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The Dangers of Malware to SMBs

By Michele Clemens on 30/10/20 2:39 PM

Topics: Cyber Security

A cyber attack can cripple any business no matter how big or small. Nowadays, 60% of small businesses that experience cyber attacks can suffer long-term damage, with many of them going out of business within six months. 

One cyber threat that is increasingly damaging to businesses today is malware, which can invade and disable critical computer systems, networks, and other IT devices. 

In this article, we’ll explore what malware is, the types to look out for, and what any business can do to protect themselves for getting infected with malware .

What is Malware? 

The term malware translates quite literally to ‘malicious software’. It's an all-encompassing term that includes viruses, ransomware, worms, spyware, adware, and generally any software that is used to obtain sensitive information without a user’s consent. 

Malware disrupts computer systems in a variety of ways, such as by restricting access, encrypting files, corrupting data, stealing personal information, or slowing the system down.

Malware can infiltrate your system through unsecure downloads, email attachments, advertisements, or any type of security vulnerability in a system. After an infection occurs, a system may continue to function but may slow down and start to show signs of the attack, such as more pop-ups and random display messages. In some instances, spyware will continue to thrive in your system without ever being noticed, unless you have a good security software installed. 

It’s important to stay updated with the latest security threats. 

Types of Malware You Need to Know About

  • Adware - A type of malware that displays advertisements on your computer and collects data about your browsing habits without your consent
  • Keylogger - Malicious software that tracks the keystrokes on a computer and transmits the data to another location so it can be used to detect usernames and passwords that are typed on a computer.
  • Ransomware - A software that locks a computer and retains control until the user pays a certain amount of money.
  • Rootkit - A type of software designed to open a backdoor into areas of the operating system that are not supposed to be available, masking its presence while doing so. It is used to deploy other types of malware.
  • Spyware – A software designed to steal user data such as website logins and passwords or proprietary information and trade secrets from machines it has infected.
  • Trojan – A malicious software that seems legitimate but contains other software that attacks the system in some way after tricking a user into activating it.
  • Virus – A type of malware that attaches itself to an application and then spreads to other programs and computers on the same network through an infected host file, causing a variety of damage when the application is run.
  • Worm – A software that infects a computer and then replicates itself from system to system on its own without the help of a host file.

Protecting Your Business from Malware 

The key to protecting your business from malware is to use a layered security approach that ensures there are no gaps in your security that can allow cyber criminals to get through.  It’s essential to take a close look into your current security software to assess any gaps and evaluate how effective they are. It’s also important to have a clear understanding of your company’s workflows to determine the need for encryption, firewalls, authorisation levels, and password management. 

Most cyber criminals take advantage of software vulnerabilities in outdated software, so businesses must continually update their systems to ensure they have the latest security patches that can address new and emerging threats.

Lastly, nothing works more effectively than ensuring everyone in your organisation is made aware of security threats that are damaging to any system. Regular staff training on cyber security threats and best practices goes a long way in helping them dealing with phishing emails, social engineering methods, and proper password protection. 

Let the team at Lanrex help you craft a solid cyber security strategy to ensure your business stays on top of emerging threats. 

Get in contact to explore Lanrex’s cyber security solutions today.