Malware is one of the biggest threats to businesses and it can have a huge impact on their productivity and profitability. It does so by compromising their secure data and by bringing their operations to a screeching halt. In the most recently reported period, 5.6 billion malware attacks were carried out, down from 9.9 billion attacks in the previous year.
Since malware can be so damaging and disruptive for organizations, it is crucial for us to know exactly what we’re up against. In this post we will reveal 8 types of common malware that can be harmful to businesses from a data security standpoint. Let’s dive in.
Ransomware is exactly what it sounds like. This type of malware can hold your device or computers hostage and under the hackers’ control in the hopes of getting ransom money. In such cases, hackers manage to infiltrate devices and lock their existing users out of their systems until they pay a hefty ransom.
In a number of cases, ransomware hackers have also threatened businesses to release their sensitive data to public eyes or splatter it across the dark web unless they receive a ransom. With that said, there are generally two kinds of ransomware you should look out for:
- Crypto ransomware is a form of malware that restricts users’ access to stored data and crucial files.
- Locker ransomware restricts access to the infected device or computer
Most of us have noticed those ads popping up randomly on our computers. This is known as adware. Adware is a form of malware that causes your computer to get flooded by ads in the hopes of generating revenue for ad creators. Often, adware is also a form of spyware since some of the latter comes in the form of ads embedded into software or in the form of pop-up ads.
Spyware is a form of malware that allows hackers to spy on businesses and gather vital information such as login credentials, internet activity and more.
When hackers use spyware, they have the ability to access various forms of sensitive information that your customers enter. This could include card payment information, personal details, HIPAA data, etc.
With all things considered, the good news is that spyware is fairly easy to get rid of or avoid altogether.
4. Trojan Horse
Trojan horse is among the most common types of malware attacks. In these attacks, hackers disguise the threat as something appealing such as a special gift, free download, or an exclusive offer. Once this disguised malware penetrates your network, your data can get stolen. Often, Trojan horse malware may also fulfill the job of spyware, allowing those with malicious intent to spy on your business activities.
There have been a lot of cases where malware caused business damages in two different ways simultaneously. Most of these cases had a combination of a Trojan Horse and a worm as well as adware. These bots, or hybrids, are designed to infect those parties that belong to larger networks that one botnet master may control. Once this group of networks or computers are connected, botnets could be rented to other hackers so they can fulfill their own criminal purposes.
Viruses are perhaps the most common type of malware and the first thing that comes into users’ minds when they hear about computers and threats. Viruses are malicious programs that begin to replicate themselves to spread into programs, devices and networks. Your programs, applications, documents and other crucial business information will, therefore, be compromised in just an instant.
In a lot of ways, worm malware is quite similar to viruses. Both of these forms of malware are designed to replicate themselves so they can spread to other systems and devices. However, worms tend to be a lot more destructive as compared to other kinds of malware since they tend to replicate themselves and spread as they wish.
The difference between worms and viruses is that the former does not need to be disguised in existing programs, and they wouldn’t require a user to take action before spreading like viruses do.
Malvertising is a lot different from adware. In malvertising, proper ads are designed with malware and are delivered to target computers or networks. If you click on these ads, your device or computer will get affected without you or the advertiser knowing.
How to Avoid Malware
Now that you’ve learned quite a lot about some common malware attacks, it is also crucial that you learn about the steps you can take to avoid these problems. The following are 8 such actions that significantly mitigate the risks of malware attacks:
- Never download, click on, or open anything that you think may be suspicious, whether they are emails, ads or just simple files.
- Buy, run and update your anti-spyware and anti-malware softwares. These softwares are designed to combat malware that your system is vulnerable to.
- Install filters for spam so you can make it invisible so that your coworkers will not make the mistake of opening them.
- Make sure to only connect to a secure Wi-Fi network. Public Wi-Fi networks in libraries and coffee shops can open your system to potential harm.
- Make sure to have firewalls installed that are capable of detecting suspicious activity.
- Update the operating system in your devices. In doing so, you will have the opportunity to keep them up-to-date with all the necessary security features.
- Regularly update your password and try to adhere to the best practices of setting passwords. For instance, you should always use both upper and lower case letters, complex combinations of words, and numbers.
- Finally, you should also adopt secure file sharing solutions to protect the sensitive files of your business.
If you need assistance with any or all of these cybersecurity measures, Microsys is there to help. With us, you don’t have to worry about your budget constraints for cybersecurity and data protection. We offer solutions that don’t break the bank of small and medium-sized enterprises.