With increasing trend of online purchase and ease of paying at online portals, cyber attackers have started to get into the computers of a regular user. Earlier, their targets were big organizations, universities and even hospitals, which they have now set to a common man. There are plenty of ways that these attackers follow, which ranges from sending you an anonymous email to you clicking on a malicious button online. However, there has been a new threat came into existence with the file extension of .LNK. It may have come after people being educated over not clicking on any .EXE file type due to a probability of it being a virus or other malware. The .LNK file has a lot to do with your security and today, we are going to see if an anti-malware tool can protect you against .LNK cyberattacks.
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What is .LNK file?
LNK stands for “link” and any file having this extension means that the file contains a link in it. It is used by Windows as a reference to its original file and contains shortcut target type, filename and even the program that executes the target file. You may also find a security within it and this file is creatable through a right click and choosing the “Create Shortcut” option. You must know that an LNK file would have the same icon as its target file. However, it would add a curled arrow for you to know that the file is pointing at a different location.
How to identify if .LNK on your device is malicious?
According to John Cloonan, director of products for Lastline, the identification of .LNK cyberattacks file can be done through a good deal of antimalware is signature based. Here, the mechanism of capturing a malicious entity on your machine is done through identifying known malware on the basis of its unique signature. This way, a specific algorithm goes ahead and determines its signature and its characteristic of the file. Now that all the antimalware developers keep a vast database of all the known infections, at the moment algorithm finds a match, it stops and provide protection from that known ware.
The drawback associated with signature-based bifurcation of an infected file is that most of the anti-malware tools do not recognize common file types as a threat. And, .LNK is one of the most common file types that you can have on your computer. This way, cyber criminals find their way out to attack your computer. In case, anything is found infected and by the time it reaches your solution provider database, it could get into the computer and do its job.
One of the other ways to identify .LNK credibility and avoid .LNK cyberattacks is through behavior-based analysis. Here, the anti-malware tools keep a keen eye on the specific file and watch for its move like if its changing signatures, modifying keystrokes or sending huge files to a server etc.
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Overall, LNK file extension is also not necessarily a malware in your computer. However, the easy answer to the question that can anti malware protect against .LNK cyberattacks? the answer is not anytime soon. It is important to understand that behavioral identification of a malware cannot be considered as a perfect solution to a problem. However, it lets you get a better degree of defense against any possible detection. One of the best ways to protect against .LNK file type cyberattacks is not to fall for any trap and practice the basic steps to strengthen your online security. If you wish to share your opinion on .LNK file types and attacks associated with it, do let us know in the comments below.