There are a lot of cybersecurity threats out there these days. As technology becomes an increasingly important part of our businesses, the threat from attackers grows. Willie Sutton, a famed bank robber in American history, once said that he robbed banks because “that’s where the money is.” That’s the same reason cybercriminals are targeting businesses like yours. With this in mind we wanted to provide information via a series of helpful articles. We will begin with this one covering what you need to know about malware.
What is Malware?
The term malware can confuse a lot of people. What specifically is it? Well, it’s a catch-all term for the vast array of malicious software out there. This software is designed to harm or exploit networks, services, and devices. It can be used for a variety of purposes, but the most common is data extraction. Almost any type of data can be targeted from personal emails and passwords to financial and health information. Given all of the data we store now, the possibilities are truly endless.
Some types of malware include:
- And many other forms as well.
Cybercriminals use malware as a tool because it is an easy net to cast for gathering information. Often these programs allow one bad actor to collect a large variety of data passively from unassuming victims that they have tricked. Since malware can appear to be legitimate software, or even pass into a system without you noticing, Malware is spread through a variety of means including email attachments, infected USB drives, malicious advertisements on sites, infected apps, phishing emails, and even text messages.
What Does This Mean for My Business?
Malware is a major concern for business owners. Because of its wide array of potential attacks and its various methods of achieving them, it represents one of the largest cybersecurity threats to any business today. Malware can compromise your data, acquire information necessary for financial fraud, and cost massive sums of money for any business. A major attack of this sort can also threaten compliance with certain laws, leading to an even larger loss beyond the immediate attack. Just as your technology is vital to the operation of your business, so too are the threats to that technology threats to your entire business.
One increasingly common form of malware attack is Ransomware. Ransomware attacks are commonly delivered in the form of a Trojan appearing as a legitimate file. The victim is tricked into downloading the file or opening it, usually via an email attachment. (Although there have been cases of Ransomware where no user action was required.) Once the Ransomware is installed, the attacker can now lock the computer to the victim and demand money to return control of it. This is accomplished by encrypting the files on the computer in such a way that, without the key, the system is useless.
These types of attacks can be incredibly costly in whatever form they come, and directly threaten the cybersecurity of your business so they must be addressed.
What Can I Do About Malware?
This may sound like a problem you can’t overcome. That’s not the case at all. While you should be aware of the dangers associated with malware, there are many things you can do to protect yourself and your business.
Protect Your Devices
One of the simplest ways to deal with this is to protect your devices. Keep your operating system and applications updated. Most attackers seek to exploit vulnerabilities in older, outdated software. Find and install comprehensive security protection on your devices. Keep that software up to date as well and make sure it comes from a reputable source. Another excellent tactic is to find a trusted cybersecurity professional to work with in establishing a security plan for your business technology. Taking the time to protect your devices and be proactive in that strategy can help keep you safe from most of these problems.
Malware attacks often rely upon the laziness or lack of attention paid by the victim. They come in the form of email attachments and offered software. For many of them, you can avoid the attack by simply making certain any software or attachments you have are coming from a legitimate source. Take the time to verify if you’re sent something and, if it seems suspicious, inform a cybersecurity professional so they can help you deal with it. Don’t wander to shady websites and be very selective about the sites you do visit. This caution can help you avoid many of the malware attacks out there.
Vigilance is really important. Knowing what’s going on with your systems and being attentive to changes can truly be the difference between an attack that is fully successful and one that is thwarted in process. Look for the signs such as slower computer performance, frequent pop-up ads, problems starting or shutting down the system, infection warnings accompanied by offers for products to fix them, and unwanted browser redirects. If these happen you are probably already dealing with a malware presence, but you can take steps to deal with it.
Work With a Trusted Pro
Cybersecurity becomes much easier when you work with a trusted professional. The truth is that this world is changing all the time, and you need to stay on top of it to truly be safe. You just don’t have the time to stay current with it all and run your business. Fortunately you don’t have to. Finding a trusted cybersecurity professional can really help you deal with these potential threats and keep your business safe.
In the end, what you need to know about Malware is that you need to take it seriously. If you have questions about this or other cybersecurity issues, please contact us today.
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