The most advanced malware possesses the ability to adapt to its environment, enabling it to remain dormant, modify its code and even transform itself into new forms. Polymorphic malware is capable of modifying its code and characteristics with each infection. Unlike traditional malware, which uses static malicious code, polymorphic malware uses transformation techniques to metamorphose and evade detection by conventional security software. This makes them particularly dangerous and difficult to detect.
When a computer system is infected by polymorphic malware, it modifies itself by creating variants with different signatures and fingerprints. Each copy of the malware can therefore have a different appearance, making it more difficult for traditional antivirus software to recognize and detect it. These transformations are carried out automatically by the malware each time it propagates or executes.
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There are a variety of ransomware strains, each with its own degree of sophistication and dangerousness. Among the best-known ransomwares considered the most dangerous are Ryuk, Locky, Emotet, Cryptowall, Petya and Cerber. All these strains trigger the display of a ransom note on the user’s screen when executed. This demand usually includes a threatening message and instructions on how to make payment.