A Remote Access Trojan, also called a RAT, can infect enterprise devices just like any other form of malware. They can be attached to a phishing email, or hosted on a fake website, or may even exploit a known vulnerability on an unpatched machine when a company has failed to install the latest update available containing security fixes.

RAT functionality

RATs are designed to enable a threat operator to remotely control a device in similar way to how a Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) or TeamViewer is used to provide system administration or remote access. A RAT will establish a command-and-control channel with the threat actor’s server so commands can be transmitted to the RAT, and stolen data can be sent to the attacker. Typically, a RAT will have a set of in-built commands and possess methods for disguising their C2 traffic to avoid detection.

A RAT can sometimes come with additional functionality or be engineered in a modular style to provide extra capabilities as required. For instance, a threat operator may first gain a foothold employing a RAT. After exploring the system it has invaded using the attacker, it may choose to install a dedicated keylogger on the compromised machine to steal confidential information and credentials. In some cases, the RAT may have such functionality in-built, may be engineered to download and install a keylogger module when needed, or may even download and launch an entirely independent keylogger.

Understanding the threat of RATs

Different types of attacks require varied access levels to a target system. How much access is needed, and how much is gained, determines what a threat operator can accomplish during an attack. For instance, exploiting an SQL injection vulnerability might only enable them to steal data from a compromised database, while a phishing attack might potentially result in compromised confidential credentials or the installation of malicious software on an enterprise’s system.

RATs are dangerous because they provide an attacker with an exceptionally high level of access along with control over a system that has been compromised. Many RATs are designed to deliver the exact same level of functionality as a legitimate remote system admin tool. As a result, attackers using this malicious software can see and do whatever they wish on an infected device. A RAT also lacks the limitations of standard system admin tools and can include capabilities that allow attackers to exploit vulnerabilities and acquire additional privileges on compromised systems, ultimately helping them to achieve their malicious goals.

Creating a safer workspace for your staff

At Galaxkey, we have developed a secure workspace for enterprise professionals. With no passwords ever stored and capable of being obtained by infiltrating attackers, our system also possesses no backdoors for hackers to gain a foothold before spreading laterally through your system.

Equipped with cutting-edge tools like end-to-end encryption, your staff can effectively protect data files and communications with no limits on size, ensuring company information remains private. To trial our secure workspace get in touch now.