What Is a Logic Bomb? Why All the Fuss About It?

What Is a Logic Bomb? Why All the Fuss About It?

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Anshuman
Anshuman Singh
Senior Executive - Content
Updated on Apr 25, 2024 17:33 IST

A cyber attack is one that uses a compromised computer system to disrupt computers, steal data, or launch additional attacks. One such attack is the logic bomb.

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Logic bombs are sophisticated, subtle cybersecurity attacks, but the damage they can cause is huge. This article will define various topics, such as what are logic bombs, explain how they work, and more.

But before starting, let’s go through different topics that we will be covering in this blog:

  1. What is a logic bomb?
  2. Real-life cases (Logic bombs examples)
  3. Characteristics of logic bomb
  4. How does a logic bomb function?
  5. Is a logic bomb a type of malware?
  6. How to defend against a logic bomb?
  7. What is the difference between a logic bomb and a time bomb?

What is a logic bomb?

The term “logic bomb” refers to the idea that code “explodes” when triggered by a specific event, such as a particular date or time, the deletion of a specific record, etc. A logic bomb is a string of malicious code intentionally inserted into a program to cause harm to a network when it meets certain conditions. Logic bombs goes off whenever these criteria are fulfilled. They harm the system by various means, such as by destroying a system, corrupting data, deleting files, or wiping hard drives. Time bombs are logic bombs that have triggers related to dates or specific times.

Slag code is another name for logic bombs. Unlike many other types of cyberattacks, logic bombs attack is subtle but often sophisticated, capable of causing explosive damage that is hard to trace or mitigate. An attacker secretly inserts a malicious part of code into the existing software on a computer or network.

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Attackers commonly use these bombs with trojan horses, worms, and viruses to maximize damage. Logic bombs’ primary goal is to reformat a hard drive, modify or corrupt data, and remove critical files from the system. Logic bombs can wreak havoc on a massive scale.

For example, a programmer may conceal code that begins deleting files, such as a salary database, if they are ever fired from the company.

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Real-life cases (Logic bomb examples)

There have been various cases related to these attacks, such as:

  • In 1988, just after a conflict with a client, an Oklahoma trucking firm, a software contractor created a logic bomb and threatened to detonate it unless the client paid its invoices.
  • In 2003 a Medco system administrator set up a logic bomb to delete some data. He was apprehended while attempting to fix his programming errors and sentenced to 30 months in prison.
  • A Siemens contract programmer was found guilty in 2019 of planting a logic bomb. His plan was to arouse servicing and bill the client for completing them.

Characteristics of logic bomb 

Various logic bombs share the same characteristics, such as:

  • They lie dormant until they are triggered: Logic bombs, like ticking time bombs, aren’t supposed to go off right away. People who attack from within a targeted system frequently use logic bombs to hide their tracks.
  • They carry an unknown payload: A payload is a component of malware that performs malicious activity. The payload may increase the prevalence of spam emails through a compromised device or the theft of valuable data.
  • After meeting a specific condition, they deliver the payload: The logic bomb’s detonator is the condition that must be met. This feature allows logic code bombs to go undetected for extended periods.

How does a logic bomb function?

You can classify the conditions that set off logic bombs as: positive or negative. Positive trigger logic bombs detonate when a condition is met, such as when you open a specific file. When a situation is not met, such as when a user does not open a file in time, a negative trigger logic bombs are launched.

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Is logic bomb a type of malware?

A logic bomb’s code is malicious, but it is not malware. However, some malware, such as viruses, can include a logic bomb that harms a system or network. Viruses and worms are common types of malware that use logic bombs as part of their attack strategy. A logic bomb virus includes a logic bomb in its code.

In contrast to viruses and worms, which can infect a system on their own, a logic bomb is frequently planted by someone with inside knowledge of the system.

How to defend against a logic bomb?

Hackers enjoy incorporating logic bombs into viruses and malware, so general website security is an excellent first line of defense. Get quality antivirus software that can detect and remove logic bombs in real-time as a secondary line of defense.

To protect yourself against logic bombs, you must employ multiple layers of cybersecurity and not rely solely on antivirus software. Because logic bombs are activated at a specific time, they do not execute their malicious code immediately. As a result, antivirus software may be unable to detect them until too late.

Using a firewall in conjunction with antivirus software can better protect against logic bombs. Because a firewall scans all traffic, the logic bombs will be unable to infiltrate your computer system. You should also various practices, such as:

  • Protect each computer in a network individually.
  • Always use the most recent version of your antivirus software.
  • Scan all files on the system, including compressed files, regularly.
  • Ensure that users are using email screening and auto-protection features.

What is the difference between a logic bomb and a time bomb?

Logic bombs are a type of time bomb. A time bomb is a malicious piece of code that goes off at a specific date and time or after a set amount of time has passed. If a time bomb is not discovered and removed before that time, it will detonate anyway. There are no specific conditions that must be met (or not met) for the time bomb to go off.

The main distinction between logic bombs and time bombs is that a logic bomb may include a timing function as a failsafe. It may delete itself if the conditions are met within a certain period, whereas time bombs only use timing functions as their criteria to detonate.

Conclusion

If you want to learn more about cybersecurity, you can refer to various articles, such as:

What is a Phishing attack?
What is a Phishing attack?
A cyber attack is an unauthorized attempt to gain unauthorized access to a computer system in order to size, modify, or steal data. Cybercriminals can launch a cyberattack using a...read more
What is a Trojan horse attack?
What is a Trojan horse attack?
Trojans are malicious programs that appear to perform one function but perform another. Attackers can disguise Trojans as free software, videos, or music, or they could appear to be legitimate...read more
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FAQs

What can set off a logic bomb?

A logic bomb sets off when a particular logical condition is met.

Why is preventing a logic bomb so tricky?

Hackers could hide logic bombs in computer viruses, worms, and trojan horses. They are inactive until the necessary condition is met.

What are the conditions that set off logic bombs?

The conditions that set off a logic bomb are of two types: positive or negative.

When a time-related event triggers a logic bomb, it is known as?

When a time-related event triggers a logic bomb, it is known as trojan horse.

About the Author
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Anshuman Singh
Senior Executive - Content

Anshuman Singh is an accomplished content writer with over three years of experience specializing in cybersecurity, cloud computing, networking, and software testing. Known for his clear, concise, and informative wr... Read Full Bio