7 Types of Malware You Must Protect Your Business From
Small businesses are easy targets for cybercriminals, as they typically won’t have the resources, budget, or skills to understand the complexity of their IT system and protect their daily operations. Nearly 60% of the cyberattacks that occur globally are directed at organisations with less than 1,000 employees. If a business is attacked with malware, it can quickly lose access to its network and data, resulting in a loss of sales, customers, and future clients.
What Is Malware?
Malware is malicious software that has been coded to take over your network and infrastructure. It is hostile and intrusive, attempting to damage your devices and infect your IT systems in the hopes of extorting money from you. You might not even realise that malware has infected your systems–it can slow down your applications, allow unauthorised access to your servers, interfere with your network, and steal sensitive data. Many companies are forced to shut down within six months of a security breach.
7 Types of Malware
Malware comes in various forms and serves several functions. Cybercriminals will breach your security and infect your network using any one of these options, so stay informed on protecting yourself better.
Spyware is a type of malware that follows your activities to collect sensitive data. It is typically found within conventional attacks like those in ads, emails, or websites. This malware needs an internet connection to send the information back to the criminal. There are four types of spyware: keyloggers, password stealers, info stealers, and mobile spyware.
Keyloggers monitor and record your keystrokes to obtain confidential information. Password stealers are pretty self-explanatory, as they steal your login details for various accounts like banking, social media, and email. Info stealers are from third parties that collect your browser history and files from an infected computer via vulnerable browsers. Mobile spyware is attached to SMS messages which can infect a device without any user interaction. It can gain access to your camera and microphone, monitor phone calls, and see your search history.
This is the most common type of malware and hides in application codes, replicating until it finishes its programmed task. Viruses will modify your settings and programs to compromise them and insert their code. If a user activates an infected application, the virus starts reproducing and executing its task.
There are four stages to a virus attack. The first stage is Dormant, where the virus needs activation from the user to begin. Next is Propagation, where the virus starts cloning itself to infect various parts of the IT system. It can continuously reproduce until it overwhelms the system or antivirus software. The third phase is Triggering, where it executes its task. Finally, the Execution phase, in which the virus delivers the malicious payload to the intended server.
This malware tries to gain access to your network while staying under the radar. It will try to get administrative rights to control the system and install additional malware. Rootkit commonly piggybacks onto genuine software or via infected mobile apps. They inject themselves into software and are very strong since they can remain invisible from detection.
These are pop-ups or forceful ads that you have to watch on your screen until you reach the files or page you want. By forcing you to watch the advertisement, criminals get money. This type of malware can slow down your browser and even hijack it, changing application settings like search engines or toolbars.
This malware is similar to a virus but doesn’t need user activation to finish its programmed task. Worms will replicate themselves independently of third parties. There are five different kinds of worms: bot, email, internet-based, file sharing (P2P) network, and chat room worms.
Bot worms are also known as zombies, as they spread from one infected device to another. Emails worms use infected attachments or malicious links to inject themselves onto a server. Internet-based ones deploy when an infected computer scans the internet for vulnerable machines that haven’t yet been updated.
The P2P worms are challenging and pose perhaps the most significant security risk because even if you think something is safe, you technically never know what you’re downloading until it’s already complete. Finally, chat room worms use contact lists to send malicious links to unsuspecting users.
As you’d expect, a Trojan is a malware disguised as genuine software. Once it’s downloaded onto a computer, it activates and gains access to the entire system. It can infect a device via piggybacking the software or through phishing scams. These types will be hidden in free downloads and made to look like a trusted file, such as a .DOCX or .PDF.
A backdoor trojan will create vulnerabilities within your security system to weaken it and let other attackers in. A downloader serves as a delivery mechanism that allows malicious code to be downloaded onto the device. Exploit trojans target particular vulnerabilities within your network and contain sets of code to abuse it.
This malware is widespread nowadays, as it can be pretty lucrative. Once a criminal breaks into your system, they encrypt your data and block you from accessing it. You’ll need to pay the attacker to receive the encryption key and retrieve your information. It’s very challenging to track these criminals since they use cryptocurrencies and internet anonymity. If you don’t pay, your data will be lost forever or exposed. However, it sets you up as a future target for more ransomware attacks if you do pay.
How to Avoid A Malware Attack
To protect your network from a malware attack, you must install firewalls and antivirus software. Inexperienced users, weaknesses within your system, and removable media are all common threats to your cybersecurity. It would be best to regularly update your hardware and applications, making sure they are all running on the newest software to prevent malware from attacking those vulnerabilities. Invest in reliable software, continuously backup your data, and educate your employees on your security policies.
The use of malware is increasing worldwide; however, it is complicated to find the perpetrators and legally punish them since the internet offers anonymity and remote capabilities. How are you supposed to fight against a random person in a foreign country with an entirely different legal system? Take the time to develop management and recovery plans to strengthen your defences thoroughly. Be proactive in your cybersecurity so that you can protect yourself well and avoid a malware attack.
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