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Kronos Malware: What You Need To Know So You’re Not Affected

Kronos malware attacks can result in financial loss, account takeover, reputational damage, data breaches, and more. Learn about this type of malware and how to prevent infections.

Table of Contents

1. What Are the Risks of Being Attacked by Kronos Malware?

2. How To Protect Yourself From Attacks by Kronos Malware

3. FAQ

Kronos is a type of banking malware that has been around for more than a decade, dating as far back as 2011.

Despite its age, Kronos malware has seen unprecedented longevity thanks to the emergence of new variants. This malware, which primarily targets banking activities, has been observed in the wild as recently as late 2022.

What Are the Risks of Being Attacked by Kronos Malware?

Multiple risks are associated with Kronos attacks, including the following.

You may face significant financial loss

The most recent Kronos variants act as banking trojans. As such, the most likely outcome of a Kronos infection is Kronos stealing account information, resulting in financial loss.

Your accounts may be taken over

Once the Kronos malware authors gain access to your financial accounts, they could change your passwords, security questions, and so forth, and permanently lock you out of those accounts.

You may suffer reputational damage

As with any other malware infection, a Kronos infection may result in reputational damage. If word gets out that your organization has been infected, customers will likely perceive your organization as lax on cybersecurity. They may stop trusting you with their data.

You may have data breaches

Those who have suffered a Kronos infection can have their data stolen. After all, Kronos malware is designed to steal banking information. Once the malware authors gain access to your accounts, there is nothing stopping them from exfiltrating your data.

You may be held liable for damages

An organization can be held liable for the damages caused by Kronos infections. This may be especially true if the infection results in compromised customer accounts.

You may get hit with more malware and ransomware attacks

Earlier Kronos variants were designed to install additional forms of malware onto a victim’s computer. That being the case, a Kronos infection can lead to further infections by ransomware or by other types of malware.

How To Protect Yourself From Attacks by Kronos Malware

You can prevent a Kronos infection with these six steps.

1. Use reliable antimalware software

The No.1 prevention measure is to run antimalware software on all your network endpoints. Make sure to keep that antimalware software up to date.

2. Implement and maintain effective cybersecurity measures

Although antimalware software acts as your first line of defense against infection, using antimalware software alone is not a substitute for adhering to the usual cybersecurity best practices.

3. Set up policies to prevent the use of unauthorized software

Another important step is to use software that prevents unauthorized code from running on network endpoints. Recent Kronos malware variants have been installed as browser extensions, so it is critical to set up policies that stop browser extensions from being installed without your consent.

4. Back up data and systems

Organizations should make it a habit to regularly back up data and the systems on which that data is hosted. While backups are of limited value in recovering from a Kronos infection, some infections have been known to download additional malware, including ransomware. Backups are one of your best defenses against a ransomware attack.

5. Keep software and systems up to date

It’s extremely important continually update your operating systems and applications. This should include installing all available updates for web browsers. Security patches address known vulnerabilities and can prevent malware infections.

6. Train employees in cybersecurity best practices

Finally, take the time to ensure that users are educated in cybersecurity best practices. Remember, all it takes for a Kronos infection is for a well-intentioned user to click on a malicious link or to install an infected browser extension.


How do you know if your organization has been affected by Kronos malware?

There are different variations of the Kronos malware, all of which exhibit differing behaviors.

Symptoms of the most recent infections include fake loading animations on webpages, which are meant to hide what is happening in the background. In some cases, these fake messages may appear in Spanish. Another sign of a Kronos infection is if you receive unexpected prompts for sensitive information. Kronos will often try to trick victims into entering such information as a part of an identity verification scheme.

What types of data backup solutions can be used to protect against a Kronos malware attack?

After suffering a Kronos attack, a backup could be used to restore the infected computer’s operating system. However, since it may be difficult to verify that the backup was created before the infection, it may be better to perform a clean operating system installation rather than restore a backup. Some Kronos variants are designed to download additional malware, which may include ransomware. If this happens, a good backup could be used to restore encrypted data.

What should be done if there is suspicion of a Kronos malware attack?

If you suspect that Kronos has infected one of your computers, take that computer offline immediately. The computer must be disinfected (ideally, through a fresh operating system installation) before being brought back online. It’s also important to change the passwords for any resources, such as bank accounts, that may have been compromised. If you suspect that Kronos has compromised an account, contact your financial institution immediately.

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