Cyber-attacks have become a norm these days as many as 4,000 attacks are happening every day, alone in the US. Bad actors have ample ways to target it’s the victim and the logic bomb is one of them. Logic bomb virus may seem subtle on the surface but can be profoundly damaging, if not taken care of expertly.
As the logic bomb is not much debated and gets overshadowed by more notorious dangers like phishing, malware, and virus attacks, we decided to discuss it in detail. Reading the post will assist you to comprehend the logic bomb definition, its course of action, and preventive measures to be taken.
Overview of Logic Bomb: The Definition
Introduced with an intention to harm the target, a logic bomb is a vile code causing operational disturbances, when inserted into the code of a software application. The activation of the logic bomb is conditional and it continues to behave inactively until the software follows through that condition.
Once that pre-defined condition is observed, the operation logic bomb becomes active and can give birth to endless hassles including erasing crucial information files, data saved on the system’s hard drive, and spoiling the system’s OS.
Is a logic bomb the same as malware?
Not really, if we were to give the shortest answer to you.
As malware and logic bombs sound similar, one might consider both the same. But, they are not identical. Logic bombs are smaller in size, as compared to malware. Malware uses a huge and hefty code to corrupt the system. This huge code is built using the bit size codes.
As viruses and worms need no outside help in infecting a system, so they make the best choice for creating logic bomb for hackers. Once inserted, malware will become active and create causing damage on its own. No further instructions from the cybercriminals are required.
On the contrary to this, logic bomb virus needs the help of someone having a deeper understanding of the system to cause trouble to the system. It is conditional and waits for the activation condition to take place in the system.
They both are different at one more front. Malware is proactive and can be easily detected. Logic bombs are passive and go undetected for a longer time.
The defining Traits of a logic bomb
To have a better understanding of logic bombs, one must learn about the prominent characteristics that makes it different from other sorts of malicious code, used for corrupting the system.
- It’s docile
Viruses and worms that become active and start creating nuisance from the very moment they are introduced in a system. However, a logic bomb is different. It is a passive virus and takes time to act. Because of this feature, it’s preferred in cases where attackers need to cover the action and don’t look anything suspicious. Logic bombs can present in a system for years, causing no or very slow trouble.
- Knowing its payload is difficult
Payload indicates the ultimate harm that a spoiled code will bring about to the targeted system. Figuring out the payload of logic bombs is only possible when it is active that can take years.
- Specified conditions are demanded to trigger the logic bomb
Logic bombs don’t get active on their own. It needs a condition that could be anything like important event date, employee details, or anything else. When the condition for logic-triggering is date or time relate then it is referred to as a time bomb.
How does a logic bomb work?
As mentioned above, the only driving force for the logic bomb is enablement of its condition. If the logic is positive then the logic bomb activates when it’s fulfilled. In the case of negative terms, logic bombs go off when it’s not accomplished.
Keep in mind that every logic bomb is distinctive which means it’s tougher than one’s imagination to track them. They are practically designed to remain undercover as long as possible. It’s introduced in the targeted systems with someone having higher access or control over the system.
Time Bomb vs Logic Bomb
Clearing the air on a time bomb and logic bomb is crucial while one defines a logic bomb in detail. Time bombs are nothing but a subset/subpart of the logic bomb. They come into action as per time or date-based conditions. The time bomb is likely to be burst out unless interventions to stop it haven’t been made.
In a normal logic bomb, the triggering condition could be of any type. Also, one has to intervene to set it off. They both remain hidden in malware and can be detected and removed with the help of antivirus software tools.
Logic Bomb Example
To have a stronghold over logic bomb explanation, it’s wise to understand certain real-life examples. Here we present time and logic bomb examples for you.
Incidences Related to Logic Bomb Attacks
- As per recorded history, the very first logic bomb attack occurred in the era of the Cold War in 1982. It’s the time when The Soviet Union and the US were try to damage each other.
- Siemens also faced logic bomb once. There was an attacker named David Tinley, a leased professional hired for providing a spreadsheet software to the corporation. Out of nowhere, he planned a logic bomb and enabled its positive conditions for spreadsheets. Due to this, software used to crash every time the condition was met. Then, people at Siemens had to Tinley for help frequently. As quoted above, the logic bomb can go unnoticed for many years to come, this troubled bugged the company for two years.
- The CIA claimed to be a victim of a logic bomb attack when it was figured out that a KGB professional has thieved the strategic layout, deployed for one of their advanced control system. The theft also involved stealing the application that had its main function as Siberian pipeline detection. Upon investigation, a logic bomb was spotted in the system. After that, there was no looking back for logic bombs and they become norms, just like viruses.
Incidences Related to Time Bomb Attack
Time bombs thrill hackers more than anything as they can predict the attack date/time and make the whole world go crazy. Recorded history considered time bomb, victimizing the UBS company, as the most notorious time bomb attack occurred.
The incident took place in 2006 and was planned by Roger Duronio. He was the System Administrator for the investment banking firm and had motives to cause trouble for the organization as he was not feeling recognized and worthy. He aimed to sweep away the data stored on servers so that traders won’t be able to transact and the company faces loss.
He did succeed in his place as the attack happened as per the defined data and time and affected more than 2,000 servers. However, he got caught and was charged with 8 years imprisonment and $ 3 million as a fine.
South Korea’s banks and leading broadcasting organizations have been victimized by time bombs once, in 2013. The attack impacted thousands of hard drivers and deleted crucial data. The targets were two leading South Korean banks and three famed broadcasting industry giants. However, these are only speculation.
How to defend against a logic bomb attack?
The logic bomb may sit ideal and cause trouble for many years to come. But, this is something that one shouldn’t ignore as it can cause endless troubles. Just as one remains proactive to deal with malware and other notorious activities, logic bombs should be dealt with practical diligence. Below mentioned are some of the viable logic bomb prevention strategies that one should adopt.
- Deploy A Reliable Antivirus Software
‘Prevention is better than cure’ and we all know that. When you’re trying to stay safe from the harms of logic bombs, the cleverest move to make is to stop it from befalling in the first place. However, doing it manually is too tedious and demands high-end technical knowledge, which not everyone bears.
Also, the human eye, alone, is not enough to track the presence of every single logic bomb.
This is where smart antivirus software comes to the rescue. It is a technical wonder featuring every expertises to spot the logic bombs and other malware in their infancy stage and prevent future blunders.
- Discourage The Practice Of Downloading From Untrusted Source
The world of the internet is filled with free stuff: free movies, free music, free games, and free software. However, such free pieces of stuff, from unknown or untrusted sources, can be huge trouble makers as hackers often use free content to inject viruses and logic bombs on the targeted systems. So, we would suggest not to get lured by the word “Free” and always take the help of verified resources.
- Keep Your OS Updated
If you think OS updates are just sheer wastage of time and resources then it’s time to change your thinking. With each OS update, the service provider offers new features and enhanced security.
The older the Operating System that you use, the higher chances you bear to get attacked by hackers as they are aware of its nitty-gritty and can introduce logic bombs easily. It takes time to understand the new OS’s modus operandi and break into it. So, you’re safe with an updated OS.
When you keep the above details in mind, the chances of logic bomb attacks succeeding against you will decrease greatly.