All You Need to Know About Malware and How to Protect your Business from it
Malware has no boundaries. It targets everyone and everything it can attach to and then subsequently causes mayhem.
If you are looking to protect your business from cyber threats, it’s vital to understand everything about malware. Here is all you need to know about malware.
What is Malware?
The popular misconception is that malware is a particular type of virus. The truth is that malware is a collection of malicious software which exists to destroy, disrupt, or misappropriate data, files, and computer systems. Therefore, there are different types of malware. You must know them to protect your business effectively.
The most common types of malware
Malware can be divided into three primary categories, contagious malware, concealment malware, and secret-stealing malware.
Contagious malware: Contagious malware can also be identified as self-spreading malware, and true to its name, its chief characteristic is that it can quickly spread through a computer network. The spreading can happen through physical connections like ethernet cables, file transfer flash disks, and USB cables. On the other hand, they can also spread through wireless connections like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or over the internet by sending files through email. Contagious malware includes viruses and worms.
> Viruses: – Computer viruses usually hide inside files and software and spread when the files are shared in any way. Their top characteristic is that they cannot spread on their own unless the user interacts with the software of the files.
> Worms: – Unlike viruses, worms can spread independently by following the same routes that regular files take. They will also spread when files are shared through emails and instant messaging apps or automatically download themselves when the user clicks on a malicious link.
Concealment malware: Unlike contagious malware, concealment malware does not cause any harm to a computer system. Instead, it’s designed to hide the presence of other malware like viruses and worms. The primary goal of concealment malware is to help contagious malware stay undetected. Trojans and rootkits are the primary examples of concealment malware.
> Trojans: – This malware’s their name from the ancient Trojan horse that carried soldiers into Troy. A Trojan looks like a harmless program or file but contains viruses or worms inside.
> Rootkits: – Rootkits are meant to make malicious code and programs invisible to a computer’s defence. They do this by concealing the malicious code’s traces in a computer, making it nearly impossible to identify.
Secret-stealing malware: Secret-stealing malware does what their name suggests, steal information. They are designed to stay with a computer system undetected to keep stealing information. Spyware/Keyloggers and Ransomware are the primary secret-stealing malware.
> Spyware/Keyloggers: – Spyware is created to spy on a computer system and access personal and sensitive data like financial information. Most of the time, the stolen data is used for financial fraud or identity theft. On the other hand, keyloggers recover keyboard press. Thus, they can be used to steal usernames and passwords for easy access to computer systems.
> Ransomware: – This malware encrypts sensitive data and holds it hostage for a ransom. It can also keep hostage computer networks, denying legitimate users access to their computers.
How to detect Malware?
Detecting malware in time is key to limiting the damage that it can do. You should watch out for the following symptoms to know if your computer system is infected with malware.
> Monitor the performance of your computer closely. If you notice any unexplained decreases in performance and speed, it might be malware working in the background. More, if you notice that your computer network is sluggish or crashes frequently. It might also be malware.
> Keep tabs on your hard drive space. If you notice any unexplained missing hard drive space, it might have been taken up by malware. This is because malware usually takes up free hard drive space as its replicates itself.
> Regularly check files on your computer. If you come across any new files while experiencing the first two symptoms, that’s likely malware. It’s expected that the strange files will be in unexpected places and have weird names.
How to protect your computer systems from Malware
Enlighten your employees on cybersecurity
The most crucial step for a company looking to protect itself from malware is enlightening employees on cybersecurity. If your employees understand the cyber threats they are likely to encounter, it will be much easier for them to avoid risky moves like clicking on suspicious links. In addition to this, the employees can effortlessly be on the lookout for the symptoms mentioned above. Thus, they can quickly detect malware within your computer network before too much damage is done.
Install a firewall: A firewall is meant to protect your business network from a variety of cyberattacks. It will check your emails and block those containing suspicious links from reaching your employee’s inboxes. In addition to this, a firewall will also eliminate suspicious websites from your employees’ online activities.
It will also scan flash disks and other physical media interacting with your computer network to eliminate viruses. A firewall will also block the possibility of backdoors existing in your computer network.
Utilise a comprehensive security software: Having antivirus software in your computer networks is crucial in protecting them from cyber-attacks. This is why you should consider utilizing comprehensive antivirus software that offers multi-faceted protection. A good antivirus is likely to come with advanced malware protection and detection. It should also get regular updates to provide the best protection possible.
Encrypt your data: Data encryption works as the last line of defence against malware like spyware. It means that even if a cyber attacker is successful at breaching your security and stealing your data. They won’t be able to do anything with it because it’s encrypted. If you can manage to use the highest encryption protocol, do so.
Adopt stringent password management measures: Poor password management measures make it easier for cybercriminals to gain access to your computer network. This is why you must adopt stringent password management measures. This includes encouraging employees to use stronger passwords and discouraging employees from storing their passwords in their computers. Ask your employees to change their passwords regularly.
We trust that this blog has provided more information on malware and the types that exist.
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