been Trojanized with Anubis, so that once downloaded, they can start extracting personal and system information from the infected phone. 

But it’s not just phones

While Anubis primarily targets Android smartphones, it can infect PCs as well, usually in the form of ransomware.  Anubis ransomware is mainly distributed via spam email messages containing dangerous links or attachments with the Anubis threat. It can also be spread by infected downloads from unreliable websites and peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing sites. Once a PC is infected with Anubis, the malware changes the PC’s screen background to custom wallpaper with an image of the Egyptian god, Anubis, and a ransom message appears on the screen demanding a fee in return for the decryption key that will unlock the user’s stolen and encrypted data.

Security experts warn, however, that the cyber criminals responsible for the attacks cannot be trusted to return the data. As with all malware, therefore, the best approach is prevention. To prevent Anubis from infecting your PC, you need an advanced antivirus solution that can prevent, detect and remove malware. It should be able to perform Anubis malware analysis as well as other malware analysis to keep your PC free of malicious programs.

Can Anubis malware harm my business?

And Anubis presents a serious threat not to just individual users, but to businesses as well. Once a business device is infected with Anubis, cyber criminals not only gain access to a business’ bank and finances, but the malware also continuously exposes the business to an evolving and expanding set of security risks. 

For example, hackers can also use Anubis as a hacker tool to gain remote control of infected computers in order to use them as zombies. The zombie computers are then used to perform additional malicious attacks such as spreading spam or other malware. Furthermore, Anubis can be used to launch denial- of-service (DoS) attacks, which are designed to disrupt the normal functioning and running of websites by flooding the site with more traffic than it can handle. In addition, Anubis is also capable of spying via keylogging, remote file browsing, screen streaming, sound recording and more. In short, Anubis infections can result in significant financial losses and dangerous privacy risks to any business it infects.


How can I defend my business?

In addition to installing an endpoint antivirus solution that protects all your business devices and offers specific security features such as camera and microphone protection, anti-ransomware and anti-phishing protection, secure browsing, and anti-tracking protection, it’s also critical to train your employees about proper cybersecurity hygiene. And they need to understand that proper cybersecurity hygiene extends to smartphones as well. Employees must be made aware of the dangers of mobile phishing attacks and they should be encouraged to only install apps from reputable developers and to install a mobile security solution that prevents unauthorized access to apps as well as detects and blocks malware and malicious websites.

Anubis… more than just a myth

As scary as the idea of a god of the dead might be, malware that can steal your banking credentials, deliver other harmful malware programs to your devices, and spy on you or your business is considerably scarier. Businesses with infected devices are exposed to all of these risks as well as evolving security challenges. Practicing proper cybersecurity hygiene on all devices, including mobile devices, is crucial to business safety.